• May 11th 2008 at 3:04PM
  • 65
Follow the jump for a video of the owner discussing and driving the car

You don't need to spend much time with a Miata to "get" why so many drivers are attracted to them. Perfectly executed and relentlessly entertaining, it's no surprise that Mazda's little roadster is the track-day weapon of choice for a number of people. While countless 4-banger Miatas do their thing on the autocross circuit, one Mark Snell was interested in kicking things up a level so he could run with the big boys in their 'Vettes and similar machinery. His solution? Drop a Mazda 2.5L V6 into his blue roadster's engine bay, then modify and tune it to the point where it's pushing 180 horsepower to the rear wheels. The view underhood is plenty cool -- we especially dig those Suzuki GSX-R1000 throttle bodies he's added. The Miata sounds pretty mean, too. Follow the jump for a video in which Snell gives a tour of his car and discusses the modifications he's made before taking viewers for a quick spin. We believe that this is what fun looks like. Thanks for the tip, Ryan!

[Source: Driving Sports]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Sounds great. Although I am more of a fan of 13B Miata's :)
      • 7 Years Ago
      I own a Miata and I would go with a turbo charger, but I have admit that v6 sounds awesome. I too was wondering about the low power, though. I've driven a turbo 1.8 that put down over 200 hp and some people on the miata forum have build engines engines with 300 rwhp and up.

      That said, the uniqueness is definitely appealing and autocross is an arena that rewards balance and control rather than power.

      To everyone saying the miata is not a sports car: drive one. Also, I'm personally not a huge fan of monster miatas, but the entire conversion only adds around 250lbs and yields a ridiculously fast car. I remember reading someone got a ls1 miata up to 180mph!

      • 7 Years Ago
      As the wife of the Miata V6 owner - I am somewhat appalled at the lack of true sports car soul exhibited by so many of you. Put a V8 in a Miata - yuck. "There are kits already available" - oh be still myheart - I'll put that in my diary right next to the entry aboutthefake carbon fiber Cal Custom gear shift knob - Bubba at the trailer park told me about it. We are not interested in brute force. Balance is the key and getting the power to the ground - this is an amazing little engine and weighs only a tad more than the stock 4 banger. The horsepower in stock form was 160 - so bone stock with just the injectors it's 180 - are you paying attention? When the rest of the engine work is done it will be around 250. The noise you are hearing on the video, like astutely noted by one of the bloggers (who isn't going to end up in Dante's Inferno (some of you may have to look this up on Wikipedia)), is in fact rocks from the tires and not mechanical. As for the blogger whothinks it was an asinine project - maybe you could describe somethingyou have done? I'd love to hear about your efforts to do something that nobody has done before and have it featured anywhere ... I'm waiting...... BTW - we do have another "real" race car...a super-charged Lotus Exige. We love it too, but there is no way it is as unique or sounds as good as the Miata.
        • 7 Years Ago
        +1: you sound like a wife who is the envy of many gearheads!
        • 7 Years Ago
        Just to do a little follow up. First off, I apologize for the double post. Second, I'm beginning to realize that asinine was really the wrong word for me to use. Different would likely fit much better. ;)

        Anyway, congrats to Mark for pulling this off, I'm genuinely impressed.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Hank, the install required a lot of work -- adapter, pan, oil pick-up rework... New engine mount brackets, but am using Mazdaspeed high-durometer Miata mounts. Engine management is via an Autronic (Australian company) ECU.
        • 7 Years Ago

        There's a reason this hasn't been done before (that I know); Given that the engine, in it's original application, was (not only transverse but) tilted slightly for clearance, it doesn't normally do well sitting upright as it looks like this transplant has the engine installed.

        How do you deal with the potential oiling issues on this install, particularly to the one bank of cylinders (the bank that would be on the "downslope" side of it's original install)?

        And, yes, I think that this sounds like the Dino Ferrari that I always thought the MX6 could have been if it had only been RWD... so, yes, again,... BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        • 7 Years Ago
        "As for the blogger who thinks it was an asinine project - maybe you could describe some thing you have done? I'd love to hear about your efforts to do something that nobody has done before and have it featured anywhere ... I'm waiting"

        Oh no, don't get me wrong! I meant no offense to the builder by calling the project asinine. In fact, I meant it as a compliment... allow me to explain.

