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Car for Sale: Hellcat-Swapped 1999 Mazda Miata

Car for Sale: Hellcat-Swapped 1999 Mazda Miata

You know it’s not the only one but this could be yours

Engine swapping is common practice in the world of automotive tuning. If you’re inventive enough and your pockets are adequately deep, the sky is the limit when it comes to taking one engine and shoving it in the engine bay of another car. While some swaps make more sense than others, those that really grab our attention are those that, on paper, shouldn’t work. That’s why this particular 1999 Mazda Miata NB helped our eyebrows reach skyscraper heights. What you see piercing through the hood of the diminutive Japanese sports car is none other than the impressive 6.2-liter Hemi V-8 engine that you’d expect to find nestled in a Dodge Hellcat. All of its 683 horsepower is there and you can own it as it’s heading for auction, crossing the block in just a few days during Barrett-Jackson’s Las Vegas sale scheduled for October 3-5.

If you’re looking at ways to improve the performance characteristics of your car without mortgaging your house in the process, an engine swap may be an attractive solution if you’re in need of ponies. Say you’ve got an NB-generation Miata, the one that forgoes the pop-up headlights and, in turn, comes with ABS as an optional extra. The car is light, handles as well as your shoe and it’s loads of fun. But you want more power. You’ll soon find out that many people are like you and, while a chunk go for the LS swap (or even the 13B rotary options), you want something else. This car is something else.

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2017 Mazda MX-5 "Ultimate MX-5" by Long Road Racing

2017 Mazda MX-5 "Ultimate MX-5" by Long Road Racing

Unlock your MX-5’s potential with an aftermarket upgrade that really goes all-out

Suppose you have a 2016 or 2017 Mazda MX-5, and for whatever reason, you’re not feeling that it’s given you your money’s worth. Do you stick with it and appreciate it for what it is? Do you try to sell it and be done with it? Or do you look for an aftermarket tuner that can give you the MX-5 of your dreams? Three doors. Three different options. One choice. No one’s going to begrudge you if you pick either of the first two options, but before you decide on those two doors, MX-5 tuner extraordinaire Long Road Racing has an offer that could help you change your mind.

The tuner calls it the “Ultimate MX-5,” and as the name obviously implies, it’s a program that features a wealth of upgrades on just about every corner of the roadster. It’s too early to say if this is the most comprehensive aftermarket kit for the Mazda sports car, but let’s just say the list of upgrades it’s offering runs long and complicated. Then again, “long and complicated” are small prices to pay if your MX-5 is going to end up as a car that can reach its full potential as a bonafide performance beast. Remember, there’s a lot more to the Mazda MX-5 than meets the eye. The key in this sense is to find the right people to help you unlock the car’s unbridled capabilities, and as far as its offerings are concerned, that might just very well be Long Road Racing.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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2017 Mazda MX-5 by BBR Motorsport

2017 Mazda MX-5 by BBR Motorsport

More power in store for Mazda’s resident roadster

The Mazda MX-5 Miata is considered one of the most popular sports cars in the business, regardless of segment. The Miata’s popularity has lasted for almost three decades and the recent release of the fourth-generation MX-5 shows that its status in the business is showing no signs of abating. In fact, the MX-5 is so popular that British tuner BBR has made a good business out of developing and building aftermarket programs for the Japanese sports car since its inception in 1989. Fast forward to 2017 and BBR is at it again with a new kit for the MX-5 that helps the roadster attain power levels in the neighborhood of 248 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque.

Before those figures get lost in the scope of BBR’s tuning kit, consider that the tuner actually presented a similar program for the MX-5 not too long ago. Yep, back in September 2016, the British tuner unveiled two programs for the roadster: the Super 200 and the Super 200+. That "+" meant it peaked with an output of 214 ponies and 183 pound-feet of twist. It certainly didn’t take BBR long to outdo what it did only seven months ago, but the best thing about this new kit is that it may not be the last one that BBR has up its sleeve as far as the MX-5 Miata is concerned. This program does, after all, come with a “Stage 1” level so expect higher stages to come in the coming months.

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2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Super 200+ by BBR

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Super 200+ by BBR

Two new engine upgrades from the British tuner that knows the Miata like the back of its hand

You might have heard of BBR already having a number of tuning programs available for the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. Yep, those kits were introduced only nine months ago when the British tuner unveiled the Super 160, Super 175, and Super 190 kits for the Japanese roadster. Now, BBR is unveiling the next level upgrade to the ones it has already shown in the form of the Super 200 and Super 200+ programs that bring out as much as 214 horsepower and 183 pound-feet of torque from the MX-5’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.

