Archive for November, 2012

LA Show Day 2 & Return Trip to AZ

Posted in California, Car Show, ILX, RLX on November 29, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  21,174

Los Angeles is notorious for its love of cars.  Perhaps that’s why the city is home to the worst traffic in the country.  But along with that congestion, the city’s residents also embrace automotive technology and there is no place where “car culture” thrives more than in southern California.  Day 2 at the press days of the LA Auto Show was every bit as exciting as the first.  Here’s how it played out.

After a drizzly 18-mile commute to the Los Angeles Convention Center in the ILX, we paid our $15 and stashed the car away in a parking deck.

First stop was the Honda booth, as big things were to be announced there.  Staked out in our second-row seats for the 10:05 a.m. press conference, we waited.

The big news?  This car.  Honda’s Civic has been around since 1973.  By 2012, the car had been through 8 different generations.  But just one year after the new 2012 bodystyle, the Civic was redone yet again.  Meet the 2013 Civic Si Sedan.  New front and rear fascia, revised interior finishes, additional technology and safety features are among the changes that were made.

As Honda Senior Vice President John Mendel announced during the press conference, this new Civic is appropriate as 2013 marks the 40th year of its existence.  Jeff Conrad, Acura VP, stopped by and we visited for a few minutes.

I also reconnected with John Watts.  John’s the Sr. Manager of Digital Marketing at Acura who presented me with the key to to my new 2013 Acura ILX back in June.  John and I talked about his recent travels to the Grand Canyon in his new Crystal Black Pearl RDX.  John also told me that he’d visited the Skywalk.  I’m jealous – I’ll be heading out that way soon, too, I hope.  Any excuse for a road trip!

Here’s a shot of the 2013 Civic EX Sedan.

A few other sights from around the Honda booth and beyond.  This fun little roadster is called the EV-Ster.  It’s all electric.

And this was a nicely modified Honda Accord coupe put together by Honda Racing Development.

The Accord Hybrid will have industry-leading fuel economy.  We learned during the Honda press conference that this car is capable of 49 mpg city and 47 mpg combined.  Impressive!

A spy encounter.  This is none other than Brenda Priddy, of Brenda Priddy & Co, specializing in automotive spy photography.  She gave me a BP&Co wristband which I wore proudly!

I’m really digging this new Lincoln MK-Z.  But would you believe that a car this large is only powered by a 2.0 liter 4-cylinder?

Here’s a new innovation that’s going to make its way to Acura as well.  Capless fueling!

I’m not a Ford guy but I have to admit, there’s something hot about the latest iteration of the Fusion.

What’s not to love about a Porsche 911 Carrera S?  Yum.

Finally, the Acura booth.  Since Acura held its press conference yesterday, there was no longer a reason to keep several rows’ worth of plastic chairs in the space any longer.  The full model line-up was brought in.

The beloved TSX Special Edition.  This car is powered by the same 2.4 liter, 201-horsepower 4 cylinder that my ILX 6-speed is.


ILX and RLX:  Entry level and flagship sedan.  Two different sedans, same Acura philosophy — luxury at any price.

I love that Acura chose to present its models in a uniform color — elegant black.  Nothing says “luxury car” like a spotless, gleaming black paint job.

These are some handsome looking back ends.

This ILX 2.0 with Technology package had only 4 miles on the odometer.  I played around for a bit with the navigation interface.

Finally, it was time to make our way eastward and return to Phoenix.  This was taken as we ramped up to Interstate 10 which would be our only freeway from that point forward.  The LA-to-Phoenix drive is a piece of cake if you’re directionally challenged.

$3.99 / gal for some 91 octane at the Chevron in Palm Desert again.

Yeah, I relinquished the driver’s seat for a couple of hours!  I don’t mind zoning out and reclining once in awhile.

This was a pretty clever way to communicate a safety message.  Check out the yellow signs on the back doors of this 18-wheeler.

The California desert, after rising in elevation from the Indio area.

Once I got back into the driver’s seat, we realized just how handy the ILX’s dual climate zones are.  I like it chilly, Branson likes it hot.  We were both happy.

I can never resist a nice sunset photoshoot.  These were taken just west of Blythe, California on a deserted offramp.

It’s good to be home!  Back to work I go tomorrow.  It was awesome to see the latest & greatest from Acura and from other vehicle manufacturers at this year’s LA Auto Show.  I’m excited about automotive trends and more than anything else, I loved the chance to meet & greet some of the great folks BEHIND the cars that I so love.  For some of us, cars (and Acuras specifically) are a huge part of our lives.  My good friend John Bazay is an example of that.

