The Legend Returns

Odometer (Legend):  515,177

Odometer (ILX):  9,478

The 500k mile Legend is back in business!  After a month-long hiatus for some cosmetic rework, it was ready for retrieval this weekend in my hometown of St. George, Utah where my brother had a friend of his work on bringing it back to life.

The car went from looking like this:

To this:

And finally, to this:

The above picture is one that I received from my brother when he notified me that the car was ready to roll.

Anxious to see how it turned out, I grabbed a dirt cheap fare on Spirit Airlines and flew out of one of the smallest airports I’ve ever been to – Williams Gateway, in Mesa, Arizona yesterday afternoon.

As it turns out, “Lisa” who sat next to me in 17F was a big Acura fan, too, having owned two TL’s and an MDX.

Upon arrival in Las Vegas, Nevada, I caught a $39 “St. George Shuttle” ride that would transport me the 100 miles to where my car was located.  From my vantage point in the row behind our driver Richard, my eyes spied the odometer of a Drive to Five Champion — the Ford Econoline van we were riding in had just over 506,000 miles on it.  How fitting that my ride to pick up my high mileage Legend was also in a high mileage shuttle bus.

Finally reunited with my family and my car.  The paint work turned out phenomenal!

My nieces Ali and Addy hitched a ride to breakfast this morning before I hit the road.

And a parting shot before rolling out on my journey home to Phoenix.

The car’s not been washed and it’s dirty from rain.

The drive from there was about 428 miles and took me around 6.5 hours today.

It was a change to again be in a vehicle that revs so low at highway speed.  The ILX, by contrast, is doing about 3,400 RPM at this speed.

Hell0, Vegas!  Sorry, no time to stop and visit you today.

Onward to Highway 93 where I snapped a couple of pictures just north of Kingman, Arizona.

It’s good to have my baby back home.  Throughout the duration of the long drive, I had a lot of time to reflect on how the driving experience compares in my old car and my new car.  It’s odd how having spent nearly 10,000 miles with the ILX almost made my once-familiar Legend feel a bit foreign to me.  The first thing I noticed when I got back into my old car was its characteristic smell.

My thoughts would be best illustrated in list form:

Advantage:  Legend

  • The long coupe doors have tons of storage space for my sunglasses, day planner, and anything else I need to stow.
  • The quality of the leather also feels superior in the Legend.  When I press my arm against the gathered leather in the door panel, it’s got cushion.
  • I like the 4-spoke steering wheel with a place to rest my hand at the bottom.
  • Better placement of the climate controls – higher on the dash and easier to reach.  Also, the vents are well positioned.  In the ILX, the two driver’s vents are hidden directly behind the rim of the steering wheel on either side.
  • Seat comfort.  The side bolsters on the Legend coupe as well as the contoured seat bottom are a lot more supportive than in the ILX.
  • The ride is very plush and comfortable.  This is probably in large part due to the fact that most of my 515,000 mile suspension (including the struts themselves) is original and worn out, therefore very cushy.
  • I love non-digital odometers!  There’s just something more fun about watching numbers actually roll by than seeing them light up electronically.

Advantage:  ILX

  • I’ve gotten used to that exterior thermometer!  It’s handy to know what the temps outside are doing.
  • Cornering is by far superior.  I took the interchange today from I-15 to Hwy 93 in Las Vegas at a rate of speed that the ILX would surely handle with ease, but my Legend felt like it might almost roll over!
  • The thickness of the steering wheel makes the car feel more “substantial.”  I also like the smaller overall diameter.
  • Push-button start has spoiled me, too.  I got in the Legend with the key in my pocket and inadvertently went to reach my hand for a button on the dash without a key.  Oops!  Gotta have a key for this one.
  • The driver position is better.  In the Legend, the foot wells are shallow and the dash feels low.
  • Cabin isolation.  Despite the fact that the ILX engine revs much higher than the Legend at highway speed, my old Legend has quite a bit of wind noise from the driver’s door window so the ILX is better here.
  • Fuel economy and gas gauge accuracy.  My ILX gets 32-33 mpg.  It also has a MUCH more accurate fuel gauge.  My Legend’s needle will linger ABOVE “F” forever, fall slowly to half-tank by about 250 miles, then dip like crazy to “E.”
  • I love the 3-flash blinker feature that happens when the turn signal lever is “blipped” just slightly.  It’s really handy for lane changes, and in the Legend I had to hold the lever in place while I made my changes.
  • Steering wheel audio controls are very handy.  In my Legend, since I have an aftermarket Pioneer sound system, the wheel controls are deactivated and I have to reach for the stereo to make any changes.

Overall, both Acuras are a pleasure to drive.  I’m impressed with how far Acura vehicles have advanced and I’m happy to report that the new model still feels every bit as “quality” as my built-to-last Legend.  The ILX will continue to be my daily driver.

Oil life 60% with about 4,500 miles driven on this change.  I had an interesting conversation with my friend Matt who drives a corporate lease vehicle 2012 Nissan 370Z which he got in February.  We even took the time to plot our mileage accumulation on the same graph.  The ILX, shown here in red, overtook his Nissan’s odometer last week during my drive to Milwaukee and back.  Didn’t take me long to catch up!

