Archive for June, 2012

Metal Mania & Fresh Tint

Posted in Concerts, ILX on June 28, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  514,250

Odometer (ILX):  2,517

The above was as much excitement as the 2013 ILX saw over the weekend, parked at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport’s offsite parking for a few days.  That’s because I was playing on the east coast and getting my ears blasted by heavy metal.

New Jersey Travels:

I was one of 30,000 people who attended a 30-band music festival in Atlantic City, New Jersey called “Orion Music & More,” headlined by Metallica.  Say what?  Yes I still have my hearing!

One highlight of the trip right off the bat upon arrival in Philadelphia airport was getting to see my good friend Chris from the Baltimore area.  He was the single most influential person in stoking the fires of high-mileage aspirations for me.  I loved reading about his > 200k mile Honda Prelude over a decade ago when we were both active members on a now-obsolete online message board for Honda Prelude enthusiasts.

I’ve shared Chris’ story on Drive to Five before.  His original 3rd generation Prelude ended up kicking the bucket just prior to seeing its odometer roll over to 400,000, but a few months ago his old Prelude was reborn (in spirit) in the form of a gorgeous red 1991 Si 4WS 5-speed.  This is the ride in which he picked me up after my redeye flight on Saturday morning.

The local Acura dealership, Metro Acura, beckoned from just a few blocks away so we ventured over there after having breakfast at Denny’s.

Metro had only 4 ILX models in stock – one of which was a beautiful Crimson Garnet 6-speed manual.

Chris checks it out.

PHL skyline:

And following are some of the sights from the concert at Bader Field, after driving the hour from Philly to Atlantic City:

Laser light show during the performance of “One” from Metallica’s 1989 “… And Justice for All” album.  As a “Met Club” member, my friend Matt was able to get us exclusive access to the area right next to the stage.  I was close enough to have lead singer James Hetfield’s spit reach me!

This festival marked the first time the band’s song “Escape” was been played live since its 1984 release.  Big history for metalheads.  This is a video I shot with my iPhone of the big debut.

Along with the concert was a car show – including this display of a 1950 Buick (under construction, right before our eyes) that looked nearly identical to the 1950 Buick that my Grandpa Hugie drove in the mid 1950’s (and which I shared here).

Other sights from around Atlantic City during our visit:  My Acura Legend-driving friends better appreciate this sign I spotted at Bally’s Casino!  Legend love, baby.

Boardwalk looking southbound in Atlantic City from the Pier Shops overpass.

Looks like I need to work on that farmer’s tan.  The beach was the place to be.

What trip to the Philadelphia area would be complete without a cheesesteak?  Better yet – for breakfast!  At 8:30 in the morning on Sunday, we dined at Pat’s King of Steaks on Passyunk Avenue in downtown.

Because time allowed, we also took a look at the 2,000 pound symbol of freedom known as the Liberty Bell which since 2003 has been housed in a very nice museum right across the street from Independence Hall.  The bell dates to 1752.  History that goes back far is nearly unheard of in the western U.S.!  Hard to even comprehend what things must have been like over 250 years ago.

In the background of the picture is Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Hey look, a black Acura TSX with Delaware plates parked next to our Mazda 6 rental!

A memorable trip without a doubt!

Updates on the ILX adventure:

“Alex” as the ILX has been named, is doing well and enjoying his youth.  The TPMS error that I had been experiencing is now fixed.  Acura of Tempe took care of the car yesterday while I cruised to work in a pearl white 2012 Acura TL with the Technology package.  The additional power from the TL’s V6 motor made for a fun freeway onramp acceleration experience, but the car didn’t feel like it handled as nimbly as my ILX.  I liked that the TL has two power outlets (the ILX just has one).

As it turns out, the issue with the tire pressure system was simply a calibration / “learn” procedure that needed to take place.  Was great picking up the freshly washed car.

This means it’s time to start keeping track of maintenance on my new car and hanging onto all of its paperwork.  Anyone who’s followed Drive to Five for awhile knows that I obsess over details and recordkeeping.  I’ve tracked every dime spent on maintenance in the Legend over its lifetime, and I’ll do the same with the ILX.

Legend receipts, for any who were wondering, now total $33,000.

The ILX receipts total $8.08, and that’s because I picked up a bottle of Silver Moon touch-up paint from the Parts Department.

Bring on the binders!  At left are my 2 volumes on the Legend, and at right is the newly started ILX record.

My friend Jordan stopped by to check out the new ride yesterday.  Jordan drives a 187,185 mile 1991 Legend L coupe automatic in Phoenix Red with some nice performance upgrades.  I’ve always had a love for red Legend coupes!  Nice ride, Jordan!

While living in the desert is great if you love 300+ days of sunshine per year like I do, it also has its drawbacks.  Phoenix turns into a giant dust bowl at times.  The wind kicked up last night and we got some severe weather.  If this picture looks grainy, it’s because of the sand particles in the air.

