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!

Easter Weekend 2018 in Utah; Integra Sedan Update Video; IMSA Race Event Invitation

Posted in Integra, Legend, Milestones, Road Trip, Utah on April 7, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  560,138

Odometer (ILX):  204,370 – Slowly still creeping!

Odometer (Integra Sedan):  117,545

Trip Distance:  832 Miles

I’m exhausted.  I drove over 4,800 miles over the last 4 weekends in 4 different 24+ year old cars with > 100,000 miles on them – not counting any of the weekday miles that I accumulated on Mondays through Thursdays.  It’s time for a break, for me and for my cars.  The good news is that all of those miles were achieved with little or no drama.  And the other good news is that I’m actually recovering and taking it easy today.

For the Easter holiday weekend, I took the Legend coupe to southern Utah.  On Saturday I had a reservation at the best breakfast restaurant in town:  Grandma’s House.  The menu consisted of crepes with fruit toppings and whipped cream, with a side of sausage and a glass of milk to wash it all down.  It hit the spot.

I attended an annual car show in the city of Hurricane (pronounced hurri-cun if you’re a local) and spent a couple of hours decorating eggs with the nieces and nephews.  A grand ol’ time indeed.  My brother Payton took me for a spin in his customized 2002 Lexus IS300 — a car that I’ve featured here before but that seems to get more and more extreme each time I see it.  Currently its motor produces in excess of 700 horsepower.  Here’s a quick video.

I’ve been progressing little by little with the 1992 Integra LS.  Hon-Man and his talented repair crew dug in wholeheartedly this week and started tackling some of the car’s key needs.  First and foremost, they attended to some of the routine maintenance needs (fluids, primarily).  Without having any records on the car, I’m really just driving blindly here – and because of that, I wanted a careful eye to inspect the key mechanical components to make sure it’s roadworthy.

New (aftermarket) floor mats make the interior a little more cozy.

The electrical issues appear like they could be related at least in part to a faulty fuse box, and for that we’ve sourced a part which will arrive next week.  Everything else is taken care of:  We replaced a few hoses in the engine bay that were extremely soft and old, replaced both axles, and got some of the bulbs working again.  Marker lights, license plate lights, cruise control, and power antenna are all now working again, which is awesome.  The two front tires were directionally facing backwards, so those are fixed now too.  It’s all about those little details.

Yesterday, I took the car to the Arizona emissions station to have the exhaust gases evaluated.  The car passed, and then I went ahead and got registration taken care of, including special “Historic Vehicle” tags (made available to any vehicle > 25 years old).  Finally.  It’s been a long road getting that car purchased, transported, maintained, and formally relocated to its new home.  In the coming weeks we’ll finish up the mechanicals and probably have windows tinted & some dings removed.

Blog buddy Jason Pawela of Driven for Drives came out to Phoenix to visit this weekend and we took the Integra siblings out for a little drive this morning to Dreamy Draw Park off Northern Avenue.

Here is an 8-minute video capturing some of the latest happenings in the progress with the Integra LS, followed by some other photos of recent events and sightings.  Scroll to the bottom for one more feature – an invitation and offer for some free race tickets!  Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

I’ve always liked these Lexus SC coupes.  This 1999 SC300 was in my mom’s neighborhood.

Scenery in Washington, Utah

My friend Ryan who has the Jurassic Park Explorer (see Radwood 2017) will appreciate this.

Sunday morning quick photo at Pioneer Park on the Red Hill in St. George

Two 2013 models:  Dad’s MDX and my ILX

Easter egg hunting with nephew Locke.  That egg was easy to find.

Milestone on the way home to Phoenix on Sunday!

For reals:  Look at the size comparo between a Dodge Challenger and a G1 NSX.

Beauty shots of the siblings this morning at Dreamy Draw Park

Special Feature Opportunity:  Invitation to IMSA (International Motor Sports Association) Races.

