Kyosho Mooneyes street van

Kyosho Mooneyes street van

Patterelli, Louie

Moon Equipment Co. has been a part of American hot-rod history for over 35 years, and it contributed to the custom-street-van craze. In the late ’80s, when Dean Moon passed away, the company was purchased by his friend Shige Sugamuma, who carried on the tradition of this automotive performance icon and introduce the Moon product line to Japan (the most recognizable product ademark spun-aluminum wheel disks). ty Astro and GMC Safari vans are extremely popular in Japan they’re being customized as they are in the States. This has on to build a van that it hopes will boost the popularity of s here. Kyosho * has followed up with a 1ho-scale nitro-powered by? Because it’s bad, it’s cool and we get to play with it. So, for mood rings and leisure suits because it’s time to boogie.


The Kyosho GSX-11 engine started on the first pull and settled into a nice burbling idle. After breaking it in, I leaned the carb out as suggested in the instructions and then let it rip. The GSX-11 has adequate torque and a crisp throttle response, but it lacks the punch you get from performance-oriented .12- and .15-size engines; what it lacks in brute power, however, it makes up for in ease of operation.

The Mooneyes van is big and heavy, so don’t expect it to set any land-speed records, but it makes full use of what the engine has to offer. Acceleration is snappy, and even with the 4WD traction, doing donuts requires only a twist of the wheel and a squeeze of the throttle.

In tight corners, the van does lean, but the handling is always predictable. And that brings us to something that isn’t so predictable with a nitro-powered car: reverse. With Kyosho’s ingenious quick reverse clutch (QRC) on board, getting stuck against a curb is a thing of the past. In a jam? Just push the throttle trigger forward and the fun continues … backwards. The QRC is a durable unit that allows all kinds of antisocial stunts, including “Rockfords,” in which you go at full speed in reverse and then crank the steering wheel to swing the nose around and then nail full throttle forward. It’s easy to pull off all kinds of tricks.


Although the engine is a little on the small side, the Mooneyes van is good for a quick trip down memory lane. That’s really what it’s all about-having fun and perpetuating the carefree lifestyle that custom cars and hot rods embody. Just think what a cool towing vehicle it would make for the tricked-out, nitropowered touring car you’ve been dreaming about. Even cooler is that you can reverse it into its parking space.

Thanks, Kyosho, for reminding us how cool hot-rodding was and is.

Copyright Air Age Publishing Jun 1999

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