This V8 Miata is the best car I’ve driven all year - Road & Track

If you swooped passed this post with a yawn at first, I don’t blame you. I designed this sight to be visual and all you got was something that looked like an itty-bitty modified Mazda Miata MX-5 next to the normal-sized driver who loves it. That’s exactly what it is, but what a modification indeed! It’s a Mazda, so watch your tone!

Behold the Atomic Betty, a 2009 Mazda MX-5 with a 430-hp General Motors LS3 V8 under the hood. Yep, you read that right. While it may look like a fairly standard mod, hitting the key rolls over that whopper of a V8 and all hell breaks loose, in a good way. There’s a Tremec T56 six-speed manual bolted behind the LS3. The big, milled-aluminum shift knob clicks through the pattern with the paced deliberation of a Southern judge, and the clutch pedal is barn-door stiff. It’s solid, even as the speedometer needle swings past 120 mph.

There’s plenty in place other than the transmission to accommodate all that power – stiffeners, larger breaks, engine management and more. At a whopping $42k for the conversion, it’s a wonder why anyone would opt for it.

This V8 Miata is the best car I’ve driven all year – Road & Track.