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Koji Sanada 1990 IFMAR World Champion Mugen Super Sport Replica Build

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Hi all,

A long introduction here so bear with me. Back in 2015 I purchased a 1/8 Mugen Super Sport Nitro Buggy to restore. I knew nothing about the brand at that time but it was cheap and it was nitro. The car looked like this when I first got it. They always make me shudder a bit when I first see them but I have some practice now at restoring things!

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Over a period of about 3 years I started to learn about the model, find parts, get instructions and restore the car. Parts are very hard to find and lots of bits had to be restored. I got lucky in finding a new clear bodyshell and pressed on with the restoration. Today the car looks like this:

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Loads of work, quite a lot of money and lots of searching for parts. Today the story changes a bit. I was aware that in 1990 Mugen won the IFMAR World Championship with Koji Sanada and Takashi Aizawa running a Mugen Super Sport. The idea came to me that I could build a replica of the winning car driven by Koji Sanada. A few pictures from the event in Thailand, first the winners podium and then the Mugen press photo with the cars that was done after the race.

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Koji Sanada's car is the one with the red nose and in the press photo wears number 7. There aren't many pictures of the cars (maybe 10) from the time and they used differeing numbers every race however it was this car I set out to replicate.

Now, not many pictures means not much info so I set about asking Mugen for information. Why, well because Koji Sanada is the CEO of Mugen today. I actually got a reply and found out more info on the cars spec. They don't exist anymore but some important info on engine type etc was forthcoming.

I already had the body so once again the excellent @jonboy1 has painted it ready. We deliberated for ages on the colour as the press photos and pictures from 1990 all look different. In the end we settled on Tamiya French Blue and I think it came out great. The spoiler actually isn't a Mugen part but a Kyosho Burns spoiler. Its the closest I can find and at a casual glance you will probably never notice. Once mounted and stickered it will be fine.

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I have the basic chassis but was missing some parts like the EFRA Exhaust, fuel filter, RX cover, black chassis plate (I didn't want to paint my nice alloy one) etc. Quite by chance a parts car appeared in Japan so I snapped it up. It will provide everything else I need.

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This car had all the bits I needed. Having confirmed with Sanada-san that the original engine was a Novarossi Nova 2000 fitted with a Mugen heatsink head I set about getting one and quickly found the bits I need. That restoration will be here soon.

Lots more to come as the car comes together. I think I now have everything I need apart from a good decal set (anybody help make some for me?) the OS air filter and a few small bits. Just need to get the work done now. The plan will be to build up the parts car again and sell it off using a combination of the two cars parts so I plan to document both chassis builds here.

Thanks for looking, stay tuned.

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Now this is special, will be watching this with loads of interest.

Today, I picked up this from the Aust Mugen Distributor, the latest incarnation of your resto

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Looks great @mtbkym01 and not a million miles away from the original designs.

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1 minute ago, acprc said:

Looks great @mtbkym01 and not a million miles away from the original designs.

Your exactly right, I was just discussing exactly this at my club on Sunday at a working bee with a Kyosho driver, he was saying if he lined up his Brothers original Burns with his current MP10, you can see that the design hasn’t changed a great deal in all that time. This new Kit, being the Worlds Edition from last years WC in Australia, even has centre dog Bones rather than Universals, so it appears what’s old is new again

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An update already! Found the missing OS Heavy Duty Air Filter in Italy on Ebay. The Mugen one is actually the same filter but branded Mugen. The IFMAR cars used OS branded ones with foam wrapped around them. The OS Heavy Duty Air cleaner set should have an outer plastic case but I guess the Mugen team removed that for weight reasons and just attached the foam to the filter.

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Decals!

The IFMAR cars wore a combination of the Mugen Super Sport decals and some customs ones. The two cars also differed as well. The 2nd place car had Sanwa sponsor stickers on it as well as a few others. I had previously managed to get a set that had been reproduced in France for my original restoration but looking at them today I don't think they are going to be good enough. The printing is quite grainy so I will need to sort something else out I think. I have never seen an original kit set or a scan of the originals.

I don't really want to get into designing them myself but if I have to I will do. If anyone does this sort of thing, please get in touch.

These are the ones I have:

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Apart from the bad quality of the decals as you say, I notice 2 details which are faulty (at least that's my assumption - of course I don't know how the decals should be in the original):
Powerd by Mugen should be called Powered.
The "O" at the big "Sport" looks to me like turned by 90°. Anyway, it looks somehow funny...
 

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10 minutes ago, scoobybooster said:

Apart from the bad quality of the decals as you say, I notice 2 details which are faulty (at least that's my assumption - of course I don't know how the decals should be in the original):
Powerd by Mugen should be called Powered.
The "O" at the big "Sport" looks to me like turned by 90°. Anyway, it looks somehow funny...
 

Believe it or not the originals are spelt like that! Lost in translation I think! The big O is offset but these don't go on the IFMAR cars anyway. The basic issue is that they have a slightly grainy texture and I want smooth ones.

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The box lid showing the Sport with the O at an odd angle

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Excellent !! . Once you've completed the car you need to go for the trophies  ;)

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Check with MCI racing to see if they can run you a set of decals.  Since you have a good sheet I would think they could duplicate it with better coloring?

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5 hours ago, tamiya3speed said:

Check with MCI racing to see if they can run you a set of decals.  Since you have a good sheet I would think they could duplicate it with better coloring?

Thanks. Will try that. I don't have any digital artwork though, just these. I am tempted to sort myself.

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So the second Mugen Super Sport arrived from Japan and this afternoon I got them together to take stock

The two cars together

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The left hand green one will yield a load of parts for the right hand car that are needed to make the replica

Original Mugen Fuel Filter

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The correct exhaust. I actually have two now so will probably use the used one and sell on the new one to make back some money

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The receiver and switch covers

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and the black chassis plate

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My restored car below will lose a few bits, namely the engine, pink chassis, pink hardware and eventually the blue shocks

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Correct Engine (Nova 2000) with the Mugen head

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and the already painted body

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So the plan of attack is as follows:

Strip down the green car, taking the parts from it I require (chassis, rx and switch cover, fuel filter)

Strip down the replica and remove the parts I dont need (pink washers, pink chassis)

Refurbish the black chassis and fit to the replica (Strip, sand, repaint)

Buy an original Mugen Sport chassis used and fit to the green car.

Sell the very rare pink chassis (its actually a limited numbered Mugen Athlete chassis) on Ebay

Find someone willing to swap a blue damper set for the original Sport silver ones. Should't be too hard as loads of collectors about.

Sell the OS engine from the replica and use the Novarossi Engine

Sell the NIB Mugen exhaust on Ebay

Sell the green Mugen Sport on Ebay

Sort my decal issue.

The end goal is to send the body to Mugen in Japan and try and get Koji Sanada to sign the shell.

 

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your old school competition replica builds are some of my favorite B) Please keep em coming! 

The black chassis is in really good shape as is.  Looking forward to seeing the next update... 

Mugen was unheard of to me until the modern buggies became very popular a few years ago at the local track. 

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9 hours ago, mtbkym01 said:

When you are ready to sell the green one, let me know 👍

Will do. I will get it all built up again and we can discuss.

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