Today, I had the windows tinted on the car.  Even though the ILX is in covered parking at work during the hottest times of the day, the privacy and comfort of tinted windows is a necessity for me living in Arizona (also, notice external temp at 112 degrees on the odometer shot above).  I took the car to a local place called Arizona Cars and had them install some quality 3M window film.  I also took this opportunity to have the same company go ahead and install a clear shield on the nose of the car, in hopes that this one doesn’t end up looking like the battered old Legend by the time it gets to 500,000 miles.

I think the results turned out awesome!

Acura ILX Facebook Group:

Six years ago I created the Acura Legend Owners & Enthusiasts group on Facebook and membership has grown steadily to today’s 752 members.  The group makes an excellent venue for encouraging discussion, sharing pictures, and coordinating events.  I’m proud of how well the Acura Legend online community continues to thrive today even 17 years after the model was discontinued from production.  It is a testament to how much timeless “soul” Acura instills into its vehicles as well as the owners who drive them.

For those who just can’t get enough ILX content via Drive to Five and web-based forums like Acurazine, remember to join the Acura ILX Owners & Enthusiasts group to stay connected with other folks who share the common interest.

TireKicker Feature Story Follow-Up:

Michael Hagerty authors TireKicker, a place where since 2008 he’s reviewed over 100 cars a year and shared his insights with the world.  In a post last August I shared a little about my story of meeting Michael and how he went on to call my Acura Legend a “time machine” because of how well preserved it was, considering its longevity.  Check out Michael’s latest TireKicker entry here where he talks about the updated outcome of all my Drive to Five happenings.

Thanks again, Michael, for keeping in touch!

Over and out, until next time!  Safe travels everyone.

Hollywood California – Metric Listening Event

Posted in California, Concerts, ILX, Road Trip on June 22, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  514,210

Odometer (ILX):  2,423

Ten miles in ten days.  I think that’s the fewest miles my 1994 Legend has ever traveled during that length of time. I pulled the car out of hibernation on Wednesday night just to see how it felt to get behind the wheel of my tried and true wheels after spending a week in the new 2013 Acura ILX.

The Legend fired up eagerly on the first try after having sat for 7 days.  Pulling out of the neighborhood, I couldn’t get over how “loose” the car felt!  The steering had so much play, the shifter felt a little sloppy, the overall driver position felt so awkward!   A few minutes later I felt at home again behind the wheel, but that initial unfamiliarity convinced me just how easy it is to forget the feel and behavior of an car after spending just a few days away from it.

The Legend coupe is no dog – its 230 horsepower V6 in its time put it at the front of its class.  The car is heavy, though, tipping the scales at over 3,500 pounds.  During my drive, it felt a little “tired,” and justifiably so.  The ILX, by contrast has 201 hp and weighs just under 3,000 pounds.  Steering is precise, handling is tight, and the 2.4 liter 4 cylinder begs for any chance to rev past 4,000 RPM.

The time of day was right so I snapped these pictures.  Nice thing about having the Legend sit in the garage is that it stays clean!

Road trip #2 was a slam dunk and a jolly good time;  my new ILX just made the 900-mile round trip from Phoenix, Arizona to Hollywood, California yesterday.   Acura has partnered with music group Metric for some “listening events” across the country that bring music fans and cars together as part of the all-new 2013 model’s launch.  I was lucky enough to be on the guest list for last night’s event.  A similar event was held in New York.  I set out from work in Phoenix around noon for a trek across desolate Interstate 10 westbound toward Los Angeles.

Started off with a milestone.

One of my “standard” pit stops on this drive is at the AZ/CA state line at a one-stoplight town called Quartzsite.

I’ve jokingly shared before that I aspire someday to live in the “TYSON” RV Park in this town:

I fueled up and paused for a moment at an abandoned service station right on the main business loop through town.  The pumps here at “Camel Stop Auto Repair” have probably been dry for years.  Pretty amazing that they’re even still standing, and it might be the first time they’ve had a model year 2013 vehicle sitting next to them!

I’ve taken particular interest to old service stations and would love to restore one someday.  My grandfather Hansen owned the first station in his hometown in Logan, Utah nearly a century ago.  I’ve shared pictures of it before here.

One of the highlights of my drive was definitely digging out some old CD’s from my high school days in the late 90’s.  I uncovered my old CD storage cases in a closet a few days ago and decided to ditch the iPod and go ‘old school’ with my music for this trip.  I rocked out at max volume to Creed, Blink 182, and 311 — some of my favorite tunes from back in the day.  Interesting note, though.  The ILX does have a factory iPod integration system, and when plugged in displays the “A” caliper on the screen.

First time my car’s been to California, so I had to document the state line.  This makes 4 states the ILX has now visited including last week’s trip through Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.

Pasadena on I-210 westbound

Before heading to the concert venue in Hollywood at Avalon, I picked up my friend Tommy in Simi Valley who’s as crazy about Honda as I am.  I met Tommy many years ago through the Acura Legend forums.

