Retro Rides: 2018 Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS) in Long Beach, California

Posted in California, Car Show, Road Trip, Vigor on September 17, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Vigor):  112,562

Trip Distance:  760 Miles

“How do you keep it smelling like that?” asked an attendee at last Saturday’s Japanese Classic Car Show in Long Beach, California, after poking his head into my 1994 Acura Vigor.  “What do you mean?” I asked.  “It smells just like an old Honda.  It reminds me of one I used to have,” he said.

As it turns out, the “old Honda” smell conversation came up more than once – enough to make the wheels in my mind start spinning.  Does the Car Freshner scent tree company need to develop a new scent, called Old Car?  I call dibs on royalties for anyone who takes the idea and runs with it.

This weekend, I joined 423 other participants at the largest show dedicated specifically to Japanese classics, in the southwest region and perhaps in the country.  Now in its 14th year, the show – dubbed ‘JCCS’ by long-time attendees or supporters, is now enhanced with expanded eligibility criteria.  Historically, showing a 1990s car required special consideration & approval because the cutoff for allowed model years ended at 1985.  Now, just about anything Japanese that’s up to & including model year 1995 is eligible.  The change comes at a time when so many venues – including Radwood shows, and the recent Japanese Automotive Invitational, are starting to devote special recognition to the “Neo Classic” 80s & 90s era.  Totally awesome.

JCCS took a thorough and organized approach to its execution – starting and ending on time, and even orchestrating roll-in and staging in an orderly fashion.  Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised, as the Japanese (thus the reason why I drive Japan-built automobiles) are masters of precision.  Volunteers guided incoming vehicles to their respective assigned areas, but the traffic jam at the gate (and on the grounds) was definitely more than the Marina Green park is probably used to seeing on a Saturday morning at 7:00.

Model Citizen‘s Patrick Strong acted as the Master of Ceremonies throughout the day, spotlighting key exhibitors, rattling off raffle ticket numbers for prize winnings, and conducting the awards presentation at the conclusion.  Meanwhile, the lawn filled up with hundreds of Japan’s best creations:  in all, about 150 Nissan / Datsun vehicles, 87 Toyotas, about the same number of Hondas, some Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, and a lonely Isuzu in the mix.  Some were stock, while others were highly modified.

As the day pressed on, I enjoyed bumping into some of the many people who make the automotive hobby such a rewarding pastime – friends from the Honda community poured in and it became a bit of a reunion for me.  I partnered with my friend Mike, who drives a 1989 Prelude Si, on content for our YouTube channels and caught up with colleagues from the Legend, NSX, and Integra clubs.  When the time came to grab lunch, I opted for the food truck on “vendor row” with the shortest line, which ended up being a crepe vendor.  It’s the first time I can say I’ve ever eaten a crepe with bacon and avocado in it – those were two key ingredients from the “California Sunrise.”

I was, of course, wearing my “Alive With Five” T-shirt commemorating my Vigor’s 5-cylinder motor.

Car shows aren’t always about coming home with “hardware,” but it’s rewarding when the judges recognize the vehicles that stand out in exceptional ways.  Winning honors in the Neo Honda & Acura category were my friend Rob Pia with his 1994 Legend LS sedan and Leon Palassanian with his 2001 Integra Type-R.  While Leon’s Integra technically falls beyond the 1995 model year cutoff, because the car’s generation started in 1994, it was eligible.  And at only 30,000 original miles on the odometer, it was a show-stopper and a crowd-pleaser.  It was one of two Type-R models on the show field – the other was a white Canadian-spec model.

I wrapped up my trip by chauffeuring a friend to Palm Springs and having a bite to eat there, before pressing on to Phoenix.  The late night drive was made better with Paula Abdul on the stereo – via cassette tape adapter, of course – with “Straight Up.”  It only seems fitting that a 1988 song accompany me home from what was an incredible day embracing an iconic era for automobiles.

Here is a 7-minute video capturing some of my trip as well as the show itself.  As always, pardon the amateur camera and editing quality!

And while you’re here, stop by ImportArchive.com.  My friend Darren (same who prepared the digital drawings of the cars in my garage) has spent 15 years collecting and scanning brochures of Japanese automakers.  I’ve contributed a few materials to his archive and I’m excited to see it grow.  Downloads are made available once he gets the items digitized (over 50,000 scans are completed to date).

Spectating attendees Steve & Zac making the rounds

This is the display I made up for the Vigor – including a quote from the original sales brochure

Friends stopping by to visit.

Nice 1987 Legend on show at the Honda (sponsor) booth

David drove down from the Bay Area in his 1994 Legend LS coupe 6-speed

These folks must have been smelling that Vigor interior!

This is the 1993 Legend LS currently up for auction on Bring a Trailer website.  It is stunning, and can be yours if the Price is Right!

Let’s throw some non-Hondas into the mix – I can’t only show my fave brand!

Armando’s beautiful 1974 Mazda RX-4.

Lexus SC rear ends.

