20 years have passed since the MINI-Z was born in 1999. Since its debut, people have been fascinated by the beautifully crafted bodies and sporty driving characteristics of the 1/28 scale RC car that fits on the palm of your hand. So much so, the MINI-Z has become the major part of the KYOSHO brand portfolio. In this commemorative year of 2019, we asked the original MINI-Z developers about the development of the MINI-Z and their thoughts about the next 20 years.
KYOSHO CORPORATION R&D Group Product Development Submanager
The original creator of the MINI-Z, Hiroyoshi Ishikawa said “I want people who like cars to touch the MINI-Z.” Kohei Iwasaki, who now leads the development team and succeeded Ishikawa, is an avid fan of cars and motorcycles. On a day off, he is known inside Kyosho to go on serious road trips. “There are a lot of people who love RC cars in the company and joined Kyosho.
However, I am a little different from everyone. I have always liked RC cars that can be experienced as if you are driving a real car. I joined Kyosho in 2003 and have been involved in the development of the MINI-Z since 2011. Since I became a developer, my commitment has been to make the MINI-Z a model that drives like a real car.”
The FWD chassis released in 2017 was the first chassis to embody the ideas of Iwasaki. “From the planning stage my first machine was designed as a front wheel drive. Up until this point, MINI-Z models were rear wheel drive or 4WD, even if the original car was a front wheel drive. If you like a body style, it made sense that you would want the drive system to replicate the same drive system as the original car.
The MINI-Z has evolved over three generations from 01 to 03, so it can even be enjoyed in racing competition. Instead of continuing the chassis into its 04 generation, a new front wheel drive chassis was developed. Many barriers had to be overcome in order to realize my plan to develop a chassis with front wheel drive performance. However, I wanted to make a MINI-Z that feels like a real car and I wanted to create something totally new. That’s what this FWD is all about.”
The FWD was born from Iwaskai’s drive and passion for the project and wrote a new chapter in the history of the MINI-Z. Embraced by existing MINI-Z fans from its release, the FWD created an exciting new race category. Iwasaki achieved his aim of recreating the MINI-Z FWD in the form and image of real FWD cars.
This was supported by the wide range of suggestions received from around the world in response to the ‘MINI-Z New Body Idea Campaign’ to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the MINI-Z.
“When I read the hundreds of posts submitted for the campaign, I realized the magnitude of people’s expectations. For 20 years the MINI-Z has been going strong, and there are not many hobby products that have been adored by fans and continued to be produced and sold for this period of time.
We will continue to respect what people love about the MINI-Z; beautifully finished car bodies, wide range of body style variations, and the fascination of adjusting the chassis setup. This is my commitment to stay on the original road for the MINI-Z”.