Now we’ll see who gets to 10,000 first.

A familiar ILX ad showed up on the inside cover of a car magazine that I was thumbing through at the airport yesterday.

Just for fun:

Remember that bite-sized vehicle durability evaluation I’ve got going on?  A couple of these die-cast 1:18 scale model cars have now been on my rooftop for nearly 3 years.  Phoenix sunshine is brutal on car finishes — does the same extreme weather also take its toll on model cars?


Summer has taken its toll on my little fleet.  The last time I went up to check on the cars, the BMW’s door had been blown open and the Mercedes 500SL had its trunk blown open by a recent dust storm.  The red paint on the Maserati 3200 GT is fading at an alarming rate.  The “chrome” on the 1957 Thunderbird has lost it luster and the windows and plastic lenses on every vehicle have yellowed to some degree.

The next Phase of testing:  Corrosion.  I took a highly concentrated saltwater solution and gave each car a good spray.

Nerdy, absolutely!  But at age 30 I’m having just as much fun playing with my miniature cars as I am having with the full size ones!

15 Responses to “The Legend Returns”

  1. Kevin Amoth Says:

    Tyson, you need to put 3M blue painter’s tape on the front end of your newly painted Legend. After seeing Rich’s at the Milwaukee NALM event, I put some on my car. I posted some pictures of mine. I had two people comment on it at gas stations. Great list of advantages you prepared for both cars. It meant a lot to me to go out for a short drive in the ILX. A beautiful car!

    • Kevin, I thought about using the ole painter’s tape trick for the drive home but opted not to. In the end, I did not sustain any rock chips today so it worked out! I’ll have to track down the pictures of where you used it on yours. Glad you got to spend a little bit (and I mean, VERY little) of time in the ILX last week.

  2. I am slightly sad that you have sacrificed some great model cars for your experiment. The true test would be up in northern Utah where we have true seasons. However, I am not willing to climb on my roof routinely to check the status.

    I like Matt’s graph illustrating the mileage on the Nissan versus your new Acura. I predict that you’ll surpass him from here on.

    I would also like to know how many times you’ve driven the route from Phoenix to St. George. Are you partial to the Flagstaff route versus Vegas? Maybe the next time the summer Olympics rolls around there will be a car category featuring high-mileage drivers. I don’t see how what you do cannot be considered as a “sport.” 🙂

    Put the pedal to the metal!

    • Agreed, if driving were an Olympic sport I might have earned a gold medal by now! As for the route between St. George and Phoenix, I like the scenery and windy roads on the Flagstaff side but I like the “set the cruise control and forget it” highways through Vegas better because they seem to get me home faster.

  3. Hey, Tyson I hope you keep the Legend forever!!! It looks absolutely stunning with it’s paintwork completed! Wish I could find a decent looking coupe over here, must say I’m a bit jealous!

    • Aaron, thanks for the compliments! Yeah are the G2 Legend coupes pretty rare over there in New Zealand? I definitely plan on keeping this one forever. In March, I will celebrate 10 years of ownership. Time flies!

      • You’re welcome it really is a beautiful car. Very very rare over here, and a good one is impossible to find. Nearly none with a Type 2 and no such thing as 6 gear manual! Well done with it, keep it up

  4. Your wind noise on the Legend is due to a worn window seal. It is a replaceable part, but not pleasant to replace. You also need to replace the suspension on that car.

    • Joseph, thanks for the feedback. You’re right, the window seal is probably to blame. On the suspension, I’ve replaced “some” of it. The original control arms / bushings lasted until the 400k’s before they developed so much play they were unsafe. At this point it becomes cost prohibitive to put a lot of money into the car. It doesn’t see a ton of miles anymore as I’ve transitioned it to secondary use. Do you own a Legend too?

  5. Now folks will really be surprised that your legend has over 500k and look so new! Nice job keeping it as mint as you can! Marc

  6. Glad to see you liked the results. I recently had some paint work done on my TSX and was nervously waiting for 3 weeks. I see that you also have a sedan Legend, is that still part of the fleet, who drives that one?

    • Hi Dominik! Glad your paint work on the TSX turned out nicely. Yeah I was relieved to see how nice the Legend turned out. I’ve had the coupe nearly 10 years, but about 4 years ago I bought the twin sedan. It’s also a 1994, also desert mist metallic, and also a 6-speed manual. Basically a twin to the coupe but with only 142,000 miles on it. It’s my baby and hasn’t seen rain in the 4 years I’ve owned it. Total garage queen!

  7. Nice paint work!

    There is something really relaxing about flying into or out of those smaller airports.

    Oh, and don’t always trust that blue painters tape. I had put on some for the drive to SLC NALM both ways. When I got home, it took a bit of paint off Six’s bumer. *sigh*

    Give me a ring in the near future when you have some time.

    • Dave, will do. Yeah I thought about going the ol’ painter’s tape route for the drive home, but ended up just keeping my distance from the semi trucks and avoided any kind of rock chip damage. I spent 4 hours tonight on an ‘extreme’ detail – inside, out, underneath, you name it. Looking better than ever. Would love to see current pics of your 6MT GS sometime too.

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