It wouldn’t be LA if we hadn’t hit at least a LITTLE bit of traffic.  In this case, southbound Highland Rd in Hollywood was an absolute parking lot for about 30 minutes.

Finally, at Avalon after grabbing a bite to eat with our friends Lauren & Aniela.  Lauren (pictured) is going to be the proud owner soon of a 2013 Acura RDX in the same color as my ILX – “Silver Moon.”  I smell a photoshoot in the making.

The event at Avalon was a red carpet affair — something that Acura does well as I experienced in last year’s Drive to Five celebration.

I was able to meet & greet with some of the folks from Honda & Acura as well as the band members!  I spoke with guitarist Jimmy Shaw about the group’s upcoming concert in Berlin and other summer travel plans:

This wasn’t a concert, but more of a chance to just listen to some of Metric’s music being played and as get up close and personal with the ILX.  Two models were displayed, one with neons and projectioned “holograms” on the windows that displayed video scenes.

Pictured here with me and Tommy are Rick Tablan and his wife.

Rick is with Acura advertising and along with his team, developed the clever new split-screen Acura ILX commercials like this one:

Cars and music turned out to be a great combo for our evening and again I thank Acura for the invitation!

I was ambitious about pulling an all-night drive and returning all the way to Phoenix after the Metric event but only made it as far as Blythe, California (near the CA/AZ state line) before I needed to get a motel at 3 a.m. to keep from fighting off the sleep any longer.  Miraculously, I was able to wake up by 8 get to work this morning by 10:30 in Scottsdale.  Whether or not I was productive there is another matter entirely!

Driving impressions?   I’m getting more used to this car.  I’m learning how to push its buttons – literally.  I’m getting the perfect feel for how to maximize the engine’s power, how to row through the  gears smoothly, and how to predict the car’s behavior under most types of driving situations.  A few more observations:

  • This car is fun to launch to speed on a freeway onramp.  Still can’t get over the amount of grip it has around corners, too.  Body stays flat with little or no roll.
  • I like the leather steering wheel thickness
  • External thermometer is handy.  Never had one of these before.  I watched the temp go from 111 in PHX to 104 in Palm Springs to 85 in Riverside and 75 in LA as I got closer to the coast.
  • I took advantage of the cool temperatures last night to open the moonroof and was happy to note that even without a wind deflector like the one I have on my Legend, the cabin is relatively quiet at speed with the roof open.
  • HID projector headlights have a really nice crisp cutoff line
  • Observed average fuel economy over the car’s nearly 2,500 miles is 30.6 MPG which is great considering the car’s had a city/highway mix (though primarily highway).  The EPA ratings on the window sticker are 22/31.  I’ve used only 91 octane fuel, and I prefer Chevron.
  • Speaking of fuel, this thing could use a slightly bigger tank.  It holds 13.2 gallons.  My Legend had an 18 gallon tank and quite a bit longer range.  Today I was down to only 37 miles remaining range according to the information screen, yet when I fueled up it took only 10.3 gallons.  I thought I would’ve had 90 miles range left since my overall average MPGs are 30+, but I’ve never been the best at math!
  • I’ve yet to see another ILX on the road.  Exclusivity – yes!  Though I’m looking forward to seeing (and meeting) more fellow ILX owners soon.

A few have asked for interior pictures of my ILX so this is a good time to post those from last week after I first got the car home.  I selected the Ebony interior which has accent charcoal colored trim.

Love these sport pedals!  And after last weekend’s desert adventures, it’s now easy for me to see why the all-weather accessory floor mats are so handy, too.

Back-up camera

Accessory illuminated door sills

The ILX and Legend will both relax this weekend as I catch a redeye flight this evening to Philadelphia and then a rental car to Atlantic City, New Jersey.  For the next two days I’ll be attending the Orion Music & More festival, headlined by Metallica, with a couple of friends.  Thirty bands will be performing, a number of which are pretty heavy in nature.  I’m taking ear plugs just in case!

Tune in next week for a trip report and some more Acura good times.

Maiden Voyage in the 2013 ILX

Posted in ILX, Road Trip, Utah on June 17, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  514,200

Odometer (ILX):  1,275

She’s broken in!  The ILX has made its first trip to my homeland in Utah.  I traveled north from Phoenix, Arizona to visit my family for the Father’s Day weekend and fully enjoyed getting acquainted with my new car.  Here’s my trip report along with some driving impressions of the new ride.

Roadways were pretty empty during my departure early on Saturday.  Highway 74, the Carefree Highway, winds through the Arizona desert lined with Joshua trees that made for a nice backdrop as I pulled over for some sunrise pictures.

It wasn’t long until I passed a milestone at 500 miles on the odometer.

Much of the drive to Utah consists of two lane divided highways that climb through the desert.  There was little traffic.

And XM Radio to keep me company.  This quality song gave me a good chance to blast the 7-speaker Premium Audio System.

