Jerry Marcell Custom Built 2.1 liter V8 Engine Project HKS F-Con Vpro


Jerry Marcell back in 1992 started a custom V8 engine project, at the time he was an Engineer for Kawasaki Motors Corp working out of the California Design facility. Jerry used SolidWorks and a CNC back in the day to design and build the custom V8 engine. Because this was such an amazing project, Kawasaki became interested in the development and funded some of the costs. Over the last few decades the engine has run on the Dyno in various types of engine management and has produced about 300hp out of its 2.1 liters of displacement.

The engine now is at a new level of capability as its running the amazing HKS Co Japan’s F-Con Vpro engine PCM . As well it has forged internals. With the new HKS F-con Vpro ecu, Reg Riemer with RCTS Canada and Jerry working together developed custom made crankshaft and camshaft mag sensors, machined by Robbie Burg of BHC Arizona. The team of three were able to get the new Ignition system and sequential Injection all controlled by the HKS F-con Vpro ECU. The little V8 has never started up an sounded so healthy. Watch the video’s below, running with a very fast and advanced engine management ECU from HKS Co, Japan.

When Jerry retried many years ago he was able to take the engine home with him to his retirement home in Laughlin Nv. After he moved to Laughlin Jerry met many new friends all who took a huge fascination with the V8, some of the fiends, Robbie Burg, Al Heuschkel, and Reg Riemer of RCTS Canada all had lots of fun. Jerry continued to polish the engine up with new ideas and help from some of his friends.

For more info on Jerry Marcell see his Facebook page at

See Jerry’s story on the V8 at bottom of this page below the photo album.

Click this link Jerry_V8_Story_v4.docx to download at word document of Jerry’s Story on the V8 in his words;


Jerry’s custom Engineered V8 engine project circa 1992 - 2017

My wife Katherine and I decided to retire in Laughlin, Nevada after 25 years with Kawasaki. She moved in 1992 and I would follow her in 1996. On a return trip back to Costa Mesa, California from Laughlin the idea of a V8 from 2 Kawasaki 1050cc cylinder heads developed in my head. As I drove I thought of the most important problem that could develop - was there enough room to sandwich the cylinders on a given bore to bore center to make web thickness on the crank and main bearing widths. I made a quick sketch and started a new engine design in CAD when I got home. Dimensions were favorable, 10 mm web on crankshaft, 14 mm main bearing.

From here on the layout became fun. A recall of the ZX1100 cylinder heads at this time, to remedy a small casting leak, gave me the opportunity for a supply of heads and they were a good model to use.

The engine was built with scrap parts, normally useable with minor repairs.

In the next two years I completed the design, production drawings, patterns, castings, machining, and all parts procurement.

After finishing the two crank case patterns on my patio in Costa Mesa, my Japanese manager made an offer to assist with the project. I did all my work during evenings and weekends. I supplied him with full reports on the project with drawings and he let me keep the engine when project was done. That was too good to pass up!

Mid 1994 we were ready for the first dyno run and with one small change in wiring, it fired up which was hard to believe. The run was cut short as there was no return oil to the tank. Easy enough to fix, we added an oil return on the end opposite to the cam chain drive, went from Kawasaki 40-50 weight oil to mobile one and never had an oil problem since. We actually had several dyno runs in the tuning process, about 5th or 6th run we hit 277 HP @ 10500 RPM, the sound was everything, I think my continuing on the project was just to improve the sound.

The rest of the story is just endless fun, after retiring in 1996, I put engine in storage a few years while I did consulting design work on Solidworks and played lots of golf. In 2010 I took the engine back to my garage in Laughlin, Nevada and I teamed up with Rob Burg of Classic Restoration in Bullhead City, Arizona. With his help the machining mods and further tune up and refinements to all the custom parts I built and installed during my last days working at Kawasaki were completed. Most notable new mod is new ECU from my friend Reg Reimer, of RCTS, an HKS F-Con V-Pro complete high speed and accurate fuel injection and electronics ignition timing control made by HKS Co. Japan, tuned and setup by Reg.

“The great V8 lives”, its just an amazing feeling to be able to sit down and design and build an engine project, as well to see it through to the end, build, run, listen and watch the engine improve and perform. It’s just fantastic.

Jerry Marcell

Details on the engine:

Started design 1992

Design on generic CAD, 2D

Patterns for crankcase were done wedge, cut, and glue

Patterns for sump and front cover were done on CNC

Note that intakes are up and exhaust are out, LH head turned 180 DEG and cam drives were put back on front side

Mikuni billet machine throttle bodies made to fit ZX1100 cylinder heads

Doing a crankcase breather hole length of case, be careful running that program

Crankshaft design by me, machined by Scat, Carillo rods, J&E pistons, front gear set by traction products, Weisman transmissions, fuel injectors JES

First dyno run 1994, 270 hp @ 10500 RPM [Electromotive ECU]

Twin oil pumps and twin water pumps from ZX1100

Exhaust pipes muzzy, inverted

Valve train and cams standard ZX1100