Project: Kyosho Optima Mid

Aktualisiert: 2. Jan 2019


As is wrote in my Kyosho Optima post, I never ran the Kyosho Optima Mid back in the days. I drove my rear motor Optima in a time, when others switched to the Mid Ship Optima. Then I jumped as Kyosho team driver straight to the Kyosho Lazer. Of course I knew, the Optima Mid was an awesome car. The strong drivetrain and the optimized suspension geometry made it to one of the strongest 4WD buggies out there. Especially, when the Mid Custom came out - with the longer wheelbase. At this time, the german Kyosho team was pretty strong with this car and it followed a very succesful series of important wins around Europe.

Because the ultra bumpy mud/grass/dirt tracks we had in Germany, drivers switched pretty quick to longer front shocks, what mean the rear shocks to the front. This resulted much more up and down travel, than the stock configuration. Perfect for our tracks. This became pretty popular at the end of the 80´s.

When the re-release Kyosho Optima came out, I had the idea to make my own Mid Ship Motor Optima finally. I found an unused Optima Custom Special in Sweden, where it seems, Kyosho was quite popular there back in time. So I started making drawings for my personal neo vintage version with long front shocks, optimized shock towers with optimized suspension geometry and a chassis made to hold a low shorty Lipo battery.

Because I am a fan of the Pro Optima body, I decided to order a repro body and make it fit to the new chassis.

And yes - I slammed this body as low as possible!

I really love the look and function of the long front shocks. Endless suspension travel!

Shocks and CVD drive shafts are from Mayonnaise-RC, Hong Kong. The look and feel is 99% Kyosho. The drive shafts has a very good quality! I use springs from the RC10 Factory Team spring set, what you still can buy.

To have some more shock position options, I put the rear shocks behind the shock tower. Now you can angle them a little bit more. I also made a new wing mount from aluminium to allow a lower position of the RC10 Worlds Car wing.

Again - Lunsford turnbuckles for the win! I use for all my Kyosho cars Xray ball ends and ball studs. Much more robust and much more angle possible. I also made some 3D printed c-hubs with more caster. Spot the washers under the ball studs for zero bump steer. The brown coloured Mayonnaise RC CVD drive shaft.

The bottom of the new chassis. Already some scratches from vintage racing. Ha!

I cutted the original bumper a little. Shocks are mounted on the c-hubs. This position works best. The sway bar with Xray ball ends/studs. I also optimized the inner positions for upper suspension linkage for less camber gain.

Rear view. I made a new RR suspension plate to bolt the rear sway bar mounts on. Bending some wire is not rocket science!

For this project I use a LRP Flow X speedo. At the last vintage race in Langenfeld/Germany I used a boosted 13.5T Reedy Sonic. But for the next race I bolted a 8.5T Reedy on the shiny gear plate. This thing handles the power!

I use the re-release Optima rear hubs and suspension arms. I really love to use insert on the hubs to change toe-in on the rear - finally! I also changed the original gear diffs to the option ball diffs. The ball diffs working surprisingly well. The other reason to use them is, to have a little slipper funktion, because the original "slipper" of the spur gear is not very effective. And I don´t want a melted spur gear on a race.

A closer look at the front knuckle set-up.

Only the best. Highest LP servo and modern electronics. This thing is made for vintage racing! Hex screws for the Lexan belt cover.

After first testing on high grip tracks, I found the weight is too low with 1280 grams (race-ready). This is, why I hate vintage racing on high grip tracks. The low weight made the car very hard to drive on Astro racks. I had many roll overs in the sharp corners. Remember: A light car has always a higher center of gravity. The only solution is to put much as possible weight in your car to calm it down a little. Watch the steel plates under the battery and extra weights everywhere on the chassis. I put 120 grams extra weight in the chassis, what helped a lot.

The weight plates from 1.5mm stainless steel. The Reedy Lipo battery is amazing! The white 48dp spur gear is from RW racing.

I like the clean look. I will have fun for the next 20 years with this car.

This car never gets old now. And the performance on the track is insane!

There is also a weight plate under the electronics.

The Mid is a true performer today. The suspension works awesome and the handling over the bumps and jumps is great!

At the VOREM2018 in Langenfeld/Germany I was able to make a second place in the 90´s class.

From run to run it was more fun to drive this beast!

Ups! I have to work on my lines next time.

Video of the VOREM2018 Vintage Meeting. 4WD Class with my Optima Mid starts at 7:00.


On the super bumpy track in Langenfeld the Mid Ship Optima was at home. Spectactular driving there. So much fun! I never had any technical issues there. I went from pretty thin shock oil to very heavy at the end. That made the car much easier to drive. Easy to understand, that the Mid Optima was the weapon of choice back in the days. Super durable, easy to adjust and very fast to drive. Yes, there also was the Schumacher Cat and the Yokomo there as rivals. But if I had a time machine to travel back, I would drive this one for sure! And who of us would not go back into the 80´s, the best time of our lives?

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© 2019 Michael Vollmer