As I did with my Legend, I’ll track which states the ILX gets to roll through.  I’ve already crossed Arizona, Nevada, and Utah off the list thanks to this weekend’s trip.  Just before getting to the Nevada state line from Arizona, Highway 93 crosses through the Lake Mead Recreation Area.

Below is the Nevada state line, as Highway 93 in Arizona curves up and over the Colorado River just downstream of Hoover Dam via the Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge which was completed in 2010.  This bridge looms a whopping 900 feet above the river below and spans the canyon over 1,000 feet wide.  It is an engineering wonder for sure and worth checking out if you’re ever in the area.

Arizona state line, as Interstate 15 crosses back over the northwestern corner of the state.  I’ve taken pictures in this area before.

And finally on into southwestern Utah, also known as “Utah’s Dixie” due to the area’s heritage as a cotton-growing community for the Mormon pioneers who settled here in the 1800’s.

The landscape here in southern Utah, unlike that of the northern part of the state, consists of desert vistas much like Arizona.

There’s a curvy one-lane loop in Pioneer Park in St. George, Utah that offers a prime place to evaluate handling performance of a sport minded car like the ILX.  This spot has been one of my favorites to visit since I bought my Legend almost a decade ago and put together a little video on this stretch of road with the assistance of a Sticky Pod camera mount.  I figured it was fitting that I take the new ILX there to give it a proper induction.

Even my little nephew Beckam can appreciate those leather seats.  He’ll be driving a 6-speed as soon as he can reach those pedals, I’m sure.

My brother and niece were checking out the car, too.  They gave approval!  Here’s a taste of OCD that some might appreciate:  You’ll notice I actually left the plastic on the sun visors that came with the car from the Indiana factory.  I’ve since pulled the covers off but it was a fun way to show my family just how “fresh” this car really is.

I paid a visit to my friend Buck who drives a 2002 Acura RSX 6-speed a color that’s not unlike my Silver Moon.  We decided that our cars definitely share a brotherly resemblance and sporty demeanor.

Today’s drive back to Phoenix after the weekend’s family activities was fairly adventurous.  My friend Greg and his son Cody needed a ride to Phoenix so that they could pick up a couple of vehicles that Greg had purchased at auction.  I was happy to provide shuttle service so the 3 of us piled into the ILX and headed for the hills.

Rather than back-track through Las Vegas, we decided to take the scenic route through Flagstaff, Arizona.  So on the following map from point “B” to point “C” – we were on the right hand side of the circle this time.  My entire weekend was a giant loop circling the Grand Canyon as illustrated:

Highway 89A climbs from 722 feet in elevation to about 8,000 feet in a matter of about 20 miles to the summit at Jacob Lake.  This is the kind of road where true driving experience can be enjoyed.  I blasted up the side of mountain mostly in 4th and 5th gears.  For most of the drive we opened the moonroof and enjoyed the temperatures which were quite a bit cooler than at the valley floor.

Quick photo-op among the fresh smelling pines.  It made us all wish we’d brought tents and had a couple of days to camp!

And yet another milestone comes to pass.

Back seat must’ve been comfy – Cody was able to catch some Z’s.

After descending 89A, we got back into the red rock country called Vermillion Cliffs, a spectacular “suburb” of the Grand Canyon with very little traffic and the type of landscape you’d expect to see in an old Western movie.  Greg and I posed for a quick picture.

Just a little bit down the road we encountered the Lee’s Canyon Ferry, named after John D. Lee who first operated this river crossing in the 1800’s.  The ferry became obsolete in 1928 when the bridge that I’m standing on in the following picture was completed.  And that bridge has now been bypassed by yet another bridge to the south which is much wider to accommodate today’s automobile traffic.

Standing in the middle of the bridge and looking northward, it’s truly an inspiring sight.  This location is the official start of the Grand Canyon.

Saddled back up in in the ILX we finished our trek through the wild west and had lunch in historic downtown Flagstaff, Arizona.

From there it was a straight shot home to Phoenix via I-17.

So what’s the verdict on this new ride after spending a weekend in the driver’s seat?

Bottom line:  This car is a worthy road tripper.

The ILX handling is very tight.  Even slight input to the steering wheel is quickly transferred to the road.  The car felt “grippy” – almost like it had AWD.  There was little to no body roll on some of the curves at Jacob Lake including a banked hairpin at the base of the mountain that’s posted at 15 mph (presumably for high profile vehicles and camp trailers) and I was able to take at nearly 45 comfortably – just testing the limits of the car.  But even with sporty handling, I got home today after 7 hours in the car and did not feel exhausted.

First impressions left me with remarkably few things about the ILX that I “didn’t” like, and most of these are more related to my unfamiliarity with the car and will likely not be as much of an issue as I spend more time with it.  To keep this blog an objective view for anyone who’s considering looking at this car, I thought these were worthwhile things to bring up.

