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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Part 1 (Friday 7th August 2015)

Let's start with credits (updated as we go, hope I don't miss anyone!):

Project: Joel 'Magic' Johnson 1987 Ifmar 2wd world champion Kyosho Ultima
Project web hosting: Tom Erik Gundersen
Front & Rear Shock towers: Jeff Malar (aka gomachv)
Rear wheels: Naushad Ali Junglee & Thomas Russell
Cells: Thomas Russell
Trinity Motor: Cedric Devillers
Suspension arms: Carlos Oca
Rear motor guard: Carlos Oca
Thorp differential: Darren Stehr
Steering Servo: Ross Aloise
Decals: Nathaneal Ellis at MCI Racing
Lots of bits and being the other half of the team ;o): Dirk Anderson (who incidentaly also competed in the '87 worlds for Kyosho)

Invaluable stories, advice help and laughs:

Joel Johnson (AKA)
Dirk Anderson (OSRC)
All friends on Iconic RC and OSRC
Jim Dieter (Trinity)
Ernie Provetti (Trinity)
Steve Pond (Kyosho/RCCA)
Randy Pike (Tekin)
Graves RC in Orlando FL for their friendly service and litespeed dye

Hello fellow R/C nuts.
I'd like to start by thanking everybody above - all have been immensely helpful since Joel and I announced that we were working together on his iconic/legendary/worlds winning Ultima. A little bit about me. I'm from England, have been racing since 1987 and am mostly a Kyosho fan. My first car was a Turbo Optima Mid which served me very well and I even won a few local races. As with a lot of people, I went to study and R/C took a back seat - only to re-emerge stronger than ever in 2002 when I moved to Scotland with work and found there was a track nearby. I now live/work (temporarily) in Muscat which is South of Dubai and collect vintage buggies - the collection currently stands at around 90 cars....a mixture of runner, shelf queens and new in box. In 2014, Jamie Booth (SMD main man & R/C legend) and I worked together to restore his very well known prototype Egress from 1990 - this in part set the scene for Joel's famous Ultima to see the light of day for the first time since he ran it at the 1988 Reedy race, the only other time he ran the car after becoming 2wd world champion in 1987 in Romsey, England. A funny thing that happened already - myself, Dirk, Tom and Steve Pond were discussing the wheels and how to ensure we get the rare Kyosho front yellow Tomahawk rims. I was on holiday in Orlando at the time and had found some Fluoro yellow Litespeed Dye in a box of old bits at Graves RC hobbies - literally a few hours later Steve said that exact dye is what is needed to obtain Kyosho yellow - I rushed back to the shop and bought all 3 packets! What a coincidence!

Over the coming weeks/months, Tom and I will be updating this page with build/restoration progress and a lot of detailed pics - unfortunately work sometimes gets in the way so please bear with us - it will be worth it to see the car returned to the same state it was when Joel carried it off the track after his victory. Tom's website already contains a lot of info on Joel and the car itself - I would recommend watching the 3 legs of the A finals on YouTube, great watching. For now, here are some quotes and memories of the race from Joel and Ernie:

"When I landed in England I didn't think I had any chance of winning the race - Kyosho actually released an advert saying the Ultima was going to be the next world champion prior to the race! I believe the rear tyres were our advantage, they gave superior grip! It was an amazing event and thanks to everyone for the attention to detail with the rebuild."

Ernie (Trinity):
"Good news - I found my notes for that race....28 years ago, lol. We did run a pure gold motor. We did not arrive with that motor. When I saw the layout and the lack of me it looked like an onroad track! We could use a lot more power than we could on a normal powered off road dirt track! I called Trinity and a custom wound motor was shipped that day federal express to England. At that time it was the first Triple Wind we had ever done! It was a rocket and never came out of the car! Ernie"

"So many great stories from that race! Joel qualified as an "alternate" for that race! We had no illusions of doing anything there until we saw the track! The second I saw the track I knew we could win! We had run very little off-road. Everyone had written us off! At one point Joel had run about 5 charges and we were in the top 3. I asked him though why aren't you working on the car! He never touched it and everyone else was tearing the cars down every run! He said to runs pretty good and why take a chance of ruining it. Smiling face with smiling eyes. By the end of the week everyone was looking at our car! We were pitting near Cliff Lett, Associated's chief designer. He was checking Joel's car out. That was the ultimate compliment, as Lett was one of the most knowledgable set up guys ever in RC. Honestly we never even changed the shock oil and won as an "alternate" (since someone else could not go) I guarantee you this will NEVER be done again!!!!!"

More soon.....a couple of pics are attached of my preparations for the rebuild - including moving my entire workdesk into our bedroom.....needless to say Mrs. Rowlands will get a big bunch of flowers....


The eagle eyed may notice that the race number on the rear wing is different. Our shows 091 instead of 084. Joel actually used the same wing in 4wd and changed some decals and the race number ;-)

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