Archive for February, 2012

Long Way Home & Clint’s Vigor

Posted in Legend, Reader's Ride, Road Trip, Utah on February 29, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  508,370

Here’s a flashback as well as a clue as to why I got so hooked on Acura at a young age.  This picture is from about 1996.  I was 15 years old and obsessing over a family member’s 1989 Legend LS coupe in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Little did I know that 15 years later I’d be blogging about my travels in a half million mile Legend of my own!

My current home is located just a block away from a large Indian reservation called the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.  This land covers about 53,000 acres and borders the Arizona cities of Scottsdale, Mesa, and Fountain Hills.  I drive through the reservation each day on my way home from work as a way of bypassing the congested southbound Loop 101 freeway, even though it adds about 10 miles to my drive.  Yesterday, I decided to take a side road and see if I passed by anything worth a closer look.

At the other end of the mileage spectrum, I thought I’d also share a few new pictures of my friend Clint’s immaculate 1992 Acura Vigor GS that you may remember from a prior post.  The Vigor is a bit of a rare breed, having only been produced for 1992, 1993, and 1994.  Clint recently took his Frost White Acura on a round-trip to Phoenix from southern Utah (about 800 miles) and the car handled the trip flawlessly.  He said he’s now just over 90,000 miles in the old 5-cylinder sedan.  A fresh coat of wax and she looks showroom fresh.  Thanks Clint for sharing these latest pictures!

Another Convert: Congrats, Brock!

Posted in Legend, Reader's Ride on February 26, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  508,290

Welcome my friend Brock to the Acura family!  I love it when others can appreciate Acura like I do.  You may remember when my friend Jeremy picked up a local Legend several weeks ago.  Having recently owned a Nissan 300ZX and a late model Honda Accord, another friend, Brock, drove home from Los Angeles yesterday proudly in his first Acura acquisition:  a 1994 Legend L coupe in Taffeta White exterior with Ivory leather interior.

Brock’s new ride has only 137,800 miles on the odometer (which works out to about 7,600 per year).  We snagged a few pictures of our same-year Legends on the way to lunch in Tempe, Arizona today.  The white Legend feels mechanically very solid and it rides super smooth.  Brock’s loving the manual six-speed transmission.

Brock’s already planning a few subtle upgrades and fixes:  chrome exhaust tips, black (correct color) foglight covers for the front bumper valance, and some moderate window tint on the front two roll-up windows.

My old Desert Mist Metallic ride got a hand-wax this morning with Meguiar’s Gold Class liquid wax so the paint is silky smooth and glossy.

Thought I’d also share an update from my rooftop science experiment, too.  Anyone who follows my blog knows that I’m all about making things last.  About two years ago, I thought I’d have a little fun with automotive durability testing on a smaller scale (1:18 scale, to be exact).  I was getting ready to get rid of some die-cast model cars but decided instead to see how the paint and interior finishes stand up to the Phoenix, Arizona extreme climate on top of my roof.  It’s been fun to watch!

I climbed up yesterday afternoon to check the status on a “fleet” of 6 vehicles that have been parked up there for quite some time.

This 1994 BMW 3 series convertible has seen better days.

And the 1957 T-Bird is pretty severely oxidized, too.

Let’s not forget the 1957 Chevy Nomad and the Aston Martin.

I take pictures about once a quarter to see how things are weathering up there.  I’ll keep everyone posted on the latest developments!

Super Saturday – NALM Announcement

Posted in NALM on February 25, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer: 508,245

A sunny Saturday and 73 degrees in Phoenix – what more could you ask for?

I was grabbing something at the parts counter this afternoon at Acura of Tempe and made a new friend who’s every bit as much of an Acura fan as I am.  “Mario” flew all the way to Florida and drove home this super clean 2007 Acura TL Type-S in rare Kinetic Blue Pearl.  He’s made some upgrades both cosmetically and mechanically and he told me he’d like to get this car to 300 hp at the wheels.

This past weekend I swung by the local Chandler, Arizona Pick-N-Pull junkyard to see what kind of fun inventory they had to scavenge through, since the selection of cars seems to be constantly evolving.  The $2 entry fee was well worth the chance to see as many Legends as I did.  In all I ended up counting 8 Legends of the 1991-1995 bodystyle (only one of them coupes), and 5 Legends of the 1986-1990 bodystyle.  The highest mileage Legend there was this 1992 Cassis Red Pearl L model sedan with just under 280,000 miles on the odometer.