Look at that Land Cruiser!

Right-hand-drive was the name of the game.

Gorgeous Honda S roadster.

My friend Chris’ 1979 Accord

My friend Hyram’s 1990 Legend

Second-generation Integra lineup

Stopping in Palm Springs on the way home to see a Legendary friend, David.

 

Spy shot of me thanks to James of Six Speed Blog a couple of weeks ago.

I had this little newspaper clipping from 2008 framed to hang in the house.

Junkyard sightings from last weekend:  Vigor, Legend, Prelude 4WS.

Anyone catch the updates to the ILX for model year 2019?  Fancy front & rear!

And finally, I was thumbing through a 30-year-old Acura brand magazine.  There was an area where they highlight interesting news or reader submissions.  Check out this paragraph about / by none other than Estelle Getty who played “Sophia” on Golden Girls.

Now you know!  Have a great week!

Japanese Automotive Invitational (JAI) Recap 2018 – Attendees By the Numbers

Posted in California, Car Show on September 11, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Integra GS-R):  250,488

It’s now been three weeks since Pebble Beach was abuzz with the automotive extravaganza referred to as ‘Car Week.’  There continue to be a lot of great articles about it, including this one released just today by my friends Ben Hsu & Ryan Senensky of Japanese Nostalgic Car.

If you ask Karen at Motor Trend about how this year’s inaugural Japanese Automotive Invitational (JAI) event came together, she’ll tell you, “It took an army.”  The planning, logistics, and execution of a car show that brought 40+ cars from areas across the nation were daunting tasks that she spearheaded for the August 25-26 event.  Luckily for Karen, she had plenty of help.  Motor Trend partnered with Infiniti on making it all happen.  And having proudly participated myself, my medallion now resides in a display case at my home (below).

(Photo credit to Trevor Yale Ryan from Speed Hunters)

What started as an idea hatched by Motor Trend’s own Ed Loh evolved into a revolutionary event in a lot of regards.  Never before had Japanese vehicles been given such a spotlight at Pebble Beach, and the media and public now agree:  It was a success.  Now in the same signature location at Pebble since 2014, Infiniti was looking to diversify and expand on its display, especially since the brand is coming up on a 30-year anniversary next year.  Remember the Q45 flagship sedan?  It’s three decades old!

Naturally, it made sense to showcase Infiniti’s own heritage and spotlight a few noteworthy cars.  Infiniti also decided to allow its competition into the arena by specifically showcasing models from Acura and Lexus on its own turf.

The list of participating vehicles was curated internally and cars were sourced from throughout the country – coming from as far away as Florida, New Jersey, and Michigan.  Some models proved tougher to locate than others.  A first-generation Integra, for example, was on the original list but not readily available, so they went with my second-gen instead.

Something you won’t see in any other articles about the event is a comprehensive list of exactly what vehicles came, but I got my hands on one.  Here is the participant list in ascending order by model year:

1959 Datsun 220 (truck)
1964 Datsun 1500 Roadster (black)
1964 Mazda R360
1967 Nissan Patrol
1967 Toyota Sport 800
1967 Toyota Toyoglide 700
1967 Toyota 2000GT
1968 Honda N600 (white)
1970 Mazda Cosmo Sport
1969 Subaru 360 Deluxe Coupe
1969 Subaru Truck (2nd Gen Sambar)
1969 Toyota FJ040 LandCruiser (seafoam green)
1970 Datsun 240Z Safari Tribute
1970 Isuzu Bellett (orange, black hood)
1971 510 BRE Datsun Trans Am 2.5
1971 Z432 Nissan Fairlady
1973 Mitsubishi Galant GTO MR
1972 Nissan Skyline GT-R
1972 Suzuki LJ20 Jimny
1974 Nissan Cherry X1-R
1975 Honda Civic CVCC
1975 Isuzu 1st Gen 117 Coupe
1976 Honda Civic Lady Concept
1978 Dome Zero
1978 Subaru Brat
1982 Grand Prix Mazda RX-7
1987 Toyota GTO Celica Race Car
1990 Acura Legend LS Coupe
1990 Lexus LS Prototype
1990 Mazda Miata Show Stock C Racer
1990 Nissan Pao
1991 Infiniti M30
1991 Nissan Figaro
1991 Toyota Dan Gurney’s Eagle MkIII IMSA GTP Championship Car
1992 Acura Integra GS-R Hatchback – Mine!
1992 Autozam AZ-1 Mazdaspeed
1992 Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R
1993 Infiniti Q45t
1994 Infiniti J30
1994 Nissan 300ZX IMSA GTS
1997 Acura NSX-T
1999 R34 V-Tech Nissan Skyline
2007 Infiniti FX35
2018 Infiniti QX50
2022 Infiniti P9 Roadster

Some cars were sourced from owners themselves (a registration form on the JAI website was made available for anyone who wanted to submit his or her own vehicle), but many vehicles came from museums as well as the automakers themselves.

