Rejuvenating the Zebra Optima

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Coelacanth
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Re: Rejuvenating my Optima

Post by Coelacanth »

Although I consider my original Zebra Optima restoration finished, I've never stopped being on the lookout to add gold aluminum-nums whenever I can. I saw adam lancia offering these Optima "heavy duty joint cups" for sale in the B/S/T section and bought 2 pairs. I figured they'd be like Thorp hardened steel parts or something. I couldn't have been more surprised or pleased when these gold nuggets showed up! :o
GoldOutdrives.jpg
The back-story on this Optima:

My first hobby-grade RC was The Frog. I hated it because no matter how much I tried to upgrade the damn thing, it still handled like a POS. It was a beautiful car though, black with lime green & electric blue stripes, blue aluminum-nums like the sideguards, etc...and I ended up selling it to some kid. I eventually saved up for an original Optima. I later purchased the Gold Celebration chassis kit and here it is. I actually drove the car quite a bit back then, this was no shelfer (you can tell). I even ran it a few summers ago after restoring it, I posted a vid earlier in this thread. :twisted: I don't believe in shelf-queens. Fortunately, the car was never crashed and none of the gold parts are bent; just a few pits & scuffs here & there.

About the time I lost interest in the hobby, this Optima was modded as an on-road car with a Parma 1969 Charger body, home-made brass body mounts, Velcro, sponge tires...it was a rather poor attempt, but what you'd expect from a guy who was about 20 at the time. :oops: It looked pretty sad when I brought it out of my silver-and-purple Kyosho buggy bag! But then I ended up discovering this forum and it's host of evil enablers and got motivated to restore it properly. (I first registered on some other forum, but it was mostly a ghost-town; you'd make a post and if you were lucky, get a reply or two a week later.) :roll: Even though I have no RC10's, I somehow ended up here and this site became my RC hobby home-away-from-home.

You freaks enabled me in spending way too much time and money--even as thrifty as I am--and I restored my Gold Optima and ended up building 3 more! Damn you! :lol:

At this point, I'd like to thank you all for allowing me to share all my projects and this car, the one that started it all. I think this one deserves to be retired to the shelf. Adam, thank you for the gold nuggets!

P.S. I'm still searching for Cross Racing gold C-carrier aluminum-nums. I know they exist, I just haven't found a set that's at a price I can justify. But if you have a set, PM me and we can work something out, hopefully.
ZebraOptima_BodyOff_Front1.jpg
ZebraOptima_BodyOff_Side2.jpg
ZebraOptima_BodyOff_Side1.jpg
Completed projects: CYANide Onroad Optima | Zebra Gold Optima | Barney Optima | OptiMutt RWD Mid
Gallery - Coel's Stalls: Marui Galaxy & Shogun Resto-Mods | FrankenBuff AYK Buffalo | 1987 Buick GNX RC12L3

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Re: Rejuvenating my Optima

Post by Coelacanth »

This is my Optima body that I painted and raced with (raced badly, I might add) back in '86 or maybe '87. This was looong before the "Moo Cow" paint job. To my knowledge, nobody had a zebra-painted body back then. My racing history was short-lived and far from the stuff of legends. I did have a few claims-to-fame in my local gymnasium-race-track career, however. I won a concours with this car in my first race with it. My second race, my battery fell out while racing. Some guy ran up and slapped in a 9.6V NiCad battery he had on hand, I punched the trigger, and promptly entertained everybody with the wildest crash seen at that track; I must've cartwheeled a half-a-dozen or more times off a jump. End of race. And my third race, I was leading the race when my battery crapped out within feet of the finish line. :lol:

So, racing isn't my strong point. :?

I love this body even though I hacked it up so bad BITD; the rear end cracked like they so often do with the original Optima bodies, so I chopped it off. I added the wing as the Optima tended to land front-heavy on jumps. But probably my biggest regret is cutting out those holes in the sides of the body to make room for an 8.4V battery. Oh well...the car gave me many memories and I'll always love my paint-job...it's unique and wild and badass, all at the same time. I've toyed with the idea of buying another repro body and painting it exactly the same, without the hack-jobs, but it still wouldn't feel the same. Kind of hard to explain.

As far as future projects go, I feel like I accomplished what I wanted to, and I don't have any idea where to go from here. Building more colored Optimas doesn't interest me. I'm not intrigued by revisiting the same paths I've already taken. If I can't come up with something wicked and wild, I'll resign myself to helping others on here and being a critic. I'll be tough, but honest & fair. I might not work on anything else, but who knows? Sorry if this comes off overly dramatic, but I've reached the summit and it seems the rest of the adventure would just be all downhill. :(

I love this forum and the members! Thanks to all of you for your comments, compliments, criticisms, and debates. Perhaps it's ironic and appropriate that this post brings me full-circle to how I first joined here, over 5000 posts ago.
ZebraOptima_Front1.jpg
ZebraOptima_Side.jpg
ZebraOptima_Rear.jpg
ZebraOptima_Front2.jpg
Completed projects: CYANide Onroad Optima | Zebra Gold Optima | Barney Optima | OptiMutt RWD Mid
Gallery - Coel's Stalls: Marui Galaxy & Shogun Resto-Mods | FrankenBuff AYK Buffalo | 1987 Buick GNX RC12L3

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hondaman
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Re: Rejuvenating my Optima

Post by hondaman »

One of my favorite optima's.. very nice.. isn't there some one who has gold shock collars?? Gotta lose those white ae shock collars.. :twisted: but seriously, love the optima..

