“Miata is always the answer” has become what is essentially an automotive meme, but there’s no denying Mazda’s roadster is among car royalty. With supreme driving dynamics that all enthusiasts crave, the affordability for almost all to enjoy its prowess, and a record of reliability that has kept MX-5s on the road for decades, the Miata always being the answer isn’t such a far-fetched notion.
And sometimes, Miata is even the answer when you are trying to decide where to slot a burly V-8. And that is exactly what was done with this 2001 Mazda MX-5 LS currently listed on CarsandBids. Though it sports a stock appearance, this MX-5 is motivated by American muscle in the form of an LS1 V-8, making it the answer to the question of where to find a great little sports car with serious get-up-and-go.
A Chevrolet Camaro V-8 Heart Powers This MX-5
The second-generation MX-5, or NB Miata, with a production run from 1999-2004, is powered by a 1.8-liter engine delivering 142 horsepower, which is plenty to motivate the small sports car. And those desiring more oomph could opt for the Mazdaspeed variant which upped the power ante to 178 horsepower.
But that’s still not enough for some, showcased here by this ’01 MX-5 in question. Though stock in appearance, this MX-5 doles out a whopping 337 horsepower and 361 pound-feet of torque, more than double the original output, according to a dyno test included in the listing. The 5.7-liter V-8 that now resides under its hood was lifted from a 2002 Chevrolet Camaro. The original MX-5 could manage a 0-60 run in 7.9 seconds with the manual transmission, and though no actual figure is listed post-engine-swap, this MX-5 is undoubtedly much quicker.
Other Subtle Updates Keep The V-8 Powered MX-5 In Check
While over doubling the horsepower of an MX-5 sounds fun in theory, other upgrades are still needed to keep it on the road, and this model delivers while keeping its upgrades out of site. The legendary LS1 engine pairs with a Tremec six-speed manual transmission also lifted from an ’02 Camaro with a Chevy Suburban driveshaft and Corvette engine covers. Adding a more American flair, a Ford 8.8-inch rear end and limited slip diff are thrown into the mix. Continuing the parts-sharing theme, a BMW front sway bar has been fitted with, for good measure, a washer fluid tank from a Suzuki Cappuccino.
Other upgrades include Flyin’ Miata coil overs, custom engine mounts, a cold air intake system, a 2.5-inch custom exhaust with resonators and high-flow mufflers, Monster Miata subframe supports, and other tweaks. Overall, this MX-5 has the underpinnings to contend with its notably high horsepower, and yet, none of the upgrades are obvious from the outside. It still sports its stock Crystal Blue Mica exterior paint with a tan interior, and the LS Package, which includes features like keyless entry, power door locks, cruise control, and Bose audio.
Perhaps the ultimate MX-5 sleeper, this Miata is up for auction until March 10. As of this writing, the high bid is currently $20,000, so for anyone with that kind of cash on hand, yes, Miata is the answer.