Whichever program you choose, you can be assured that your MX-5 Miata will carry more than 200 horsepower with it. Sure, it’s not as ridiculous as the Flyin’ Miata upgrade and its 525-horsepower output. But that tuner arrived at that power because of an engine transplant that gave the MX-5 a 6.2-liter LS3 V-8. BBR didn’t go to those lengths and yet, it’s own kit is just as meaningful for those who prefer to keep their MX-5’s true to its character.

Apart from the engine upgrades, BBR also worked on chassis, suspension, and brake upgrades for the Mazda roadster with the intention of making a balanced tuning program for the MX-5. The result is as what you’d expect for one of the most fun cars to drive on the road. The added power gives it an extra kick and the complementing suspension upgrades ensure that it still handles like a charm.

Continue after the jump to read the full review.

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2016 Mazda Miata "Indy" ND V-8

2016 Mazda Miata "Indy" ND V-8

The craziest Miata, and the first ND to have a V-8 crammed under the hood

The word “Miata” means different things to different people. To Mazda, it stands for complete success, since the MX-5 has always been one of the best-selling two-seaters ever made. To those of us who love to do the impossible, the word Miata immediately invokes visions of any crazy mod we can conceptualize without having an aneurysm. The Miata has long been a favorite go-to for harnessing lots of power in a little package, but the guys over at Flyin’ Miata are taking things to a whole new level with the fourth-generation model.

Just released for the 2016 model year, there really haven’t been too many intense builds of the ND Miata – until now. Apparently, the ND you see here was sitting on a lift with no heart to speak of, when the guys at Flyin’ Miata decided to cram their plastic, V-8 test block under the hood. To their surprise, it fit, and their newest project got underway. It’s not the first Miata to undergo a V-8 conversion, but it is the first ND-gen model to obtain such a transplant.

According to the second entry of the project diary on Flyin’ Miata’s website, the ND-gen model actually requires less modification to the chassis than the previous NA- and NB-gen models. But, before I got too much into that, let’s take a look at the car these guys have put together and talk a little about it.

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2016 Mazda MX-5 By BBR

2016 Mazda MX-5 By BBR

The popular Mazda Miata has received several aftermarket upgrades throughout its life time, but very few companies can brag about having pumped more power into the Japanese roadster. One such firm is Britain’s BBR, which in 2015 celebrated 25 years of MX-5 upgrades. And it did so by releasing three separate updates for the fourth-generation ND model.

It’s been nearly a year since BBR unveiled a 200-horsepower MX-5, and the British tuning company is finally accepting orders for its brand-new packages. Like in the past, BBR won’t meddle with the roadster inside and out, but its upgrades will give the engine up to 190 horsepower to send to the rear wheels. The packages enhance both the 1.5- and 2.0-liter engines available in Europe, while various chassis options help keep the uprated sports car on its best behavior on both the road and the track.

All upgrades keep the engine naturally aspirated, but if previous BBR-tuned Miatas are any indication, a turbocharged model should also be underway. Until that happens, let’s have a closer look at the program that will likely make many ND-generation MX-5 owners very happy.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mazda MX-5 By BBR.

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1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata "Turbo Smurf" by Flyin' Miata - Driven

1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata "Turbo Smurf" by Flyin’ Miata - Driven

Flyin’ Miata has this incredible ability to create unique and wonderful cars from the Miata. Nancy the supercharged NC is a sprightly car that is set for rally racing, Atomic Betty is a world class GT car and the Exocet is a track-day phenom. These are all shop cars, however, and are set up to portray a certain style and characteristic.

But what would an employee of Flyin’ Miata do to their own car. With no need to highlight a certain part or feature, and no need to cater to the desires of a customer, what would they create. If you are Keith Tanner, you create the Turbo Smurf.

This 1990 Miata has been fettled, upgraded and altered in essentially every manner to become what is Keith’s ideal daily driver. From the drivetrain and suspension to the interior and even the sound insulation, there is almost no part of this roadster that has been left untouched.

Are the results a carefully created car that coddles as well as it excites? Or did Keith just create a Frankenstein of speed and noise that only just manages to ferry him to the shop without killing him? I spent some time behind the driver seat to figure it out.

Read on to discover more about the Flyin’ Miata Turbo Smurf Miata

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2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata "Atomic Betty" by Flyin' Miata - Driven

2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata "Atomic Betty" by Flyin’ Miata - Driven

What happens when you take the stiffest and most refined Miata ever built, and then have Flyin’ Miata cram a fire-breathing small block V-8 under the hood? You get one of the best cars I have ever driven. Period.

This is Atomic Betty and she has stolen my heart.

With more than 400 horsepower and an equal measure of torque, Atomic Betty takes the power and thrust of a Corvette, and cuts a few hundred pounds. The results are staggering to say the least. Despite the insertion of the large engine, very little of Betty has been altered, and from the exterior she looks like a stock NC Miata to 99-percent of onlookers. If you prefer the idea of a “sleeper,” Betty is about the best you can get.