Shawn

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Re: Rejuvenating my Optima

Post by Hcp22 »

Coelacanth wrote: As far as future projects go, I feel like I accomplished what I wanted to, and I don't have any idea where to go from here. Building more colored Optimas doesn't interest me. I'm not intrigued by revisiting the same paths I've already taken. If I can't come up with something wicked and wild, I'll resign myself to helping others on here and being a critic. I'll be tough, but honest & fair. I might not work on anything else, but who knows? Sorry if this comes off overly dramatic, but I've reached the summit and it seems the rest of the adventure would just be all downhill. :(

I love this forum and the members! Thanks to all of you for your comments, compliments, criticisms, and debates. Perhaps it's ironic and appropriate that this post brings me full-circle to how I first joined here, over 5000 posts ago.
There are lots of other models you can sink your teeth in, why not a hop-up Frog or a Lazer. And all your Optima leftovers, just rap them up and send them to me, I will put them to good use!

Seriously Marc, a hop-up Frog with brushless and modern tires would be cool! 8)
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Lars

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Re: Rejuvenating the Zebra Optima

Post by Coelacanth »

No thanks Lars, I have absolutely zero interest in owning another Frog, or any other flavor of Tamiya that was based on that chassis. :P
Completed projects: CYANide Onroad Optima | Zebra Gold Optima | Barney Optima | OptiMutt RWD Mid
Gallery - Coel's Stalls: Marui Galaxy & Shogun Resto-Mods | FrankenBuff AYK Buffalo | 1987 Buick GNX RC12L3

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Re: Rejuvenating the Zebra Optima

Post by Hcp22 »

Coelacanth wrote:No thanks Lars, I have absolutely zero interest in owning another Frog, or any other flavor of Tamiya that was based on that chassis. :P
That’s a poor excuse, make your own chassis :mrgreen:
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Lars

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Midas touched the Optima

Post by Coelacanth »

Although I consider this car finished, and I've basically retired it to the shelf due to the all-original Gold Celebration chassis, I've been on the lookout for any gold aluminum hop-ups I can find to see how much gold I can put on this car. I knew Cross made gold aluminum front C-carriers because some guy on eBay was trying to sell them for $65 or something for the pair...which is ludicrous. I tried messaging him asking if he wanted to keep relisting his items for months and months or actually liquidate his stock, but he never replied. As luck had it, another set turned up for about $30 and I snapped them up. The dork still has his up on eBay, a year later. Go, guy. :roll:

I also saw the gold axles recently but didn't want to just buy one set of fronts or rears, but I discovered crunchy had both sets...so I made him an offer and picked those up, too.

The long C-carriers require swapping the Optima front arms over to Kyosho Maxxum front arms.

MoreGoldParts.JPG

I found that the Trinity gold kingpins were a hair too tight in the Cross carriers, so the holes had to be filed out a bit with a rat-tail file or the wheels wouldn't turn smoothly.

Swapping to the Maxxum arms requires some additional modding so that the front stabilizer can be reinstalled; I had to bend a custom stabilizer wire...the same width in the middle with about a 37 - 38 degree angle bend up from horizontal on both sides, then I bent the ends perpendicular to the middle part, measured precisely so they'd slot into the Maxxum arms' stabilizer mounting posts. I had to do the same mod for my Barney car so I knew what to expect. It's not often I get to use my high school protractor...who knew that thing would come in handy? :) After the bends were made, I tweaked it until it would lay perfectly flat on the table before installing it.

MoreGold_Installed1.JPG

Not much to say about the rear gold axles; just swapped 'em in for the stock black steel axles. You can't really see them but I just think it's cool that they're gold to match the rest of the car. 8)

MoreGold_Installed2.JPG

I took care of some details that were nagging at me, like replacing the nasty white AE shock collars with some black ones.

I still have more plans for the Zebra Midas Optima...I'll swap out the fugly grey pot-metal front knuckles and rear hubs for some black aluminum units. I have a modern ESC to replace that blue LRP unit because the blue is bugging my eyes. I also plan to buy and paint a new wing that better suits my original in-your-face 80's paint job.
Completed projects: CYANide Onroad Optima | Zebra Gold Optima | Barney Optima | OptiMutt RWD Mid
Gallery - Coel's Stalls: Marui Galaxy & Shogun Resto-Mods | FrankenBuff AYK Buffalo | 1987 Buick GNX RC12L3

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Screwing around with gold

Post by Coelacanth »

Totally by chance, these caught my eye on eBay...gold-plated screws for the Optima. How can you go wrong for $12 bucks US? Even a regular screw set will set you back more than double that, not including shipping. 8)

GoldScrews1.jpg
GoldScrews2.jpg
Completed projects: CYANide Onroad Optima | Zebra Gold Optima | Barney Optima | OptiMutt RWD Mid
Gallery - Coel's Stalls: Marui Galaxy & Shogun Resto-Mods | FrankenBuff AYK Buffalo | 1987 Buick GNX RC12L3

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Re: Rejuvenating the Zebra Optima

Post by Dadio »

As an artist one of the hardest things to learn is to say "it's finished" but I'm sure you can get some gold leaf to finish her off :lol: seriously a very nice build , deeply impressive .
If a jobs not worth doing then its certainly not worth doing well.
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Re: Rejuvenating the Zebra Optima

Post by Welshy40 »

Wow!!! Stunning work!!! Well done!!!
Designer of the Lazer ZX / ZXR Tub Chassis (now available again from Fibre-Lyte)

Sponser links below
http://www.fibre-lyte.co.uk/
http://www.kamtec.co.uk/

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