Video: ILX 200,000 Mile Celebration & Recap

Posted in ILX, Milestones on June 25, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  554,255

I have a Sunday matinee for you if you have 8 minutes to spare.  The below video is a completely amateur effort that came together thanks to my brother Payton.  I had a few ideas of how I wanted to sum up the 5 years and 200k miles that I’ve driven the ILX.  With the help of our friend Kyle who captured the drone footage, Payton and I filmed this last Saturday in southern Utah and he finished the edits just a couple of days ago.  I hope you enjoy it.

Alex’s Legendary 6-Speed, 6-State Tour to the Pacific Northwest

Posted in Legend, NALM, Road Trip on June 19, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend sedan):  154,939

Trip Distance:  3,495.7

Who’s ready for summer?  If anybody needs me, I’ll be indoors for the next 3 months.

My friend Alex borrowed my car for a 3,500 mile road trip, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.

Most of us have driven a rental or loaner car before.  What are your driving behaviors in a rental car as compared to in your own vehicle?  Have you ever heard of anyone returning a loaner in better shape than when they picked it up?  Now I have.

There’s one car in my collection that rarely goes anywhere.  I call it the garage queen for a reason:  In 9 years of ownership, I drove it fewer than 20,000 miles.  I think it was driven in the rain only twice during that timeframe.  It’s garaged, preserved, and babied.  Well, that garage queen became a road trip warrior for an 8-day span when my friend Alex flew in from Fort Myers, Florida to take an epic west coast road trip including a visit at this year’s NALM in my 1994 Legend GS sedan 6-speed.

Alex’s route covered 3,495.7 miles and took him through 6 states.  His journeys were documented with several GoPro camera clips as well as over 200 high quality photographs.  It was truly the trip of a lifetime, and the only thing that could have made it better would be if I had been able to be a part of it with him in person.  Experiencing it after the fact through his thorough documentation is the next best thing for me, as well as for all of you!

Alex and his fellow Floridian Alan spent a good chunk of their NALM time perusing the local junkyards for Legend parts.  After having been discontinued from production for over 22 years, you can imagine a model like the Legend does not have very robust support for replacement parts.  As a result those of us who intend to keep our cars on the road forever have to resort to dumpster diving from time to time.  Among the treasures A&A found (and installed) on my Legend GS were:

  • Master window switch with functional auto-down
  • ‘Beauty bar’ plastic trim cover over front bumper hardware
  • Uncracked center A/C vent trim
  • Radio antenna
  • Upgraded chrome door strikers and matching bolts
  • Bracket for clutch hydraulic hose
  • Battery tie-down
  • Windshield washer fluid cap

When I cut south on Interstate 5 on Sunday, June 11th when NALM concluded in Sacramento, Alex went north in my now “enhanced” Legend GS.  He continued on up toward Portland, but he took the scenic route in doing so.  Among his stops were the massive drive-thru Redwood tree in Leggett, California called Chandelier Tree and some  scenic stretches of Highway 101 in southern Oregon.  (Thus the T-shirt!)

Alex took the time to stop for photographs at each state line he crossed.  He reported that the car performed near flawlessly.  The only issues to note:  The speedometer is inaccurate at higher speeds, sometimes reading up to 10 mph faster than actual speed.  The rear brakes are squeaking.  The radio volume controls from the steering wheel don’t work.  And it might be time for spark plugs (last changed in 2009).

But Alex completed his adventure on Wednesday, June 14th after having completed his nearly-3,500-mile road trip.  He flew back to Florida later that evening, but not before we took the NSX out for a bite & drink.

Thanks Alex for giving my old car a chance to see some parts of the country that many people will only dream of experiencing!  Here are just a few of the photos Alex took & shared with me (posted here in random order), and a short video showing a few GoPro scenes just prior to hitting the Oregon state line.

Alan at the wheel

Alex and Alan about to go junkyarding in the Sacramento area

Arizona state line

Bridge crossing

California state line

Chandelier drive-thru tree in Leggett, California

With me in the rearview!

Me being cheesy!

Lots of rain – thank goodness for those new wiper blades a week before the trip!

Traveling the Extraterrestrial Highway (Hwy 93 in Nevada)

So many stickers you can barely make out the sign!

