TOY­BOX

MGB WITH MX-5 TRANS­PLANT, MUS­TANG AND AUSSIE MUS­CLE

Unique Cars - - CONTENTS - WORDS & PHO­TOS  GUY ALLEN

IT MAY NOT BE an en­tirely new idea – that is, giv­ing an old car a se­ri­ous in­jec­tion of up­dated tech­nol­ogy. Now be­fore you run off scream­ing into the garage, I prom­ise you this is not about turn­ing some un­sus­pect­ing clas­sic into a si­lent elec­tric hor­ror. Nope, per­ish the thought. We’re still hap­pily burn­ing di­nosaur juice over here at Unique Cars mag.

There are any num­ber of vari­a­tions on Mus­tangs out there th­ese days with up­dated sus­pen­sion brakes and en­gines, so the idea of do­ing some­thing sim­i­lar to an old Brit isn’t ne­c­es­sar­ily rad­i­cal. How­ever do­ing it with a Ja­panese pow­er­train might raise a few eye­brows. That said, Mazda’s iconic MX-5 has of­ten been de­scribed as the spir­i­tual suc­ces­sor to the MGB, so mat­ing the pair makes all sorts of sense.

The thing is, you can sort an MGB pretty well th­ese days, on more or less stock me­chan­i­cals. How­ever to get one han­dling and per­form­ing to MX-5 lev­els is a whole other chal­lenge. And that’s what the folk at Mod­ern Clas­sic Cars in sunny Pad­stow (Syd­ney) are up to.

You have to ad­mire their think­ing. What you’re get­ting is pretty much a mod­ern car that to all in­tents and pur­poses looks ex­actly like the six­ties clas­sic, with­out the usual penal­ties. There’s no se­ries pro­duc­tion in­volved here – Lach­lan Watt tells us you ei­ther come in with your own rolling con­cern, or let the work­shop source one for you. From there, it’s very much a case of no two cars be­ing alike.

The com­mon thread is a 2.0lt MX-5 en­gine matched to a new six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion. It sounds sim­ple when you say it quickly, but there are some sub­tleties. The old en­gine mounts are reefed out and re­placed, while the front cross-mem­ber un­der­goes some se­ri­ous mod­i­fi­ca­tions. It’s scal­loped out to clear the sump and then strength­ened with webs put through it, to a tested load rat­ing of 11 tonne. Yep, the mod­i­fied ver­sion is much

ABOVE Out with 50s-tech pushrod power – in with 16-valve DOHC moder­nity.LEFT The clas­sic Brit-ex­ter­nal lines are fa­mil­iar. The shed­load of high­tech un­der­pin­nings, not so much.

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