Project cars. They build/feed YouTube channels and Instagram pages and ultimately keep our dreams alive, even if they may not always be built in a jiffy and tough as nails, as the fantasy goes. And the Hellcat-powered Mazda Miata known as Hell Kitty has done it all, even crossing the auction block at Barrett-Jackson after becoming an internet sensation. However, following a crash 2020, the contraption fell off the radar. Well, the unorthodox mix of JDM RWD simplicity and American muscle is now back. And, according to its old-new builder, it’s better than ever. Meet Hell Kitty 2.0.
Back in 2019, the YouTuber behind the KARR channel decided to answer the is the Miata underpowered? question once and for all. So he shoehorned the 6.2L supercharged V8 known as the Hellcat—you may have heard of it—into the engine bay of an NB (second-generation) Mazda MX-5 Miata.
How Hell Kitty came to be in 2019
The engine had been borrowed from a totaled 2017 Dodge Challenger Hellcat, an operation that saw Hose over at the D.I.Y Gang YouTube channel getting involved. Was that an overkill? Of course not, as they kept things stock. So the Miata went from its factory N/A 1.8l four-banger (think: 140 hp) to just 707 hp and 656 lb-ft of torque, sent to the rear wheels via the a Tremec TR-6060 six-speed manual, the kind of hardware that allows you to row your own in a Challenger of the sort.
The list of mods also included stuff like a Ford 8.8-inch rear end with a 3.07 final drive (yep, it was welded), V8 Roadster suspension, Konig 15-inch wheels—no, not the 15-inch wheels drag-prepped Hellcats use, these use much skinnier tires—and others.
As impressive as the build was, it still needed some wind in its sales. And it got its fair share of exposure, having been hooned by Gas Monkey Garage, Hoonigan and Cleetus McFarland. By the way, here’s Cleetus social media-resuscitating a much older build, namely a mini Plymouth Duster belonging to seasoned YouTuber Roman Atwood.
With all that attention in it trunk and some eye-catching cosmetics applied (e.g.: bring orange paint) the Hellcat Miata went under the hammer at Barrett-Jackson later in 2019, trading hands for over $36k.
Alas, the following year, Hell Kity landed in a ditch after its driver, a man named Michael Kelly, attempted what he described on Facebook as “a small pull” while leaving a car show over in Florida. Fortunately, nobody was hurt. As for the vehicle, this showed less damage than one might expect given its recipe and the said kind of driving, at least visually.
In a YouTube clip released by KARR, the main original builder, he confirms that even though the machine was owned by a man named Blake at the time (presumably the Barrett-Jackson buyer), Michael was the one driving during the accident. The latter had taken the Miata to the said car show to once again boost its popularity, since the machine was listed on eBay in those days. And that’s the last thing we heard about the devilish creation… until recently.
The Hellcat Miata is back for 2023!
Last Sunday, D.I.Y. Gang’s Hose uploaded an YouTube video introducing the “new and improved” Hell Kitty 2.0. Apparently, the Hellcat Miata landed in his hands—it’s not clear who actually owns the car—and he decided to revive the thing instead of parting it out.
In the first part of the clip, which you’ll find below, Hose shows us that, after pulling the engine out of the vehicle, he came across what appears to be chassis damage and incomplete welds. And while it seems difficult to establish how much of the damage, if any, is owed to the accident, that welding is a separate issue.
Regardless, Hose tells us he fixed everything and added new panels from LRB Speed, while breathing new life into the Internet-famous roadster in many ways. There’s new orange paint with a carbon or carbon-look widebody kit, and that’s just on the surface. The engine and supercharger cooling have upgraded and we can say the same about the oil cooler. The exhaust is new and so is the electric power steering, while the heating and AC are functional.
The Sparco bucket seats and BSI roll cage that kept the driver safe during the accident are still in place and, just to anticipate a possible question, the fuel efficiency of the Hellcat Miata is measured in BPG. You know, burnouts per gallon, since the car does a lot of those in the video—hey, just like this Power Stroke diesel-swapped S550 Mustang.
Judging by how Hose keeps the shredded tire from reaching the rear overfenders and fresh paint with some aluminum pieces, I expect the Hellcat Miata to seek a new home this year. And while I’d recommend a thorough inspection, seeing such a manic build devouring the tarmac once again is the kind of therapy I often seek.