Is This LS-Swapped NB Miata The Ultimate Sleeper?
The teal-over-tan MX-5 looks docile even before you consider what’s under the hood
March 6, 2023 at 20:37
by Andrew Gutman
Everyone always loves to talk about a good sleeper, but most of the time, even the ones that are the best at concealing their true performance often have a tell somewhere. Not this innocent-looking Mazda Miata listed for sale on Cars & Bids, though, which expertly packs the engine from a Chevy Camaro (although in the photos we can see Corvette branding on the cover) under its unassuming hood.
The 5.7-liter LS1 V8 churns out 310 hp (314 PS / 231 kW) and 340 lb-ft (461 Nm) of torque stock, but with a few modifications, the one in this Miata is able to make a potent, dyno-verified 337 hp (342 PS / 251 kW) and 361 lb-ft (489 Nm) of torque to the wheels. That kind of power would turn the 2,348-lb (1,065-kg) roadster into a veritable rocket, but you’d never know it because of how incredibly tame it looks even for a regular Miata, let alone an LS-swapped one.
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Many non-enthusiasts don’t consider the Miata a “proper” sports car to begin with, but throw this car’s teal-over-tan color scheme into the mix, and it might as well be nothing more than your average weekend cruiser. There also aren’t any exterior modifications, not even aftermarket wheels, which goes even further to help the car fly under the radar.
Additionally, the Mazda is equipped with the LS package (coincidentally unrelated to the engine), which means you get to enjoy such amenities a wind deflector, keyless entry, power locks, cruise control, and a Bose sound system while you light up your rear tires to the tune of an 8-cylinder soundtrack.
See Also: Ditch The SUV For This Glorious LS3-Swapped Buick Roadmaster
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But don’t let all that fool you into thinking this car is all engine with no supporting modifications to handle it. It’s quite the opposite. As mentioned before, the engine has some modifications to boost power, namely a cold air intake, a dual-core aluminum radiator with shrouded fan, an upgraded fuel pump, and a custom header-back exhaust system with an X-pipe, resonators, and high-flow mufflers.
On the driveline side of things, the Miata sports a Tremec T56 6-speed manual transmission from the same Camaro as its engine is from, a new 3-inch steel driveshaft, a Ford 8.8-inch rear end with a limited-slip differential, and new subframe supports, diff mounts, axle shafts, and hubs from Monster Miata. The car also features coilovers and a BMW front sway bar to aid in handling, as well as steel-braided brake lines, remote brake bleeders, and an upgraded master cylinder to improve braking.