NALM group at Lake Tahoe

Idaho state line – and the car visible in the far background

Semi truck with a pretty cool name / logo

Mountain scenery

More scenery all around

Nevada state line

Pacific Ocean

Oregon Trail information

Oregon state line

Another shot from NALM

Redwood National Park entry

Alan and Alex at Lake Tahoe

Tunnel crossing

Washington state line

Spreadsheet nerd that I am, thought some might appreciate this.  It’s a quick & dirty calculation I did the other day to see how many of the 22,401 miles that my car has been driven that *I* have actually driven them.

As it turns out, roughly 1/3 of the car’s mileage accumulation in those last 9 years have been from other people.

2013 Acura ILX 5-Year Anniversary & 200,000th Milestone

Posted in ILX, Milestones on June 14, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  200,015

Took me long enough, right?

It was Tuesday, June 12, 2012 when I got the key to my new 2013 Acura ILX 2.4 at Acura of Tempe, Arizona.  The car, production #000082, was built just a few weeks prior at the Greensburg, Indiana manufacturing plant, and it was being outfitted that day with some accessories.   John Watts, Acura’s Senior Manager of Digital Marketing at the time, gave me the key and I hit the road.

I drove off  from the dealership with a camera crew in tow — we captured some scenes for this video in & around central Phoenix that Acura used in its launch marketing for the car:

The arrangement at the time with Acura – though, to my recollection, there was no formal contract in place – was that I would blog about the car for a year.  And that I did.  I’ve blogged it, in fact, for 5 years now.  This blog has been viewed 516,000 times since that date, by 170,000 visitors.  Those visitors have come from 155 different countries.  The ILX Owners & Enthusiasts Facebook group I created has over 650 active members in it.

My ILX and I have had a good time together.  We’ve seen 19 states including Alaska.  I’ve driven both the highest and the lowest elevation paved roads in North America.  We’ve survived an accident and lived to tell about it.  And here we are today.  So has Acura gotten its money’s worth out of my promotion?  I’ll let them decide.

200,000 had been in my sights for a while.  I first had the idea to roll the milestone on my 5-year anniversary of the car when I started thinking about it earlier this year.  The timing and location of this specific roll-over was not critical, and in fact was pretty anti-climactic.  It was a Monday, a workday, and I’d be catching up from my 4-day NALM weekend so it would have to be in the evening.  I piled 3 friends into the car at the house around 6:30 p.m., sitting at 199,998 on the odometer.

We rolled up to Missouri Avenue, then east toward the Biltmore Mall on 24th Street.  Following us were 2 other friends in a Nissan Rogue.  The milestone came, I pulled over, and we celebrated by popping open a bottle of champagne – though, nobody drank any.  In fact, it later ended up spilling over on the floor in the backseat and I was glad for those rubber all-weather floormats.  It still made for fun video feature material.

Oh, and Derek brought Acura cigars.  I wouldn’t know how to smoke one if I tried, so they were just for decoration.

Dinner was enjoyed at Blanco Tacos & Tequila, along with the typical ‘car banter’ that comprises most of my friends’ conversations any time we’re together.  It was a great evening!

Detailed maintenance notes are pretty easy to summarize, since I’ve kept an Excel spreadsheet on the car’s history since the day I got it.  In all, it’s received 27 oil changes with 0W20 synthetic oil and cost $7,169 to keep on the road.  That cost excludes fuel, insurance, and registration.  The cost-per-mile comes out to about 4 cents.  Not bad, right?  Included in those expenses are a recent $755 starter replacement which was my only “non-scheduled” maintenance item.  I’m now on my 4th set of Michelin Pilot tires and probably just about ready for a 5th.

Here’s the detail from “new to now.”

The car will go to my brother Payton in southern Utah for a while, retired from daily duty here in Phoenix but still getting a few miles in someone else’s hands (and staying in the family).  At this point my driving focus will shift to primarily to the 2007 TL, but with regularly scheduled stints in the other / older cars in the stable.  I’d love to collaborate on another long-term test for Acura.  Maybe they’d see fit to offer me an attractive lease on an RLX, or a TLX A-Spec?

This is a ‘teaser’ 6-second video of the rollover.  My brother and I have a production in the works to more thoroughly document the milestone and some of my history with this car.  Stay tuned in the coming weeks.