        As a gearhead myself, I've done a number of projects that fully qualify under the asinine category and I'm proud of them. I love to do and see projects that stroll off the beaten path and forge their own, especially when they succeed. :]

        Perfect example for my case, I own a 1987 Chrysler Conquest. A total money pit, but it's my greatest pride yet. Only after investing over twice what the car is worth has it really begun to run right and it's still largely stock! I wouldn't trade it for the world. Of course, the most asinine thing is that I intend to build it up to be competitive in SM2 against all the local Corvette owners. ;)

        Sadly, nothing asinine of mine has been published.
        • 7 Years Ago
        question for you and the husband, was this engine a straight drop-in (MX-3 also had a BP 4cyl engine option), or did you have to fabricate new engine mounts for it? Also, are you using stock MX-3/6 ECU or something else...

        excellent build regardless *thumbs up*
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wow at the people that think you need massive power figures for auto x....
      • 7 Years Ago
      180 horsepower isn't very much from a 6 cylinder, even its thats a number from the rear wheels.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Agreed, not much power. That car could have a LOT more performance...
        • 7 Years Ago
        No, the Duratec 2.5l made 170hp in the Contour with either transmission, using 87 octane regular. The Mazda 2.5l in the 626, which was *not* the same, made 164hp using 89 octane mid-grade, a bit less with regular as the computer dialed back the timing . Considering that the contemporaneous Nissan 3.0l in the Maxima made 160/190 hp depending on trim, while the Toyota 3.0l in the Camry made 188hp, this is not at all bad.

        I'm sure he could get even more power out of it, but maximum power may not be what he's concerned with.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I'd disagree.

        If you figure a 20% drivetrain loss, the engine is probably making 216hp itself, today's V6 Sonatas make 238hp. Also keep in mind that it is a 2.5 liter, Nissan makes 4-pots that are that big and this motor is normally found in Mazda MX-6s and Mazda 626s, so we're talking circa 1995 state of the art, so 200hp would be par.

        So as a result 200+hp in something as light as '92 Miata would be something to worry about in an Autocross.
        • 7 Years Ago

        As a Subaru AND miata owner... no, a flat engine is not going to fit between the rails in a Miata. Not a chance. The engine is nice and low, but FAR too wide for most inline or longitudinal V engine cars.

        The GT-R's turbo 6 is probably simply too big for the engine bay. The miata is a pretty small car, especially the NA and NB versions.

        A ford or chevy small-block is probably the best bet in a miata for monster power.
        • 7 Years Ago
        the 2.5l duratec 6 came in various tunes and horsepower. the version for the ford contour was rated 160hp, for the cougar it was 170/160 (the latter for the autos iirc), etc. those numbers are still on par with other engines form that era, with that displacement.
        the countour svt was rated at 200 or 205 (flywheel)
        • 7 Years Ago
        Consider that most V6's today have around 1L more displacement. In hp/l terms, this is equal to a 250hp 3.5L V6, and that's at the ground. Plus he stated that all the internals are stock. I'm sure the engine has much more potential with compression, cam and porting.

        Also remember that autocross is more about torque than hp. The extra 700cc he has over the 4 banger likely increases his midrange kick a bunch without having much extra weight over the nose and more linear delivery than a turbo.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I disagree that you need a V6 to run with Vettes. I can do it in my Miata, and it's only a turbo 1.6 liter.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The filter they used on the video is killing me slowly. Kept squinting and moving my laptop screen, only to realize that they somehow intended it to look like that.

      Dig the Mazda V6. More interesting than a turbo or V8 swap. The fact that kits even exist for those sort of mods make them less interesting.
      • 7 Years Ago
      That metal rattling sound isn't reassuring...
        • 7 Years Ago
        yeah, I'm hoping that's just gravel on the road, and without any sound deadening, it's understandable that it's so loud.

        Of course, the solution is to drown it all out with that engine :)
        • 7 Years Ago
        Yeah, I know. My Miata makes all manner of wierd noises, but none that increase with RPM's. The prompt acceleration was quite nice though. I just hope he doesn't end up in a firey mess.

        But, honestly, I have seen much cooler V-8 Miatas. They don't compete with vettes, because they ARE corvettes, but in a 2500 pound body.
        • 7 Years Ago
        the "metal rattling" is just small pebbles and what not being thrown up at the underbody/wheel wells from the tires, when running R-Comps (especially low speed) on the street that is completely normal to hear
        • 7 Years Ago
        That's not metal, thats what it sounds like when slick tires pick up road stones and dirt and throw it inside the wheel wells and undercarriage of a car with no interior.

        Sounds like a race car to me.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The car was built specifically for SCCA's Street Modified 2 class - which is for sports cars only. Any engine is allowed - as long as it is the same maker. You are only allowed to remove 1 lb of material for clearancing. You are not allowed to modify the sub frame. You need to be able to see out the window:) Add too much displacement - get a weight penalty. Add blowers - get a weight penalty. So there are distinct advantages to keeping the size and weight down.

      (Thanks for the apology about the "asinine" comment. You have restored my faith).
      • 7 Years Ago
      Very cool. Great work!
      • 7 Years Ago
      The Miata is a blast to drive. A Miata with a V6 very nice.

      How about a Mazdaspeed Miata with the 274hp engine from the Mazdaspeed3?

      That would be "the awesome"!

        • 7 Years Ago
        that would be a hell of a car...
      • 7 Years Ago
      There are a few people on here who really don't know much about cars at all.

      The Miata has not died at all, I would agree that it has become somewhat diluted, but a "slow and painful death?" Dead wrong.

      "A real sports car?" I'd like to hear your definition of a real sports car if it is not a Miata.

      I agree that 180 at the wheels could have been done much easier, but there is something to be said for doing things a different way.
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