MGB WITH MX-5 TRANSPLANT, MUSTANG AND AUSSIE MUSCLE
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.