  • During a long drive, I like to rest my hand while holding the bottom of the steering wheel, but this only works on a 4-spoke steering wheel and not a 3-spoke like the ILX has.  Another thing on my wish list might be cruise control buttons that are lower on the wheel.
  • As a safety measure, the car continually tries to lock its doors when I’m driving.  I’d like to keep doors unlocked the whole time so that when I exit the car and need to get something out of the back seat, I don’t have to hit the unlock button again.
  • I wish the driver’s door had a pocket long enough for my day planner (yes, I’m old fashioned and still use one), and I’m still trying to decide the best place to stow my sunglasses.
  • The chrome trim around the center console (surrounding the shift knob as well as the 2 cupholders) looks great from a design perspective but when caught at just the right angle with the sun (which happened a few times) reflects sunlight directly into the driver’s face.  Something small that could probably be overcome by a different type of finish on the trim pieces.

ILX strong points that I loved, which by far outweighed any negatives – in random order:

  • Power.  This car is a 4 cylinder and has 29 hp fewer than I’m used to having at my command.  However, it revs quite a bit higher than my Legend did.  80 mph means the engine is turning about 3,400 RPM.  On some steep grades between Wickenburg and Wikieup on northbound Highway 93, I didn’t have to downshift.  The car held speed in 6th with cruise control activated which was impressive.  I also exposed the ILX to some highway speed passing situations today on Hwy 89 north of Flagstaff and it quickly got up to speed and allowed me to maneuver easily around the slow pokes.
  • Cupholders!  Two of them in the center console, and one in each of the front doors.  Why I never!  First car I’ve ever owned with a cupholder.  Sounds silly but coming from someone who’s missed out on this luxury, it’s a welcome feature.
  • XM Radio.  I never thought I’d be a believer, but between the 4 or 5 stations which quickly became my favorites, I was able to stay entertained for the entire drive without even needing to plug in my iPod.  For any who are wondering, I highly recommend “80’s on 8” and “Blue Collar Comedy” (channel 97).
  • Tilt Moonroof.  Super nice for getting some ventilation without having to slide the roof open.
  • Turn Signal Feature.  Discovery I made:  When you “blip” the lever just slightly and release, it’ll signal 3 times without having to hold the lever in place.  Very handy for lane changes.
  • Smart Key Access.  I can walk up to the locked car with just the fob in my pocket, it unlocks for me.  What I’m still struggling with is where to keep the key.  I find myself so used to taking the key OUT of my pocket that most of the time I still do.  I’ve been storing it in the cup holder area while I drive.
  • Gas Mileage.  The ILX has averaged 30.6 mpg in its 1275 miles of life.  I’d say this car’s had mostly highway exposure.  The gauge is way more accurate than the one in my Legend (which would hover around “full” forever, and then dump speedily toward empty as soon as it hit ½ tank).  I like how the information center in the ILX gauge cluster tells me at a glance my average as well as instantaneous MPG.
  • Accessory Power Outlet.  It’s inside the center console – a lot easier place to run the cord for a cell phone charger than if it had been mounted to the dash.
  • Space – Leg and Head.  One complaint I had about the Legend was how “shallow” the footwells were.  I’m 5’11” and found myself with plenty of space to stretch legs in the ILX.
  • Visibility.  The driver’s point of view in the car is high and blind spots are fairly easily overcome.
  • Auto Up/Down Windows.  Both front windows are automatic up/down.  My Legend had only the driver’s side.  Though, I haven’t yet rolled around much with windows down for a couple of reasons:  (1)  It’s too dang hot outside, and (2) Why would I want to let my “new car smell” escape?
  • Back-Up Camera.  I don’t think I’ve ever aced a reverse parking job quite as well as I did last night with the assistance of the guidelines on the camera screen.
  • Foot Pedals.  I love driving barefoot in a stick shift!  The race inspired sport pedals on the ILX actually feel like they’re giving my feet a massage as I’m rowing through the gears.
  • Exhaust Note.  I’ve had 3 friends this week ask me if I’d had some special tuning done with the exhaust system to give it a little more “growl.”  I’ve explained to them that the car is in fact stock and it left the Indiana factory just as-is.

You’ll remember that I had the privilege of meeting Chief Acura Designer, Jon Ikeda, a couple of months ago to talk to him about the ILX design language.  I followed up with Jon via email and included some pictures to let him know that I’m now the proud driver of an ILX.  Jon’s response to my email included some sound advice.  Following is his reply (pasted verbatim):

Hello Tyson,

Car pics look great. Only one thing left…..Enjoy!

Jon Ikeda

Couldn’t have said it better myself.  I’m without a doubt following his counsel as I have a blast with this new ride.  Until next time!

Legend Retirement and ILX Birth

Posted in ILX, Legend on June 13, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  514,200

Friends, family, and fellow Acura fanatics:  I’ve got a new car.