And the lowest miler was this 1995 GS sedan automatic in Cashmere Silver Metallic with just BARELY under 120,000 miles on it.  The staff had incorrectly labeled the car as an Integra with a marker on the driver’s rear quarter panel.

I also happened to spot a 1983 Honda Accord equipped with an automatic transmission.  This car was in remarkably good (and complete!) shape for being about 30 years old.  It is identical to one that was on display last month at the Honda booth of the Detroit Auto Show.  The one pictured here had only 105,000 miles on it.  I snagged a neat little how-to brochure from the glove compartment with instructions on how to operate the original equipment A/C unit.

Comparison with a picture I took of the 1983 Accord on display at the Detroit Show:

I managed to also make a friend while I was at the junkyard.  “Torr,” who drives a 1993 Legend L 6-speed coupe (black on black) happened to be there working to dismantle some parts from this Rosewood Brown Metallic 1992 coupe.

I struck up a conversation with him and ended up taking a closer look at his car in the parking lot later. It had 194,000 miles on it.  I invited Torr to an upcoming Legend meet & cruise, a couple Saturdays from now on March 10th.  Always fun to meet a fellow Acura enthusiast!

Speaking of Acura enthusiast meets:  Last week, it was announced that the host city for the 8th Annual National Acura Legend Meet (NALM) will be Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  NALM 2012 will be held July 26 – 29.  NALM is a multi-day event each year that brings Acura Legend owners and enthusiasts together from around the country to one location where they can participate in performance activities (autocross, dyno, track days), become acquainted with the local Acura dealerships, enjoy the sights and sounds of the area on scenic drives, and network with other individuals who share their same passion for this great car.

Click here to see where NALMs have taken place for each of the last seven years.

Congratulations to the Milwaukee ground team for their efforts in building a winning bid!

I’m still 1,495 miles away from my next scheduled oil change in the Legend coupe but someone sent me a link a few days ago to an article about a guy who’s gone 409,000 miles on a SINGLE synthetic oil change.  Wow!  I think I’ll stick to my 3,000 mile intervals with conventional 5W30 oil just because it’s served me so well this far…

Acuras Old and New

Posted in Legend on February 19, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  508,058

Since I’ve been on a mission to get all my friends Acura-fied, it was time again yesterday to check out a local car for a friend who’s looking to upgrade from his Honda Accord.  It seems that DrivetoFive lately has rather turned into a venue for test-drive reports of local Acuras for sale!  On a related note, does anyone else think it’s kind of clever that a road that’s home to an entire row of car dealerships in Mesa, Arizona is called “Test Drive”?  It doesn’t beat the name Legend Trail but it’s still kind of cool.

My buddy Brock and I scouted out a pretty clean 1995 Legend LS coupe in Cayman White Pearl yesterday afternoon in central Phoenix, Arizona.  This example has “just” 219,000 miles on it and appears to have been taken care of for most of its life, though it definitely at this time stands in need of a nice detailing.

Cayman White Pearl was a 1995-only color, and 1995 was the last year of the Legend name in the U.S.  This TYPE II coupe is an automatic and runs well but has its share of mechanical needs.  The check engine light came on, the tires are old/loud, and there is no record of a timing belt & water pump replacement – something these old Legends require every 90,000 miles or 8 years.  My Legend is coming up on its 6th timing belt replacement in the next few months, and this one should have had the service performed at least twice by now.

Some behind-the-wheel time for Brock.  The car ran nice but (in form true to most Legends that were equipped with the 4-speed automatic transmission) does have a “kick” with the first-to-second-gear shift.

Parting shot with the old and (soon to be?) new Legend owners.  Brock did end up making an offer on the car so we’ll cross our fingers.

My 1994 LS continues its effortless drive “PAST” five daily.  When I checked into my hotel in Los Angeles last Sunday night for my two-day stay, the guy standing out front doing valet complimented me on the paint job.  When I told him how many miles the car had on it, he requested a closer look and a glance at the odometer as proof.  It’s times like those that make my Acura ownership experience so rewarding.

