While some vehicles are known for their rarity, the Mazda Miata is known for its popularity as an inexpensive stepping stone in the performance market. Car photographer and Hoonigan Extraordinary Larry Chen takes a look at a Miata traded by LS3 in the latest episode of Hoonigan AutoFocus.
Based in Grand Junction, Colo., The tuners at Flyin ‘Miata took the initiative to swap out the LS motor. For the uninitiated, the company creates performance components for just about every generation of Mazda Miata you can imagine.
While the goal of the project was to put a 6.2L LS3 V8 under the hood, Flyin ‘Miata’s Keith Tanner wanted the swap to be as factory-built as possible. After blowing up the hood, it’s clear that it took a lot of work to adapt the engine; Keith mentions that they spent some time playing around with the position of the engine to get everything perfect – the engine fits so well that the sound insulation pad in the hood had to be removed to add play.
As you’d expect, the factory Miata transmission wouldn’t be able to cope with the LS3’s growl, so Flyin ‘Miata traded in for a T56. As well as being a great match for the engine, this variant places the gear lever in the stock slot. Things are relatively similar at the other end of the drivetrain, using rear components from a Pontiac G8 or a Chevrolet Camaro.
Keeping the sleeper aesthetic alive, Keith opted for an active exhaust, which gives the little Mazda the assertive sound you expect from an LS engine. Adjustable via the factory wiper lever, drivers can change the engine rating on the fly, from barely there to a straight racing car.
While things were slow to get started, Flyin ‘Miata is now selling a full conversion kit to anyone looking to join the V8 ND Miata club. The price is still unknown, but if he puts such a smile on Larry Chen’s face, he’s definitely worth every penny.