NZ Performance Car - - Doing It For The Bro -

It’s a con­ver­sion that has un­doubt­edly been done in al­most ev­ery chas­sis known to man by now, for the sim­ple fact that the LS plat­form of­fers out-of-the-box power with per­haps the largest af­ter­mar­ket sup­port of any mo­tor in the world, and re­mains ul­ti­mately re­li­able. It was all these traits that led Dono­van Brook to com­plete his own con­ver­sion in his MX-5 NA.

Sourced from a wrecked 2004 HSV R8 Maloo, the en­gine is a tight squeeze for the MX-5’s small frame. How­ever, it can be made to fit snug­gly. Dono­van has stacked the coil packs on top of each other, as the clutch mas­ter was in the way, and a mi­nor amount of sheet metal was cut and formed in the bay — although noth­ing struc­tural.

“The front sub­frame was a part of the kit from the US. Un­for­tu­nately, the head­ers were made for left-hand-drive cars and the steer­ing rack was in the way, so they had to be binned,” says Dono­van.”

He chose to back the pack­age with a T56 that has been fit­ted with a Paul Manuell quick-shift kit. It’s a fair sight larger than the MX-5 ex­am­ple, mean­ing that the fire­wall had to be widened roughly 50mm ei­ther side and the shifter moved 20mm for­ward of the fac­tory po­si­tion. A Com­modore diff head, fit­ted with an Ea­ton Torsen cen­tre, has been used — the rear sub­frame need­ing to be mod­i­fied to ac­cept it, a re­sult of it snap­ping in half from the torque. The axles are cus­tom units twice as thick as the Com­modore’s own and re­tain­ing the 4x100 stud pat­tern. Wil­wood six-pots have been used up front.

The car has gained roughly 130kg, bring­ing it to about 1100kg in to­tal. The weight split has been kept at a bal­ance of 52 per cent front and 48 per cent rear, and the al­most-tripled power from the stock mo­tor more than off­sets the dif­fer­ence.


ORI­GIN CHAS­SIS: 2004 HSV Maloo R8 (VY) CA­PAC­ITY: 5700cc CON­FIG­U­RA­TION: V8 BORE/STROKE: 99x92mm COM­PRES­SION: 10.25:1 ECU: GM Delco (tune­able) IG­NI­TION: In­di­vid­ual coil packs POWER: 285kW/520Nm WEIGHT: 192kg (fully dressed, dry) NOTES: All-alu­minium con­struc­tion, six-bolt main caps, fac­tory front sump

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