Generally speaking, enthusiasts love a well-executed engine swap. But at the same time, we can also acknowledge that getting a new engine to play nicely with a car it was never meant to be in isn’t exactly an easy process. Swapping an engine takes a lot of time, money, and tools to do yourself, and a lot of the time, you end up having to give up on making things like air conditioning and cruise control work. So if you can buy someone else’s build, like, for example, this LS1-swapped Miata, sometimes it’s worth it just to avoid the headache.
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Currently for sale on Cars & Bids, this 2001 Mazda Miata looks completely unintimidating with its Crystal Blue Mica paint and tan interior. It’s not quite in showroom condition, but it appears to be in fantastic shape for a car that’s more than 20 years old. If you saw it in a parking lot, you could easily assume it’s just a nicely kept Miata driven by a sweet older couple. Except it’s hiding a big 5.7-liter secret under the hood.
Yes, this Miata is now powered by an LS1 V8 that makes a claimed 337 hp and 361 lb-ft of torque at the wheels, which is quite a bit more than you get from a stock NB Miata. That’s not the only modification, either. It also has a Tremec T56 six-speed manual, a Ford Trac-Lok limited-slip differential, Flyin’ Miata coilovers, and a BMW sway bar among many other modifications.
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And while we can’t guarantee anything about the quality of this build, all the work looks clean and well done. Cruise control doesn’t currently work, but the air conditioning does, which is definitely a good sign. The biggest issue for some potential buyers is that it’s missing the catalytic converters, which could make registering it a problem depending on the state.
With three days left on the auction, it’s also still relatively affordable, with bidding currently only up to $13,500 at the time of writing. Even assuming that price doubles by the time the auction is over, it still appears to be a great deal on a well-built sleeper. Especially since pretty much all the work is already done for you. Plus, as you can hear in the video below, it sounds pretty damn good, too.