John has already photoshopped his ideal Acura RLX.  Check out this beauty sitting on Vossen wheels.  The car’s not even on sale and yet people like John are already planning what they’ll do with it.  That, my friends, is how to recognize a true enthusiast!


ILX in LAX! Los Angeles Int’l Auto Show

Posted in California, Car Show, ILX, RLX, Road Trip on November 28, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  20,775

“Flagship.”  It’s a term referring to a vehicle that embodies the ultimate expression of an automaker’s capability.  In Acura’s case, it was a position that was held by the Legend for 10 years, from 1986 to 1995.  Then came the RL in 1996, running 17 years and retiring as a 2012 model.  The successor is now here, and it’s dressed to impress.  The 2014 Acura RLX was unveiled today, and I was there when the sheet was pulled off the production model.  I’ve been to lots of auto shows this year!  It all started with Detroit in January.  I also saw SEMA and Phoenix.  The latest destination was to Los Angeles, California for this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show.

Just two days after having returned from my Thanksgiving trip to Utah, I saddled up once again in the ILX for a long road trip.  This time, though, I had a copilot.  My Acura Legend-owning friend Branson joined for the ride.  Branson’s 1995 Legend LS coupe 6-speed is Cayman White Pearl and has only 143,000 miles it:

The drive from Phoenix to LA was around 400 miles.  Piece of cake for the ILX.  Branson’s a fun road-trip partner.  Though his OCD tendencies make things interesting sometimes (he absolutely refuses to let me set the volume at level 13 or the temperature at 73!), we have a great time laughing our way to our destinations.

Fueling up in Tonopah, Arizona just west of the Phoenix area on Interstate 10.  Branson also picked up some Powerball tickets here.  With $500M up for grabs, who wouldn’t want a shot at that?

Typical gorgeous Arizona sunset.  For a change of pace, I took the passenger seat and had Branson pilot us westward.

Too much sugar in my system.  Thanks Twizzlers Nibs.

And some rockin’ tunes to provide a soundtrack for our drive.

Fuel stop in Indio, California at Chevron.

Finally arriving in the LA area around 9:00 p.m. local time, we crossed underneath the LAX airport runway on Sepulveda Rd and got to our hotel called “Custom Hotel” on Lincoln Boulevard.  The ILX got valet parked for its first time since I’ve had it!  This is a valet-only hotel (and parking is $20 a night!  Ouch!).

The rooms are cool, though – some 1960’s decor in here including a multi-colored strobe light in the windows.  Flashy.

This morning – first things first!  After a 30 minute drive to the Los Angeles Convention Center in downtown LA on Figueroa Street, Branson and I got our media credentials.

The Acura booth was the first destination – of course.  We were greeted with some impressive design in the booth itself, and the new tagline for the RLX flagship which we’d soon see unveiled:  “Synergy of Man and Machine.”

Someone left the headlights on when they installed that car cover!

Some may recognize this car.  The Acura NSX concept vehicle.  I’ll take it!

Branson and I are soaking in all the shiny scenery.

Soon it was time for the big reveal.  Here’s a video of the first few minutes of the (total 20-minute) presentation after the cover was pulled off the RLX and it spun around before our eyes on the giant turntable.

Having owned a Honda Prelude 4WS (Four-Wheel-Steering) in the past, one of the features I was most interested in learning about on the RLX is called PAWS (Precision All Wheel Steering).

Here’s a little excerpt from today’s press release discussing the innovative technology:

Precision All-Wheel Steer™ (P-AWS) is the world’s first technology to feature independent and continuous control of the left and right rear-wheel steering (toe) angles to achieve new levels of handling agility, high- and low-speed maneuverability, and confident handling control for a two-wheel-drive luxury sedan.

Sounds pretty sweet to me!  But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Check out this long list of features!

