The math is simple. Little car plus big engine = high performance. The trick is putting the big engine in without spoiling the little car.
The details below apply to 1990-2015 conversions. We also offer parts to convert 2016+ "ND" Miatas. More information on this platform
We've teamed up with the experts at V8 Roadsters to offer a kit that mates the amazing GM Gen III/Gen IV - or "LS" - family of engines to a 1990-15 Miata. The engine is a beauty that ranges in size from 5.3 to 6.2 liters and makes a minimum of 300 hp and 300 ft-lbs with a wide range of upgrades available. We mate it to a strong T56 6-speed transmission that offers a nice tight gate and an extremely relaxed cruising gear. The rear end is an aluminum-bodied limited slip unit from the Cadillac CTS, with a custom driveshaft, new rear hubs and high-strength axles. Engine management is handled by the stock GM unit, which is easily reprogrammed and can return OBD-II codes.
To mount the engine, we have a fabricated tubular subframe that's 10 lbs lighter than stock. The transmission is supported by a brace that also reinforces the frame rails for extra rigidity. The engine is set back as far as possible to optimize the weight distribution, and some modifications are required to the engine bay and transmission tunnel. The Miata power steering is retained and you can use A/C and the front sway bar.
Overall, the car gains less than 200 lbs with 1/3 of that on the rear wheels. In other words, the car does not become a nose-heavy beast. To put things in perspective, one of our SuperFour Challenge turbo Miatas came in at almost exactly the same weight and distribution. From the outside, the car looks completely stock. The ground clearance is unchanged and nothing needs to be altered on the body. As long as the engine is off, it's a great sleeper. But once you fire it up, there's no mistaking what's underhood.
Does it handle? Well, the first time we took one autocrossing, we set FTD with it - by a margin of nearly 4 seconds. We've destroyed our own lap records around our local track, outrunning purpose-built race Miatas with a street-oriented V8 Miata. Yeah, it handles.
"This car is the JAM!"
2016 V8 conversion. The Smoking Tire video review
"Viper pace but the approachability of a new Corvette. In a brand-new Miata. Let me take a moment and emphasize how wonderful that is."
2016 V8 conversion. Road & Track Magazine online, December 2016
"This is one of the most communicative, engaging, and enchanting cars I’ve ever driven."
2016 V8 conversion. Automobile Magazine, January 2017
"Colorado tuner Flyin’ Miata has been doing this conversion thing for some time. It shows in this utterly modern automobile that has the friendly personality of a Miata, only with the dark soul of a V-8. "
2008 V8 conversion vs Shelby Cobra, Automobile, November 2013
"This V8 Miata is the best car I've driven all year."
2008 V8 conversion. Road & Track, June 2014
"It’s a valid alternative to a late-model Corvette, Porsche GT3 or Alfa Romeo 4C."
2008 V8 conversion, Grassroots Motorsports, November 2015
"We'd normally be dead-set against this sort of thing."
2002 V8 conversion Road & Track, May 2013
"Elvis could be the best car I’ve ever driven, simply because it is the car that has made me smile the most. "
2002 V8 conversion, Hooniverse, October 2013 (skip to Leg 5)
We've done a full build diary for almost every car we've built. Watch over our shoulders as we put together some baby supercars.