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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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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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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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Been away with work and a holiday so progress has been slow. Originally planned to use the black chassis on the donor chassis however a brand new chassis came up on Ebay for just £9. I obviously purchased it and will paint it black for the project car. The old black chassis will now not need to be stripped off the car saving me some work!

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So I finally got some time to do some more work on the project.

Got the green car 90% stripped down and just need to do the rear end.

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This threw up a few surprises but the main one was that it is fitted with the lightweight aluminium chassis. This was an expensive upgrade and was fitted to the race car so that will be cleaned and used. The silver chassis I got will go back on this car painted black.

I managed to get the rare RX cover and switch cover as well

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These were on the race car as well so will be cleaned and fitted.

The fuel tank will be a challenge to sort but I have quite a good method so fairly confident based on the Turbo Burns tank I did in my other thread. Hot water and Denture cleaner works well but I will of course add the pictures here. The spring inside has corroded so need to sort a new one as well.

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The green car is just getting sold on so I have removed a few parts that are rare but don't suit the chassis. The car came fitted with the competition wheel nuts but not the competition wheels so they will be replaced with standard wheel nuts and the set plus a spare spanner I had sold on Ebay. They will make around £35 so a good money back opportunity. I will clean them all up before I list them.

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Lastly I need to have a think about the engine and what I fit back into the one I sell. The engine it has fitted is an OS Max 21RX-B which are worth around £150 used so if I can restore it I might keep it or sell it separately. I have another OS 21 that will suit the car nicely. I will make a decision once I have it stripped apart, it will depend on how bad the crank is stuck in the bearings.

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More progress over the Christmas break as I have some time off from work! A lot of work on a car that I am just selling on but a little tidy up will bring a better price and I had to strip it anyway!

 

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2 hours ago, acprc said:

The fuel tank will be a challenge to sort but I have quite a good method so fairly confident based on the Turbo Burns tank I did in my other thread. Hot water and Denture cleaner works well but I will of course add the pictures here. The spring inside has corroded so need to sort a new one as well.

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If you're dealing with a Steel part that has surface Rusted... go check out EvapoRust.

https://evapo-rust.com.au/

That stuff is magical, just dunk your rusty part in & the rust really disappears. 

(If it's a rusty and greasy part, degrease it with hot detergent or solvent first.)

They say it "works in minutes"... well not really :) at room temperature it'll take overnight if not a few days. But if you warm the liquid to like 80degC then reaction really starts humming along, you might be done before dinner time.

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3 minutes ago, WillyChang said:

If you're dealing with a Steel part that has surface Rusted... go check out EvapoRust.

https://evapo-rust.com.au/

That stuff is magical, just dunk your rusty part in & the rust really disappears. 

(If it's a rusty and greasy part, degrease it with hot detergent or solvent first.)

They say it "works in minutes"... well not really :) at room temperature it'll take overnight if not a few days. But if you warm the liquid to like 80degC then reaction really starts humming along, you might be done before dinner time.

Thanks for the tip. The spring in the tank has actually snapped as well so I will fish the remains out, measure it and replace it.

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6 minutes ago, acprc said:

Thanks for the tip. The spring in the tank has actually snapped as well so I will fish the remains out, measure it and replace it.

ahh ok, bad luck that's too far gone then

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Made a bit more progress,

I got the Green donor Sport stripped and started cleaning it, a few bits will need a second clean (pic below). Even though this will just be sold off I will try and make it presentable.

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The rest of the car was sorted into plastic pots depending on what needs doing to the parts. You will notice I got the chassis plate painted black ready for the Green donors rebuild.

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Went to start cleaning up the screws and my old trusty Dremel clone that I have had for about 15 years died with a wiff of smoke. ScrewFix in the UK had one on offer so treated myself to a proper Dremel.

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More pictures to come as I clean up the metal parts.

 

 

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Well the new Dremel made short work of the screws. All the heads polished up nicely. They will be put through the Ultrasonic now ready for refitting.

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Top deck for the donor has been sanded, polished and is now in primer. The alloy racing chassis from the donor has been sanded and washed ready for primer.

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Work continues on the donor car.

Top deck finished and painted ready to be built back up

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Most of the metal parts are now cleaned and surface rust removed with the Dremel where necessary.

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Had one setback, the centre diff bearing tube snapped off. Found a seller in Italy with a broken centre diff and the bit that was ok is the bit i need so ordered it.

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The new blue shocks from the replica are on their way to France and I have swapped them for a new set of original shocks. They will look superb and match the original winning car.

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The racing chassis has now been painted and is in the garage drying so I will soon be able to start swapping the parts over. The Mugen Athlete limited edition pink alloy chassis will then be sold. I reckon I can get approx £70 for it, we shall see.

Slow progress but getting there, will start to strip the engine down soon.

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Put the older EFRA exhaust on Ebay, should make around £60 for it. The donor will get the standard Mugen exhaust. I have a new EFRA for the replica.

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The lightweight racing chassis was painted and finished ready to build the replica up

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And I started to build up the donor car.

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The radio plate got some old Sanwa servos (tested working) as I am keeping the metal geared Sanwa's for the replica car. The servos were fitted with new mounting rubbers. The antenna post was also fitted. The battery holder has been fitted but the car wont be sold with any RX pack or holder. I can't do everything for the new owner! Really need the diff's from Italy now before I can get the rear end on. Progress though.

Found the original rear wing washers (the race car has them fitted) so purchased them from Ebay

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Getting there.

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