Carroll Shelby’s novel concept of fitting a powerful American V8 into the chassis of a small British sports car, helped him build an unrivaled performance car empire. Decades later, Shelby’s legacy lives on. Even though he has passed on, performance geeks of every kind still indulge in the ceremonial V8 swap – in ways he likely never imagined.
One of the wilder unions between British sports car and Coyote V8, happens to be a land speed racer as well. A project that started between a band of brothers five years ago has blossomed into a unique vehicle with 200 MPH ambitions, while utilizing an American V8 firmly planted under the hood.
According to Engine Swap Depot, Colin and Steve Walker first undertook the project a half decade ago; with visions of driving the 1961 MG MGA sports car to 200 MPH. In need of a roll cage, they brought the car to Milner Off-Road Racing in Darley Dale, U.K.; and shop owner David Chapman became so enthralled with the project – he just had to get involved. It was from there that the inspiration for a Coyote-powered MG started to blossom.
Although the original plan called for the use of an MG engine, the team quickly figured out that it would take a lot of work, and money, to squeeze the necessary power from an engine with less displacement than a soda bottle. Instead, the Brits turned to a 5.0-liter Coyote V8 engine; strapping a 2.3-liter Whipple supercharger atop the Coyote engine for good measure, of course. The final power results for the flyweight MG came to 675 horsepower and 540 lb-ft of torque, thanks in part to a new tune allowing for the use of higher octane fuel.
The more powerful engine and forced induction upgrade is supported by a Tremec T-56 Magnum six-speed transmission built by Liberty Gears, a Milner Off Road Racing CV driveshaft and 9-inch rear end (with a 12-bolt center section, if you can believe it) from Strange Engineering. To fit the engine properly, the Coyote was mounted to the MG”s frame first, with the body coming down around the powerplant.
The Brits returned to Bonneville this year with dreams of dashing past 200 MPH; but it seems an issue with fuel starvation kept them from meeting their goals this year. We’re confident we haven’t seen the last of this classic competitors, however.