The Mazda MX-5 Miata can always be described as an (enthusiast’s) life hack. That’s because it can deliver similar driving thrills to those coming from larger, more powerful, and much more expensive performance cars. Of course, this leaves plenty of room for Miata mods, and you’re looking at a fine cocktail here. Enter the MX Speedster, a reimagined example of the Japanese roadster’s first generation (NA), all in the form of kit.
Mazda has always kept things at a minimum for the standard Miata, up to the present fourth generation (ND). Even so, over the years, the Japanese automaker has built on the no-frills, lightweight experience offered by the sports car in many ways. For one, the company has entertained the idea of a Miata Speedster on multiple occasions—the most recent stunt brought us the MX-5 Speedster Evolution Concept of 2016.
And this is where American specialist Xenex Motorsports steps onto the scene. The company introduced its MX Speedster shrunken-windshield version of the NA Miata earlier this week at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. And yes, there’s an optional V8.
Work on the MX Speedster kicked off in 2021. That’s when Xenex founder Kim Petersen joined forces with Tlibekua designer Kasim Tlibekov—an artist with a knack for speedsters—and this initially led to some gorgeous rendering of the no-top MX-5.
The MX Speedster is a kit that transforms Miatas built between 1989 and 1997 into something that reminds one of the classic race cars they used at Le Mans many decades ago. For starters, a tiny windscreen is actually present, but only for the driver. Then we have a pair of buttresses behind the seats, while the minimalist widebody kit lends the car an upmarket image that’s more “gentleman racer” than anything else.
Of course, the high-polish, retro-styled, deep-lipped 17-inch wheels, along with the racing-style door mirrors, add to the track time flavor of the conversion package.
In terms of the interior, there’s just one photo for now. Even so, the cabin has retained the factory layout, albeit with high-quality materials used throughout. Plus, the dashboard instruments have been reworked, and there’s a footrest for the passenger. Then we have the snaps spread from the windshield area, to the doors and the rear deck. This means a textile cover of some sort protects the interior from the rain, even though it looks like a stationary rather than a driving accessory.
On its website, Xenex Motorsport references the Cobra 289 as a rival on the track… in its middle spec (more on this below). However, it’s hard to look at the debut car and not compare this to the Ferrari Monza SP2, a seven-figure limited offering that kickstarted the Prancing Horse’s classic-honoring Icona Series back in 2019.
Interestingly, there was at least one Monza SP2 on The Amelia lawn for 2023, so you can easily compare the two below—helmet tip to Tim Gustafson, aka dis_f30 on Instagram for the photo of the Maranello machine. And while we’re on that topic, how about this NA Miata impersonating a Ferrari 250 GTO for fun?
Before the specialist started adding high-performance components to the MX Speedster, it figured out how to remove some 250 lbs (113 kg) from the standard NA Miata. The final version tips the scales at under 2,200 lbs (1,000 kg), which is about the same as the stock car.
Unlike the factory first-gen Miata, the M Speedster can pack considerably more muscle. It starts with mods for the stock 1.6l and 1.8l engines. Then there’s a Fastfoward Superchargers kit that takes the game to 200 hp for the MX Speedster S, the point where the company mentions that Cobra 289 rivalry.
Of course, with many MX-5 conversions out there (have you seen the revived Hellcat ND Miata?), this proposal had to offer such hardware. So yes, you can throw a GM LS1 under the hood of the MX Speedster RS, which will give you 350 hp.
Other tech options involve a track-tuned suspension, as well as competition-grade Wilwood brakes.
And while you can choose between fiberglass and carbon fiber for the new body panels, you can also keep the Mazda’s factory windshield if, say, your home state doesn’t allow small units like the custom one, or you passenger simply wouldn’t have it this way.
Xenex, who has yet to publish the pricing, doesn’t assemble the MX Speedsters for customers, sending the parts out as a kit instead. So perhaps this is a great opportunity to hone some new skills—or use your current ones—and build the thing yourself.