Lists are fun, but you know what’s even ‘funner’?  (I don’t care if that isn’t a word – I’m using it).  Let’s extract some data from these.  A quick pivot table reveals some interesting results.  To nobody’s surprise, 19 out of the 45 cars – or 42% of the overall show field – were Nissan and Infiniti models.  I can honestly say that prior to this exercise, I’d never heard of a Dome.  Toyota, Honda, and Mazda had roughly the same level of representation, ranging from 11% to 15%.

Now let’s take a peek at the years in question.  It appears that the 1990s were the best represented with 15 cars (1/3 of the show field).  The 1980s were surprisingly slim, and the 2000’s cars are arguably out of scope here because I don’t know if they yet qualify for a “classic” designation.  Don’t make me feel older than I already do!  I graduated from high school in 2000 (“Y2K,” better yet), so it’s a touchy subject.

All of this will come into consideration when it comes time (now) to debrief, and then move forward right away for future year planning.  For 2019, JAI will roll onward and become bigger and better as the show field evolves.  I’m excited for the chance to work with Karen and others in any way that I can engage and assist.  Thanks again for letting my humble 1992 GS-R play a small role in making it happen.

And for anyone looking to get into the classic Japanese car hobby, I have a couple of auction links for you today:

1993 Acura Legend LS coupe 6-speed in Black on Black

1985 Honda City & Motocompo from This DrivetoFive Article

Happy bidding!

Q&A from a Reader: 46 Questions Answered

Posted in Blog on September 7, 2018 by tysonhugie

Happy Friday, all.

I recently had a loyal subscriber to the blog send me a list of questions that he’s been wondering about, and I have addressed each of them below.  Maybe some of you will find it interesting.  Feel free to share any feedback, comments, or similar perspectives!

ADVICE:

– Your best maintenance advice?  Change your oil regularly, inflate tires regularly, rotate tires?

Oil changes, air filters, spark plugs, transmission fluid services – those are the basics.  I recently compiled paperwork for a car that has had 87 oil changes in 130,000 miles. That comes out to an oil change every 1,500 miles or so.  Probably excessive, but definitely good attention to detail.  I stick to every 3,000 miles on my older cars that run conventional oil, and between 7,000 and 9,000 miles on my newest car which runs 0W30 synthetic.

– Thoughts about dealer maintenance vs. a la carte maintenance (e.g., Jiffy Lube)?  Dealers seem more expensive but is it better when selling to have a maintenance record from a dealer?

Because the labor rate is cheaper (dealer roughly $140+ per hour) at most side mechanics, I prefer to use a dedicated Honda / Acura specialist for larger ticket items like timing belt & water pump changes every 90,000 miles, and the dealership for only small or less expensive things like oil changes.  The source of a maintenance record is not as important as the existence of one.  Even a handwritten ledger of do-it-yourself mileage & oil change intervals is valuable.

– Thoughts about 30,000 mile service, 60,000 mile service at the dealer?  For $250-$350, they only check items on a list.  It’s usually much cheaper to do items separately (oil change, brake pads, timing belt, air filters).  But will that negatively impact a sale of the car?

I don’t think there’s any “all-in-one” 30k, 60k type service because each vehicle will operate on different intervals.  But I like the idea of packaging things up in a comprehensive checklist because that way the level of detail is usually higher than cherry-picking just a few items to inspect or address.

– Car washing advice?  We have hard water in Arizona; washing at home with a hose can leave water spots.  But an automatic car wash has dangerous rollers that can damage paint.  Recommended soaps?  Recommended washing cloths or brushes?  Recommended drying cloths? (For me personally, chamois cloth was very popular in the 1990s; it was horrible to use, with constant wringing.)

Meguiar’s for car wash soaps, soft cloths for scrubbing, and microfiber towels for drying off.  I don’t use automatic car washes with rollers, but I do go to the coin-op self-serve wash (example, Weiss on 12th St & Maryland in Phoenix) to use the high-pressure gun especially when I have lots of bugs, grit, or mud that a garden hose at the house won’t clean off.

– Wax advice?  Wax on or wax off?  Carnuba wax only?  Wax by hand or okay to use an electric buffer?  Leave on for 5 minutes or 30 minutes?  How often?

I used to have an interval of waxing my car every 6 months with Meguiar’s carnauba paste wax.  But now that most of my cars are driven only infrequently and usually don’t see rain or harsh elements, every couple of years is about what they get.  Let the wax haze (15 minutes) and then remove by hand with a microfiber towel.  Always do it in the shade, never direct sunlight.

– Windshield wax?  (When I lived in Ohio, I used Rain-X on the windshield and it was a dream come true!  I don’t use it in Arizona ‘cuz it rarely rains)

I love Rain-X.  Absolutely.

– Better to park with the trunk facing the sun?  (That’s what I do; less direct sun on interior)

I find myself doing that, too.  Park facing away from the sun, and still use a collapsible windshield shade.

