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Jan 01, 2016, 03:44 AM
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Build Log

Joel Johnson's World Championship Kyosho Ultima Restored


Some may remember how Joel Johnson won the 1987 IFMAR 2WD championship with the then recently released Kyosho Ultima 2WD 1/10 scale racing buggy. And what made this even more special, is that second and third place were also taken by Team Kyosho drivers, making this a full sweep. Interestingly enough, Kyosho had boldly announced their new Ultima as "the next World Champion" and managed to back up this claim. This event clearly established the Ultima as a great racing car.

This is how the full podium looked that day:




Luckily the event was also captured on video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=h1pS_EHG0MA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=4vQ-SNdrObU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=670eXEOTm-8


More info can be found on this page: http://www.liverc.com/news/special_f...with_video%29/


My friend and fellow vintage car fan Daniel Rowlands, has had the privilge of restoring the original car that Joel has raced with that day, and asked me to post something about this here.

Here some highlights from the rebuild process will be shown, for the full story, and all pictures, please check here: http://www.studio68.no/rc/default.asp?id=84


First a picture on how car (and driver) looked that day:






Many years later, the car had been quite well preserved, but altered at some points, and still missing some important bits:






Daniel aimed to recreate even the smallest details on how the car was setup that day, including details like a few coins that had been attached to the chassis plate, for better weight balance:




Also, the rear shock tower had the screws flush with the plate, so the ESC could be mounted flat against it. A new plate had to be adapted, to recreate this:




Identical NiCad batteries had to be sourced, as well as the other electronics:




The wing that came with the car as Daniel received it, had different decals added to it, because it was also used in a different race. To preserve that wing, a replica, with repro decals was arranged. Bit by bit the car started to come together:








You can see the shell has some small paint damage, but it still looked so well that no repro body was needed, and the car could be kept as original as possible. With everything put back on, this is the final result:










And to make full circle, this "past-present" picture was made, when the car was returned to it's owner:




Big credits to all that participated in this restoration, and helped Dan to get this piece of RC racing history back into shape again.
Last edited by SoloProFan; Jan 01, 2016 at 04:42 PM.
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Jan 01, 2016, 10:24 AM
Buggy in style
That's very interesting. My cousin had an Ultima back in the days.
Jan 01, 2016, 03:11 PM
This is BAT country!
Gonzo 1971's Avatar
That is really cool. I had an ultima in 1990 or 1991
Why the diff number on the body?
Jan 01, 2016, 04:44 PM
Fan of just about anything RC
SoloProFan's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzo 1971
That is really cool. I had an ultima in 1990 or 1991
Why the diff number on the body?

The side by side picture isn't totally comparable. Between races some things were altered, you can also see that front and rear rims were different color. From what I understand is that the car was restored to the condition as it was in at the last race. Other pictures do show the number 3, and yellow rims front and rear:






The 3rd video, around 4:14, shows someone picking up Joel's car, after weighing it, clearly showing the number 3, and yellow wheels. This was shot after the race, when the car was checked for proper weight, etc.
Last edited by SoloProFan; Jan 01, 2016 at 04:50 PM.
Jan 02, 2016, 01:51 AM
This is BAT country!
Gonzo 1971's Avatar
I understand. I assumed there was a reason. Really cool.
Jan 04, 2016, 12:06 AM
Registered User
Hi Guys,

Thanks Henk for posting this

To answer the queries. Joel wanted the car restored to as it left the track when he won the world title so that's what I did

He ran it once again after his world title win, at the Reedy race in 1988. The shock towers were changed, wheels removed as well as the gearbox. The car was then put away into storage until July when he found it and sent it to me.

The pic of the car with number 7 and rear white wheels was taken during qualifying, he qualified 3rd for the A mains and changed the rear wheels to yellow.

The race number on the rear wing when it arrived at my place was 091 whereas he was number 084 with his Ultima in 2wd. Myself, Joel, Ernie (Trinity owner) and others all looked into this and it turns out he used the exact same wing for 4wd which followed the 2wd championship. He removed the wing from the Ultima and fitted it to his Optima Mid prototype. Unsurprisingly his race number changed from 084 to 091 and he had a few different sponsors for 4wd too so changed some of the decals on the wing.

