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MulletTruck HalfDork
6/20/18 10:41 a.m.

Great Project!

java230 UltraDork
6/20/18 1:41 p.m.


Joe_Mama New Reader
7/14/18 6:36 p.m.

Upper radiator mount/air duct panel. One welded assembly. It will have rubber seals blocking off the large gaps. Semi-finished hood hinge is seen hanging off the front there. Eventually I'll have to decide where I'm cutting openings in the nose for air flow.

The lower radiator and condenser mounts were chopped off the Miata brackets, welded to some box tube, and welded to a crossbar that I welded into the bottom of the cars chin and tied to the bumper mount area. This will also give structure to the chins skin and provide a base for air dam or spoiler mounts.

Joe_Mama New Reader
7/22/18 7:59 p.m.

Gonna need custom AC lines; the Ecotec Miata oil pan wants to occupy the space under the sway bar. I believe I'll at least have to cut off the condenser fitting at the end of that tube in the front and weld it right to the end of the condenser where the tube comes out, then I won't have to have the lower of the two lines cross over under the sway bar. I'll know more once I get the Ecotec in there with the oil pan and accessories on it. Oh, I guess I should also mention that I cut a gaping maw out of the lower nose area that will serve as the main air inlet. It needs some more work yet.



Joe_Mama New Reader
8/17/18 5:22 p.m.

AC has been figured out. I did what I said I was going to do with the condenser. Getting custom lines and fittings to mate the GM compressor to the Miata bits will be easy thanks to ColdHose.com.

The bottom of the nose has been closed off to leave the upper oval portion open from the pic above. I also made a cheezo air dam, that sits immediately below the mouth opening, out of a length of rubber wall scuff guard. You won't even be able to see it when the bumper is on and it'll take being run up on a curb without being destroyed.

And getting hood latches and poppers is another big accomplishment so far.

There is a matching set on the other side. The Miata hood cable will be run through cable stops attached to each latch arm to release them. The poppers are just cheap spring loaded door poppers from ebay. Works great, hood stays tight and secure. I can always add some rubber bumpers later if it wiggles around on the road.

I also started digging into the wire harness, eliminating some unused stuff and rerouting some stuff. The real fun will be when I go to mesh the Miata and Ecotec wiring.

Joe_Mama New Reader
9/22/18 6:47 p.m.

Lots more stuff. I'm bouncing around all over the place.

The sacrifice to the #volkzda god needs a thermostat and ECT. I've been commuting with it for a few months now to feel out the engine and throttle and to make sure everything is kosher before I tear it down. It's an '06 Ion 3 with a stick that is pretty clean for 110k mi. I will probably get most of my money back when I part it out.

Made my own, mostly finished, raised battery tray so it'll clear the suspension top hat and so I can get at the bolts without removing the battery. You'll also notice how in the wheel arch/trunk area where a bunch of odd angles and shapes between where the VW and Mazda meet I basically said "Forget it." and just patched it up. It is structurally sound and all, it just looks like garbage. It will be covered anyway when I eventually finish the trunk off.

Rear VW reflectors before, during, and...

after transforming them into reverse lights. I don't want to use the goofy bumper mounted spotlight style reverse lights so there you go.

Wait until you see my sweet washer reservoir that I'm making out of an aluminum calibration gas bottle. It'll be mounted under the fender above the wheel arch and will be filled through the VW fuel door like I was saying before. I'm about to finish the hood latch release cable setup as well as fixing various little things on the VW body. 4x 6.5" speakers will be all I'm going to do for the stereo and those have been mounted to that new rear shelf/firewall and in each door. 

wheelsmithy SuperDork
9/22/18 8:24 p.m.


tdrrally Reader
10/5/18 9:59 a.m.

this is giving all sort of ideas for my squareback 

NOHOME UltimaDork
10/5/18 10:39 a.m.

Want more info on the hood latch? What are they from?

Looks exactly like what I need for the Molvo and I need to come up with a plan quickly so I can avoid doing this with a painted car.