OH, NY, CA, GA Acura owners:  I’m posting this invitation from Acura Motorsports that I received. Free race tickets and the chance to show your car:

Acura owners are invited to attend a weekend at the racetrack with Acura Motorsports. At four IMSA race weekends this year, Acura will be hosting an Acura Car Corral, where owners and enthusiasts can display their ride and enjoy the on-track action. Acura will be providing complimentary parking passes for the corral along with weekend passes to the race for the owner and a guest. Space is limited, so passes will be distributed by RSVP date. Acura Car Corral will be present at these four IMSA races:

1. Mid-Ohio Sports Car Showdown; May 5-6, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
2. Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, June 30-July 1, Watkins Glen
3. Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix, September 8-9, Monterey
4. Motul Petit Le Mans, October 12-13, Road Atlanta

To RSVP for one of these events, e-mail Kyle Ginty at kginty@chargegf.com with the following information:

– Name and name of guest
– Event you wish to attend
– Vehicle model/year
– Mailing Address
– Phone Number

 

Legend Coupe 15-Year Ownership Anniversary Video, News from NYIAS

Posted in Legend on March 29, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  559,218

Looky here.  Someone’s creeping up on a 560,000-mile milestone, and it will happen this weekend on an upcoming trip to Utah for the Easter holiday weekend.

This past Monday 3/26/2018 was the 15th anniversary of the day I flew from Las Vegas, Nevada to San Jose, California to buy the Legend coupe.  I was 21 years old, studying for my Associates Degree at Dixie State College in St. George, Utah and working part time at SkyWest Airlines.  Those were simpler times.  It’s hard to believe a decade and a half have passed.

Here’s an 8-minute video I put together, celebrating in the only way I could on a Monday morning:  driving the car to work.  After the workday to-and-fro commute, I sorted through a few pieces of old paperwork to reminisce a little.  Enjoy!

The red Integra is on day 2 at the mechanic and the jury is still out on what kind of maintenance it will be getting.  Meanwhile, I tried placing an order for some remanufactured alloy wheels to replace the current hubcaps & steelies, only to have the vendor cancel my transaction because “They’re on back order.”  Just like everything else with these 20+ year old cars, everything is out of stock or discontinued.  It’s a long road ahead.

I missed out on “most” of this week’s New York International Auto Show festivities, but I was able to tune in on Wednesday morning for a live feed from the Acura press conference.   Article on CNET here.  And, it looks like my friends were having fun without me.  HondaPro Jason and my friend Conor sent me this pic from the show floor.

Senior Vice President Henio Arcangeli took the stage to announce the debut of the MDX “A-Spec” model, as well as the all-new-for-2019 RDX (which itself will be available with an A-Spec variant).  Adding to the aggressive nature are a pair of nice chrome-finished exhaust outlets at the rear.  The panoramic sunroof looks like a nice touch too.

The MDX and RDX are two very important vehicles for the brand from a sales perspective, and it appears these updates will keep them at the front of the pack in their respective segments.  Just to give context to the volume of people who are buying these SUVs:  In February 2018, the MDX sold 3,337 units and the RDX sold 3,766.  Do you know how many the RLX sedan sold?  151.  It’s no wonder there is so much focus on the SUV lineup.

I’ll forever hope for another sports coupe (at least something sub-NSX-pricing) in the lineup, but for now I am glad to see the direction to a more performance-minded culture with all this A-Spec talk.  It takes us back to the Precision Crafted Performance days of yesteryear, where the brand got its start over 30 years ago.

Have a great holiday weekend.

Best Hits of the 80s & 90s – Round 2: “Radwood” Car Show in Sonoma, California

Posted in California, Car Show, Legend, Road Trip, Vigor on March 26, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Vigor):  110,907

Trip Distance:  1,542 Miles

The front desk clerk at the Motel 6 in Sylmar, California raised his eyebrow and gave me a perplexed look.  “So it has no plate?” he asked as he was reading the paper I’d filled out to get a parking permit.  “No – that is the plate.  Five-C-Y-L.”  “Oh,” he said.  “And it’s an Acura Rigor?”  I had to correct him.  “No, it’s a Vigor.  They stopped making them in 1994.”  “Ahh,” he said, “I used to have a 1994 Civic.”  In my mind I rolled my eyes and felt like saying, “just give me the room key.”