– Dashboard mats worth getting?  (For those of us oldsters, dashboards used to crack from the heat and sun; almost every Phoenician in the 1990s had a DashMat [their headquarters are in Sunnyslope].  But I hear that today’s cars do not need these mats; dashboards last longer.)

I don’t use a Dashmat but I can definitely see the value.  One of the problems with a Dashmat (at least with the ones that I’ve seen) is that they attach with Velcro strips that you have to glue to your dash.  That glue turns to goop over the years and becomes a sticky (and sometimes permanent) mess.

– My #1 complaint:  foggy windshields from offgassing of vinyl.  What do you suggest for cleaning the film?  (Windex causes streaks; I’ve tried ammonia and newspaper; I’ve tried microfiber cloths.).  Plus, how do you clean the film from the other windows that likely have window tint?

I use Sprayway ammonia-free glass cleaner.  It comes in a white colored aerosol can with blue lettering and is available at most grocery stores.  Use with microfiber.  Agree, the residue is a challenge.  For tinted windows – the same.  Never use an ammonia-based window cleaner as it will discolor the tint over time.

– Crack a window in the sun/heat or is it unsafe?

I crack a window an inch or so, and sometimes the sunroof too.

– Leave windows down in the garage at night?  (I use my re-circulation button a lot to keep out dust & smells when driving; a friend advised me to turn off the recirc button at night so that the car could breathe, which I’ve done; but now I crack my windows in my garage to allow air flow)

No, I leave the windows up usually.  One thing I do whenever I park a car is hit the “OFF” button to turn off all HVAC operation.  I was told once that it lessens the “load” on an engine when you start it back up if the A/C doesn’t kick in automatically.  Makes sense.

CARS:

– What was your dream car as a kid?  (I used to dream about Corvette Stingrays [with the side fins] in the late 1970s)

I was never one to lust over Ferraris and Lamborghinis.  I had my sights set on more obtainable cars like the Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4.

– If you were super rich, what is your dream car today?

I’d buy a mint condition 1950 Buick Special like the one my grandpa owned in 1954 that was driven on his honeymoon with my grandmother.  Nice ones are approaching six-figure pricetags.

– What was your first car owned?

I was given a free 1986 Chevrolet Celebrity CL when I turned 16.  It was a hand-me-down.

– Who taught you to drive?  Did you learn 5-speed first?

My dad taught me to drive on a 1994 Ford Ranger 5-speed pickup.  We went to a remote area near the Utah-Arizona state line outside St. George and drove around on some dirt roads.  My younger brother, a year younger than I, learned at the same time.

– Have you taught anyone to drive?

Yes, I taught my friend Justin to drive a stick shift once.  We did that in my Acura ILX in an empty parking lot near the ASU Tempe campus.

– Do you use cruise control or are you 100% foot powered?

Definitely cruise control on longer stretches.  Usually about 6-8 mph over the posted limit.

– Do you use GPS or paper maps or do you use your intuition?

I used to print volumes of maps on MapQuest and similar sites.  Then I started relying on a Garmin GPS unit.  Now I primarily just use my phone, but I still like having a big traditional paper road atlas in the car with me.

– Your fastest speed (that you will admit to) and where and when?

I drove a 2017 Acura NSX at 155 miles per hour on a closed track in Cantil, California at Honda’s hot-weather proving ground in December 2017.  It was a thrilling experience.

– Do you engine brake on steep hills?

Yes, especially when coming down grades like Pikes Peak in Colorado (July 2018).  My brake temperatures were measured as the lowest of my group of cars at that time because I was effectively using engine braking.

– Do you use a parking brake when parked?  (You probably do if it’s a 5-speed; I ask because my parents drove automatic cars and put the parking brake on every time they parked)

I only use a parking brake when I’m driving a stick shift, but I really should do it in automatics too.

– Thoughts on bumper stickers?  (I’ve heard that parents should always apply their kid’s “student of the month” bumper stickers, but do stickers do a lot of damage in the hot Phoenix sun [fading, melted glue?]?)

Nah, no stickers for me.

INSIDE THE CAR:

– Your favorite snacks when traveling?

Starbucks vanilla frappaccino bottled beverage or Monster “Mean Bean” energy drink.  Rice Krispy treats, Swedish fish, goldfish crackers or other cheesy snacks.  Lunchables too.

– Your worst spill story?  Giant Big Gulp all over?

Last weekend, I was eating a hot dog from a gas station in Kingman while driving.  I dribbled ketchup and mustard all over my shirt and my seatbelt.  I had no napkins and didn’t feel like stopping, so I took off a shoe and used a black sock to clean it up until I got home and could do a more thorough job.

– Do you control the music when you have a passenger and you are doing all the driving?

Yes, on longer trips I usually let the playlist roll on random from my 15,000-song, 80-gig iPod Classic.

– If you get sleepy?

I typically don’t have problems with this as I don’t travel at night if I can avoid it.  In 2007 I hit 2 deer in Texas because I couldn’t see them.  So I try driving in the daytime now.  But those energy drinks (see above) usually keep me awake and alert.

