Time Flies! My Legend GS 6-Speed 10-Year Anniversary – May 23, 2018

Posted in Legend on May 24, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend sedan):  158,148

There I was, minding my own business, southbound on Main Street in Logan, Utah.  It was the fall of 2004.  I was 22 years old, an active and busy Business major at Utah State University (go Aggies!).  I don’t know where I was driving to at the time – maybe to grab a bite to eat at grandma’s house south of town.  But I caught a glimpse of a car parked alongside the road that nearly made me clamp down on the brakes.  It was a Desert Mist Metallic Legend GS.

Well, that called for a detour.  I took the next right hand turn and circled around the block with determination and a higher heart rate than normal.  I parked my (then 146,000-mile) Legend coupe right behind the GS, stationed in front of the Coppermill Restaurant – about where the black Honda Pilot is sitting in this July 2017 Google Street View image.

My heart skipped a beat even more aggressively when I peeked inside the passenger front window and saw a stick shift lever.  What were the chances!  I questioned whether to leave a note, or to go into the restaurant and ask around.  But just then, the owner of the car came outside.  I introduced myself awkwardly.  “Uhh, hi, I’m Tyson.  I drive the Legend parked behind yours.  And if you everrrrrrrr want to sell, here’s my number.”  And I got his contact information.

It took me four years until he sold it to me.  It was May 2008.  By then I’d graduated MBA school, moved twice, and was working full time 800 miles away in a different state.  But I made an offer way beyond “book” value ($7,500) to see if I could finally get him motivated to sell.  And that did the trick.  That initial purchase price was just a small fraction of what I subsequently dumped into the car both mechanically and cosmetically.

My maintenance receipts since then add up to $7,790:

Add to that about $3k in paint work, a $500 wood & leather steering wheel, a full size spare, factory fog lights, lip spoiler, and tint.  I’m into this car $13,000 PLUS its original purchase price, so about $20k.  Yeah, I don’t think I’ll make my money back any time soon.  But that’s okay.  It’s been an excellent journey and every mile has been worth it.

Today, most of the 26,000 miles that the car has been driven in the last decade were for leisure travel:  3 National Legend Meets in California and Texas, some recreational weekend trips, and visits to see family and friends.  It’s been a great ride.  My friend Alex even drove the car to Portland.  Let’s see where the next 10 years take us!

Oh, and by the way, my 1992 Integra LS sedan sold today to a lucky buyer who’s flying from Colorado this weekend to pick it up!  Thanks to all who watched and commented during the auction and throughout my ownership!

First video I ever took of the Legend GS, in June 2008 when I flew up to northern Utah to drive it home.

Anniversary video, recorded yesterday, May 23, 2018.

A few years pre-purchase, paying a visit in Logan, Utah.

The “actual” test drive before I bought the car, April 2008.

Paired up with my friend Branson’s (at the time) 1994 Legend LS coupe.

Driving home to Arizona via Highway 89A through Vermillion Cliffs.

First ‘glamour’ shots thanks to my friend Dax

Reproduction window sticker thanks to my friend Chris

Urban Jeeping: Fiat Chrysler Media Event in Paradise Valley, Arizona

Posted in PAPA on May 21, 2018 by tysonhugie

It’s a Jeep thing – and I definitely don’t understand it fully – but after spending a few miles behind the wheel of the all-new 2018 “JL” Wrangler Rubicon (with a huge grin on my face) I can definitely see why Jeep culture is so strong.  It’s just a shame I had to experience it in the urban grid of central Phoenix as opposed to the red rock Mecca of Moab.  Maybe next time I’ll sneak away for a more “extended test drive” (wink, wink).

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) hosted a handful of members from the Phoenix Automotive Press Association (PAPA) last week for an up-close look at some of the brand’s new products, including the the Wrangler, refreshed Cherokee, and all-new Ram 1500 pickup truck.  With typical generations lasting upwards of 10 years each, engineers have to work extra hard to make sure their vehicles will withstand the test of time both mechanically and aesthetically.  The Wrangler’s iconic shape has changed very little over the years, and that’s for good reason.  But its underpinnings are as advanced as any modern vehicle should be.