I got another dose of the magnificent 1980s and 1990s this past weekend on my trip to a car show that suits precisely those model years.  This was thus the third time I’ve driven between Phoenix and the San Francisco Bay Area in 3 weeks.  I’m getting to know that Interstate 5 corridor like the back of my hand!  This time, the purpose of the trip was not to buy or transport a purchased car, but rather to meet up with some friends at a celebration of all things “rad,” at Radwood 2018.

Sonoma Raceway has been around for 50 years and is nestled in the southern Sonoma Mountains at a landform called Sears Point.  It has a 2.5 mile long course and capacity for 47,000 spectators.  This weekend, the facility played host to a wide array of cars from the decades of yesteryear – complete with the wardrobe and music that go along with that era.   Here’s a link to my post about the prior Radwood show, held in Anaheim last December.

This marked the longest trip I’ve taken in my Vigor in the nearly three years I’ve owned it, save the initial drive home to Phoenix from Denver when I bought it in July 2015.  I’m happy to report that the car did remarkably well.  I departed Phoenix on Thursday afternoon and had rainy weather throughout the westward trek to the Los Angeles area.  Then I headed north on Interstate 5 to the 580, the 680, the 780, and on to my final destination for the evening in Vallejo, only about 15 miles east of the Sonoma racetrack.

My drive took me across the Benicia – Martinez toll bridge across the Carquinez Strait.  There are a lot of waterways in the area — something I’m not very accustomed to since I live in the desert.

In Vallejo, I met up with my friend Jay who’d flown in from San Diego for the occasion.  He rented a 2005 Honda S2000 on Turo which we took to dinner along the waterfront at an Italian restaurant.  I did a quick parking-lot wipe-down of the Vigor before bed and it ended up getting rained on again overnight anyway.

Saturday morning, Jay brought over some thrift store apparel finds:  A vivid multi-color Wrangler button-down and a “California Lovin” blue hoodie.  If you’re going to attend a vintage car show, you have to look the part.  He also loaned me some pretty tubular Ray Ban sunglasses.  My friend Jason took his wardrobe to a whole new level, complete with a copper wig.

We timed our arrival at Sonoma just right in order to roll in with my friend Chris from San Francisco who brought his black 1994 Legend GS 6-speed.  The car show was broken up into a few different parking areas, with “Radwood Royalty” being a paved lot and everyone else staged on a grassy hill next to it.  Things were a little muddy thanks to the prior night’s rain but luckily the clouds held out and things stayed dry all day.  The wind, however, got chilly and I was extremely grateful to Jay for giving me that hoodie.

As was to be expected, there was a very vast array of automobiles from two to three decades ago.  I would say the German brands dominated the field, with a lot of very clean “E30” 3-series BMWs including my friend Aaron’s exceedingly rare “IX” all-wheel-drive model.  I saw a car called a Bitter for the first time, and I kind of chuckled that it had the same interior color as my Vigor – and even called it the same thing (“Cognac”).  My preferred picks of course were some of the Honda products, including two very clean third-generation Preludes (this one showing off its four-wheel-steering feature).

It was great to reconnect with friends again and catch up over taco truck food and classic music.  There were a lot of accolades for the Vigor and its quirky powertrain combination.  I made sure to display the window sticker and sales brochure, and I popped the hood to showcase that 176-horsepower, 5-cylinder powerplant proudly.

Coming locally from the SF Bay area was my buddy Shervin, in his 1984 Mercedes-Benz 300SD.  It had 205,000 miles on the odometer and a massive binder full of receipts.  Shervin dressed the part of a successful 1980s professional in a business suit, and he accessorized his car with some period-correct items like cassette tapes and some Avery business card templates.  He sure knows how to show up to a board meeting in style.

Radwood was the only car show I’ve ever attended that had giveaways allocated by way of thumb wars and rock-paper-scissors.  The “Best Japanese” award ended up going to a very clean Nissan Pulsar Sportbak.

