Lifting a Miata is so wrong, but this build makes it so right.

The Mazda MX-5 offers sports car fans an affordable, capable, and reliable platform for doing anything from Sunday cruising to regular track work. Unless something is going very wrong, you don't usually see the roadsters wading through deep water and powering through muddy ground. However, this owner took his somewhat ratty first-gen MX-5 and converted it into a hardcore rally machine. Thankfully, he chronicled the build on video for us all to see.

From the starting point, this MX-5 is far from pristine, including a thoroughly ripped up interior, so there's no reason to feel guilty about doing such a radical conversion. A suspension lift is the first step on the road to converting the low-slung sports car into a rally machine. A set of knobby, off-road tyres then gives the Mazda the extra traction necessary for working on slick terrain. The new rubber is so large that the fenders need cutting to provide adequate clearance.

Check out these less extreme MX-5s

Next, it's time to make the rally MX-5 look the part. The owner removes the plastic bumper covers and fits tougher metal pieces. The rear deck gets a carrier for hauling an extra wheel. The body gets matte green paint and receives wider wings to cover the brawny tyres. A roof rack and light bar can attach to the hardtop when it's in place.

For improved performance, there's now a supercharger for a boost in power and a custom bonnet scoop to feed air to the intercooler. A revised air intake follows the A-pillar to increase the machine's wading depth without sucking water into the engine.

The result of all this work is a wild, little machine that seems quite adept off-road. It has no problem on tight trails or wading through mud. This MX-5 looks like a blast to drive.