– Are there items you bring on every trip? (gallon of water, blanket, flashlight, flares?)

Full size spare tire, phone and charger, A/C power inverter, sunglasses, and a pillow to put between the front seats and rest my right elbow on.

LOCATIONS:

– Top 5 favorite drives?  Road conditions plus views

– Top 5 favorite beautiful places?

  • Kluane National Park, Yukon Territory

  • Glacier National Park, Montana

  • Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

  • Snow Canyon State Park, Utah

  • Big Sur, California

– Have you ever slammed the brakes because the view was amazing?

Yes, I stopped right in the middle of the road a few times on my Alaska trip in 2016.

– Over-rated places? (The Thing?, Yosemite?)

Most national parks are sadly getting overcrowded and overrun with tourists.  I’d rather explore a desolate ghost town and be the only person there.

– Worst traffic? (I vote for soul-sucking Boston!!!)

Los Angeles.  Hate the traffic every time I go there.

– Worst places visited?

Memphis.  I didn’t like the vibe or the humidity.  Maybe because I got lost in a bad part of town in the middle of the night in my early 20’s.

– How many states have you visited?

37.  I’m missing most of New England and a few other areas.

HORROR STORIES:

– Speeding tickets?  How many?  Any advice for getting out of them?

A couple, which isn’t too bad considering my miles driven.  I also was pulled over on Interstate 10 many years ago and my car was searched for drugs.  I got a red-light ticket once from a motorcycle cop for failing to stop while making a right on red.  Went to traffic school for that one.

– Radar traps?  Do you use a radar detector?  (They were all the rage in the 1990s)

No, since I tend to drive within 8 or so MPH of the limit this isn’t really a problem or a need.  I’m also skeptical about their effectiveness.  (Haven’t you already been “caught” when it sounds?)

– Run out of gas?  What was the farthest you had to walk to get gas?

I’ve actually never had this happen.  I travel on the top ½ of my tank usually.

– Dust storm story?

Typical Arizona monsoon storms, but nothing specific comes to mind.

– Hail storm story?

Worst hail I experienced wasn’t even while I was driving.  It was while I was at the office and Scottsdale got a horrendous storm.  Even though my car was in the parking garage, because it was on an end space it sustained damage from sideways hail to the passenger side.

– Snow storm story?

One time, when I was a student at Utah State University in Logan, Utah in 2004, I took a short drive up Logan Canyon.  At one point I decided to turn around, but didn’t realize that the snow on the shoulder of the road was a lot deeper than it looked.  My car sank to its axles and I had to call for help – luckily I had a phone and a signal.

– Slid off the road?  Or stuck in mud or sand?

A few years ago, I was at Four Corners and stopped at the Colorado welcome sign to take a picture with my car (of course).  I didn’t realize it was deep sand right at the base of the sign.  I got hopelessly stuck.  Luckily for me, a guy in a GMC Yukon drove by and saw me struggling, so he stopped and pulled me out with some chains.

– # of flat tires?

I’ve never had to stop on the roadside and change a tire, miraculously.  I did have a tire go flat overnight in a hotel parking lot once.

– # of tows?

Two, and both were for fuel pump failures.  Once in my 399,000 mile 1994 Acura Legend and once in my 72,000 mile 1992 Acura Integra.

– Overheated or car broke down in the middle of nowhere?

Just the above mentioned tow on the 1992 Integra.  I was in Nevada along I-15 and rode with the tow truck driver into Las Vegas after limping the car along to a gas station.

– How many people have you helped change a tire?

Zero

– How many hitchhikers have you picked up?

Two, at the same time.  My friend Matt and I were driving to Las Vegas and we saw some guys broken down on Highway 93 between Wickenburg and Wikieup, so we stopped to see if we could help.  They ended up catching a ride with us to Kingman where they rented a vehicle.

Back in the Saddle: ILX Return from Utah & My Showroom Display Case

Posted in Brochures, ILX, Utah on September 3, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  206,792

Happy Labor Day.

After a 15-month hiatus, my 2013 ILX is back from Utah.  My brother was using the car for daily duty – though his driving only added up to about 6,000 miles in that length of time.  It had been since last November when I sold my TL Type-S that I’ve been driving around without a ‘modern’ (post-1990s vehicle) so I was glad to get back into something with iPod connectivity and other conveniences.

It felt a bit odd to slide back into that driver seat again after so long, but the car smelled, drove, and handled exactly as I remembered it.  Before leaving St. George last Saturday, I paid a quick visit to grandma and grandpa as well as to my friend Blair who has a couple of 1989 Legend coupes that are up for grabs.  Check out the video at the bottom of this post – free to a good home.  Any takers?

The St. George -> Phoenix trip felt much like every other I’ve taken, except for one new stretch:  The Nevada Department of Transportation has recently (within the last month, even) dedicated a new stretch of road as part of Interstate 11.