I sadly gave back the borrowed Ray Bans and hit the highway southbound, going as far as Buttonwillow, California that evening (only about 4 hours away).  The Vigor proved itself as a pretty good road tripper with comfortable revs and a surprisingly quiet cabin considering it has frameless door windows.

I checked in at the Motel 6 around 9:00 p.m. – my third night in my third M6 of the trip.  If there were such a thing as a Diamond Platinum Preferred Motel 6 member, I’d be top dawg.  But when’s the last time you saw a window-mounted climate control unit that looked like this?  I guess the motel was last remodeled about when Radwood-era cars were new.

The final stretch to Phoenix was on Sunday, with just one more stop in Palm Desert for a bean & cheese burrito and an energy drink to fuel me up.  It was a whirlwind trip, but what Drive to Five adventure isn’t?  Thanks for coming along and enjoying some of the great 80s and 90s with me!

Traditional stop in Desert Center.  I go there with all my cars!

Fueling up in Palm Desert at Chevron.

Taco Bell for lunch in Buttonwillow.  Does it look familiar?

It should.  Because I was just there with the Integra sedan six days prior.

Northbound on Interstate 5 at the split with I-580.  I took this same route last year when I went to Sacramento for NALM 2017.

Westbound on I-580 toward Dublin.

Met up with my friend Brian at his office.

Jay’s rental S2000 that we took to dinner.  It was a fun little ride for 13 years and 133,000 miles old!

Waterfront view from dinner.

Having some fettuccine alfredo with Jay.

Arrival at Sonoma with Chris and his friend Alfred in my sideview mirror.

Pretty good shine on these old rides.

Remember the Mitsubishi 3000 GT Spyder?

And better yet, remember the 1980s Chevy Nova?  Someone actually restored one of these and I love it!

View overlooking the venue.

My friend Chris who flew up from LA for the occasion.

Driving home through some misty fog on I-5 southbound.

The Last Puzzle Piece, Part 3: Detail Day, Photos, & Some Brochure Materials

Posted in Detailing, Integra on March 24, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Vigor):  110,000

The final chapter (for now!):  After two whirlwind trips from Phoenix to the San Francisco Bay Area — one to bid on the Integra, and another to pick it up, I finally had the car back home at my garage.  Of all the cars in the collection, it needs probably the most work – both mechanically and cosmetically.  The long list of to-do items will be addressed in due time – a long time – as the Integra will probably only be driven occasionally.

I wasted no time in heading over to the self-service car wash and getting the undercarriage and wheel wells all shined up.  I spent time that same day on the door jambs, the interior, wheel covers & tires, and trunk.  I’ll leave a complete engine bay detail for a later date – that task can take up to an entire day in itself.

The results achieved after just a simple one-step cleaner/wax with Meguiar’s are pretty remarkable, so I’m happy about that.  I’m waiting for my California title to arrive in the next couple of weeks so meanwhile I’m rolling around on the existing tags until I get it registered in Arizona.

Here’s a list of things I’d like to have addressed on the car:

  • Bring maintenance up to date
  • Register with historic plates
  • Engine detail
  • Paintless dent removal
  • Source factory stainless steel exhaust tips
  • Add GS trim wheels
  • Tint windows
  • Source front bumper license plate plugs

Meanwhile I’m thrilled with the little project for the time being and it fits well in the garage.  Color coordination was not 100% intentional, but I did end up with 2 greens, 2 reds, and 2 tans.  Here’s a 13-minute video on how my detail day went.

Just for fun:  I thought this would be kind of a cool time to share some scans and verbiage from my vast collection of Acura literature.  Below are a few things I pulled out.

