We’ve seen some pretty spectacular Yamaha builds, but this is by far the most well built Yamaha we have ever seen. Bar none, we just needed to get that out of our system… This YXZ1000R strikes a chord with everyone who sees it because it is so different than a stock car. Why does it look so different? Well, that’s the Penhall fabrication touch…
Kent Pfeiffer and his loving family have been involved with racing for many years, growing up in the motocross community and competing multiple racing sanctions. While they had to put their racing passions to the side for a good portion of their lives, focusing on work, family, and other goals, the family never lost the bug to zip up a fire suit and strap a race helmet on their heads.
So, Kent went through lots of research when he was looking at the UTV world. He found that the market was full of so many capable vehicles that would allow the family to compete that they had to make a tough decision of which chassis to start with. They instantly fell in love with the YXZ chassis, and they knew just who to go with to build the car of their desert racing dreams.
Penhall fabrication has been around seemingly since custom tube-chassis vehicles become a staple in the off-road market. Specifically, the Penhall family started the business in 1982, and they have won several desert racing Championships, along with accumulating many wins. With this history and a burning desire to build a UTV that could do out and rip up the desert racing scene, Jerry Penhall and Kent got together on this Yamaha build. They knew they wanted to build a car that was unlike any other – one that infused the dynamics that Yamaha built into this top-notch UTV along with the desert know-how that Penhall has accumulated over the years.
The chassis on this Yamaha has undergone a complete transformation. As you can see in the pictures, there isn’t much left of the original YXZ chassis left. However, that isn’t a bad thing. The creative and diligent minds at Penhall expanded, literally and figuratively, on what Yamaha had as a basis for this car, and make it more of a bonafide desert taming machine.
Look close and you will see the precision welds, the specifically placed reinforcement plates for gusseting, and the incredible craftsmanship. No detail was laid to waste here – Kent knew that he was going all-in on this build. We were enamored with the desert-ready components. Look at the long trailing arms, specifically placed shock mounts and angular precision of the shocks. The front is made with the same precision – high clearance a-arms are found up here with more of the same ideal shock angles to make the desert seemingly disappear in this car.
Kent told us that he is planning on running this car in the Unlimited classes as long as possible, and that made him think about the engine setup that he was going to run. With the open rulebook in this class, Kent looked at the powertrain and decided that he could make some changes to gain some low-end grunt out of this engine. For those who have driven the YXZ1000R, you will know that the engine has SO much power up on top – it’s made to be a street bike engine – but it’s lacking slightly on the bottom. Kent made the decision to hop up the power and try a supercharger on the car. In addition, there is a slick alternator that is driven off of one of the driveshafts to power the external KC HiLiTES on the car. Other than that, there really isn’t much changed on the powertrain side of things. Axles are custom length from RCV, there are extra cooling supplies in the form of a larger radiator.
Yes, I was one who thought this was an amazing car, just looking at it. Then, Kent told me to get into the passenger seat…
With the fully custom car build here, I thought the weight of this car would be significantly more. Not so! I was so surprised with how light this car is on it’s STI feet. Even the longer wheelbase doesn’t phase it; Kent easily threw this car into corners, lifted it into the air off of jumps, and pushed through 3’ whoops with the floating genes of a trophy truck up on top of them. All of this was had with phenomenal sight lines out the front and an open cockpit that hugs you in the Sparco seats and makes you feel right at home. Would I race this car?! Absolutely!
All in all, the Pfeiffer family and Penhall Fabrication have joined together to build one heck of a desert race car out of the Yamaha chassis. Look for them in the Best in the Desert series – we can’t wait to see this car winning races very soon!