Formerly, the drive between Las Vegas and Phoenix required driving through the town of Boulder City which would become overrun with traffic headed to Hoover Dam, especially on holiday weekends.  Now, the new freeway bypasses Boulder City to the south and reconnects with Highway 93 just prior to the bridge over the Colorado River.  It’s a pretty slick piece of road that will easily slice 5 or 10 minutes off my drive.

I happened to pull off at a scenic viewpoint and end up right next to a 2018 ILX.  Its owners were very nice!

The road is so new that traffic is light, and I was able to stop in the middle of the onramp for a photo without blocking anyone.

The other exciting thing is some progress with my literature collection.  After 20 years of acquiring merchandise and brochures related to Acura vehicles, I finally have a way to start showcasing some of it.  Several weeks ago, I purchased a 70″ long (38″ tall, 18″ deep) display case from a company called Achieve Display.  It arrived in Phoenix a few days later but I had to rent a full size pickup truck to retrieve the 300-pound pallet that it came on at the freight depot.

Assembly was a bit of a chore, as the 8-page instruction manual was lacking detail, but we figured it out.  I took some time to do an inventory of some of my collectibles and filled up the case right away.  I also ordered a plexiglass 6-up magazine display to hang on the wall (and another one is on the way) so my laundry room which leads into the garage is finally transforming into a bit of a showroom.  In going through my boxes of literature, I discovered duplicates in some of the items.

Light reading!

I have over 80 brochures ranging in model year from 1986 through 2015, as well as probably that many magazine articles as well.  Time to get my library in order!  One day I’d like to scan a bunch of the items and digitize them to share with the community but most of the pieces are larger than a typical sheet of paper.

My friend Jerry gave me a few awesome items including these vintage hats.

Finished product – for now:

Short video on ILX retrieval:

Blair’s 1989 coupes:

Display case & garage walk-through:

Interstate 11 informational placard

Headed back to PHX

My friend German stopping by to take the NSX for a spin

Photo a friend sent me of a 1992-era dealership

Saw this in one of the vintage mags:  Ads for different car clubs, including 2 Acura clubs.  I want to join!

My friend Eric gave me a sweet Polo shirt for being his first commenter on RentalReview.blog. Go check out his site!

He also gave me some magnets I can use for a little advertising.

Service manuals galore.

Magazines on display – and a framed jigsaw puzzle of my 1994 Legend GS.

‘Justification for Higher Education’: My First Time Driving a Ferrari

Posted in Arizona, NSX, Reader's Ride on August 30, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Vigor):  111,769

When I was a teenager, my bedroom had its fair share of automotive swag.  The whole room, as I recall, was decked out in the colors red, white, and blue.  I had diecast model car shelves mounted on the walls, going around the perimeter.  And there was a 24×36 poster in a red plastic frame that held especially high significance.  I still have it today:

It shows a southwestern-style home with a tile roof, perched along the oceanfront at sunset.  But in front of the house sits a 5-car garage with some 1989’s best sportscars (though, worth noting here, none of them were Japanese!).  I took the message to heart and set my sights on higher education like the goody-two-shoes I was, and graduated at 25 with a Masters Degree in Business.  It wasn’t until 10 years later that I bought a house with a garage big enough to hold more than 2 cars.  And I certainly didn’t fill it with high-end exotics.  But my own personal dream was achieved.

You’ve met my friend Greg Davis through the blog in a couple of previous posts, including the one about his quirky collection of Japanese Domestic Market, right-hand-drive vehicles.  What I didn’t share in that particular post was a glimpse of some of Greg’s other, more fancy rides.  And now’s the time to go ahead and do that.  My friends Chase and Trey were in town from Oklahoma this past weekend, so I wanted to show them a good time.  The perfect place to find that fun was at Greg’s, where we did a mini road rally in a 1986 Ferrari 328, 1988 Lotus Esprit, 1995 Acura NSX, and 2004 Porsche 911.

We moved the cars from Greg’s storage facility to his home for a re-staging of the “Justification” poster.  The photoshoot itself was fun, but even more so, was the driving enjoyment from that short jaunt between locations.  The Porsche is a Turbo model with only 12,000 original miles.  The driving dynamics are magnificent – with quickly engaging power and firm handling.  The Ferrari was raw sportcar material – no attempts made at creature comforts – in fact, the air conditioning wasn’t working, but I didn’t care.  I quickly acquainted myself with the cabin and soaked in the scenery.  This one had only 6,000 miles on it.  It was incredible.

Clearly I have a thing or two to learn about Italian cars because I inadvertently drove it with the parking brake engaged for a few miles.  Contrary to typical “ratchet it and release it” e-brakes, the handle on this one freely floats to the “off” position but is still activated.  I didn’t realize that.  Luckily, there was no billowing smoke and driving performance didn’t seem impacted or I would have definitely pulled to the sidelines to investigate.  Bill me for the brake job, Greg!