So, have I finally earned the right to ditch these ‘Student Driver’ magnets?  🙂

Celebrate good times, c’mon!

NALM 2017 Sacramento Wrap Up: Return Drive & Video

Posted in California, NALM, Road Trip on June 13, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  554,211

Day Distance:  757 Miles

I made it home safe & sound from my 13th NALM!  Total drive distance, round-trip, ended up being 1,700 miles.  The car performed flawlessly — its only need was a one-time top-off of power steering fluid about midway through the trip.  I was up and out the door of the La Quinta host hotel at 6:30 on Sunday morning, with a long drive ahead of me.

There were just three stops made that day:  Wesley, Buttonwillow, and Palm Desert, California.  Each time, I topped off the tank, used the facilities, and grabbed a small snack.  I was at my house in Phoenix by 5:30 p.m. – exhausted but feeling satisfied about a very successful weekend.

Departure from Sacramento

Alex sent me this – well on his way to Portland in my Legend sedan, driving through a Redwood tree in Leggett, California.

Meanwhile, it was only a matter of time until I was back in the desert, making my way up the long I-10 grade from Indio to Chiriaco Summit.  They always advise people to be careful about overheating here.

The Phoenix city skyline was a nice sight to see after such a long day on the road.

Tucked away until the next adventure!

Here is a short video I put together.

More to come soon, including coverage of an especially monumental ILX milestone.  I think you know what it is!

Sacramento NALM 2017: Dealer Day at Niello Acura; BBQ at Miller Regional Park

Posted in California, NALM on June 10, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  553,438

Welcome back to Sacramento.  It’s a full-fledged Legend Fest out here, and we’re having the time of our lives.  Somehow I slept in on Friday morning until 8:30 in the morning, but I got my act together in time for the caravan roll-out at 10:00 toward Niello Acura in Roseville about 20 minutes east on I-80.  The dealership had cleared out some space for us and its employees even came out to participate in the car show judging for awards.

Lunch was at a well-known local spot called Squeeze Inn just down the road.  The hamburger came with an encrusted ring of cheese on it.  Impossible to eat without going through an entire stack of napkins.  After that, I got the chance to drive my friend Chris’ 1994 Legend GS 6-speed that he’s been painstakingly restored on the interior.  The car drove great for having 230,000 miles.

We visited my friend Spencer’s dad, Brian, at their dealership on Riverside.  Inside it, we found a collection of classic Hondas including a “barn find” 1981 Prelude that I would love to scoop up and restore.  We made our way back to the host hotel and then figured out a dinner plan.  Ben had done his homework and selected a Chinese place called Frank Fat’s which was just a few miles away, downtown.  We piled into just a couple of cars and valet parked both of my Legends in a parking garage next to the restaurant.  Luckily, the restaurant was able to accommodate our party of 12 with very little notice.  The “family style” entrees went a long way to filling us up.

Saturday morning was the long-awaited annual BBQ, to be held at Miller Regional Park.  Steven led the caravan this time and we managed to find a parking area along Marina View Drive that accommodated all 31 Legends which ended up attending.  I think 31 sets some kind of record!  We had quite a wide variety of cars in attendance — though the colors were pretty monochromatic and we didn’t have a first generation (1986-1990) sedan.

The treat of the day for me was having a special guest appearance by Patricia, who is the original owner of my Legend coupe.  She and her husband Paul live about an hour away and we’ve kept in touch for the 14 years I’ve had my car.  When I found out that NALM was going to be in this area, I notified her and she ended up coming out to see us which was awesome.  Today she’s in a 2010 Lexus IS250 with only 45,000 miles on it, in case anyone was wondering.  Also in attendance was my friend Spencer who came over from Roseville in a “Mugen” Civic Si to check us out.

Patricia:

Spencer:

Our afternoon capped off with the awards ceremony and raffle.  Larry T ended up taking a haul of trophies home, winning a record 3 categories.  I received the “Best OEM” trophy.

All of the awards were fabricated by hand by club member Dani out of real Legend parts, and professionally powder coated.  Very cool!  The raffle included a NALM first:  An entire car being given away.  Steven was the lucky winner of a 1994 Legend LS coupe 6-speed in Sherwood Green with over 300,000 miles on it.  It runs and drives great!  He was thrilled.  Buy-in for raffle tickets was only $100 each and I think 6 people participated.  Pretty cool feature.

