Ok- This one is a little special. My Kyosho Ultima. I never had the Ultima back in time, but my inspiration to make something stupid, like this came from the guys, who made the wildest stuff back in the days, where drivers tried everything to go faster.
I updated this article at 2022. If you want to jump straight to the update, please scroll down to the end.
Maybe some guys remember the crazy modified Tamiya buggies from Jamie Booth, who has a contract with the japanese company. His Egress, or his Astute has not much left over from the original cars - and he was fast with them!
And there was a couple of german drivers, who did similar stiff with their Kyosho cars. When the team Associated RC10 stealth transmission came out, it set a new standard for gear transmissions - especially the very first really good working slipper clutch. This one was much better, than all the other transmission. Not only the slipper unit - also the nearly perfect ball diff made it outstanding.
The Ultima became World Champion 1987. The car from Joel Johnson was pretty modified with a carbon fibre chassis and different shock towers, but the rest looked pretty stock. Anyway, some guys tried many different things to make their Ultimas faster - in a time, where virtually every driver had to make modifications. No big deal. Some on them tried to install the new AE stealth transmission in their cars - and this with success! It was light years better, than any other transmission! And so I tried this on my special Ultima project as well.
Before we go to the details, enjoy the pictures. Yes, it is a Kyosho Pro Optima body!
Front view - neat and low body installation.
What do we have here? I took a RC10 graphite chassis plate as base and installed (with some serious cuts and new holes) the Ultima front suspension unit, the Team Associated stealth transmission and rear suspension from a mix of Optima arms and Team Associated RC10T rear hubs. I kept the Ultima steering rack and made the steering plate ball raced.
I made new optimized shock towers and a 3D printed rear bulkhead. The battery holders are the same, what I use on my Optima Mid. They are 3D printed as well. To use Optima rear arms I made the suspension mount from 2mm aluminium plates.
Rear view of the Ultima. RC10 stealth transmission. I used the original Ultima wing mounts.
Front view. Easy to spot - the RC10 c-hubs and steering knuckles with re-release Worlds Car axles for wider track. And yes, I use the Worlds Car front and rear rims.
Reedy Titanium 2x13 on the rear. Power!
I like the long wheelbase.
Without the wheel you can see the Team Associated front and rear hubs in white colour. With those parts we finally have a proper suspension geometry - many times better than the original Ultima stuff.
RC10 Worlds Cars rear wing as usual. I can´t remember how often I cutted this wing in my life. Hundreds of time at least. LRP Phaser FM reciever and Highest low profile servo.
LRP Quantum Bullet speedo. Nice and clean look.
The shocks came from the Hong Kong company with the beautiful name "Mayonnaise RC". I ordered a lot of them for all my Kyosho vintage projects. They are 100% replicas with pretty good quality. I only changed the o-rings against silicone ones and they work super smooth!
The wild mix of a RC10 transmission, Optima rear arms and RC10T rear hubs with RC10 re-release CVD´s. It works!
RC10 c-hubs, knuckles and axles there. As I wrote in my other posts, for Kyosho projects I always use Xray ball ends and ball studs. They will never pop-off when racing! It´s a bit tight a the front arms, if you also use a front sway bar, but it works! I added some brass weights behind the front shock tower. But I feel, 20g is not enough.
A closer look on the chassis and it´s battery holder. I use a low lipo shorty battery with some stainless steel plates beneath.
The stainless steel plates from 2mm material under the battery. The race ready Ultima weights 1290g, what is too light! The plates helps a little, but to drive this car on stupid Astro tracks, we need at least 1500g for a better handling. It is crazy! Back in the 80´s we did everything to get the cars lighter. We drilled and cutted everything and drove a swiss cheese around the tracks. I remember, I drilled M3 screws hollow to save weight. Today it is the complete opposite: we have to put a stupid amount of weight into the cars to handle them around the high grip carpet and Astro tracks.
And now the question, how did it drive? As most of my vintage models I did the first ride on the VOREM2017 vintage meeting in Langenfeld/Germany. At this time I used long shocks on the front - as show on this picture. When saturday practise the Ultima performed pretty well! The track was a little wet from the rain the night before. So not much grip on the Astro turf. The suspension worked very good trough the bumps and everything felt really good. But when the sun came out on sunday morning, the grip came back. With much more grip the Ultima was harder to drive with every run. It started to roll over on virtually every corner. This was the result of the light weigt and the long front shocks, what did not have enough progression with the long springs. As I posted I my previous reports, I took the challenge to drive 5 classes in one event. This was a absolutely stupid task. I had simply no time to make any changes on my cars. I jumped from one heat to another with not a single break to take care about my cars and their set-ups. So I decided to run only 3 classes for the rest of the day and my Ultima has spend the rest of the day under my pit table.