We received a demo from representative Trevor who showed us how the soft top mechanism operates and how the windshield folds completely flat.  Did you know that the fold-flat windshield feature dates back to wartimes, when Jeeps had to be packed as tightly as possible into crates for overseas transport?  I think it’s cool how Jeep has preserved some of those nostalgic features.

The entire vehicle has been built to endure any kind of abuse thrown at it.  Pre-production JL Wranglers were put through 16 hour “mist tests” with non-stop exposure to water, and all of the dash and electronic components still operated successfully.  There are a total of 5 USB ports in the vehicle.  Just when you thought there was a competition to incorporate the most cupholders in a vehicle, Jeep has now done it with USB ports.  Cuz you gotta have your iPhone fully charged to capture video of that next summit up Hell’s Revenge trail.  Yikes!

The Rubicon that I drove was a 6-speed manual, 4-door in Firecracker Red.  It took me a minute to get accustomed to the clutch engagement point but once I made my way out of the parking at Lon’s at the Hermosa, I was enjoying every minute of having the wind my hair and the sun on my face.  The Wrangler is just an all-around fun vehicle to drive – and for being such a capable off-roader, it surprised me how gracefully it handed city surface streets in and around the Paradise Valley area on my 6-mile drive loop.

My favorite Ram was the Bighorn in white – a truck so advanced, it practically drives itself… through any terrain… with a trailer.  Throw a task at this truck, and it will probably reign victorious.  Ram trucks are now available with a largest-in-class 12″ touch-screen, 100+ safety & security features, and a 360-degree surround-view camera.

Some of the other features I found impressive were related to towing.  The truck itself is long enough to begin with, but adding a boat or camp trailer behind it makes for a pretty nerve-wracking driving experience.  FCA engineers have lessened the stress by developing a blind-spot-monitoring system which smartly takes into consideration the length of the trailer AND the truck combined.  Now that’s smart trucking.

Thanks to Scott Brown, Carrie Owens, and others who made this midday press preview possible!

Fellow automotive journalist Jeff Koch who’s photographed my cars for Hemmings

Refreshed Jeep Cherokee – now with more conventional headlight design

Ram Longhorn 1500:  20″ wheels, heated seats all around, and genuine wood & leather interior.

Fancy!

Might need to get me one of these babies!

For Sale (Already!?): 1992 Acura Integra LS Sedan 5-Speed

Posted in Integra on May 17, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  560,287

Guess what!  The universe works in mysterious ways.

After lost sleep, a little blood, lots of sweat, and perhaps a tear or two, I’m already parting with my latest Acura-quisition to make room for one that’s a little more desirable.  While I certainly had no intentions of making another car change so soon (literally, only 2 months later), I was in Las Vegas this past weekend for WestFest when I got an email from my Miata-loving friend, Jeff.  He told me about a cream puff Integra GS he’d found on craigslist in my hometown of St. George, Utah.

The GS, for starters, was the highest trim level for the Integra sedan that year – rolling in options like a moonroof, alloy wheels, and an anti-lock braking system.  Best of all, this specific Integra has a remarkable 71,000 original miles on it.  How is that even possible?  That comes out to only 2,700 miles per year over the course of 26 years.  Apparently some people don’t drive like I do.  Here’s the only teaser I’ll give for now.

I’ll delve into the details on the NEW (old?) ride in a future post and video, but for now, it’s time to bid farewell to the car I worked so hard to purchase, transport, and make my own.  The car has hit Bring a Trailer and I invite you to follow the auction if you’d like!  Bidding will go for 7 days and conclude on Thursday, May 24th at 11:40 a.m. Pacific time.

Link to auction:  No Reserve:  1992 Acura Integra LS Sedan

18-minute walkaround video:

 

Product Review / Quick Video: “Automotive TouchUp” Paint Products

Posted in Integra on May 6, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Integra LS):  117,853

Odometer (Legend LS):  560,217

Unless you’re cruising around in a bubble-wrapped car, chances are you’re bound to pick up a nick, a scratch, or a ding from time to time.  As a veteran of over a half-million miles on a single car, I can attest that some wear and tear is unavoidable no matter how careful you are.