Joe_Mama New Reader
10/7/18 10:45 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME :

They're just Eberhard brand universal rotary latches. They're used in tons of stuff and come in a bunch of configurations. I chose them specifically with this layout in mind. The latch center diameter also happened to be a perfect fit for the shoulder of a 3/8 bolt, which is what the pins actually are, with the hex head cut off. You can go to Eberhard's website and look up some part numbers and google them, that's what I did.

Joe_Mama New Reader
10/9/18 9:21 p.m.

Made good on my 'washer reservoir through the fuel door' promise. The square part on the bottom is a sump for the pump, which is out of view. Hose on top is just a vent.

In the first pic you can also see the hood release cable I set up. I chopped up the casing of the Miata cable and routed it using some cable clamps that I made out of aluminum plate. Next up: Tearing down the motor and replacing all the gaskets, chain, water pump, etc. Putting on the swap oil pan. Tapping and plugging the holes for the oil cooler that is in the way and was only on 06-07 LE5s.

Joe_Mama New Reader
11/12/18 11:07 p.m.

Time for a trial fit. Engine has been gone through. Head surfaced and ports lightly ported. Valve cover poorly painted.

Joe_Mama New Reader
1/4/19 11:06 p.m.

Once again, lots of progress in various areas, namely the exhaust and AC.

Exhaust was built using a 2.5" kit with various bends and straight pieces. Add a couple flanges, flex pipe, chrome tips, and a muffler meant for an early 90's Camaro/Firebird. Fuel and brake line had to be run up inside the tunnel and out the top to make room for the downpipe. I'm curious to find out how it's gonna sound. I may add a small muffler or resonator in the middle later, who knows.

Grafted in the Ion's body vent.

AC is plumbed. Tight fit here but it will work. Lower radiator hose had to be run outside the subframe unfortunately but I welded on some pieces of pipe cut in half to act as a guide and to clamp the hose to. I'll probably make a shield for this at some point.


Just gotta keep putting drops in the bucket. Right now I'm trying to graft the Ion's power window motors onto the VW regulators because the window crank goes into the side of the Miata dash. I already moved the interior door handles back 2-3" for the same reason.

Joe_Mama New Reader
1/9/19 10:19 p.m.

Speaking of window regulators...


After grafting on the Ion's motor and cut up pieces of the Ion's regulator. This whole shebang will go inside the door with no fab or cutting of the door. Add the helper spring and some black paint and it's good to go. The Miata dash completely covers the window crank so it had to be done.

carwhisperer New Reader
1/10/19 11:35 a.m.

This is some really nice work. I've done a couple of monoqoque body transplants. One of which I drove 190K miles over 10 years. This is so much nicer than anything I've done. One really good thing is that the dash fits. In all the ones I've done, the donor car dash is wider than the recipient. In each case, I cut the sides of the dash down with disappointing results. Another problem I had was getting carpet to fit.


There is an early 60s bug on a miata chassis running around the Sacramento area. It's very unfinished looking also but still cool.


Keep up the good work!

rdcyclist Reader
1/10/19 1:37 p.m.

Great stuff! Are you in the south bay? Your pitchers have a SB vibe to them.

Actually, its a "Volkionzda"...

mannydantyla New Reader
1/10/19 9:48 p.m.

Dude I can't tell you how thankful I am that this thread exists

Joe_Mama New Reader
1/11/19 11:52 p.m.

carwhisperer: I've seen a few body transplants and they were kinda sketchy, until I saw NOHOME's Volvo any way. I'm only going to build something I can daily drive. I was thinking of doing a Factory Five Daytona before this, and of course I would have daily drove it too.


rdcyclist: Livermore. I was thinking about the name too with all the GM in it. Volkzdaturn? Satzdawagen? Nah, Volkzda is good.


mannydantyla: I totally blanked on this! I should have told you about the GRM thread when you found me on Instagram.

mannydantyla New Reader
1/15/19 11:57 a.m.