Aside from that tidbit of learning, I found the Ferrari to be easy to figure out.  The shifter operates with a satisfying clunk, the clutch effort was predictable, and the visibility was better than I expected.  Biggest thing to get used to in that car is all the crowd attention!

I did my best to keep Chase and Trey entertained for their 4-day stay, but it was tough to top the dream garage experience.  We hit up a baseball game, did a little hiking, and met up with my friend Vlad for a visit to the Pavilions car show in Scottsdale.

By the way, my green Integra made it back safely & soundly to Phoenix from its Pebble Beach debut this past weekend.  There are a lot of articles coming out on the event.  Here are a few links for you to sample:

Here is a video.  My car makes a cameo a few times including the time-lapse segment at the ending.

Hope you enjoy a few photos and a short video of our Sunday morning adventure at Greg’s Garage!

Hiking Papago Park in Scottsdale

Driving the 911

A few more angles of the dream garage

Brunch at Fez

Click & zoom.  Which Acura did we drive to the hiking trail?

Visiting Vlad’s garage

Night out in Scottsdale

Nosebleeds at the baseball game!  But the view was great.

“Keep it fair.  Keep it Tyson.”

How’s this for mileage mania?  Apparently there’s a 2009 Accord running around California with almost 700,000 miles on it.  More to come on that.

Monterey Car Week – 2019 NSX Reveal, The Quail, and Japanese Automotive Invitational (JAI)

Posted in California, Car Show, Integra, Misc Travel, NSX on August 27, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend Coupe):  563,515

Odometer (Integra Sedan):  72,199

Kids today will never understand the struggle of juggling 3 of these bad boys in the car during a road trip:  Huge compact disc albums, each holding 96 sleeves for seemingly unlimited playlist material.

How else do you think I was able to stay entertained long enough to drive 500,000 miles?  Little did I know when I picked up Jewel’s “0304” album in 2003 that I would be standing next to Jewel herself at a private concert 15 years later.  It’s one of my faves!  I loaded it back into my 6-disc CD changer just recently for good measure.

There she is, in the flesh!

Once again it was my turn to hobnob with society’s elite – even if just for a day.  As I did last year, I attended some of the “Car Week” festivities along the Monterey Peninsula in the Bay Area of central, coastal California.  The Integra got to ride out there on a transport carrier, but I caught a flight on Thursday afternoon and skipped the drive (I didn’t have time for a 24-hour round-trip adventure, as much as I would have loved to do it).

This year was the first time for a new event called the Japanese Automotive Invitational.  It’s no mystery that there is an up-and-coming appreciation for cars that historically haven’t been considered part of the “classic car” community.  Shows like the Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS) and Radwood are designed around capturing some of that movement.

JAI has taken things to an even greater level.  The scene in and around Pebble Beach, California is dominated each August by supercars with six-figure pricetags.  But how cool is it that now a 1992 Acura Integra – an $18,000 car when new – received a VIP invitation to be parked in the same venue?  I was thrilled at the opportunity when it arose.

Last Thursday evening, I attended a private Acura event at the Carmel Valley Ranch.  It took me longer in traffic to drive the 80 miles from San Jose airport to Monterey than it had taken me to fly 800 miles from Phoenix to San Jose.  Gotta love rush hour – but at least I was driving a Ford Fusion Hybrid rental car that pretty effortlessly delivered 40 mpg.

The private grounds of the Carmel Ranch provided an intimate setting for around 100 attendees – select media, Acura enthusiasts (10 members like me from the NSX Club of America), Acura personnel & support teams, and the entertainment.  Four-time Grammy Award nominee and singer-songwriter Jewel Kilcher (better known as just “Jewel”) took the stage and shared her talent with the group – both in dialogue and in song.  Jewel was an engaging speaker and I was a little star-struck to be just a few steps away from her platform.

The star of the show – though Jewel was a crowd favorite – was the 2019 Acura NSX.  Now moving into the third model year of its second generation, the latest NSX is receiving suspension & chassis enhancements as well as a broader palette of available colors.  During Acura General Manager Jon Ikeda’s remarks at the podium, the cover was pulled off a vivid “Thermal Orange Pearl” NSX.  It was stunning from any angle.  I enjoyed admiring its lines while in the company of friends and colleagues.

On Friday, I met with representatives from Motor Trend to assist with load-in of show cars at the JAI show venue.  There were roughly 40 vehicles anticipated, including noteworthy models like the Nissan GT-R, Infiniti Q45, Lexus LS400, and a few Acuras:  My Integra GS-R, a 1990 Legend LS coupe, and a Formula Red NSX.  Over the course of the next couple days, many friends stopped by the display and sent me pictures of/with my car.  I especially loved the phone of automotive journalist Jason Cammisa (bottom right).

My next stop on Friday was The Quail Motorsports Gathering.  For 16 years, The Quail has brought out some of the world’s most famous and exotic vehicles.  Tickets are limited in availability and usually priced upwards of $600 apiece, if that tells you anything about how exclusive the venue is.  But for many, the event isn’t just about the cars.  It’s also about the culinary pavilions and opportunity to bask in an environment of manicured lawns and important (or at least wealthy!) people.  I felt out of my league but enjoyed myself either way.

