Last night, the folks at finished putting together the world's first ND Miata V8 swap. With a 525-horsepower 6.3-liter V8 under the hood, it promises to be an absolute beast—even though the bodywork is completely unchanged. We spoke with Flyin' Miata's Keith Tanner to get the nitty-gritty on how they crammed so much power into such a small package.
Tanner told us the V8-powered ND Miata uses a , a 6.3-liter LS3 with an upgraded cam that pumps out 525 crank horses at 6300 RPM along with 489 lb.-ft. of torque. It spins a Tremec T56 six-speed manual and a Camaro SS Positraction differential. "We're packing a drivetrain meant for 4000-lb. cars," Tanner said. "It's seriously under-stressed." The GM crate engine offers a two-year nationwide warranty, too, which is nice.
Amazingly for a modern fuel-injected engine swap, the GM motor talks with all of the Mazda's stock gauges. "We've even taken over some of the displays," Tanner said. "We can use the external temperature readout to show you a precise oil temperature."
What's the weight penalty? This exact Miata weighs in at 2592 lbs. ready to drive with a full tank of gas, with 53.4-percent front, 46.6-percent rear weight distribution. For comparison, the same car weighed 2328 lbs with 52:48 distribution when it was stock. Credit goes to the rather lightweight, all-aluminum V8 engine, and careful fabricating on the part of Flyin' Miata's Kyle Tigar. "Instead of throwing in a bunch of metal, we looked at the load paths, where we needed more strength," Tanner said. "Any metal we put in there is in the right place."
Grip won't be a problem, either, as the ND Miata can fit 245-width tires, wider than what can fit under any previous-generation roadster's stock fenders. "We've found on the track these ND chassis Miatas generate huge mechanical grip," he said. With huge Wilwood front brakes—12.9-inch rotors, clamped by six-piston calipers—reigning in all that power won't be a problem.
Flyin' Miata hasn't come to an exact price just yet, but Tanner figures it'll be within the ballpark of the $50,000 the shop charges for . The conversion comes with full catalytic converters and OBDII-compliant computers, so it shouldn't be a problem to register it in 49 states. Sorry, California.