Swaptastic’s LS1 Miata

1991 Mazda Miata with a LS1 V8

Nathan Sumner has spent his life appreciating automotive performance and while at college decided it was time for his own performance project car. He decided to purchase a 1991 Mazda Miata due to its pedigree of great handing, dependability, and relative low cost of ownership.

1991 Mazda Miata with a LS1 V8

The original owner had installed a Flyin’ Miata FM2 Turbo Kit on the 1.8L inline four. But Nathan decided a pushrod V8 in this small car would be much more fun. A Racing Concept’s LS1 swap kit with custom clutch hydraulics, driveshaft and axles was used to swap a 2002 Chevy Camaro LS1 and T56 transmission. Also installed was a Ford 8.8 LSD from 2002 Ford Explorer with 3.55 gears, custom Aluminum Radiator from PRC Inc and Walbro 255 fuel pump with 6AN SS fuel lines and fittings. Currently the Miata is putting 328 horsepower and 355 torque to the rear wheels.

1991 Mazda Miata with a LS1 V8

Nathan is still learning how to handle such a quick car but has been able to get a 0-60 mph time of 4.75 seconds. The 60-100 mph time of 4.85 seconds is faster than a stock C6 Z06. The swap added roughly 180 lbs to the weight of the car. The Miata weighs about 2550 lbs with 3/4 tank of fuel, full interior, no PS, no AC (except for evaporator under dash), both hard and soft tops on and the 6-point roll bar using very accurate Longacre scales. The weight bias is 52.3% in front and 51% on the left side.

1991 Mazda Miata with a LS1 V8

Nathan’s website Swaptastic has a great level of information and detail covering the swap. Many builders do not include a price list because they are either scared or did not keep a good record of the costs. But Nathan has a very clear price list for those who might be interested in a swap such as this. The LS1 swap list totaled $9,893. But with the offset of the parts he sold for $4,790, it ended up only costing $5,103. The engine swap took 3 months of weekend work during his Junior year at Georgia Tech to complete the project. He estimated about 200 hours total. If you had every part and tools needed, it is estimated you can do the swap in only 40 hours.

1991 Mazda Miata with a LS1 V8

Since finishing his V8 powered Miata, Nathan has begun working on a LS6 Miata and another LS1 Miata. He might have a second job as Miata swap specialist. Also make sure to check out Nathan’s for sale area.

1991 Mazda Miata with a LS1 V8

Mazda Miata LS1 Swap Cost

The price breakdown for Nathan Sumner's 1991 Mazda Miata LS1 swap found here http://www.swaptastic.net/ls1_miata/price_list.html
Complete Drivetrain$4328
Racing Concepts Kit$3500
Custom Exhaust$800
Custom Radiator$250
Digitial Speedometer$130
AN Fittings$120
Walbro Fuel Pump$120
Misc (wiring)$100
Intake Hoses$85
SS Fuel Lines$70
Cooling Fan$60
K&N Filter$60
O2 Sensor (NGK-21528)$50
Inline Cooland Filler$30
IAT Sensor$20
Cooling Hoses$20
52.75 inch Drive Belt$20

Source: Swaptastic

12 thoughts on “Swaptastic’s LS1 Miata”

  1. man i envy the wor you have done i have a 93 mx5 im thinkin on a r34 skyline swap u think it will work ok and what u recon for the rear end i know the stok wont hold it

  2. Good job wasting a good car… With that behemoth you totally ruin the car’s balance, the whole point of a miata as a track machine!

    1. The balance is still very good, he only added about 150lbs, not 500, I’ve driven an LS swapped Miata, it was a handful, but not because of the 53%front to 47%rear, it was due to the 440hp lsx in it. But it was a blast. Try it before you put it down

  3. That is exactly what I want to do on my 92 did you have various mechanics work on your car or one simgle mech? Is there any shops that specify miata swaps like clockwork does to 240’s?

  4. how accurate is the 0-60 time of 4.75 ? because it should be alot faster than that being that its 700lbs+ lighter than the vette and the tranny and rear ratio’s are basically the same, are you have traction issues? 60mph should come in 1st gear if its set up the way you say it is, just curious because i am interest in doing the same setup to mine. by my math it should run to 60 in 4 flat.

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