This is a great topic!
I really think there is some opportunity to bring these old beasts back to their original, if not (much) better, condition.
The good news is these things are built extremely tough! They are very heavy/robust and mostly seem to be mechanically very strong.
I think the battery & ESC are kind of easy problems to solve…
The biggest potential issue in a refurbishment project like this is what to do with that motor, they are big, heavy and don’t compete with the power output of the more modern brushless outrunners. I am not sure that VESC based motor controllers that most esk8 builders use can run these motors, from memory, these are all brushed motors… so the first hurdle is solving the motor issue
If you CAN drive the motor with VESC the future is looking bright for these old beasts. Just drop a vesc, a big li-ion pack and new remote and you have a bulky & very fun tank board to ride.
If you CAN’T drive these motors with VESC, finding a nice hobby-grade motor that has the same RPM & bolt-hole-spacing is the next challenge. Changing the motor kind of has a domino effect, could also mean you need to rework the drive train components, the existing motor pulley probably won’t fit a brushless outrunner shaft, then you probably need new belts, possibly some wheel pulley compatibility issues next, maybe an entirely new motor mount. So, now it’s starting to get complicated, expensive etc.
If you CAN’T drive motor with VESC & Can’t be bothered reworking the drive train to suit a Burshless Outrunner motor you should probably try to source the old/original ESC that can drive the existing motors (assuming the motor still works well), that is probably the easiest and probably cheaper.
Then just pour all your cash & focus towards a decent capacity li-ion battery, i think some kind of clip on bike frame batteries might fit under there, or just build a custom battery to suit the existing box! and finally maybe some more lightweight rims & fresh rubber!
I do believe retro-inspired, suped-up, oldschool esk8’s are likely to be a new trend in the coming years.
Upcycling for the win!