Solutions like protective “clear bra” films help prevent damage but only when installed early on – and even they are not impervious to 100% of the threats in the battle zone of our day to day commutes.  This is where Automotive TouchUp comes into play.  Full resprays are expensive – at least the quality ones.  Luckily, there are cost-friendly answers that deliver good results for a do-it-yourselfer like me who just needs to hit a few small areas.

Automotive TouchUp was kind enough to mail me a kit complete with the tools and supplies needed to correct some imperfections on the focus car in question:  My 1992 Acura Integra sedan.  The Torino Red Pearl paint, specially formulated in code R-72P, was a near-perfect match for my car, despite the fact that the paint on my car has been around for 26 years of wear, tear, and sunshine exposure/fading.  Check out that sign in the background:  “The New Legend.”  Clearly I was in the wrong car when I took that picture earlier today.

In all, the kit came with 5 different products, plus sandpaper and some small brushes that look kind of like Q-tips:  prep solvent, primer, base coat, clearcoat, and rubbing compound.  For my exercise, I only needed to hit 2 small areas on the front bumper so I took the easy route and just prepared the area, did a base coat, and then a clear coat.  The bottles have little brushes inside them so I didn’t end up using the Q-tips.

For the few minutes it took me to knock this little project out, I am very happy with the results.  This 1992 Integra is ready for the auction block, and I have a new surprise in store for you all soon regarding its replacement.  Thanks to the folks at Automotive TouchUp for the chance to give these products a whirl!  It’s much appreciated!

Before:

After:

Quick couple of sidebars.  Roomie James is road-testing a Honda Clarity this week!

And the Vigor hit a milestone on the way back from a work trip to Tucson on Thursday.

Whole lotta ones right there.

Have a great week!

Sin City Supercars: NSX “WestFest” 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Posted in Nevada, NSX, Road Trip on April 29, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (NSX):  110,936

As if Las Vegas weren’t full of enough glitz and glamour already, the Acura NSX Club of America added some eye candy to the mix this weekend with a few aluminum-constructed sportscars in vivid colors like Spa Yellow, Long Beach Blue, and Midnight Purple.  Launched last year as the club’s inaugural signature event for the Southwest Region chapter, round 2 brought out over 45 cars and 65 attendees to Sin City.  And everyone had a pretty wicked good time.

The event kicked off with check-in & registration on Thursday evening at the Gold Coast Casino on Flamingo Road.  Its selection was a strategic decision on behalf of the planning committee in the interest of keeping four-dozen cars away from the Strip.  Can you imagine trying to execute a group drive in any formal fashion while dealing with Strip stop-and-go?  That might have been chaotic.

On Friday, Findlay Acura in Henderson hosted our group for a half day.  There was car show voting, music, a food truck, giveaways, and a photoshoot.  Findlay always rolls out the red carpet for us.  Those who wanted to hit the go-kart track at Gene Woods Racing in the afternoon did so, followed by an open night.  I took the opportunity to catch up with a couple of local friends as well as hang out with Josh of NSX Experiment who’d driven down from Boise.

No multi-day car club event is complete without a driving portion, and that was reserved for Saturday.  But first, we invaded the cars & coffee meet-up at SpeedVegas off Exit 25 on Interstate 15.  SpeedVegas is a facility that offers exotic car track sessions, but it also opens up its parking lot every Saturday morning for anyone and everyone.  And in this case, they even let our group take a few parade laps (at about 25-35 miles per hour only, though).  Still it was a pretty nifty sight to see that many cars lined up and making the rounds.

The rest of the day was spent battling the desert heat and attempting to keep the group together (it was futile, in the end) while we took a 180-mile scenic loop to the old mining town of Nelson followed by lunch at the Primm Valley Casino near the California – Nevada state line.  My poor passenger Brandon probably heard a few curse words as I was being summoned by phone call, text, and walkie talkie with individuals who needed help with directions – despite the fact that they’d been emailed out a week in advance, as well as distributed in hard copy at registration.