Thanks to Acura I’m the proud driver of a brand new 2013 Acura ILX, 6-speed manual with 2.4 Liter, 201 hp engine.  It’s finished in Silver Moon exterior, black interior, and outfitted with accessories to align exactly with just how I want it to look.  I love it!  “New car smell” is something I’ve never until now experienced for myself.  The newest car I’ve ever owned – my 1994 Legend – was already 9 years old when I bought it in 2003.  I’ll be sharing my experience with this new ILX from behind the wheel and behind the scenes in the coming 12 months.

Without further ado, I present the newest Tyson-mobile in all its glory.

New meets old.  Big shoes to fill here!

From worn out old-fashioned key to brand new I-key.

Here’s how my day went.  Come along with me for the ride.

Arrival at the Acura dealership yesterday morning.

Love at first sight?

Where’d my rims go?

Check that interior.  Minty fresh!  Still in plastic wrap.  6-speed manual transmission.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A quick peek at the initial odometer.  I haven’t seen that many zeroes in… ever.

First order of business:  Customize it!  A bunch of boxes of goodies had arrived in preparation for our day.

The 2.4 Liter ILX comes from the factory already nicely equipped with the Premium package.  But you’ll notice right away that I outfitted my ILX with features that will set it apart from others:

  • Sport Underbody Kit
  • Rear Lip Spoiler
  • 17″ Diamond Cut Accessory Wheels
  • Illuminated Door Sills
  • All Weather Mats
  • Trunk Tray
  • First Aid Kit

The front bumper had to come off to install the under body spoiler.

Technician Simon getting started with the install of the decklid spoiler.

I had to take a picture of this wheel well because I don’t know if it’ll ever be this clean again!

Same with the rest of the undercarriage.

It’s finished!  Lowered back down off the lift.  I’m digging the 17″ accessory wheels.

And the obligatory key hand-off photo with John Watts, Senior Manager of Acura Digital Marketing.

Finally rolled the car outside to get a good look at the finished product.

Meeting with Daniel Yong (left) who works on the Accessories team at Acura corporate. Pictured at right is Simon who performed the install of all the accessories.

Now, out on the town last night!  Downtown Phoenix made the perfect backdrop to some rolling video scenes that you’ll see on arriving to YouTube in the near future.  I’ll let you know when to tune in!

First fuel up.  It’s like feeding my new baby with a bottle of 91 octane.

For those who have followed Drive to Five and the Acura Facebook page since last year, you’ve seen that I’ve been privileged over the last several months to meet and interact with some of the amazing people at Acura who brought the ILX to life and who are excited that it represents the next generation of Acura automobiles.  This car truly reflects the level of pride and commitment that each of those individuals have in the quality product that they build.

As the ILX is inducted into my garage, a tribute is due to my trusty old Legend that hit 500,000 miles last November.

For the first time since March 26, 2003, my 1994 Legend LS coupe will not be my primary “daily” car anymore.  I started this Drive to Five blog in March 2011 and have shared my travels with my readers since then, but my history with this car (and with Acura in general) dates back many years prior to that.  I still vividly remember that day 9 years, 2 months ago when I excitedly took these pictures before assuming ownership at about 95,000 miles on the odometer in San Jose, California.

I’m a historian.  If you haven’t already noticed, I love documenting things – using pictures, stories, videos, or any means possible.  I’ve kept a daily journal for over 10 years now.  As I prepared for the Legend’s imminent retirement, I dug out my box of journal books (I’ve now switched to an electronic version) and found the entry from March 26, 2003 when I took delivery. First, a look at my day planner page.  This was a big week for me – I was also interviewing for my first “real” job at SkyWest Airlines, which I did end up getting.


Following are some of the words that I wrote.  As you can see, my excitement was hard to contain.


I’m on American Airlines flight 129 from Las Vegas to San Jose.  It was crazy getting to this point.  The McCarran airport is huge!  I had to find gate D-10.  I only brought a carry-on.  It’s kinda weird to think that I’m carrying $9,500 cash right now!  Scary.  11:30 p.m.  I’m home and in a new car that I couldn’t be more thrilled with.  This Legend is one SWEET ride.  Just glides down the freeway.  And the 6-speed — mmm.  Plus it’s been babied.  I have a huge book of records, and scratches on the car are almost nonexistent.  I lucked out!  Carla and Kent picked me up at the curb of San Jose airport.  The deal was made quick.  I knew the car was for me the second I saw it in the driveway.  Kent made me a taco and I paid the $9,500 cash, then I sat in the car for 10 hours, stopping only in Baker and on I-5.  The ride was awesome.  I blasted my tunes.  There is no CD player, but I used my adapter and I loved it.  It’s good to be home.  I’m so glad things worked out for today.  I am thrilled with the Legend.  I’ve been dreaming about one for probably 5 years.  Bentley will be excited too.  Ahhh… so much to do tomorrow – it’s been a busy day.  I traveled about 1,600 miles I think (via plane and car).  Carla was cool; I like her personality and she was really concerned about me being comfortable with the deal, etc.  She even emailed me to make sure I got home safely.  I put 696 miles on the car.

