Usually, if you’re going rallying, all-wheel drive is practically a necessity. Although rear-wheel drive rally cars have won races, after Audi’s Ur-Quattro debuted, AWD became the norm. The technology allowed the Mitsubishi Pajero, Toyota Celica, Nissan Pulsar, and Mitsubishi Lancer to compete on the world stage. The Porsche Cayenne and Rolls-Royce Cullinan are also rally competitors thanks to AWD. And now, YouTuber Gingium has given AWD to a Mazda MX-5 Miata.
Combining a Mazda Miata and a Subaru WRX
As Motor1 explains, Gingium didn’t originally set out to make an AWD Miata. In fact, he had already modified this exact Miata into a different rally spec, lifting and supercharging it. However, due to other projects, the original rally Miata was sort of abandoned. But Gingium felt it didn’t deserve such a fate, and decided to take it further (potential spicy language for any videos linked below).
So, over the past few months, he’s been working on combining the body and chassis of the Miata with the engine and drivetrain of a 2nd-gen Subaru WRX. That means, instead of original rally NA Miata’s supercharged four-cylinder, it would get the WRX’s turbocharged four-cylinder. And instead of RWD, it would now be AWD. Initially, Gingium wasn’t quite sure if the Subaru WRX’s engine would even conceivably fit in the Miata’s engine bay. And even after showing that it could, the build was far from simple.
First, he had to disassemble the Miata and install a roll cage. Then, he had to cut off some of the chassis’ front and weld in a custom tube chassis. Then came the custom body panel mounts. And because of how far forward the new engine was mounted, he had to install a trunk-mounted radiator just to keep the weight balanced and the engine cool.
But now, after many months of work, the AWD rally Miata-Subaru is almost done.
How does this AWD Miata drive?
As of this writing, Gingium’s AWD Miata isn’t fully running. It’s in the midst of further upgrades, though his latest update indicates he’s in the final stretch of the build. However, before these additional modifications, he did take it for a spin.
Despite the lift and large off-road tires, the modified Miata’s turning radius is fairly good. And surprisingly, behind the wheel, Gingium reports the car felt just like a Miata. It’s tall, but it feels stiff and solid. He even took it briefly off-road, though admittedly just on some grass nearby.
So, while giving a Miata a Subaru WRX powertrain is a lengthy and exhausting process, the result is a capable machine. Although, if rallying a Miata is the goal, you don’t necessarily have to go to such lengths.
The standard car can also rally
There’s one team, Rallye Miata, that races with a modified NB MX-5. And although some of the rally courses are paved, quite a few others aren’t. But whether it’s over pavement, brick, or gravel, the car keeps going. And it’s still RWD.
So is Tate Morgan’s $500 Miata that he modified for the Gambler 500. It’s got a lift kit, off-road tires, roll cage, skid plates, but no AWD.
But still, we salute Gingium for putting a Subaru WRX’s heart into a simple MX-5.
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