  • Jewel-Eye LED headlights (an Acura first) LED lamps enhance the RLX’s modern and distinctive appearance while providing outstanding light distribution and improved down-the-road illumination.
  • Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™ offers a wide range of search options including local search functionality and AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic™ for both highways and surface streets.
  • Agile Handling Assist (an Acura first) uses active braking to help the driver smoothly and easily trace the desired line through a curve with smaller steering inputs.
  • Electric Parking Brake (an Acura first) provides one-touch parking brake activation.
  • Automatic Brake Hold (an Acura first) maintains the vehicle’s position when the driving or parking brake are released until the throttle is depressed.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow (an Acura first), allows the RLX to independently maintain a set following distance in low-speed traffic situations, including stop and go traffic, and to initiate vehicle braking when necessary.
  • Forward Collision Warning (FCW) uses a camera mounted in the upper portion of the windshield to detect vehicles ahead of the RLX and audibly and visually alert the driver when it determines a frontal collision with a detected vehicle is possible.
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW) uses the same windshield-mounted camera to detect lane markings on the road and alerts the driver if the vehicle is wandering from a detected lane.
  • Front seatbelt e-pretensioners use electronic control to reduce belt tension under normal driving conditions, while also enabling automatic belt tensioning in hard cornering maneuvers or in the event of a collision.
  • Multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines uses guidelines that reflect steering wheel inputs on the display to aid in backup maneuvers.
  • Capless fueling (an Acura first) eliminates the fuel cap and improves ease of fueling.

Some more pictures below captured the crowd’s excitement after Jeff Conrad’s remarks.  He invited the press to come forward and join him in getting a closer look at the car.

The first of several (to me) “celebrity” encounters.  This is Scott who is an integral part of Acura’s social media program.

Acura Vice President Jeff Conrad  – someone who’s diligently followed my Legend / ILX adventures since we first met at the Drive to Five event a year ago.

And Sage Marie – Acura Sr. Manager of Public Relations – AND the lucky individual who will get to drive the race-tuned 2013 Acura ILXs at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill endurance race event soon.  This guy’s got some driving skills!

Finally this guy – a true Acura pioneer.  Kurt Antonius retired not long ago, but his history with the brand dates back to before it even existed.  Kurt is one of the key individuals who built Acura into what it is today from its early beginnings in 1986.  He told me about how Acura was originally code named “Channel 2” before it even had a real name.  It was great to visit with him again.

Checking out the technology in the RLX interior.  Even the glove compartment is electronic push-button activated!

Lunch at Rivera just a couple blocks away with some of my friends from the Social Media team.

And walking back to the Los Angeles Convention Center in overcast but comfortable weather.

As much as I would’ve loved to spend all day in the Acura booth (in fact, given the option I would’ve loved to put up a camping tent and live there), I did wander around the show.  Here are a couple of other cars that caught my eye.  This was the Infiniti “LE” concept vehicle.  It’s 100% zero emissions.

This gorgeous ride is the Lexus LF-LC.  That color is just stunning – the photo does it no justice!

This was the Audi booth.  The big news there is that Audi is rolling out 3 “TDI” (diesel) models – including the A6, the A7, the A8 and the Q5.   Clean diesel is becoming a huge piece of the market for Audi.  The president of the company reported during the press conference that 33% of the A3’s sold currently are diesel powertrains.

Exhausted and ready to roll out for the night!

It was fitting that this song – “California Love” – by Tupac, came on the XM 90’s on 9 station.  Love rocking out to this!  By the way, I also figured out how to change the color of my display screen on the dash of the ILX.  The “default” color was blue, but I felt like red fit better with the red gauges and sporty demeanor.

Acura was ranked #1 by ALG, an industry benchmark for vehicle values, in a study recently.  Acuras are known for holding their value long-term.  Great to see the brand getting the recognition it deserves!  Makes me proud to drive an Acura.

Tomorrow we’ll see a bunch of booths in the show that we didn’t get a chance to see today — including the Honda press conference at around 10:00 a.m.  I’m hoping to score a front row seat for that one like I did today for the Acura presentation.  Plus, they’ll be clearing out the chairs in the Acura booth and bringing in some of the company’s other models for us to get up close and personal with.  More pics to come — thanks for checking in!

First 20,000 Miles!

Posted in ILX, Milestones on November 25, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  20,235

Family, friends, food, and a flashy new Acura ILX.  This was a Thanksgiving to remember!  My turkey day travels took me to southern Utah and Nevada in the ILX.

These were taken on Hwy 93 between Wickenburg and Wikieup, Arizona when I departed from Phoenix last Wednesday.

Fewer than 6 months ago, John Watts from Acura HQ handed me the key to my 2013 Acura ILX.  Since then, the ILX and I have had our share of adventures together, and it’s proven itself as a worthy successor to the Legend for my day to day travels.