We wandered down to a Mexican place near the hotel called Nena’s Mexican Cuisine later that evening.  I think I over-did it with the combination plate but it was tasty!  Many have already begun their return trips to home, and I’ll be doing the same early tomorrow.  Over and out!  800 miles to come tomorrow, as I return to PHX.

I’ll have a wrap up video to post in the next couple of days as well.

With Dave from Seattle, and his car in the background

Cruising along I-80 eastbound

Niello Acura’s 2017 NSX in Nouvelle Blue

Lineup at Niello

Interior of Larry’s 67,000 mile car

With long-time friend Danny

Popping engine bays

With Ben who’s been a regular at NSXPO & NALM events for many years

Lunch time!

Look at that cheese border!

Visiting my friend Spencer’s dad

Alex and Alan worked hard on my Legend GS:  They installed all sorts of goodies for me that they’d found at the junkyard, including chrome door strikers, a trim piece in the engine bay, hood struts, new horn button, new antenna mast, new center vent trim, and much much more.  They are awesome!

Roomie James arriving in his rental Sonic turbo

Valeting the coupe at dinner

Crossing the bridge into Discovery Park on Jibboom Street on Saturday

Alex and Alan arriving from their 2nd day at the junkyard

Alan’s straw hat came out!

Dave showing his engine bay with airbrushed flames on the fuel rail covers

And the longer we stayed, the more cars kept showing up!

Patricia’s cars, old (background, my coupe), and new – the 2010 Lexus

Awards all custom / hand-built by Dani

This gen 1 Legend coupe was a 2001 magazine feature car

Logo on back window

Larry, me, and Dani

White Legends back at the hotel tonight

With another friend who showed up – Aaron

Long drive tomorrow!

13th Annual National Acura Legend Meet (NALM) – Sacramento, California

Posted in California, NALM on June 8, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  553,378

Trip Distance:  755 Miles

I’m at it again!  You know this drill – I’ve done it every year since 2005:  Hike it across the country in my rickety old Legend coupe, hang out for a couple of days with people who have the same Acura addiction, and come back to reality.  We might as well call it a support group or a rehab organization but there’s no doubt about it:  I need my annual fix!

This year, California’s capitol city of Sacramento is hosting our group.  This marks the second time in recent years that NALM has been held in the Golden State, since our 2014 event centered around the Los Angeles area.  Sacramento is a pretty painless and simple trek for me from Phoenix, Arizona:  Straight out west on Interstate 10, then hooking up with Interstate 5 northbound.  Easy peasy – roughly an 11-hour drive door-to-door from my place.

On Wednesday afternoon, I snuck out of the office by around 2:00 and hit the highway.  My only stops were in Quartzsite for fuel and then Palm Desert for a Yoo Hoo beverage and a bathroom break.  Miraculously, the freeways on the northern perimeter of Los Angeles were free-flowing and my speed barely dipped below 65 miles per hour all the way until I arrived at my nightly destination at a Motel 6 in Sylmar, right near the intersection of the 210 & 5 freeways.

The car performed phenomenally and I was reminded many times of why I didn’t mind putting 500,000 miles on it.  Thursday morning, I cruised up I-5 another 5.5 hours or so, stopping only for a quick Taco Bell breakfast at 9:30 in the morning in Buttonwillow (don’t judge!) and then to use a rest area just prior to the split between Interstate 5 and Interstate 580.  By the time I arrived at the La Quinta, the Legend group was already out on the road – bound for Lake Tahoe – so I checked in, left a bag in my room, and went out to do a little sightseeing.

Oh, and one cool thing?  My Legend sedan is here too.  It was driven up by my friend Alex who flew in from Phoenix on Tuesday evening.  So for the third time, that car is attending a NALM that I didn’t drive it to (preceded by Chris’ trip to LA in 2014 and James’ trip to Houston in 2015).  It was pretty cool hopping on Highway 50 westbound and being behind my own car!

This evening, that car served as a pizza stand while a few of us congregated in the parking lot to shoot the breeze.  Later we rolled over to attendee James’ shop where some were washing their cars.  Below are a few more pics as things got underway out here.

