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Car and Driver: LS Whee! Flyin’ Miata Putting Chevy V-8 in the New Mazda MX-5

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Flyin' Miata ND V8

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We’ve been all up in the ha-ha woo-woos about the latest (ND) Miata since it was a twinkle in the eye of Mazda’s engineering staff. When Mazda announced that the ND would be more akin to the original NA model in weight and intent, one of our very next thoughts was: “We wonder what the thing’ll be like once Flyin’ Miata drops a small-block in it.” Hold onto your trousers, because the world will find out shortly.

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Flyin' Miata ND V8

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The pertinents, courtesy of Flyin’ Miata’s FAQ page on the conversion, suggest that while they’re planning to experiment with the LT1, the LS3 will be the primary powerplant for the V-8 ND, offered in 430, 480, and 525-hp trims. Routing the grunt from the new engine to the rear wheels requires beefier stock than Mazda supplies with the MX-5, so a Tremec T-56 six-speed manual, a new driveshaft, a more robust pumpkin and stronger half shafts will replace the standard units.

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Suspension and brakes will also see a rework, as will the cooling system—essentially, anything that could be overtaxed by the insertion of four more cylinders and better-than triple the horsepower will be replaced. As for the results of such extensive fiddling and fettling? Flyin’ Miata predicts the new cars will hit 60 in 3.8 seconds. Weight distribution should remain similar to stock, although the cars will gain around 250 pounds in the bargain.

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Speaking of bargains, Flyin’ Miata expects the conversion to cost about $50,000 on top of the purchase price of a new ND, which starts at $25,750. No, it’s not cheap, but look at it this way—the Viper stands as the understood heir to the Cobra’s throne. And Viper prices begin at $90,030. The original Cobra was a British roadster with a compact American V-8 stuffed under the hood. The Miata is the lineal descendant of the great British roadster. In that light, the math looks reasonable. Californians, however, are out of luck, as Flyin’ Miata’s only CARB-legal conversion is for 1990–95 MX-5s.

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