Within 24 hours of picking up my rental car at the San Jose airport, I turned it back in.  This trip was the pure definition of a “whirlwind,” but an enjoyable one it was.  Enjoy a collection of photos and a video below!

I knew I was on the right track when I spotted a 2019 MDX A-Spec ahead of me on the interstate ramp.

Orange was the name of the game in all decor!

Precision Crafted Cocktail, anyone?

Actor Jesse Metcalfe was one of the event’s attendees

An orange so juicy I want to lick it.

Jewel behind the wheel of the NSX.

NSX Club of America Vice President May “May Purple” Lee.

Acura General Manager Jon Ikeda

Automotive journalist Carlos Lago & his wife

I’ll take it!

Nightly stay at the Hyatt Regency Monterey

The Infiniti display near Pebble Beach at the Japanese Automotive Invitational

This weather was a shocker, especially when coming from August in Phoenix.

More from the Infiniti display.

My friend Jerry’s 1990 Legend LS coupe at JAI

Arriving The Quail and seeing a lineup of friends’ NSXs

Acura was giving away orange hats at The Quail.

With Charles Koch from Acura Shows & Exhibits, and fellow NSXCA member Ed Somers

With Motor Trend’s Karen Brown at JAI

Couple quick sidebars:  Thanks Jhae for the limited edition pin!

And I saw this 1G CL on craigslist.  Did you know that if you rearrange the letters in an ACURA emblem, it can spell CAR?  (see top left).

Have a great week!

Travel News Bits: St. George, Prescott, Canyon Lake, & Upcoming Monterey

Posted in Accord, Integra, Legend, Milestones, Misc Travel, Road Trip, Vigor on August 20, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  563,514

Odometer (Vigor):  111,707

Hours (Boat):  4,000

Trip Distance:  225 Miles

Let’s get up to speed on some of the last few weeks’ activities as summer winds down here in Arizona.  In late July, some friends and I traveled to southern Utah for a few days at my brother’s newly-remodeled home. The pool was pretty inviting!

Headed northbound in Kyle’s 2008 Pontiac G8 GXP 6-speed.

James drove up in his tester of the week, the 2018 Accord.

We also took a quick jaunt to the mountains of Payson, Arizona a couple of weeks ago with 8 attendees and 6 cars, including 3 Acuras, a Mazda, a Pontiac, and an Infiniti.  Leading the pack in power and presence was Vlad’s 2017 NSX, recently customized with performance exhaust downpipes from Science of Speed.  I was happy to bring up the tail – my 1994 Vigor is a fun and nimble machine, but its tired suspension, old Michelins, and 176-horsepower motor were no match for the others in this group.

Lunch at Prescott Brewing Company.

Fueling up at the Mobil in Wickenburg.

After 3 years of ownership, I finally had the Vigor’s upholstery worked on.  The driver seat “Cognac” leather was torn along the side bolster, so I had Naro from TrimFit in Phoenix clean it up for $250 last week.  He succeeded masterfully.

I also got around to having a lot of small dings removed from the 1992 Integra GS.  Jorden of Anytime Dent had the car for about 4 days and cleaned up every panel.  It came out looking perfectly.  I snagged a pic while at Starbucks parked next to a 1989 Legend.

This past Saturday, we took Kyle’s new (well, 1993 model year) boat out to Canyon Lake which is about an hour away from my place.  Contrary to popular belief, Arizona does have its fair share of lakes and waterways.  This one is a reservoir formed by the Salt River which is Phoenix’s primary water supply.  The spot is noted by the red marker at top right here.

I tried my hand at riding the tube.  Two days later, I realize I must have been clutching to it pretty aggressively because my arms are realllllly sore.

And yesterday, I took the Legend GS to church and it rolled 160,000 miles.

My Integra GS-R is getting ready for a trip to the California Coast.  It will be featured as one of about 40 cars in Pebble Beach at the inaugural “Japanese Automotive Invitational” show this Saturday 8/25 and Sunday 8/26.  The space belongs to Infiniti, who has partnered with Motor Trend to bring everything together.  Participating vehicles are being brought in from across the nation, including an exceptionally clean 1990 Legend LS coupe from Florida with only 54,000 miles on it.  Pick up is anticipated for sometime this week!

I’ll be attending part of the ‘car week’ activities as well, as I’m scheduled to attend an Acura private reception this Thursday at the Carmel Valley Lodge.  I’ll be flying in and out of San Jose.  I’ll bring you a full report next week.

That’s a wrap on recent news for now!

Check out this plexiglass magazine display that I picked up!  Soon to be fastened to a wall inside my house or in the garage.

Looks like a car-party at my house.

Beautiful Payson, AZ summer afternoon.

Evening meet-up with Michael (ILX) and a few other folks at Tempe Town Lake Marina.