Tom's Turbo Garage 2004 Mazda Miata Speed LS3 Conversion

10 min read

Tom's Turbo Garage 2004 Mazda Miata Speed LS3 Conversion

10 min read

This year at Holley's LS Fest we met with Tom from Tom's Turbo Garage. Tom drove his LS3 swapped Mazda Miata Speed all the way from Knoxville, TN. This Mazda is super clean and sports a very healthy V8! Get the whole scoope on the Mazda Miata here.

There are a lot of Miata purists in the world as you can imagine and while I respect all of those folks, the Mazda speed is sort of rare, a lot of people definitely have told me directly to my face that I'm kind of dumb for doing this for sure yes.

We're at LS Fest 2019, this is Tom, you may recognize him from Tom's turbo garage.

What's up everybody.

What did you bring to the LS Fest today?

I brought my 2004 Mazda Speed Miata. Oh, what do we have here, LS3 conversion, did the old turbo four-cylinder delete and the LS3 option. 

So you did a whole video series on this didn't you?

Yeah, back in the day I used to share my builds on the internet, just post pictures and build forums and stuff and I got my garage built,thought it looked kind of cool in there so I started doing a little filming and then it turned into sort of these build series and I documented the whole process of building this thing on my YouTube channel.

Way back in the day in car and driver magazine they had a review of the '90 Miata and they had a little single page that showed the 5-liter

monster Miata back then and when I saw that

I knew all the way back in high school that I wanted to build a monster Miata but when the LS came along in the mid 2000's people started swapping them into stuff and I saw the Miata was a good candidate for that, game over, I started planning right away.

I really like how you kept it looking OEMish, so what was the secret, what engine did you end up using?

Originally my plan was to do a lot of junkyard stuff and you know, rebuild things, clean things up, but you know, sometimes your builds get a little out of hand, this is no different, I ended up using the LS376525 from Summit racing and GM performance, so full new crate engine, it was pretty awesome, I kind of went for it. You have any haters about taking the engine out of the Mazda Speed?

Oh yeah, absolutely, there are a lot of Miata purists in the world as you can imagine, and while I respect all those folks, the Mazda Speed is sort of rare, and a lot of people have told me directly to my face that I'm kind of dumb for doing this for sure yes. You know what, I kind of see where they're coming from sometimes.

Nah, that's their opinion. So what do you do with this car? Like do you drive it everywhere, do you just drive it on nice sunny days?

Yeah, you know, I got a bunch of kids so my original plan was to go racing all of the time with it as we all hope to do I think, but it turns out, I had all these kids and I what I do more or less is just take it places, I drive it to work, so I just have a lot of fun with it, drove it up here from Knoxville, I just like taking it places, but mainly just blast around the mountain roads near my house.

How many hairdryers do you own? I figured you own a Miata so...

I mean look at my hair, it's obvious that I own a hairdryer, look at this right.

That's perfection. It's perfect.

So you use the GM performance engine, what did you use for plumbing on the car? So I used Earl's Vapor Guard for the entire system, it's impervious to all the newer E85 fuels, it doesn't smell up your garage with gasoline, it's really awesome stuff. I wanted a fuel system that would last the life of the car, that was sort of my goal with this whole thing, I wanted to build it to last maybe until my son can drive it someday, so I used all Earl's components from the tank all the way up to the fuel rails.

So you've done this build, you are currently working on another LS swap build, what's that?

Yes, I had the crazy idea of putting a GM V8 into my 2002 Toyota Tacoma, now doing an LS swap into a Tacoma is not enough obviously, you got to turbocharge it, so throwing a turbo in there also.

And for that build, you decided to use Terminator X on it?

Yes, I was originally going to go down the road of a junkyard ECU, wiring harness, chase all of that down, hope it was good, strip it all out, hours and hours of work, use some sort of software to tune it, and all of the external gauges I was going to have to run, and I was just dreading this whole thing, and then I saw online that you all had released the Terminator X system and it was just like perfect, it was perfect timing and I immediately just had to have this thing and it's been so awesome, I mean it was so simple to install and now that the truck's running, I've been driving around a little bit, the Terminator X Max system is so incredible, I mean, just the little handheld device is so useful and you can make little changes on the fly, I just think that it's the ultimate system for LS swaps.

Hopefully, you can bring it back next year and make some passes.

Yes, I came this close to being able to bring it, it just wasn't quite ready but it will be here next year I hope.

You've got this Miata, you've got the Tacoma, where can people find out more information about this?

Well you can get on to YouTube you can just search Tom's Turbo Garage, you'll find all the builds I've done over the years including this one and my 2002 Tacoma.

So I really appreciate you coming out, hope you had a good time today, and don't do any hairdresser stuff while driving.

Well, I can't make any promises, you know what I'm saying?


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