Navigation challenges aside, we had a great drive and pigged out at the buffet.  Manager Robin even offered our group discounts on shopping at the nearby outlet mall.  Our event capstone took place on Saturday evening back at the Gold Coast, where a banquet dinner was served up in Salon A and awards & prizes were distributed.  A few lucky club members got things like gift certificates to NSX performance vendors, signed model cars, posters, and other items.  Probably very few went home empty-handed, which was thanks to the generosity of sponsors.

Thankfully, my NSX gave me zero trouble on the trip – this morning’s 4.5-hour return drive from Las Vegas to Phoenix was flawless, and I even had time to wash it down before stowing it away.  Now after having lived out of a suitcase for a full week (work trip + NSX trip), I’m ready to get back to my routine.  I don’t think I’ve ever been grateful to see the walls of my office cubicle, but I actually won’t mind it one bit this week.

Here’s an 8-minute recap video and the rest of my photos!

Headed out from Phoenix.  The total drive is about 300 miles each way.

Boulder City, Nevada

Arrival on Flamingo Road in Las Vegas, just off the Strip.

Swag Bag contents!

With a couple of my favorite ladies from the NSX Club of America

Findlay Acura takeover

This plate reads “My Happy Place.”

Car show registration.  There was a section where people could list modifications.  I have none!

Jody and Kelly who work for Honda/Acura.

Yowza!  In April, even.

There’s that Long Beach Blue!  It’s a 2002-05 color.

Love seeing an NSX with “Classic Rod” license plates.

Dinner at Stir Krazy Mongolian with friends Dane and Brandon

Josh let me drive his 2000 NSX to cars & coffee.  It was a pretty different driving experience compared to what I’m used to:  power steering, +20 hp, +1 gear, and a removable top!

My friend Romeo from the Legend club came out to visit.

Photos in Nelson, Nevada

Headed on back to Primm Valley with Brandon

A visit from Sunny & his friend from Salt Lake City who coincidentally were in the area.

Banquet dinner time.  I went with the petite filet and chicken.

 

NSX 110,000-Mile Mark, Integra Tint & Engine Detail; Upcoming “WestFest” in Las Vegas

Posted in Detailing, Integra, Maintenance, Milestones, NSX, Running on April 22, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend Coupe):

Odometer (Integra Sedan):  117,737

Milestone!

The NSX has been a great car for the 30,000 miles that I’ve put on it.  It received a new right axle and a 10W30 Castrol GTX oil change in preparation for this week’s upcoming trip to WestFest in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The original axle had flung a bunch of grease on the undercarriage and I started getting a ‘clicking’ sound consistent with speed, so it was time.  Science of Speed in Chandler, Arizona worked to squeeze in the car in the nick of time.

Thanks to Chris & his team for their help!

WestFest is slated to be one of the biggest NSX Club of America regional club events this year, anticipating 45 vehicles and upwards of 70 attendees.  Here’s a post from where I scouted out the proposed WestFest group drive earlier this year, and a write-up from last year’s program.  We will be in Vegas from Thursday through Sunday.

The Integra has been getting some more attention.  I had Desert Shield Window Tinting give it a new set of shades.  It’s a necessary update when you live in an area that has 300 days of sunshine per year.

You can see here how the clear rear window showed those faded rear headrests.

Little better here, especially to preserve the interior from further deterioration.

I have had Desert Shield work on 5 or 6 of my cars in the past, but I honestly cannot say I recommend them any longer.  I specifically asked for the side windows to be all the same shade, but the technician installed limo tint on the rear side windows.  I had it stripped and redone.  Then 3 days later, there was peeling tint from the left rear door.  It will be fixed under warranty next week.  But I’m tired of taking trips back there.

I spent an evening earlier in the week getting the engine bay cleaned up.  It wasn’t really bad to begin with, but just in case I end up showing this car at any events, I want things to be ready.  There’s a video below.

