A Simple, All-Japanese Recipe For Fun

As I mentioned during my coverage of the first-ever Street Neo Classics show, a good portion of the cars on hand were modified in a subtle, period correct style. This made the event a true throwback to a great era of Japanese performance cars.

But along with the array of old school street cars, there were a few cars that were a bit more radical in their modification…

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One of them was this NA-chassis Mazda Miata built by Brandon Morris. Despite its subtle looks, this car is modern day hotrod in every sense of the word.

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At a glance, Brandon’s Miata doesn’t look too different from any other Miata you might encounter at a car meet or autocross event. There’s a roll bar, wider wheels and tires, and other parts that are common upgrades for these cars.

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But then you look under the hood and quickly realize that this particular Miata is not at all typical. Long gone is the factory 1.6-liter four-cylinder; in its place a 4.0-liter V8 from a 1992 Lexus SC400. Even in factory form, the 250 horsepower from the 1UZ-FE is a massive step up from the Mazda’s original motor.

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Now, you can’t just drop in a V8 into an otherwise stock Miata and expect things to last. So along with the new motor, Brandon also added a manual transmission from a Z32 Nissan 300ZX and a stronger rear differential from a ’99 Miata.

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Even better is the fact that Brandon is planning to race the car in the Roadster Cup. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how the V8 power stacks up against the other Miatas that run in that series.

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I’m not sure if a race car can ever be a true sleeper, but Brandon’s Miata track project is about as subtle as a V8-swapped 21st century hotrod can get.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: japanifornia_media



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Truly epic. Simple, bolted together fun!


Would love to know how many kg he's added to the car. Personally I think 'hot rodding' an MX5 like this would be hilarious fun. Although from what I've heard it's not exactly conducive to great driving dynamics. Too much power in a fairly week chassis, and adding all that weight to the nose can turn them in to 'straight line heros', so it's interesting to see that he's planning on entering a circuit racing series.


If you want this swap to work you need chasis reinforcements, custom front subframe, one off gearbox adapter plate, trans mounts, exhaust, wiring. Doens't sound simple to me. I think these Speedhunter guys are a bit spoiled with projectcars:p


GuilleAlfonsin Tú dale ideas a HerraizM que verás... xD


It's an idea I've been thinking about for some time now... Interesting alternative to FI.
By the way... The first one in this video:

turbo BEAMS ae86

dis is just going to hurt u


GuilleAlfonsin Si estuvieramos al otro lado del Atlántico tendría ya un LS1 bajo el capó XD


HerraizM eso ya es pasarse, hombre XD


due to the v8s aluminium construction the car ends up being only 52/48 front to rear weight distribution, still anything but a "straight line hero''


refreshing to see a japanese v8 in there. also major cool points for the boo decal


My name is Constavlos Bariopopolis.  I must meet a nice Greek girl to marry.


Slappy_Pistons .... what? lmfao


uoeno thank god it isnt an ls swap XD


Robo_No1 Flyin' Miata's Targa Miata would beg to differ on that


I can dig it.


qaped the 1uzfe has become a fairly common swap package in the last couple of years with most of the applicable accessories needed to complete the swap being available off the shelf. So in the defense of the said hinters it would be rather simple. not cheap, but simple.


The car looks awesome but I'll keep the original engine


Miatas are rad and i dont care
who knows.


Are these gorgeous wheels by Kosei ?


I've always liked miatas, and this is awesome. I like that engine swap :)


They look like RPF1s. Not sure if Kosei makes reps of those or not.


VivienMercier tunerguy21 I don't know about Kosei, but Konig does make an RPF1 rep called the Wide Open.


Slappy_Pistons you'd better go on greekhunters.com bro


NicholasDixon VivienMercier tunerguy21 These wheels are by Indotech Motorsports. RPF1 style but I believe they're very wide.

Reuben Rodriguez

Just like doing an ls swap to a 240sx. Many off the shelf parts but not cheap at all lol

Reuben Rodriguez

Flyin Miata makes some killed v8 miatas!


Very nice, clean build. Love it!


AlecWiens indotech is a shop


Will definitely be looking out for the Roadster Cup coverage to see how this does. Mostly to hear how it does.


Take that LS trend


VivienMercier Slappy_Pistons well played lol


I love miatas! This is such a cool swap too. I bet this car rips on the street. sidenote: Am I the only one that see's the wheels (obviously replicas) and wonder if the seat is a replica also?


BigTmoneyD They also come in blae, whate, graen, and salver.


Reuben Rodriguez and always more work than you think... much more.


Never knew a 300zx trans would bolt up to a 1uz! thanks sh :)
However, I do not see how he can shift! My t5 shifter is a bit forward of stock and it's still kinda tight.  Not a big deal tho, if it's too much of a problem he can fab some linkage to move it forward.


To those who think this is too much power, I recommend driving one. The chassis is quite capable.


I love the idea. I wonder the extent of the new weight balance with it not being 50/50. Having owned 2 NA chassis, the neutral balance was one of the best aspects of the car along with the steering feeling, gear shifter, and boostable engine from the factory.


bluestreaksti yup. Had one with a jrsc, chassis was amazing. Also why its a platform for so many V8 swaps.


Interesting. The Americans love modding their MX-5s or Miatas lol and they do some crazy stuff to them. That's because prior to the car they generally were used to poor handling barges and cars that don't turn great relatively speaking. You really have to do your own R&D with this kind of ambitious stuff but I'm sure he did his homework with books and forums and such. I personally love an MX-5 and only bought my MR2 because I missed out on a British racing green NA Miata which was so beautiful with its wooden Nardi wheel and gear knob :(.


Really interested to see how this handles. I feel like with the Miata's balance, experimenting with any engine swap would be tricky work, and even though I'm a tad leery at the V8-swap approach with this car, I'm pretty intrigued.
That radio-delete Boo panel is amazing though, haha.


About the trans. Collins adapters my friend.


CharlesChris15 uoeno Thanks I can check that one of my SH bingo sheet yet again!


IRONWOLF RD MX-5 NA with a Lexus V8 that allegedly has 52/48 weight distribution: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EsO83qRYEk&feature=youtu.be&t=3m55s.


Needs more power. How would this swap compare to a tundra v8 swap?


st165mv The LS is the better engine but low on the interesting level.


Smiggins tundra has an iron block which would screw the handling with the extra weight all up front. other than that they are the same motor , later models just have upgrades that can be possibly retrofitted . but of course the nascar version makes all the power you could ever want and uses a simple 4 barrel carb,just hard to find the intake manifold for that.


Is he using the stock Z32 shifter bracket or a shortened one?  I shortened mine and it still sits pretty far back.


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