Unless you've been living in a basement in Uganda for the past few years, you know drifting is hotter than a basement in Uganda. You also know Nissan's famed SR20DET-powered Silvia is leading the drifting pack.
Charles Juckett knows this better than anybody. He hasn't been in Uganda for the past few years. He's been the sales manager at a primarily Nissan-based performance shop called Z-Fever in Tampa, Fla. Day after day he's literally surrounded by Silvias and the engines that make them great. Fact is, he's sick of Silvias, so when Charles decided to jump into the world of drifting, he knew he had to build something never seen before. After some rudimentary measurements, Charles knew he'd build an SR20DET-powered Miata.
With 180,000 miles on the clock, the Miata was happier than ever when it rolled into the bay at Z-Fever. The techs at Z-Fever wasted no time tearing out the stock Miata drivetrain. Within a day, the car looked like a lowrider, sprung in the front from having had its engine and transmission removed.
Once the engine bay was cleared out and prepped, the shoehorning began. After much fabrication and test-fitting, custom mounts were designed to keep the Silvia engine and transmission as low and as far back in the Miata bay as possible, and a custom driveshaft was made to accommodate the additional torque that would soon twist its way to the rear wheels.
Being an engine from an entirely different manufacturer meant that literally nothing was a bolt-in affair. Custom piping and wiring soon adorned the engine bay of the Miata, from the mandrel-bent and powdercoated stainless-steel plumbing feeding the Koyo radiator to the wiring harness that was made from scratch. A GReddy intercooler for a Silvia was made to fit in the tight confines of the Miata bumper, and three high-flow electric cooling fans were added to keep temperatures down in a car that was designed to spend all day sideways in the Florida heat. A Power Enterprise high-pressure radiator cap was installed as a final precaution against the searing 120-degree track temperatures.
With the engine still on a stand, a Fever Racing intake and exhaust manifolds were installed along with Fever Racing lightweight pulleys, to decrease parasitic drag on the 2.0-liter Nissan engine. An HKS SSQV clears the intake tract, and an HKS wastegate actuator keeps boost pressure accurate and stable. The host of bolt-on parts and a custom 3-inch mandrel-bent exhaust amount to a claimed 265 whp, more than enough to get this Miata sideways on the track and impressive on the engine's stock internals.
Z-Fever decided the engine bay should be aesthetically pleasing as well as brimming with muscle, so much of the engine and its surrounding components were powdercoated in a custom bronze/gold prism flake color, and a Fever Racing polished spark plug cover plate was installed.
Juckett is tempting fate by using the stock limited-slip diff from the 1.6-liter Miata (the 1.8 diff is bigger). Fate already complained that he left out the powerplant frame that Mazda uses to connect the differential to the transmission. Left unsupported, the first differential housing broke clean in half, but amazingly the LSD survived, and has been suffering the SR20's abuses for months. The differential casing underwent some major bracing and a cage was built around the diff to keep the problem from reoccurring.
There's no question that without some suspension work and some sticky tires, this particular Miata would be completely uncontrollable. The car is shod with Falken Azenis tires, in 205/50-15, whether for street or track use, and switches between 15x6.5-inch Knig Helium wheels for street use and NZO SSP Super Lightweight wheels for track use, in the same size. Tokico Illumina springs and shocks keep this Miata glued (or controllably unglued, as the case usually is) to the track, while Jackson Racing anti-roll bars front and rear keep body roll to a minimum.
Racing Beat came to the rescue with a front anti-roll bar brace and a subframe brace to tighten things up. Juckett reports the car is more user-friendly than ever. He says the increased weight from the turbocharger and accessories are basically counteracted by the aluminum block of the SR20 engine.
Inside the Miata, a Sparco Sprint seat and a Hard Dog roll bar speak of the car's intentions. Keep looking around and you'll notice the air- conditioning vents were replaced with a trick boost controller/ boost gauge from Power Enterprise and a GReddy oil pressure gauge. Further down the console, an HKS S-AFR keeps the air/fuel ratio in check.
The car is, mostly, visually stock. The most radical of its body mods is a vented hood, which is more function than form. Its purpose is clear in the heat and humidity of Florida. A Wings West wing and functional front turn-signal air scoops round out the otherwise stock Miata R package.
The car made its debut at an informal event called D-Day in Florida and left the crowd in awe. But it wasn't Juckett's tire-smoking powerslides that dropped jaws, it was the sight of an SR20DET in the Miata's diminutive engine bay. Believe it, people.
|1993 MAZDA MIATA |
|Engine Code ||:SR20DET |
|Type ||:Inline four, aluminum block and head, turbocharged and intercooled |
|External Mods ||: Fever Racing polished plug cover |
plate, Intake, lightened pulley set,
intake manifold, exhaust manifold,
custom 3-in. turbo-back exhaust,
custom motor mounts, radiator
piping, IC piping, HKS wastegate
actuator, SSQV bov, PE PBC boost
controller and radiator cap, Koyo
radiator, 3 electric fans, GReddy
Silvia intercooler, catch can and
60mm oil gauge, custom bronze/
gold prism flake powder coating
|Engine Management Mods ||:HKS S-AFR |
|Layout ||:Front engine, rear-wheel drive |
|Drivetrain Modifications ||:SR20DET transmission, NISMO |
clutch, custom driveshaft, custom
transmission and differential mounts
|Front/Rear ||:Tokico Illumina springs/shocks, |
Jackson Racing anti-roll bars,
Racing Beat subframe brace,
Racing Beat front sway bar brace
|Front ||:Stock |
|Rear ||:Stock |
|Aerodynamics ||:Miata R package front lip, Wings |
West wing, cowl induction
hood, front turn signal intakes
|Wheels ||:15x6.5-in. Knig Heliums for |
street (front and rear), 15x6.5-in.
NZO SSP Super Lightweights for track
|Tires ||:205/50-15 Falken Azenis |
|Sparco Sprint seat, Hard Dog roll bar, Eclipse in-dash CD Player |