You’re not likely to find two cars more dissimilar than the Acura NSX and the Legend.  One looks like it could break the sound barrier standing still.  The other looks like it was built for royalty.  You’re also not likely to find two cars so dissimilar built by the same carmaker.  We’re not sure why, but it probably has something to do with “tradition” and a certain inflexible thinking about how things “should be done.”

summary

Some automakers, even those claiming a hundred years of experience, feel there’s safety in doing the expected.  Even fairly new arrivals in the luxury car market don’t deviate much from fairly rigid boundaries.  At Acura, we operate under a different set of rules.  Actually, there are only three rules.  Build the best.  Be at the leading edge, and pour all your passion into it.  Apparently, it works.  The Acura NSX has been called “the best driving experience available from anywhere in the world.”  It’s amazing what a car company can accomplish when it refuses to follow the same old ruts in the road.

Acura tailored each of its vehicles at that time to cater to a certain attribute or goal.

acura_attributes

NSX:  It takes just one word to express the unique philosophy that inspires every Acura automobile:  NSX.  Conceived as the ultimate exotic sports car, the NSX was designed to achieve the razor-sharp response, breathtaking performance, and delicate balance of a Formula One race car, but with the poise, reliability, and ergonomic excellence of a world-class grand-touring automobile.  The result is one of the most acclaimed exotic sports cars ever offered to the public.

nsx_billboard

1992

nsx

1993

nsx3

1994

nsx2

Legend Sedan:  In designing the second-generation Legend sedan, we made a courageous decision, especially in light of the stunning success of the original Legend sedan.  We started over.  After five years of intensive research and engineering, the completely new Legend sedan emerged, a combination of the best in automotive design.  It is graced with precise, sure-footed handling, developed from lessons learned designing the scalpel-sharp NSX.  Exhilarating acceleration, motivated by an aluminum V-6 with an impressive Grand Prix pedigree.  An elegant interior environment of intelligent design and painstakingly developed ergonomics.  And the high levels of sophistication, dependability, and safety for which Acura has become justifiably famous.

legend_sedan_billboard

1992

legend_sedan

1993

legend_sedan3

1994

legend_sedan2

Legend Coupe:  One look at the sculpted shape of the Legend coupe tells you what this automobile is designed to do:  knife through the wind with speed, poise, and grace, leaving only a murmur in the air to signal its passage.  In Europe the Legend coupe will be called upon to cruise at speeds over 130 miles an hour, a level of performance that magnifies the significance of even the most subtle advance in aerodynamics.  From its steeply-raked windshield and backlight to its flush-mounted windows and low-profile grille, the Legend coupe is much more than beautiful – it is the product of countless hours of wind-tunnel testing.

legend_coupe_billboard

1992

legend_coupe

1994

legend_coupe2

Vigor:  The design goal for the 1992 Vigor was a supremely challenging one:  to combine the best of automotive technology, creating a uniquely satisfying personal performance sports sedan.  Start with the confidence-inspiring dynamic balance of the NSX.  Add the distinctive style and interior ambience of a sophisticated touring coupe.  Factor in the responsiveness and agility of a lightweight sports sedan.  Incorporate the security and elegant practicality of a four-door luxury automobile.  And bring together these qualities in an aggressive, yet eminently usable, personal sports sedan – delivering the excitement and performance of a world-class sports coupe, but with the universal appeal of a four-door road car.

vigor_billboard

1992

vigor

1993

vigor3

1994

vigor2

Integra:  Since their introduction, the Integra 3-door and 4-door sports sedans have earned a reputation for stirring performance, exhilarating agility, extraordinarily refined road matters and intelligent ergonomics.  Many automakers would be reluctant to change such an impressive automobile, one labeled “… a superb car” by no less an authority than Car and Driver magazine.  But not Acura.  The 1992 Integra has been substantially improved, with significant advances in engine power, driveline smoothness, interior detailing, and aerodynamics.

gsr_billboard

1992

integra

1993

integra3

Every Acura automobile has been meticulously inspected and tested to ensure the high levels of reliability and durability which the Acura name has come to signify.  Many car companies claim to build satisfying cars, but the Acura Division has an impressive record of top rankings in both short-term and long-term customer satisfaction surveys to back it up.  Most recently, Acura has ranked best in the J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Performance Index (VPI), a survey that measures the operating performance and overall comfort of a vehicle after three full years of ownership.

