Bob Chartier's turbocharged Mazda-powered 1965 Austin Healey Sprite

Bob Chartier's turbocharged Mazda-powered 1965 Austin Healey Sprite

as published in BritishV8 Magazine, Volume XVI Issue 2, October 2008

Owner: Bob Chartier
City: Cave Creek, AZ
Model: 1965 Austin Healey Sprite
Engine: turbocharged Mazda 1.6L
Conversion performed by: owner

Engine: 1992 Mazda Miata MX5, 1.6 liter, stock engine block, cylinder head, and camshafts. Turbocharger and intercooler. Stock intake manifold, 440cc/min injectors, Walbro fuel pump, Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator, Miata throttle-body. Electromotive Tec-2 engine management (and direct ignition) system.
Cooling: Volkswagen radiator with 2 electric fans.
Exhaust: 2" diameter exhaust system, with shortened glasspack muffler.
Transmission: Mazda Miata 5-speed (stock) with modified shifter placement. Stock Miata clutch. Custom made driveshaft to mate Miata transmission with RX-7 rear axle.
Rear Axle: narrowed 1984 Mazda RX-7 axle with limited slip differential.
Front Suspension: custom, with new fabricated upper and lower A-arms, telescoping shock absorbers (which replace the original lever-arm shocks), and stock Sprite coil springs.
Rear Suspension: solid axle with leaf springs, anti-tramp bars and Panhard rod.
Wheels/Tires: stock 13" wire wheels and Kumho 155R13 tires.
Brakes: Wilwood 3 master-cylinder pedal assembly (with bias bar).
Front: Honda Civic discs and calipers.
Rear: Mazda rotors with Wilwood main and e-brake calipers.
Electrical: Painless wiring harness. Dolphin gauges.
Other Mods: original bonnet and front fenders replaced with a fiberglass "Bugeye" style front end, with custom hinges and hold-downs. Body converted to "round wheel arch" style. Fabricated (oversize) transmission tunnel. Extensively reinforced chassis. Custom stainless steel wire-mesh grille. Shaved door handles. Custom badges. Custom lockable storage compartment (behind the seats). Roll hoop. Stereo audio system.
Date Completed:
May 2008. (Has driven about 600 miles, as of September.)

Electromotive Tec-2 engine management

How It Was Done

Engine Installation and Mechanical Details

Mazda Miata 1.6 liter with turbocharger

Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator

air filter

turbo manifold


intake manifold

throttle cable and fuel pressure regulator

fanbelt and alternator

Mazda Miata five speed transmission

tone wheel and crank position sensor   Electromotive coils

throttle body, butterfly   throttle body, idle air control valve

idle air bypass stepper motor   turbo blow off valve (BOV)

fuel rail, installed   fuel rail, injectors, and regulator

fuel level sensor   fuel tank sump

Walbro fuel pump   glasspack muffler

how to shorten a glasspack muffler   shortened glasspack muffler

Preparing the Sprite Bodyshell

Austin Healey Sprite bodyshell

Sprite floorboard rust repair   Sprite floorboard replacement

replaced Sprite floorboards   reinforced Sprite floorboards

Austin Healey Sprite chassis reinforcement   Sprite rust repair

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Test Fitting the Engine, and Making Required Body Mods

Mazda Miata engine 1600cc

test fitting the Miata motor

Miata engine installation

Miata headers   motor mount

firewall modification   battery shelf modification

engine compartment mods   firewall changes

electrical center and fuseblock   heater housing

master cylinder brackets   brake master cylinder mounting

transmission tunnel removal   transmission tunnel fabrication

round wheel arch Sprite   round wheel arch conversion

hood and radiator mounting   radiator mounting

bonnet reinforcements   Dzus fasteners on outside of bonnet

Dzus fastener spring mounting

custom dashboard and radio box

custom cargo compartment

custom glovebox   custom map box

Preparing the Modified Body for Painting

front of chassis


seam sealer on firewall

seam sealer on transmission tunnel

round wheel arch Spridget

aftermarket fiberglass bugeye sprite hood

stainless steel mesh grille   Sprite mesh grille

paint masking   painting stripes

paint booth

custom car badge   Mite badge

Front Suspension and Brakes

custom front suspension

A-arm welding fixture

upper control arm

lower control arm

double wishbone front suspension

telescoping shock absorber   kingpin

vented brake rotor

brake caliper   big brake kit for Sprite

Rear Suspension and Brakes

Mazda RX-7 rear axle

Panhard rod chassis mount

Panhard rod

Wilwood brake calipers

wire wheel axle splines   brake adapter fitting

bump stop and tube shock absorber

prototype anti-tramp bars   adjustable anti-tramp bars

Wilwood 3 master cylinder system

Wilwood pedals   Sprite pedal box

The Completed Conversion

custom Sprite dashboard

custom Sprite instrument panel

bugeye sprite

frogeye sprite

the mite

Bob Chartier's Sprite

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