Best of all, the weight balance has barely been changed and overall weight gain from the new engine is less than putting a full-size male in the passenger seat. That means that same handling and crispness of the Miata remains, there just happens to be almost three-times as much power at the call of your right foot.

Hell. Yes.

Continue to read more about Flyin’ Miata’s V-8 powered NC Miata Atomic Betty.

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Flyin' Miata Summer Camp: An Unforgettable Experience

Flyin’ Miata Summer Camp: An Unforgettable Experience

When I was a child, my only real experience with the idea of summer camp was watching Salute Your Shorts on Nickelodeon. I was always active and outside, I just never went to an actual camp. Now that I am an adult who is staring at 30, the idea of going to summer camp sounds even more laughable. At least, it did until I got a quick message from Flyin’ Miata asking me if I wanted to come out for its annual Summer Camp.

This isn’t a s’mores, campfires and Kumbaya style of summer camp. Rather, it would be a several days of epic drives, track time, food and friends, all wrapped up with the lovely veneer of driving in a roadster.

Within hours of the invitation I was trying to arrange flights.

Upon my arrival in the great state of Colorado my time as a FM Summer Camp attendee began. From my blast up Pikes Peaks in the supercharged NC, Nancy, to a welcoming party, two full track days, several information seminars and the awards dinner, the next few days were packed with fun, friendship and long-lasting memories. The heat was a bit intense though, and as you can see by the photo, it made me do some really weird things.

Special thanks to Travis Ingram Photography for the photo.

Read more about the Flyin’ Miata Summer Camp Festivities after the break.

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2006 Mazda MX-5 Miata "Nancy" by Flyin' Miata - Driven

2006 Mazda MX-5 Miata "Nancy" by Flyin’ Miata - Driven

What happens when Flyin’ Miata gets a hold of an old Mazda press loaner and the supercharger kit that was designed for the Super20 concept? It creates an all-out targa rally car, of course. Meet "Nancy," the supercharged and rally-prepped 2006 Mazda Miata MX-5.

Nancy started life as a test bed for NC-generation parts, but after the application of the supercharger kit and a full suspension upgrade, she got wrapped in a racing livery vinyl and Flyin’ Miata took her racing across Canada in the 2011 Targa Newfoundland.

I got to spend several days, a few hundred miles and some track time with this incredible machine. Did Flyin’ Miata ruin the balance and fun of the Miata with all of its racing upgrades, or is Nancy merely a better version of an already great car? Read on to find out.

Continue reading to find out what I thought about Flyin’ Miata’s Nancy.

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2014 Mazda Axela Sport Mazda Design Concept

2014 Mazda Axela Sport Mazda Design Concept

The 2014 Tokyo Auto Salon will feature its share of new concepts coming from Japanese automakers. Mazda, for one, has a handful that it’s prepared to unveil and one of them, at least the one that got our attention is called the Axela Sport Mazda Design Concept.

Don’t be fooled by the Axela name, this model is actually the Mazda3 in other parts of the world other than Japan. So it takes the look of one and thanks to a MazdaSpeed exterior, it’s been treated to a slew of new aerodynamic components that’s highlighted by a front splitter and aerodynamic side skirts.

On top of that, special graphics were also splashed into the Axela’s body, not to mention the inclusion of performance modifiers like a strengthened chassis, Brembo brakes, and a new set of black alloy wheels.

The package itself is quite impressive for the model, giving credence tot he prevailing thought that the Axela, or the 3 as its known in this part of the world, is a model that’s right for customization.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Mazda3

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2013 Mazda MX-5 GT270 by BBR

2013 Mazda MX-5 GT270 by BBR

Brodie Brittain Racing — or simply BBR — unveiled today the MX-5 GT270, which is based on the 2013 MX-5 Sport Tech Roadster Coupe.

With the GT270, BBR focused most of its attention on upgrading the engine. For this, the tuner added a turbocharger, an upgraded exhaust manifold, an intercooler, and an ECU calibration. As a result the engine now delivers a mighty 268 horsepower at 7,350 rpm — a 110-horsepower bump over the standard 2.0-liter Sport Tech model. Torque also jumped to 200 pound-feet available — an 88 pound-feet boost — from 3,000 rpm to 7,000 rpm. As a result of the added power, the MX-5 now sprints from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds and hits a top speed of 150 mph.

The ECU tune also includes three driving modes. In Mode One offers up fast response from the throttle in road driving; Mode Two adds a launch-control system set at 3,800 rpm, automatic throttle lip and full-throttle gearshifts; Mode Three is an economy mode; and Mode Four is a valet mode that limits the engine speed to 3,500 rpm, so valets can’t go all Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on your MX-5.