The interesting thing was to consider the demographics of Acura’s customers at the time.  This is a chart found within a massive, boxed “Dealer Kit” I got my hands on many years ago.  The average NSX owner was 44 years old with a $230,000 household income.  That’s $396,000 today.  Big money.

1992_acura_demographics

1994 was the change-over to the “bug eye” Integra in the full-line photo below so that’s why my collection is better described as 1991 through 1993 era, even though the Legends and Vigor are 1994.

1994_full_line

Thanks for reading!

The Last Puzzle Piece, Part 2: Getting My New 1992 Integra Home

Posted in Arizona, California, Integra, Road Trip on March 22, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Integra Sedan):  117,325

Few people probably get excited about 25 year old Acuras like I do.  But anyone who follows my blog knows how anxious I must have been after completing the purchase of my latest acquisition to get it home and in my garage.  The only problem was, it was located about 800 miles away in another state.

Before I left Auction City in Redwood City, California on the Saturday that I bid and “won” the car, I had arranged for transport via a broker called Montway.  The rate came in at $570 door-to-door to Phoenix and because of the frequently traveled cities between which the car would be transported, I was assured by a representative that dispatch would likely happen within 48 hours and the car would get picked up early the next week.

If only.  48 hours came and went.  72 hours came and went, and not a word from the shipper, who’d told me I’d be receiving an email as soon as it was assigned.  So three days in and it still hadn’t even been assigned to trucker.  I called and emailed them.  On day 4, I was told, “We are working to find a carrier.  I’ll call around personally.”  On day 5, “Your order is now in priority status,” whatever that means.

Each time I inquired as to the status, I was getting the runaround, and my patience was wearing thin.  The Integra was parked at an auction facility that needed it gone – and I didn’t want people messing with it (knowing there would be another swarm of potential bidders coming in soon and not wanting them to touch it).

Finally I received a break on the afternoon of day 5 (Thursday) when Montway called.  “We’ve found a carrier,” they told me.  “He can pick up the car on Monday and his rate is $770.”  I was floored for a couple of reasons.  #1 – Monday would have been 9 days after I placed the order for immediate pick-up.  #2 – The quoted rate was over $200 more than I was already told the transport would cost.  I told the representative, absolutely not.  Cancel my order.

And right in the middle of trying to host my brother, his wife, and 3 kids at my house for the weekend, I was forced to book a last minute flight from Phoenix to San Jose so I could go pick up the car and drive it home myself.  It seemed more than a little crazy:  Flying out alone, trusting a 26 year old car that had been driven only 20 miles in the last 2 years (according to Carfax records), and attempting a 12-hour, 800-mile drive home.  But I’m not right in the head.

I boarded my Southwest flight on Friday night around 9:30 and was in my motel in Sunnyvale, California by a little after 11:00 p.m.  I didn’t sleep well that night in anticipation of the following morning’s events.  It’s worth mentioning here, this was the third time I’ve flown into San Jose airport to drive a new car home:  The first was the Legend coupe on March 26, 2003.  The second was the NSX on December 17, 2011.  That must be a good area to buy cars from.

Another Uber bright and early on Saturday morning took me to Auction City in Redwood City where I shook hands with Edward Lauber, the owner, who said, “I hear you collect Acuras.”  My car was pulled around to the front and I was sent on my way at 8:30 in the morning.  I only had 1/8th of a tank of gas, so my first stop was a Chevron on Marsh Road before hitting Highway 101 southbound.

Here’s where things got interesting.  I accelerated onto the onramp and got settled in.  I pulled out the cigarette lighter to insert my phone charger and the entire assembly was a little bit loose.  I jiggled it around a little and could sometimes get the phone to take a charge for a second, but it would not stay charging.  My battery life was at 22%.  Great.  I advised a few people that I would likely be unavailable by phone for most of the day after it died.

I was pleased at how the Integra handled at freeway speed, with revs < 4,000 RPM at 75 miles per hour, unlike its counterpart the GS-R.  Road and wind noise were not bad, the engine sounded healthy.  Then I made an attempt at the cruise control.  No dice.  The light on the “master” switch illuminated, but the system would not engage.  Shoot – I had 12 hours ahead of me and my right leg was not happy about it.