Alex arriving at my place in Phoenix Tuesday evening

Headed out to grab a bite in the TL

Alex sent this picture of my sedan at the CA state line bright and early Wednesday

Departing after work

Next stop, the City of Angels

By this time, Alex had arrived in my car and sent this pic

Later that evening, he raced the car

Stopping for fuel in Palm Desert

Big ol’ steer off Hwy 58 in Buttonwillow, CA

“Power Market” in Lathrop, California has a UFO halfway-embedded into its roof,

The interior of the station has the other half of the UFO, as well as a myriad of green aliens flying around in purple saucers near the ceiling

Made it to Sac-Town!

Dave from Seattle brought his immaculate 1994 Legend GS 6-speed

Only 99,350 on the odometer!

Park where I was hanging out this afternoon in El Dorado Hills

Check out that T-shirt!  It shows the 1st and 2nd generation, sedan and coupe bodystyles

Much more to come tomorrow!

Press Preview: 2017 Jeep Compass Limited

Posted in PAPA, Vehicle Reviews on June 6, 2017 by tysonhugie

The good folks at Fiat Chrysler Automotive are friends of the Phoenix Automotive Press Association, and I was one of a handful of journalists invited two weeks ago to attend a launch event locally for the new 2017 Jeep Compass.  If this face looks like a close tie to its larger and more upscale sibling the Grand Cherokee, that’s intentional.

Scott Brown, based in Los Angeles as the West Region Manager, brought a handsome Compass for our group to see & experience – along with a team of subject matter experts who could educate us on what sets it apart from its predecessor as well as from the competition.

The hot “CUV” or compact utility vehicle segment is hot, and about to get even hotter.  The Jeep ‘fomula’ comes through strong with the new Compass,  according to engineer Jim Lyman who’s the Global Model Lead with 26 years’ experience with the company.  The segment accounts for a staggering 6.5 million units sold globally per year – and it’s still growing.  The key to positioning the Compass is in its “something for everyone” strategy:  17 different powertrain configurations, 4 different price classes, but all with Jeep’s known strengths in trail-rated traction articulation and all-terrain capability.

Cosmetically the Compass is a cut above the model that preceded it, now with bi-xenon HID headlamps, standard keyless entry, and additional soft-touch interior materials.  A great deal of development has gone into improvement of driving dynamics, too, with a fully independent front & rear suspension and “active drive” 4×4 system.  Standard power comes from a 2.4 liter, 180-horsepower gasoline engine and 3 transmissions are available including – and this I appreciate – a 6-speed manual.

While it’s sure to look nice prowling the parking lot, Jim ensured us that this Compass is also designed to inspire confidence in other terrain situations.  (Just so you know, it’s capable of fording up to 19 inches of water and pulling 2,000 pounds!).

Base price comes in at $21,000 with the top-line, as-shown here version coming in at $34,000 in Limited trim.  My time was short during this brief introduction event, but this little CUV will come my way in a couple of weeks when James has it for a week on test, so I’ll follow up with my driving impressions at that time!  Many thanks to FCA for the inside scoop!

PAPA group

Two-toned (panda-themed?!) interior

Here are a couple other random pics from the past few days — including this shot of my TL and Jason’s Mazda 6 when Jason stopped by to stay with us for one night.

I received a gift of some Jay Leno’s Garage detailing supplies from a friend.  I didn’t know Jay was getting into his own line of car care stuff, but I’m excited to give this stuff a whirl.

Heartfelt messaging on some silos in southeast Gilbert, Arizona.

Legend GS ready to take on the streets for this week’s National Acura Legend Meet in Sacramento, to be driven by my friend Alex who’s flying in from Florida today.

The coupe is going, too.  It’s only about 800 miles each way from Phoenix.

Phoenix attractions:  I stumbled across a page online that outlined some of the history of Phoenix, Arizona and it identified this home along 10th St & Buckeye Rd as one of the oldest in existence in the area.  It dates back to 1879.

You can tell it was built with ‘river rock,’ which seems out of place today given the home’s location in the middle of the urban grid, but at that time it was probably a plentiful construction supply.  Not sure who owns this place or what its future holds.  It’ll probably sit there another 138 years just like it has so far.

Have a great rest of your week!