The Kyosho fleet on the back seat of my car.
For the next vintage meeting I am prepared. Shorter front shocks and some more weight will help to calm down the Ultima a lot! And I can´t wait to drive it again.
The last question is: Is it a Kyosho Ultima, or a Team Associated car? Maybe both. Compared to some cars back in the days, it is the typical crazy stuff we did usually. And it was no big deal with things, like this. No sensation. No wow. Just normal work, what we did on our cars to go faster.
Here starts the update from 2022!
Ok - since I build and raced my Ultima since 2017 so many things happend worldwide, it is pretty amazing. The humanity is stumbling from one catastrophe to another one. No chance for a break. We a close to a nuklear war and all I think is "why not? - Just another thing to worry about."
Anyway, things change and also most of my project cars change as well. There is always something to improve. The Ultima recieved some tweaks and is one of my best/fastest vintage buggies now.
The next big event was the Oldschool RC Euro Masters 2019 at the amazing RC Arena Limburg. Unfortunatelly they closed their doors after this event. I arrived with all my Kyoshos and chose the use the Optima Mid and the Ultima for racing. The Ultima got some short front shocks and a 200g brass weight as main change against the older version. The result was fantastic! I ruled my class from the beginning and the Ultima was on rails!
This event was a great chance to meet many old racers around Europe and it was so much fun!
Enjoy this great video from this event!
The british team was well prepared.
My name on top of my class - WOW!
My problem with racing is, that I am mostly pretty fast when training and qualifying. When it comes to the finals, I often get super nervous and make very stupid driving errors. I really do not understand, why I am got so nervous when I get older. Do I need some Yoga to calm down?
I ended up as 4th in my finale, but I knew my Ultima was a amazingly fast car! So it deserves some fresh parts and bits and updates.
The latest version of my Ultima. Many small things happend here.
It looks better than ever!
Here we go!
First of all I exchanged the shocks to the Kyosho re-release Optima shocks. The RC Mayonnaise shocks made me very unhappy when racing. They lost oil a lot and it was a pain on the race track. The new shocks are really good! I do love them a lot!
With the new shocks, the Ultima recieved also new shock towers with some small changes and optimized shock positions.
Old shock towers on top. The optimized below.
I decided to take Yokomo wing mounts, instead of the Kyosho original wing mount from plastic. Now it is easier to get acces to the gear cover and I could lower the rear wing position.
Much better now!
The car recieved black rear hubs, black gear box and black front hubs.
I made a small bumper from Kydex to protect the carbon fibre chassis. I also put some Ultima re-release front arms on the car. They will hold longer, than the original 30+ years old sisters.
I also put Kyosho re-release Optima rear arms in this car to make it a bit stronger when racing.
The steering rack is from the Kyosho re-release Ultima and is less brittle than the original.
The massive 170g brass front bulkhead from Chimera Model Sport helps on the jumps to keep the nose down. So I could remove all the lead weights from the chassis plate finally.
Back in 2017 I used a brushed speedo and motor. But if you want to race more, than 1 class per day, you get stress to keep the motors in your cars fit. I learned my lesson and put in most of my vintage cars brushless systems. So you can enjoy a vintage meeting much more with chatting with friends, instead of paniking around with worn armtures/brushes between the runs.
The massive 200g brass block at the front: good for super grip tracks
The block at the rear: good for less grippy tracks, or on the wet.
I also put titanium ball studs in my Ultima. For the looks, precision and the endless lifetime.
At the Race of legends 2022 in Langenfeld/Germany the Ultima was able to show it´s full performance. I won this race with a perfect and strong car!
First in 2WD and second in the 4WD class with my Kyosho Optima Mid. Good result!
I made it on top of the podium!
If you are building your childhood dreambuggy at this moment, go out and race it! Find a vintage meeting in your area and enjoy racing! Enjoy to chat with other old, or young farts, enjoy the old RC technology and imperfection. Improve your car on the same way you did it back in the days. Get back the adrenalin shot, when you drive your childhood dream car with other big kids, old farts with big belly. Take it serious and earn the most fun you can get since you stopped this amazing hobby because things, like career, family, or business. Now you are old enough to start again!