Over the course of the next 730 miles, I made a list of 13 weird electrical things going on with the car.  Some were quite puzzling.  My favorite was this:  When you activated the left turn signal, after it flashes 5 times, it started flashing the “Door” light in the instrument cluster, the clock, and the rear window defrost button.  How are those things even related?

At this point I was fairly confident there is something wrong with the entire system.  And the longer I stared at the dash, the more I noticed things about it.  Nooks and crannies all had water spots in them, white in color.  It’s almost like someone sneezed milk over the entire dashboard at some point.  Was a water-related incident to blame for the fact that all the electronics were on the fritz?  Likely.

But the good news is that I sailed along in comfort and style on Highway 101, Highway 152 toward Los Banos, and then I-5 southbound without any mechanical issues whatsoever.  The clutch, brakes, and gearbox were perfect.  The A/C blew cold.  The windows, locks, and headlights all worked.  So for that I was extremely grateful.  Here is my list of other things I noticed:

  • Radio antenna would not go up.  It went up during the auction, I remember noticing it.  So did something get disconnected or broken in the week the car sat there afterward?
  • The radio itself is a quirky thing.  Sometimes it doesn’t work at all; other times I get sound from just 1 speaker.
  • The Intermittent wiper speed does not work.
  • The clock reset itself to 1:00 twice during fuel stops.
  • Once I heard the “open door” chime when no doors were open.
  • Sometimes the clock is “fuzzy” / fizzing in and out.
  • The dome light doesn’t turn on.
  • Marker lights and license plate lights don’t work.

I think we have a real project on our hands – and I’m not even sure that I care to address most of those, as long as the car runs & drives well.  And it sure does.  It survived extended highway miles, a steep grade up the Grapevine north of the LA area, and 3 different segments of gridlocked traffic all with constant A/C running.  Meanwhile my right leg got accustomed to being permanently set on the throttle.  I took Highway 210 to Highway 57 to Interstate 10.  Then I could finally start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

By now, it was around 4:30 p.m. so I figured it was time to go find a way to turn my dead phone on so I could check messages and let people know that I was doing okay.  I stopped at a Starbucks in Palm Desert, California for that.  I was able to use my laptop battery to send a charge to my phone and get it back up to about 20% life remaining before I headed out again.  Dusk came around 6:30 and I was crossing into the Arizona state line, and by 8:30 I was pulling into my driveway in Phoenix – exactly 12 hours after leaving Auction City earlier in the morning.

It was a relief to be home.  The known issues with the Integra were the least of my concerns.  I got home safe and sound, and that was all that mattered to me.  My brother and his family were still at my house so I enjoyed the evening with them and relaxed.  A little later on, I pulled the car in so it could be parked with the rest of the collection.  It fit in nicely.  And of course, I had to wear my “Just one more car.  I promise” T-shirt for the occasion.

Now what?  Come back for my next post as I begin to address some of the car’s issues – both cosmetic and mechanical.  On the to-do list will be a few visual enhancements:  OEM floor mats, rear mud guards, dent removal, factory exhaust tips, etc.  And I plan on putting historic license plates on this one for sure.  It has earned them!  Here is a video capturing 13 minutes of the adventure.

Text from my friend calling me out on buying another car

Firing up the Integra and getting ready to roll out

Lunch stop at Taco Bell in Buttonwillow, California

Starting to see the final stretch through the desert

Good thing I didn’t need any fuel from these pumps in Desert Center

Dusk as I roll into Arizona

Kid-approved!  I arrived home to my brother’s family who was still there visiting.

Come back soon for my next write-up and a video on getting the car cleaned up!

End note: Do I have any Gen 1 Prelude fans in the audience?  This 1982 model belongs to my trusty mechanic, Tait at Hon-Man Auto Care.  It has only around 100,000 miles on it and is going up for sale.  Let me know if you’re interested!