Now for the exciting stuff about what’s NEW at Acura:  Over the coming months, I’ll be involved in some exclusive behind-the-scenes looks at the all-new 2013 Acura ILX.  Acura released the following in an email newsletter to its customers this week:

As you’ll remember, I had the privilege of flying as Acura’s guest to the Detroit Auto Show last month where I witnessed firsthand the unveil of the new model Acura ILX, the next generation NSX supercar, and the new bodystyle of the RDX crossover SUV.  I spoke with Jon Ikeda who is Acura’s chief designer and the man responsible for the look of the ILX.  Some of our dialogue is captured here:

Stay tuned in the next couple of months as I continue to share my experiences in learning about the ILX itself as well as the people who are responsible for bringing it to life!

If there’s anything you can count on from me, it’s always a nice Arizona sunset picture.  I happened to capture this one on Thursday afternoon when I was heading home from work on Arizona Highway 87.  Views like this never seem to get old around here.

Safe travels!


Posted in Misc Travel on February 14, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  507,401

Here’s an oldie from February, 2004.  The coupe had 125,000 miles on it.  The picture was taken at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, Calfornia, after a 28-Legend “West Coast Meet.”  At the time, I had my 18″ x 8″ Mille Miglia wheels installed.

Had a bit of service performed on the old Legend this past week – just an oil change and some manual transmission fluid replacement.  In the meantime, though, I was able t0 cruise around in this fresh looking 2012 Acura TL with only about 1,500 miles on the odometer from Acura of Tempe.  I stopped by the best hole-in-the-wall Mexican food place in Scottsdale:  Fiesta Burrito.  The rolled tacos & guac are pretty divine.

Not a bad looking car from this profile.

This past weekend I flew to Salt Lake City to spend a bit of time with some friends.  Due to the short timeline, I opted for a flight rather than driving up the trusty old Legend.  I did, however, still get to roll around with a familiar car thanks to my friend Branson who let me take his Cayman White Pearl 1995 LS coupe out on the town for a couple of days as my “rental” car.  The amenities in this car beat an Enterprise compact any day!

Soaking up a few minutes of sunshine while doing shopping in Salt Lake City with my mom as well as my friends Jeff and Matt.

On Sunday night after flying back to Phoenix, I  took a drive to LA for work.  It’s about a 400-mile, 6-hour journey.  The view on I-10 westbound was awesome…

… until I ran into one of the worst construction-induced traffic jams of my entire life between Palm Springs and Banning, California.  The 4 lanes of freeway went down to 1.  I was alerted to this fact about 30 miles ahead of time by a sign on the side of the road, but thought it could in no way be that bad.  It was bad.  Horrible, in fact.

Even after a small “win” of having found a small frontage road that paralleled the interstate and moved at twice the speed, I later regretted having tried to divert from the freeway when I had to re-enter it and inched forward at a snail’s pace along with hundreds of other cars trying to merge.  I think I put 100,000 more miles on my poor car’s clutch just enduring this massive delay (along with about 3,500 people).  I later learned that the entire fiasco stretched over 20 miles and was due to late concrete arrival during some pothole fixes.  Nice work, Caltrans!  Aside from this, the trip to LA was an easy ride in the old Acura.

One of my sources for mileage inspiration many years ago was a man by the name of Lloyd Laycook of Kanab, Utah – not far from my hometown in St. George.  Lloyd became a bit of a celebrity in the longevity world when he took his 1990 Lexus LS400 to 555,000 miles.  The car was subsequently purchased by one of the Utah dealership and to this day remains on display there.  When I first heard Lloyd’s story, I actually sought him out and gave him a call to talk about his travels and success story.  Just shows you that with meticulous care, there are lots of cars out there that are capable of hitting miles in the 5’s.

I have to give a quick shout-out to my friend Wes at Highline Import Auto.  Wes has been there when I’ve needed him for jobs in the past on all of my Honda and Acura cars.  This past week I had an emergency alternator replacement in the Legend at 506,970 miles and Wes handled it on short notice.  This is now the third alternator that coupe has had, including its first.  The last one was an Autozone “Duralast” model that got me down the road for about 106,000 miles.  Huge thanks to Wes and his team for taking such good care of me in a pinch.

Finally another lesson in proper parking since I’m a fanatic.  End space, pulled far to the edge!

