Your Projects: Atomic Betty

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Oct 24, 2017 | Mazda

Message board Super Dork bmw88rider recently picked up one of the most well-known hotrods in our world: Atomic Betty, the 2009 Mazda Miata PRHT converted to LS3 power by Flyin’ Miata. Until the transaction, it was their in-house shop car and had been featured in various publications, including Grassroots Motorsports.

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bmw88rider
bmw88rider GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/24/17 6:37 p.m.

Well, I guess this is a good time as any for an update on this fun little ride. 

So since I got it, I've put a little over 3500 miles on it. I work from home most days so it's actually become my daily driver. 

 

So since I've got her, I've done a couple of cosmetic things like tint the windows and replaced the hoop covers with a body color set. I also fixed a few small things like getting the passenger side seat heater working and getting the remotes back working. The kinds of things no one notices as a shop car but as a daily driver, you notice a little more. 

 

I got her tuned for Texas gas and the lower altitudes. With a very conservative tune, it was 408 WHP and 391 WTQ. It just pulls. the TQ curve is so flat.  You can some times forget you are driving a total custom car because it's just so good to drive around town. No overheating, no more funny idle, no bad behaviors. It has the drivability of a stock Camaro only with a lot less weight. 

 

I also redid some of the under car wiring. So while the car was on the dyno, it actually caught fire a little bit. The heat sleeve burnt on the collector. The tuning guys fixed it but I cleaned some of that up and added SS ties. 

 

I also took off the rear sway bar. It was already disconnected from FM and I was like why tote around the extra weight. Overall, she is down under 2800 LBs at 2781 on the scales. The small things have dropped a little weight. 

 

This girl will be in my garage a long time. :) 

Jaynen
Jaynen SuperDork
10/24/17 9:04 p.m.

Congrats on a beautiful keeper!

bmw88rider
bmw88rider GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/26/17 10:33 a.m.

Here is a more recent Pic. 

 

And here is the Dyno Chart:

 

And to think when the FM guys got her she looked like this: 

 

 

There was a lot of work put in to recover her from the dead. 

Kreb
Kreb GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
10/26/17 12:13 p.m.

I love how it can fly under the radar. To the uninformed it just looks like a lightly modded Miata, not the Giant-killer that it is. 

bmw88rider
bmw88rider GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
3/4/18 6:03 p.m.

Just a little over 5K miles on her now since I got her. I figured I'd check in. She just rolled over 24K miles since the swap. 

 

She sat through most of the winter with a bad oil pump. Sad thing is there was nothing that looked bad about it but it just wasn't making any pressure. A new Mellings Oil Pump later and she is back to 35-40 PSI at idle and cruise and 60 PSI under pull. Since I've been busy with work, I had a buddy of mine do the work. He has his own V8 NC. A 5.3L NC swap so he is familiar with the combo.  It's good to have someone familiar with the combo that's also a mazda master tech only 5 miles away. 

 

I've been working on small things to make her better. Put a new battery in her as the old battery was just getting to be not reliable enough. I had to use my jump pack a few too many times. So 1 new Odyssey battery later and she is cranking like a champ.  It was a little fun with rear battery mount but I got a little lifting exercise in and popped it back in. I added in a lead for a battery tender while I was there. Make it easier to charge her up when needed. 

 

Next thing I've been looking at is the passenger side seat heater. It's been acting funny for a while. When I got her the whole seat was unplugged. I plugged it all back in and the heater would never turn off. So I unplugged just the seat heater part so the airbags would work and when I was doing I found the problem. The connector that holds in the plug had the retaining clip broken at some point. So I'm going to see what is some options for that. 

 

So what's next? Well, I'll be ready for some tires soon so something a bit more sticky will go on her the next time. I haven't decided what yet. 

 

So now that I've had her for awhile, what are my thoughts on her. Still the most fun car I've ever driven. My only 2 complaints are really nothing to do with the work that FM did. 

1. The T56 is a bit notchy to shift. No different than the new Camaro I drove recently so it's not just my transmission. It's more just the overall characteristics of the transmission. 

2. Being a PRHT, the roll bar choices for track work is minimal. Not sure what I'll do about that as I want to go and play on the track more over the next few years. 

 

Still glad I got her and well worth everything I've spent  on her. 

 

 

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