Kawasaki ZX9R Open Wheel Street Racer

Kawasaki ZX9R motorcycle powered car

Jamie Chalker likes motorcycles, but then, he likes cars, too. What better way to combine both passions than to create a motorcycle powered street racer like this? Starting in October of 2003 with parts and pieces donated from an '02 Kawasaki ZX9R and an idea in his head, Jamie worked steadily until the car rolled out in June of 2006.

So there would be no mistake about the genetic origins of the car, Jamie wanted to use as many Kawasaki parts as possible. He built a tube chassis to hang everything together and hand laid the fiberglass body. It has a 2:1 quick steer with rack and pinion, and 4 wheel disc brakes. He did all of the bodywork and painting, too.

Parts from the Kawasaki include engine, exhaust, headlight, taillights, blinkers, mirrors, gas lid, grab handles, and hand controls. He even used the factory stickers. He used 4 ZX9R shocks in the rear and for a little added cool factor, he mounted the sidestand.

Motorcycle powered cars do have one issue during construction, what do you do for a reverse gear? Jamie came up with a very slick solution which takes advantage of the fact that this car has a driveshaft instead of a chain. He mounted a small block Chevy flywheel back at the rear end and added a high torque electric starter motor. Simple, functional, elegant.

Of course, building a street car like this is one thing, getting it registered so you can mount a license plate is something else. That process alone took 8 months. As Jamie says:

I had to fill out an application for vin, have a hand written letter from the sheriff department stating it's road worthy, have it inspected again after the vin number was applied, they issued me a title, had to have insurance ( finally got it through progressive) before I could get it licensed. Oh yeah, they figured out how to tax it, I had to show my receipts and pay taxes on everything I had not paid tax on when purchased.

It might have been a long process but I believe it was very well worth it, just think about being able to cruise around in this. He doesn't have any hard performance figures yet but he mounted a g-tech which should yield the numbers very soon. Almost all of the weight is below the centerline of the wheels, making it very stable. He says it corners so hard it's almost scary, he can't get the front wheels to push but the back end can slide a bit.

With all of the conversions out there, dropping motorcycle engines into cars, I really like the idea of starting from scratch to take maximum advantage of the engine without all of the compromise of a car originally designed for something else. I think this is a sweet looking ride and I bet it's a real hoot to drive. Jamie said he would send along performance figures when he gets them. I'll be looking forward to those, but overall, this is definitely one of the best motorcycle powered car projects I've seen. Very nice work! I like it, ... a lot!

Many more photos below:

Kawasaki ZX9R motorcycle powered car

Kawasaki ZX9R motorcycle powered car

Kawasaki ZX9R motorcycle powered car

Kawasaki ZX9R motorcycle powered car

Reverse gear flywheel and starter assembly

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  1. says

    That looks like a lot of fun, but I wouldn’t want to be driving it around at night with that headlight setup. I probably would have put some better seats in it, too (those look like they’re pretty stiff).

  2. says

    Yeah, those ninja headlights are pretty bizarre in a car… not to mention the turnsignals. (If only this thing could wheelie…)

  3. aaron says

    wow – I’ve just been inspired to do another stupid project. great…..

    I think it was the little gremlin face I see in the front view that did it for me!

  4. says

    Are you guys kidding? This thing is awesome. I think you should build something first, show it to everyone on this site, then you could nitpick. wankers.

  5. todd says

    Nice work, definitely. I’d love to have the time and money to build one of these things.

    Is it me or does the front 3/4 styling remind you of Knight-Rider-era Pontiac TransAm?


  6. Mayakovski says

    Not only is the designed colour blind, but aesthetically challenged as well.


  7. Sean says

    Wow. Very, very cool. I saw the headlights, exhaust and turn signals as original before I read it, but the odd thing was they didn’t look out of place. That thing would be one hell of a sweet ride to take on the boy racers…

  8. Bryce says

    Very, very cool. I question the live axle rear end, but the execution looks top notch.

