Monster Motorsport

Monster Motorsport


The Miata Monster is one of the most aptly named cars you’ll find. The people who started MonsterMotorsports have backgrounds in building fast replicars, such as 427 Cobras. It occurred to them the Miata looked somewhat similar to the Cobra, and they wondered if a Ford V-8 might fit.

That was all it took. This Miata has a 5.0-liter Ford Mustang V-8 and five-speed gearbox stuffed surprisingly neatly under the hood. With all the necessary stock Mustang pieces in place, there should be no problem with emissions laws. It’s an exceedingly sanitary, quality installation.

Monster fits stiffer springs and anti-roll bars, a front airdam, and rear wing. Our test car rode on 15×7.0 Panasport wheels, with BFGoodrich Comp T/A ZR tires, 205/50ZR15 in front, 225/50ZR15 in the rear. The asking price is just $28,000 and includes a brand-new Miata. Cheaper than a Cobra by a long shot.

Our test car is privately owned, and its engine has received head work and a radical cam. Instead of the Ford 225 horsepower, it makes about 310. It has a lopey idle, not much low-speed torque, and storms like a tornado on the upper end. Step into the throttle, and you better be ready to rock ‘n’ roll; this Monster ripped off 0-60 mph in just 4.9 seconds, the quarter mile in 13.4 at 104.7 mph. We think a Miata Monster equipped with a stock Ford V-8 probably would perform about the same and might even be better in the lower ranges.

The handling is surprisingly decent. With the extra weight over the nose, it isn’t as nimble-feeling as the production Miata, but it managed 0.95 g on the skidpad and knocked down the slalom at 70.4 mph. Its subjective street handling is entirely acceptable.

What this car is all about is blasting off like a rocket. The stock Miata requires a little over 16 seconds to reach 80 mph, the Monster does it in about half that time. We’ve driven one with a stock engine, and we actually prefer it that way; there’s more than enough power to light up the tires at will, it’s more pleasurable to drive, and the difference in longitudinal g forces probably is academic. Either way, the Miata Monster is one of the most fun-filled street cars we’ve driven and a great way to test the commitment of a tire company’s treadwear guarantee.



Nelson Villani has operated a Mazda service facility for over 20 years and developed an engine-driven supercharger kit for the RX-7. Recently, he began offering a similar kit for the Miata.

The supercharger is a Paxton SN89. It’s a centrifugal unit so its operation is similar to that of the compressor section of a turbocharger, except it’s belt-driven by the engine, which means elimination of the boost lag associated with turbos.

The Nelson system is a neat, tidy, and professional installation. The Paxton blows through the production airflow meter and throttle body, so no emissions-related components are altered. A Nelson Fuel Pressure Raiser increases the fuel pressure to deal with the increased airflow.

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The Miata’s power-steering pump is remounted under the alternator. Villani uses as many Mazda parts as possible: For example, the Paxton drive-belt tensioner is from the Mazda 626. Manifold boost is in the range of 6-8 psi, and the output is 168 horsepower, a 45-percent increase. It’s sold as a complete kit, and Villani says a competent mechanic should be able to install it in 10 to 12 hours. Its installation ease is a big selling point; it requires no cutting of sheet metal, and even the engine idle adjustment is unaltered. It retails for about $3200. According to Villani it’s emissions-legal in all 50 states.

In addition to the supercharger, the Nelson Superchargers Miata is fitted with Eibach springs and an HKS exhaust system. It rides on 15×6.5-inch DP Motor-sports aluminum wheels and 195/50ZR15 Yokohama AVS Intermediate tires.

You’d expect the Nelson car to get with the program, and it was no disappointment with 0-60-mph times of 7.2 seconds and a quarter mile of 15.8 at 86.0 mph.

Around town, it drives easily and is responsive, offering a nice blend of useable performance. The supercharger makes a noticeable whine, which Villani says is one of its biggest selling points because the customers like to know what they’ve paid for.

Villani feels that one nice thing about a supercharger is that it doesn’t add a lot of heat to the system as does a turbo. He describes his system as “a way of getting reliable power without being a NASA engineer.” We’re here to testify that it does just that.

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