Case of The Humpdays: A Small Block Chevy-Powered Kawasaki STX 1100 DI

Sure we’ve seen a V8 swap in a personal watercraft before, but not like this. We’ve all heard the term “shadetree mechanic” and to call what Anthony Broussard and his father built one of those builds is a little disingenuous given all of the fabrication that went into pulling the 350 cubic inch (5.7L) small block from a late-80’s Chevrolet Silverado 1500 half-ton pickup and drop it (somehow) into the belly of a worn out 2001 Kawasaki STX 1100 DI.

It all began with Anthony’s wife discovering the STX sitting abandoned on the side of the road and letting her husband know of the find. Never to let an opportunity pass him by, Anthony picked up the ski and dragged it home. After concocting the idea of the V8 swap, a good friend, Thad, donated the engine and helped with the initial mounting process.

They began by curiously sawing off the deck above the bondrail, removing the lid and fabricating a custom engine cradle and solid motor mounts. Next, all of the engine coupler hardware needed to be designed and machined so that a stout dual chain drive could spin the custom 3/4-inch prop shaft. Leaving the engine more or less as-is, a Holley 4150-flange 650cfm. four-barrel with vacuum secondaries replaced the factory setup and provided the fuel.

Of course, a 350 is still a heck of a lot bigger than the Kawasaki 2-stroke, so quite a bit of cutting to the deck was needed to fit it and the open headers. Gone went the center seat, allowing for the back seat only, and a weird makeshift saddle on top of the carburetor putting Anthony and his legs before the exhaust (although, we can’t imagine wanting to sit directly on top of an engine).

The video slideshow documents the highlights of the build as well as a brief clip of the V8-swapped Kawasaki in action. It’s nothing too extravagant, particularly as these trucks struggled to make over 280-horsepower from the factory, but heck, open headers sounds cool on most everything so we gotta give it props.

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Kevin Shaw

Editor-in-Chief – Kevin Shaw is a decade-long powersports and automotive journalist whose love for things that go too fast has led him to launching The Watercraft Journal. Almost always found with stained hands and dirt under his fingernails, Kevin has an eye for the technical while keeping a eye out for beautiful photography and a great story.

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