Back home to PHX tonight!

Unique Legends & A Quick Wash

Posted in Detailing, Legend on February 6, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  506,706

I was pulling out of my neighborhood this week on my way to work one morning and stopped dead in my tracks when I spied a car ahead in a parking lot that I hadn’t seen for a couple of years:  this 1988 Acura Legend convertible.  Back in March 2010, I test-drove this converted ride out in Eloy, Arizona at a private seller’s home.  It had 87,000 miles and was for sale for $1,900.

These next two pictures were taken this past Wednesday, February 1, 2012.  Actually – the car looks even better than it did two years ago, which is a relief.  At least it’s now wearing seat covers to obscure those ratty leathers.

This definitely isn’t the first time a Legend’s been chop-topped.  It’s been done on several occasions with the second generation (1991-1995) model, too.  This particular 1992 coupe is painted in a 1995-only color, called Garnet Red Metallic.

On the topic of oddball conversions, try this one on for size.  As any die-hard Acura Legend fan knows, the 2 door and 4 door Legends share no exterior body panels in common.  There’s an ongoing Legends in Junkyards thread on the forums.  One of our members spotted this interesting creation.

Coupe with sedan front end!

This has been done before, and even on a model in Desert Mist Metallic like mine.

Weird seeing the different front end on the car!

This morning I decided it was time to give the old high-miler a little TLC so I’ll walk you through my easy process.  I’m often asked how I keep an old car looking shiny.  In reality, it doesn’t take a ton of time!  Start to finish, I only spent about an hour on this.  I’ve had a slow leak on the left front tire so I topped off the PSI before doing anything else.

This old car is definitely not without its squeaks and groans.  Over the last few months, the driver’s door hinge has been getting really loud.  I finally took a minute to spray some WD in there and it’s completely silent again.

I pulled out the vacuum and did the whole interior.  The floor mat you see there is my “daily” mat, complete with a hole worn through from the heel of my shoe!  I keep a “show” set of mats separately in the house – they’re fresh in the box for special occasions only.

Thankfully while most of the country battles bitter winter weather, the worst we typically deal with here in the Phoenix area is a little bit of dust.  The car didn’t need a whole scrub-down, just a quick rinse.

I use only micro fiber towels.  I’ll usually go over the bulk of the water first with a chamois, then come back for the streaks with these towels.  Water is still beading up pretty well since the last wax several months ago.

Don’t forget to take care of all the jambs – including doors, engine, trunk, and even the fuel filler door.

This is also a good time to wipe down the dust on the motor.

Nicely cleaned up interior!  You may notice something here.  Protective dealer plastic on the carpet of the door sills – yes!  I bought a roll of this stuff on Ebay many years ago.

I did a quick polish on the chrome exhaust tips.  They get a little oxidized from time to time.  I just used a one-step Meguiar’s wax called Gold Class.

You’ll notice that I use Meguiar’s products for mostly everything.  I love the Endurance tire shine.  Smells like grape!

Take a damp towel and wipe down the wheel wells a little while you’re in there.

Meguiar’s Natural Shine is a nice product for exterior rubber, vinyl, and plastic – like my front grille and fog light surrounds.

The finished product.  Battered and scarred front end with nearly 507k, but it still looks decent from afar.

All original paint back here!

In current Acura Legend club news:  Every year since 2005, I’ve attended the National Acura Legend Meet (NALM).  Each year the location changes to a new “host” city based on bids that are submitted by local chapters that would like to bring NALM to their hometown.  Bidding was closed a few days ago for the 2012 event.

Stay tuned because in a couple of days the NALM Committee will make the announcement regarding the location of the 2012 event!

Tomorrow the high-miler goes into Acura of Tempe for a few items of maintenance to keep it mechanically in tip top shape.  Among the list of “to-do” items are an oil change (just because I might as well) EGR system cleaning (EGR system last serviced at 434,000 miles), front upper control arms (still original to the car), alignment (because the new front suspension work will require it), and manual transmission fluid (last changed at 467,000 miles).  Any other recommendations, fellow Acura owners & drivers?

Happy Superbowl Sunday!  Hope everyone’s enjoying the big game.  Here’s Acura’s contribution to the long-awaited game day commercial lineup, featuring the next generation supercar Acura NSX concept vehicle.