In other noteworthy news, my friend Vlad stopped by this week.  He drives an RLX that I featured in a Reader’s Ride last year.  It was great to catch up with him.

And yesterday, a friend and I joined 28,000 other runners in the 14th annual “Pat’s Run,” in Tempe, Arizona.  It’s a 4.2-mile race in recognition of our armed forces, past and present, named in honor of Pat Tillman who was a professional football player killed in the line of duty in 2002.  It was a well-organized event and served a good cause.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

 

Readers’ Rides: Trevor, Shaun, and Dave – Acura Meet in Utah & TL-S Update

Posted in Legend, TL, Utah on April 16, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  560,191

Odometer (Branson’s Legend coupe):  182,633

Big Bear Park in Sandy, Utah was the site of quite the parade on Sunday morning:  Six Acuras rolled in and parked at a 45-degree angle looking as photogenic as possible.  Four of the six belonged to family members of the Kinzer family – surely one of the most devoutly loyal Acura-owning families I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting.

What started as the purchase of a 1979 Honda Prelude, and later a 1985 Honda Accord, has snowballed into Trevor and his wife Michelle owning not one, not two, but a total of 11 different Acura products, spanning a 1992 Legend sedan to a 2008 TL.  If you know what you like, why branch out?  And that’s exactly what’s kept this family’s driveway looking a bit like a broken record over the years – and I mean that in the very best possible way.

Capping off an exceptionally busy weekend of making family & friend visits in northern Utah, I set aside a few hours to devote to “car stuff,” as I always do.  And this time I had the real treat of meeting several great people including Trevor and his family.  We overtook Trevor’s front yard & driveway initially, but decided to head to the city park nearby for a little more wiggle room for photo opportunities.

Along the way came Shaun, in his immaculate Desert Mist Metallic 1994 Legend LS sedan, and Sunny, who rode along with me in a (borrowed) 1995 LS coupe.  I wasn’t about to show up to an Acura meet in my rental Nissan Versa; I’d be shunned.

In attendance were the following:

  • 2006 TL
  • 2008 TL x 2
  • 2006 MDX
  • 1994 Legend sedan
  • 1995 Legend coupe

Shaun’s car is a story of dedication in itself:  Starting with a relatively rough, 200,000+ mile sedan in the Seattle area, Shaun made the drive home to Utah about a year ago (“running on 4 or 5 cylinders,” he says) and then began what was to become an extensive teardown of the Legend mechanicals to get everything updated – and I mean, everything.  The motor received an overhaul with new head gaskets, belts, hoses, just about anything he could get his hands on.  And it shows.  I took the car for a spin later in the day and it runs, drives, brakes, and handles like a car with one-tenth of the miles.

The Acura meet-up, meanwhile, wouldn’t be complete without the presence of “Kyng” – the friendliest pup around.  He thinks the MDX is his, but Michelle would say otherwise.  Thanks to the Kinzer family and to Shaun & Sunny for being a part of a pretty exciting Sunday morning Acura-entourage.  Here’s a short video from our meet-up.

All aboard Southwest Airlines, with a great view of the Rocky Mountains from seat 13F.

My wheels for a day in Logan, Utah – dad’s truck.

Lunch with grandma

Being from Arizona, seeing this in my rental car was a bit of a shock.

My mom’s old 2000 Acura RL, now being driven by my cousin and with around 190,000 miles.  I picked up this car in the San Francisco Bay area in 2005 with 22,000 miles on it from the original owner.

Branson’s coupe (and my loaner for a day)

 

Photoshoot at ‘Legends Boxing’ – this seemed fitting.

Thanks Shaun for the test-drive!

Since this post is heavy on 3G TL content, it’s worth mentioning an update now on my formerly-owned Kinetic Blue Pearl TL Type-S.  Dave in St. Louis has now owned the car for about the same length of time I owned it (roughly 6 months), but he’s been putting on the miles at a much faster pace than I did.  The car today has over 113,000 miles on it (I sold it at 102,500 or so last November).  These are some photographs he took on his 1,500+ mile drive home from Phoenix.

Keep on rolling, Dave!