Joel said the things that really won him the title were the rear tyres, he was the only one with them. The Kyosho square blocks (W5031) were 'hooked up', he literally didn't change the car for the whole event - didn't even remove the motor, skim or change brushes. Fantastic. Others, including Cliff Lett were studying the car closely as they couldn't believe he was so relaxed whilst others were frantically wrenching on their cars

My Mum actually searched for a few weeks and eventually found the 2 x 1 coins that were fitted to the chassis for weight distribution, both coins are from 1987.

Hope that helps!

Dan
Last edited by wydraz; Jan 04, 2016 at 12:13 AM.
Jan 04, 2016, 12:16 AM
Registered User
Whilst I had the original, I couldn't miss the opportunity to make a runner/replica of my own.



and here are my kids with the car shortly before I mailed it back to Joel in California. They didn't think it was as cool as their Dad and you can almost hear me shouting "smile!" from behind the camera

Jan 15, 2016, 02:28 PM
Time For Me To Fly!
fastmax's Avatar
This is incredible! Thanks for sharing. It really makes me want to do up a replica of my own. I have always loved the Ultima. Wish I still had mine from back in the 80's.
Latest blog entry: My Volantex SR48 Journey
Jan 15, 2016, 03:55 PM
Fan of just about anything RC
SoloProFan's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastmax
This is incredible! Thanks for sharing. It really makes me want to do up a replica of my own. I have always loved the Ultima. Wish I still had mine from back in the 80's.

Hi Max, good to see you here again, buddy!

Glad you like this topic, but main kudos go to Dan, for his work on the car, Joel for offering his precious buggy for restoring, and various other people that helped to gather the parts needed. I'm just a messenger/relay-station.
Latest blog entry: For the love of the hobby!
Jan 18, 2016, 05:35 PM
Drydock Captian
Massey's Avatar
Back in the day your laps were counted by the race director or someone hired to count laps and they did so by your car number. You may be one number in the heat races but another number in the mains. There were usually stickers at the track for this. Usually if 2 of the same number car were in the same main, the guy with the better qualifying time got to keep their number and the lower qualifier had to change. This was how they did things before transponders became small and cheap enough for us regular guys to have. I remember racing as a kid and having to change numbers all the time.
Jan 18, 2016, 06:15 PM
Time For Me To Fly!
fastmax's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoloProFan
Hi Max, good to see you here again, buddy!

Glad you like this topic, but main kudos go to Dan, for his work on the car, Joel for offering his precious buggy for restoring, and various other people that helped to gather the parts needed. I'm just a messenger/relay-station.
Howdy Henk! It's nice to have a little free time again. Finally starting to get settled in at the new house.

Buggy is gorgeous! Awesome to be able to see someone bring it back to its former glory.
Latest blog entry: My Volantex SR48 Journey
Jan 19, 2016, 03:32 PM
Fan of just about anything RC
SoloProFan's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Massey
Back in the day your laps were counted by the race director or someone hired to count laps and they did so by your car number. You may be one number in the heat races but another number in the mains. There were usually stickers at the track for this. Usually if 2 of the same number car were in the same main, the guy with the better qualifying time got to keep their number and the lower qualifier had to change. This was how they did things before transponders became small and cheap enough for us regular guys to have. I remember racing as a kid and having to change numbers all the time.
Thanks for the info, gives some good background info on racing back in those days.


Quote:
Originally Posted by fastmax
Howdy Henk! It's nice to have a little free time again. Finally starting to get settled in at the new house.

Buggy is gorgeous! Awesome to be able to see someone bring it back to its former glory.

Good to see you back, and I agree, nice to see guys like Dan getting the opportunity to work on these classics, and sharing the results on the internet.
Latest blog entry: For the love of the hobby!
Feb 15, 2016, 02:55 PM
Registered User
cannondale1974's Avatar
This was a very cool story, thanks for posting! Anyone know what Joel Johnson is up to these days? Is he still racing?
Jul 20, 2016, 08:03 AM
Registered User
Hi Dan, great stuff! Would you tell me how you managed to paint the stripes on the side of your replica? Also, could you tell me where I might be able to find the same wing and wing mount? Thanks!
Last edited by bburlein; Jul 20, 2016 at 08:04 AM. Reason: typo
Aug 01, 2017, 08:18 AM
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Sad to have to bring the news that Daniel has lost his short battle with cancer a few weeks ago. Apart from losing a great guy, with a deeply rooted love for, and knowledge of vintage rc cars, my sympathy goes to his family that he leaves behind.

http://www.oople.com/forums/showthread.php?t=191400
Latest blog entry: For the love of the hobby!


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