Little did I know what those first 696 miles would later become, 9 years down the road.

  • 419,200 miles driven
  • 35 U.S. states visited
  • 3 Canadian provinces visited
  • 1 Mexican state visited
  • 6 houses lived in, in 2 states
  • 3 college degrees
  • 2 freezing Utah winters
  • 6 hot Arizona summers
  • 7 National Acura Legend Meets
  • 1 valet parking job
  • 13 different sets of rims
  • 5 tickets, 1 window tint warning, and 1 drug search
  • 1 break-down & tow
  • 2 deer collisions
  • 4 different jobs/employers
  • 158 oil changes at
  • 18 authorized Honda & Acura dealerships
  • And a partridge in a pear tree

The car has paid for itself over and over again.  I’ll continue to drive it with some regularity and keep Drive to Five alive with updates.

I’m really excited, though, to experience a whole NEW level of driving technology (19 model years newer than what I’m used to!) that’s brought out in the 2013 ILX.  We’ll see if this new car is as road trip friendly as my old trusty Legend has been.  I’m already planning out some summer adventures to make sure the ILX gets plenty of use, and I’ll of course share the experiences with my readers.

Two miniature milestones have already come to pass.

50 miles

100 miles

Now, if I can just get used to a newfangled I-Key, cell phone connectivity, push-button start, and driving a vehicle that’s smarter than I am.

Stay tuned as the ILX adventure gets underway!

Drive to Five’s International Reach

Posted in Blog on June 7, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  513,978

Looks like 514,000 tomorrow!  I took a corner aggressively this morning and ended up with an illuminated “low fuel” light, on a full tank!  The joys of an old car.  It extinguished soon thereafter but I found it amusing.

Feeling a bit nerdy, I wandered through some of the statistics this week that WordPress allows me to review about my blog.

Drive to Five has had 44,763 unique hits in its lifetime (since I started the blog in March 2011) as of June 6, 2012.

The highest traffic day was the day that my Legend hit 500,000 miles on November 4, 2011, with 1,468 views that day.  Since February 25, 2012 (not sure why WordPress uses this as a cutoff date), following is the distribution of clicks across the globe which total 13,985.

Country Views
United States 11,268
Canada 1,374
Italy 451
New Zealand 127
United Kingdom 98
France 46
Turkey 42
Australia 39
Malaysia 37
India 29
Poland 27
Mexico 26
Brazil 25
Czech Republic 25
Indonesia 22
Russia 19
Hungary 17
Netherlands 16
Japan 16
Romania 15
Spain 13
Pakistan 13
Chile 11
Germany 11
Taiwan 11
Denmark 10
Korea 10
Puerto Rico 10
Switzerland 9
Lithuania 9
Ukraine 8
Sweden 7
Bangladesh 7
Jamaica 7
Viet 6
Saudi 6
Thailand 6
Philippines 5
Dominican Republic 5
United Arab Emirates 5
Cape Verde 5
Peru 5
Egypt 4
Latvia 4
Jordan 4
Hong Kong 4
Albania 4
Israel 4
Slovenia 4
South Africa 3
Panama 3
Croatia 3
Austria 3
Nigeria 3
Norway 3
Costa Rica 3
Venezuela 2
Guatemala 2
Bahrain 2
Sudan 2
Argentina 2
Kuwait 2
Morocco 2
Portugal 2
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2
Slovakia 2
Belgium 2
Syrian Arab Republic 2
Qatar 1
Mauritius 1
Oman 1
Tanzania 1
Colombia 1
Ireland 1
Rwanda 1
Estonia 1
Mongolia 1
Finland 1
Ecuador 1
Grenada 1
Cyprus 1
Kenya 1

All of this just for sharing my Acura ownership experience.  Pretty cool, I’d say!  And I thank you, my readers for supporting this crazy obsession.

Thought I’d take this moment to share a couple fun Acura commercials.  This is one of my favorites from the Legend’s heyday, featuring a stunning 1994-1995 GS sedan and touting the car’s value – even at a $42k pricetag which was a hefty chunk of change.

If you haven’t already seen it, check out the clever new Acura ILX commercial.  I wonder how many takes it took?

Blackbird the Legend & ILX Production Launch

Posted in ILX, Legend on June 5, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  513,863

I got a little artsy on my way out of work this afternoon and snapped a few iPhone pictures of my car on campus.  I’ve worked at the Scottsdale, Arizona office of CVS Caremark Corporation for almost 4 years now.  It’s a stable day job and gives me the schedule flexibility to take some great road trip vacations each year.  Right now I’m working as a project manager in our IT department.

Since I’m talking about work, here’s a part of my cubicle.  Yes, with a LEGEND trunk lid emblem on the wall that I picked up at the junkyard years ago.  The lava lamp and giant PEZ dispenser give me some visual excitement when I get sick of staring at spreadsheets all day.

