NZ Performance Car - - Doing It For The Bro -

There’s oc­ca­sions when you don’t even need a rea­son to swap a dif­fer­ent mo­tor in, other than that there’s an empty en­gine bay wait­ing to be filled by some­thing — any­thing! Shane Hopcroft had seen 3S-GEs put into MX-5s over­seas but had yet to see any­one do­ing the same lo­cally — so, with a chas­sis with­out a power plant, it was an easy de­ci­sion to pur­sue with his MX-5 NA.

Shane ex­plains that the mo­tor, sourced from a ’98 Al­tezza, sits quite high di­men­sion­ally and a cus­tom sump would be re­quired to clear the steer­ing rack and front sway bar prop­erly. In the in­terim, he has opted to chop the bon­net and re­move the sway bar for clear­ance.

“I whipped up the en­gine mounts and trans mount, which suits the J160 six-speed Al­tezza box, and needed to make a cus­tom up­per hose fit­ting on the head; oth­er­wise, ev­ery­thing fit­ted well,” ex­plains Shane. “The shifter sits around 50mm for­ward of the fac­tory unit, and the sway bar had to go to clear the for­ward-sit­ting place­ment. How­ever, that will soon be changed with the new sump.”

With the pro­ject still re­ally in its in­fancy, Shane tells us that the car han­dles as it al­ways has and still turns in well, but, as he’s only had it out once, it’s hard to gauge fully and he looks for­ward to do­ing some more test­ing over the next few months.

“I’d say it’s an eight out of 10. I loved do­ing the work, and am re­ally happy with how it goes, but there’s al­ways room for im­prove­ment,” he says.


ORI­GIN CHAS­SIS: 1998 Toy­ota Al­tezza CA­PAC­ITY: 1998cc CON­FIG­U­RA­TION: Straight-four BORE/STROKE: 86x86mm COM­PRES­SION: 11.5:1 POWER: 156kW WEIGHT: 143kg NOTES: Break­through En­gine with Ad­vanced Mech­a­nism Sys­tem (Beams), dual VVT-i, elec­tronic throt­tle con­trol

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