  9. chris says

    can’t say i like the look of it, but then, you can’t see it when you’re driving. so who cares. cheers to a job very well done. wish i could take a spin.

  10. jaredthegeek says

    Unique approach to the drivetrain, attaching a universal joint in place of the countershaft sprocket and using a standard live-axle…and the reverse setup is quite creative as well. Nice nice…although I don’t care for the aesthetics myself.

  11. aaron says

    I think wendell misunderstood me. I want to build my own. It looks cute. full front view it looks like a face. that face is like a gremlin.

    hoyt – yup, looks mid engined to me, but the engine looks off center… maybe there’s 100 lbs of fuel balancing that on the passenger side, but I don’t see it in the photo.

  12. says

    I like it, it’s a neat build. As far as the comments on a live axle, to me, a live axl is on a atv?? This thing has a rear end housing. This could not be titled in PA, because; you need fenders over the wheels, headlights have to be a certain distance off the ground, you have to have windshield wipers and you need bumpers which also have a height min/max off the ground. Well done.

  13. jaredthegeek says

    Live axle as in a one-piece differential housing/axle tube assembly that is suspended, as opposed to a frame-mounted differential housing with CV shafts suspended at the outer ends (your average independent rear suspension)…. I’ve always heard it called that, anyway, although I do understand your ATV reference to a solid axle with no diff housing as being a live axle as well.

  14. todd says

    There are usually provisions in your vehicle code for fenderless cars. In California any 1970 or older vehicle (or new replica) under 1500 lbs does not need fenders. That’s why it’s legal to drive a Baja Bug or an old chopped roadster on the street. I see that PA is less lenient. The weight limit is 9000 lbs but only “street rods”, cars manufactured prior to 1949 (or new replicas), can do without fenders. So go ahead, build your fenderless car and stick an old 1948 grill on it and you’re good to go.


    CA fender law:

    equipment in PA:

    PA definition of “street rod”:

  15. says

    I’ve never heard the rearend described like that. Now I know, thanks. As far as putting something on your build to make it “legal” I don’t subscribe to that theory. If you have a vision, than you cannot just throw stuff on, unless it’s part of the vision. Learn the rules of your state and build accordingly. That’s why I’m doing a three wheeler. Bumpers etc. would kill the look I’m going for. Thanks again for the info.

  16. says

    nice job! I really like the no frills approach and the simplicity of using existing parts for what you need (headlights, signals, shocks, exhaust…) and i know you either love or hate the kawasaki green, dang i love it!

    and kudos for the reverse solution, simple and functional.

  17. todd says

    Come to think of it, that spider reverse gear looks mighty close to the ground. Maybe he could attach a skid plate from a KLR650…


  18. Jim avrham says

    hi must people do not realise what it take to build one of those one of kick ass machine , just wondering did you increase your torque by adding a fly wheel & did you have to install a dry sump or alter anything on the engine side ,

  19. J-dog says

    the thing would be one kick ass street racer. slap on a turbo and rip up the streets, maybe swap in a small block v8

  20. Herman says

    Congrats on the build. I am building a 01′ honda 954 powered car that is two seat and I am trying to get it registered here in Oregon. As you mentioned, Insurance is needed before registering. Can you let me know what was involved in getting insurance through progressive? The insurance companies I have spoken too turned me down when they realized that I built the chassis. Anything you can share with me would be appreciated and I would enjoy seeing more pics of your chassis and suspension if you have them. My phone # 541-404-6464.


  21. keefe says

    it is very cool car..
    waht type of rear axle do you use in this car??
    and from what car..??


  22. Travis says

    Nice i just saw this guy and his girl in Nashville, TN yesterday night!! the car/bike looks awesome! lol I was getting gas when i caught an eyeful of green! :)

  23. TAMÁS says

    You can not understand how much working hours, and how many years hard build job what you can see?
    If you know the ZX9-R you should know it has got a really good light, etc.
    The color is not important.
    Respect the builder!