The 1994 Legend is doing well this week.  No issues to report, and ice cold A/C which is a relief in our Arizona inferno summer.  Next scheduled maintenance will be a 5W30 oil change at 516,449 miles per the Acura of Tempe maintenance reminder.

I’ve been humming the theme song from that ride at Disneyland, “It’s a Small World,” ever since I got a photo text message from my friend Ian yesterday afternoon.

I’ve shared before how many of my friends send me random pictures of Acuras that they see driving down the road, just because it makes my day.  Well, yesterday I got the following text from Ian (who’s not necessarily a Legend “enthusiast,” but he sent to me because he knew I’d find it interesting).   He moved from Phoenix to Atlanta a month or so ago.

  • “I passed this 4 door Legend today and took a pic because it had a strange fin over the top of the rear windshield.  It was color matched and looked factory.  It’s difficult to see in this picture but it’s the best I could get.  Have you ever heard of or seen anything like that?”

It took only one glance at the picture and I put 2+2 together.  Ian had just passed my friend Joe on Georgia Hwy 74!  The roof spoiler, from a company called Sarona, made the connection unmistakable.  Joe and his family have been friends of mine since 2006 when I stayed at their home during my cross country road trip to the NOPI Nationals Motorsports Supershow in Atlanta.  Even more interesting – the Legend that Joe was driving (and that Ian spotted) is one that I actually picked up for Joe in December, 2006 in California.  It’s a rare Granada Black Pearl GS 6-speed that he calls “Blackbird.”  Quick history lesson here:

Taking the keys from the car’s first (and only) owner, Sivaram on December 17, 2006.  I was 24 years old and excited to play “transporter” for Joe and drive the car about 10 hours from San Francisco to Las Vegas:

150,000 miles – yet the seats looked absolutely brand new:

Even better yet:  This guy was so particular about recordkeeping that he’d made an entry into a little log book with each and every single fuel fill-up over the car’s life.  Twelve years’ worth!

Picture from the drive back to Las Vegas, where Joe was to pick up the car at a later date.

More photos here of that whole adventure.

I saw Blackbird again in 2009 at the NALM (National Acura Legend Meet) in Branson, Missouri.  Joe had added the roof and trunk spoilers.  The car looked better than ever.  The photo here was taken at the dealership in Springfield that graciously hosted our group for a (rainy) BBQ.

I spoke with Joe about his car this morning and did confirm that Ian had spotted him on Hwy 74 yesterday afternoon.  He reports that Blackbird is now just over 250,000 miles and still trucking along on its original drivetrain and clutch.  Yet another testament to Acura reliability when under the ownership of someone who takes exceptional care of their vehicle.

Acura comparo:  I was grabbing a Subway sandwich on my lunch break and happened to park a couple of spaces away from a 2001-2002 Acura CL.  The CL was the logical replacement to the Legend coupe when the Legend was discontinued after the 1995 model year.  The one pictured here is mechanically a very close sibling to my Legend:  3.2 liter V6, 225 horsepower (mine is 230) and 16″ wheels.  Any similarity in styling, though is tough to pick out.

Reader News:  Sending my congrats to my friend Jeff in Dallas for his milestone today in his 1994 Legend LS coupe!  131,000 and barely broken in!

Jeff’s Legend coupe, though about 383,000 miles “younger” than mine, started out looking very close to mine as a 1994 Desert Mist Metallic LS.  Over the years, though, it’s transformed into what we like to refer to as my car’s evil twin.  He added a number of hot modifications, including 18″ Acura A-Spec wheels, clear/red taillights, and JDM one-piece headlights.

Looking great, Jeff.  And keep that odometer rolling.

The latest in the 2013 Acura ILX series of videos was released yesterday – this one highlighting my recent visit to the Honda Manufacturing of Indiana (HMIN) facility in Greensburg, Indiana when the ILX started production in April.

I was privileged to travel to the plant for the “line-off” event while about 2,000 associates looked on as the first production ILX rolled off the assembly line.  I got a front-row seat for the festivities and was able to meet with Jeff Conrad and a few of the other associates who are proud of Acura’s newest offering.

The entire story is featured on Acura’s Facebook page, under the “ILX Experience” tab.  Click on the “Tyson’s ILX Blog” page and you’ll be able to read the article there.  In the meantime, here are a handful of pictures.

Press credentials – woohoo!

Just moments before the big event.

And the new car rolls up.  The first production ILX was a Fathom Blue 6-speed.

Associate Jen from Corporate Communications took me on a tour of the facility.

These are Acura ILX quarter panels, freshly stamped on-site!

Yes, it was windy in Greensburg that day!

Proudly wearing my green Honda ballcap (with a hard hat inside it) back at home in Arizona.

I had a great time during my visit and it was an honor to be a part of such a special occasion for Acura.  Until next time… drive on!