We get set to stuff a twin-turbo LS1 into a tiny Mazda MX-5 'hairdresser’s car’


WELCOME to the next instalment of our Carnage show! We’re resting the Turbo Taxi for a little while, and we’ll bring it back before Street Machine Drag Challenge later in the year. Now it’s time to get stuck into our next Carnage project car, which we’re building for Red CentreNATS in September.

 During Red CentreNATS they’ll let you drive absolutely anything on the Alice Springs public roads with a permit. We’re talking crazy blown and injected, methanol-drinking burnout cars cruising the street alongside dedicated race and show vehicles that could not be legally street-driven anywhere else.

So to celebrate this wonderful event, we’re building something that can never be registered, never driven on the street and is so completely mental that Red CentreNATS is the only place it’ll be welcome.

 The car we’ll be starting with is a 1990-something Mazda MX-5 – a four-cylinder, rear-wheel-drive sports car. It’s the world’s best-selling roadster and arguably one of the most feminine, making it the butt of many jokes.

We bought our MX-5 sight-unseen via online auction, for a surprisingly small sum of money. As you’d expect, it was a pile of shit: body covered in dents and scratches, interior held together with gaffer tape, and we’re pretty sure it has spent some time submerged in water. It also blew smoke – and a lot of it.

 But none of that worried us, because we plan to strip this thing down completely, toss just about every mechanical part in the trash and start fresh with a V8! Yep, we’re V8-swapping the MX-5 with a good old LS1 – and to top it off we’re doing twin turbos. We’re calling it Project MX5.7, and our goal is to build the most insane MX-5 on the planet!

From the LS1 back it’ll have a two-speed Powerglide auto, nine-inch rear end with drag radials and giant custom wheel tubs. To keep WorkSafe happy, we’ll be putting a pretty extensive rollcage in the car because we fully intend on racing and skidding the wheels off it up at Red CentreNATS.

 For this build we’ve teamed up with last year’s Street Machine Drag Challenge winner Brenden ‘Bubba’ Medlyn and his workshop All Race Fabrications to handle the bulk of the build. LS specialists MPW Performance will be taking care of the twin-turbo set-up and tuning side of things, while Powerhouse Engines is toughening up our LS1 with better rods and pistons so we can safely make the horsepower we want.

In this episode you’ll see us buying the car and tearing it down, ready for the guys at All Race to hack it up. Tune in next month as we go full steam ahead on Project MX5.7 with custom wheel tubs, nine-inch diff, rollcage and our twin-turbo LS1.