This 268 horsepower makes the GT270 is the most powerful MX-5 built to date by this well-known tuner. With this comes the need for an updated driveline, so BBR added in an Exedy clutch for extra bite.

In order to handle the extra power, buyers can also equip the MX-5 GT270 with an optional performance suspension upgrade offered by Koni. This new suspension system includes adjustable dampers and new lowering springs that will bring the tiny roadster closer to the ground and increase its ability to handle the twisty stuff.

Also available for an extra fee is an optional performance brake system that features EBC Yellow Stuff pads, stainless-steel brake lines and Castrol SRF brake fluid.

A third optional upgrade is a 2.5-inch-diameter stainless-steel exhaust system with sports catalyst. This exhaust system allows the engine to exhale more effectively, which bumps its out put to 302 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough to get the Miata to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds and up to 165 mph by our estimations.

The BBR MX-5 GT270 is limited to only 100 units, and will be priced from £29,995 - or about $48,500 at the current exchange rates.

Click past the jump to read more about the Mazda MX-5 GT270 by BBR.

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Mazda Drops the Curtain on its SEMA-Bound Models

Mazda Drops the Curtain on its SEMA-Bound Models

A lot of companies are bracing for what should be a busy time at the 2013 SEMA Auto Show.

Certain companies are preparing to head to Las Vegas with an armada of concepts and project cars but Mazda is keeping things to a minimum, opting only to send four concepts to the show: two of the 2014 Mazda3 Hatchback and another two for the 2014 Mazda6.

No specific details were given on any of the four concepts, but the images released by Mazda do point to relatively restrained projects compared to what we’ve been seeing from other companies in the past couple of weeks.

The two Mazda3s are designed more aggressively than the Mazda6 counterparts, including one that carries some nice decals and custom graphics that complements the new aerodynamic body it fitted into the vehicle. There appears to be a front splitter, revised side skirts, a new set of black alloy wheels, and high-performance brakes.

Meanwhile, the two Mazda6 models are a little more subdued than their 3 counterparts, including one that looks like it only received a two-tone "pinstripes" paint finish and a new set of wheels. The other one looks a lot more like what we’d expect out of a SEMA-bound model. It also has an aero kit to go with a sleek gray finish, and red and black accents. Black alloy wheels were also added, as were red brake calipers, which were made more noticeable by the "dark" appeal of the sedan.

Fortunately, all our speculations will be put on to rest once SEMA rolls around. For now, though, enjoy these photos Mazda released for us.

Click past the jump to read about the 2014 Mazda3 Hatchback

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1990 - 2009 Mazda MX-5 Habu by Flyin' Miata

1990 - 2009 Mazda MX-5 Habu by Flyin’ Miata

The Mazda MX-5 is already a fine piece of machinery. It is balanced, nimble and is capable of making for quick laps on the most twisty of track. While the MX-5 is fun to drive, one thing that nobody will say is that it is powerful.

Flyin’ Miata, a top MX-5 Miata tuner, decided to change all of this with their Habu conversion kit. The Habu upgrade works on any 1990-2009 MX-5 with a big difference under the hood. They swap out the small four-cylinder engine for a fire breathing V-8.

If this sounds familiar it is because Carroll Shelby made it popular by putting a large V-8 engine into the small AC Ace. The result of this was the Shelby Cobra, a small roadster capable of scary performance back in the ’60s.

With an eight-cylinder engine in the small Japanese roadster, you get a high-powered performance car that can keep up with many of the high-priced supercars built today for a fraction of the cost.

The performance comes dangerously close to the 2014 SRT Viper and it is because of this swipe at the Viper that the kit is called the Habu, which is Japanese for a small venomous snake.

Hit the jump for more information about the Mazda MX-5 Habu by Flyin’ Miata

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2012 Mazda MX-5 Super25

2012 Mazda MX-5 Super25

At the 2011 SEMA Show, Mazdaarrived with a cool MX-5 Super20 Concept that lit up the stage in Las Vegas. Mazda claimed that the concept was loud, proud, and boisterous with its bursts of turbocharged energy, but that they have brought something even better to the 2012 SEMA Show: the Super25. Mazda claims this new version is better, meaner, and has been crafted with endurance racing in mind.

Such a great amount of attention has been placed on Mazda’s resident sports car because they say the MX-5 Miata "is the epitome of a light and limber sports car that won’t burn a hole through an enthusiast’s pocket." No arguments there, as the MX5 is small, light, and puts up the right kind of competition to other, more expensive sports car. That being said, is this enough to handle such long-distance, weary-heavy racing?

Hit the jump to find out whether the Mazda MX-5 Super25 has what it takes.

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