Last week the vintage Kyosho community has been on fire regarding rumors of a late 2019 rerelease of the 1987 World Champion winning Kyosho Ultima 2WD buggy. Until now I have been very careful in commenting on those, as I have spent the last days digging into the rumors. I wouldn’t have my say on this until I had more than one independent confirmation or denial if this rumor had any substance to it.
For starters, the (internal) Kyosho documents I was presented in mid-November 2018, that laid out the plans for Kyosho well into 2019, did not have any mention of an Ultima rerelease, although it revealed the plans for an early 2019 rerelease of the Turbo Optima (see the report here). That itself really didn’t contradict the rumor, that said the Ultima was to be released in late 2019, as the papers really focused mostly on the first half of the year. What I did hear in context to these papers, was that the sales of the Turbo Optima would be considered as a make or break deal for the new Kyosho management in deciding if they should go forward with the Legendary Series, and extend it into the next obvious platforms, that (although not mentioned specifically) would be the Ultima first, and even the Optima Mid platform next.
Today I have been able to get my second independent confirmation from people in the Kyosho “sphere” about the situation. For obvious reasons I can’t say more about the origins of this info, but just believe me that I do have contacts both inside Kyosho, and people outside with decades of close connections to Kyosho. What I now have multiple independent confirmations of is that NOTHING HAS CHANGED since what I reported back in November 2018. That means the Turbo Optima is on schedule for the Shizuoka trade fair in May 2019, and will be announced very soon. I’m still guessing February/March, but I will not be surprised if they let the cat out of the bag even earlier. It also means that NO DECISION HAS BEEN MADE REGARDING AN ULTIMA RERELEASE, and the rumors of a late 2019 Ultima are not accurate. I have been told, once again, that the fate of the Legendary Series rests upon the sales of the upcoming Turbo Optima, which is seen as a gauge of the profitability of rereleases by the new Kyosho management. The Turbo Optima 2019 is a low-risk release, as Kyosho already have most of the parts needed for it. The Ultima is a different platform and comes at a much higher cost and risk to rerelease, as most parts will have to be designed and produced from scratch. EDIT: Due to the relatively small numbers of parts on the Ultima, it might not be such an expensive nor complicated rerelease to do after all, and could maybe even be rereleased late 2019 if the Turbo Optima sales are good from the very start. These are just my thoughts, and nothing I have heard or been told by anyone.
The bottom line is that if you want to see an Ultima (or even an Optima Mid) rerelease, maybe not as soon as late 2019, but probably more realistically in 2020 (but who knows?), YOU MUST MAKE SURE TO BUY THE TURBO OPTIMA 2019. It’s actually in our hands now, as we decide the future of the Legendary Series ourselves! If we want the Ultima (and even the Mid) we must all buy the Turbo Optima to show Kyosho that it’s worth the risk to continue investing in the Legendary Series.