Question: you say that you're titling it as a the 68 VW. That seems like the path of least resistance and the one I have chosen as well. And surely you're having it insured as the old VW as well, right? Are you going to hide the VIN plate on the Miata dashboard or remove it or something? Do you still have the VW vin plate between the headlights under the hood?

I called the DMV yesterday and they told me to take both titles into the VIN inspection office and they'll figure out which one to use. I did a little more reading and it seems to me that they'll do the most legal/beaurocratic thing to do, which is to create a new VIN number and call it a Specially Constructed Vehicle. But that seems like a significantly large hoop to jump through, what if they impound the car? What year would they use for the "new" vehicle? If the year of the Miata, or the year that it was constructed, then would the vehicle be up for emissions and inspections? What is the incentive to not just use the tag and title for the vehicle that it most resembles, ie the body? Could law enforcement impound the vehicle if they discover that it's actually a Miata? 

Just some questions running through my mind this morning. 

Duder New Reader
1/15/19 12:15 p.m.

In reply to mannydantyla :

I ran into this same question on my Viccup build (1964 F250 body on a P71 Crown Vic chassis). I'm in CA as well and the old truck is smog exempt and Crown Vic is not. The answer I settled on is to keep the older vehicle's registration, plates, ID tag, VIN, and so on. In my case the only visible numbers from the newer car would be down on the frame.

In essence, if you ever got hassled by a cop, my feeling is you explain it as a heavily improved 1960whatever vehicle. It has an engine swap, newer suspension, newer brakes, actually produces much lower emissions than the original vehicle...it's safer and cleaner in just about every way. Makes sense to me anyway, but I'm not in law enforcement nor do I work for DMV or BAR. Would be interesting to hear other viewpoints.

AngryCorvair MegaDork
1/15/19 1:24 p.m.

In reply to Joe_Mama, mannydantyla, and Duder :

in my youth, i used to skate in an abandoned pool, which was the last remaining part of a motel that had been torn down and fenced in several years earlier.  graffiti in the deep end said "the less people you tell, the longer you will skate."

so yeah, it's an old whatever that's got some new parts on it.


Mezzanine Dork
1/15/19 3:55 p.m.
AngryCorvair said:  ...graffiti in the deep end said "the less people you tell, the longer you will skate."

That is some solid wisdom right there.

Also, your car is going to still LOOK like the volkswagen you started with. That's what police would identify it as if they walked by it. Who cares what's underneath?

NOHOME UltimaDork
1/15/19 4:39 p.m.

As far as the Molvo is concerned, I did  a rust repair to the floorpan.

Joe_Mama New Reader
1/19/19 10:45 p.m.

Yes, '68 VW title and insurance, nothing to see here. As far as anyone cares it was just non-op for 3 years while it was restored. So what? Miata and Ion have been junked out of the DMV system. As for CA (CARB we mean...) or police or whoever; this car will be much safer and much cleaner out the tail pipe than the original anyway, plus I took another Saturn off the road. CA should be thanking me.

Joe_Mama New Reader
3/12/19 11:11 p.m.

Lots of head scratching, crying, wiring, hoses, brackets, etc later...

This is at about 80-90%. Everything in the engine bay has plumbing/wiring routed and almost finished. Now I'll start enclosing the engine compartment and bracing the VW compartment opening. For the inside portion of the engine harness a loose rat's nest of wire has been created using some of the Ion's connectors so it can be run through a 1.5" hole in the firewall near where the cruise cable used to come through, using a grommet from the Ion that originally fed wire to the wiper. I ended up adding an in-hose radiator cap so that it would be much higher up and level with the port on the head, the cap on the radiator is at a much higher pressure rating so it shouldn't pop open. I don't like the heater hoses but there aren't many options and I'll be putting one of those power flush fittings in the upper hose to bleed air out and to, well, flush the coolant. Oil/air separator is definitely needed as the original crankcase suction port in the intake manifold is blocked per the swap instructions, so the intake tract will be eating the crankcase air. The eBay coolant reservoir is one of the nicest looking things in here.

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