Here is a look back at some of the memories we’ve shared:

  • Est. 609 gallons of premium fuel
  • 201 horses at my command
  • 82nd ILX ever made (production number 000082)
  • 32.8 miles per gallon observed
  • 14 states visited
  • 6 trips to/through Las Vegas, Nevada
  • 5 favorite XM radio stations (BPM, 90’s on 9, 80’s on 8, Prime Country, Octane)
  • 4 oil changes with 5W20 oil (#4 is scheduled for tomorrow)
  • 3 concerts driven to (Metric x 2; Deftones)
  • 2 younger brothers driving gas-guzzling trucks who are jealous of my MPG’s
  • 1 National Acura Legend Meet (NALM) attended in Milwaukee, WI
  • 0 unscheduled maintenance visits and 0 tickets!  Woot!

There’s a lot to love about the ILX.  To name a few of them:

Torque.  I like being able to keep the car in 6th gear during a highway ascent.  There’s one in particular between Logandale and Mesquite Nevada on I-15 northbound that always requires me to downshift to 5th in my Legend. The ILX pulls the grade without needing a gear change.

Style.  The ILX carries with it a presence that is not found on other entry-level premium cars.  A coworker asked me shortly after getting the car what its pricetag was and was surprised when I said $30k.  The car “feels” like a substantially more expensive car.

Technology.  The audio interface, bluetooth connectivity, and “smart” features.  I love my dual auto-up / auto-down windows in the front.  The one-touch moonroof.  The three-blink turn signal.  And the HID headlights which offer some of the best nighttime illumination I’ve ever seen.

Ease of entry.  I’m really spoiled with the keyless access system.  With just the fob in my pocket or backpack, I walk up to the ILX and enter the car and start it without having to dig it out.

Comfort.  Even though I live in one of the hottest cities in the country (Phoenix), I still have greatly appreciated the heated seats in the ILX so far this fall.  Climate controls operate easily and quickly.  Seats are comfortable and for being a small car, even the back seat can accommodate an adult which is rare.  The gauges are easy to interpret at a glance and are all intuitively placed.

Economy.  There’s one thing in common with both of the Acuras that I’ve spent my time driving – they’re over-performing on MPG’s.  My Legend’s highway rating was 26 mpg.  I consistently get 28+.  The ILX’s highway rating is 32.  I’m getting nearly 33.  Every bit of efficiency helps greatly when you drive as many miles as I do.

Handling.  Even without the need for aftermarket suspension tuning, this car has so little body roll.  I drove it to Tortilla Flat, one of the most technical roads in my area, and was amazed at how flat it corners at speed.

Here are some photos from this weekend’s travels.  It was great to see my family again.

Here I am with my most loyal blog subscriber, “Mama Tia,” and the ILX.  This is an overlook on the Black Hill with a great vantage point of my hometown, St. George, Utah.  The community was settled in 1861 and its population is now over 75,000.  It was a perfect day (around 70 degrees) for a moonroof-open drive before feasting on Thanksgiving dinner at my grandma’s house.

Speaking of grandma’s house, it’s worth nothing that the Acura affinity runs in the family.  My grandma has been driving a Heather Mist Metallic 1997 Acura 3.5 RL since 2004.  It currently has just 118,000 miles on the odometer.  She’ll get to 500,000 eventually!

On Thanksgiving night, I met up with Chanc.  Long-time Acura owner and enthusiast, he’s currently got an Integra GSR and a TSX.  Chanc gave me the opportunity to test-drive his car.  It’s a rare 70k-mile Arctic Blue with Black interior, 6-speed manual.  It’s also equipped with navigation.  This is one smooth ride!  It’s powered by the same “K24” engine that my ILX has.  His car’s a bit quieter and offers a tad more space, but otherwise I felt like they were very close siblings.

Chanc also took the ILX for a spin and said that he felt like the ILX captured some of the traits he loved about his Integra GSR, including a feeling of “light weight” and great handling.  He also said the car felt like it had more pick-up than his TSX does.

I drove 100 miles and spent Friday night in Las Vegas, Nevada at the New York New York casino with some friends.

But first, I made a pit stop at Acura of Las Vegas.  This dealership has been servicing my cars since 2003 when I first got my Legend.  The performed its first oil change under my ownership at 97,000 miles.  I thought I’d pop in and see what kind of ILX inventory they’ve got.  It just so happened that they have a twin to my car in the front lot.  This is a 2013 Silver Moon ILX 2.4 6-speed.  Production # is 567.

It’s pretty striking to see the difference visually between a totally stock ILX vs one with some of the factory accessories installed.

Time to hit up NYNY!

At one point during the evening, we walked down to the Bellagio Casino.  This 1998 addition to the Las Vegas Strip is known for its 8-acre manmade lake in front of the building.

There are water shows nightly and we happened to be in the area when one was just about to start.  This is an impressive sight to watch!  A series of 4,500 lights illuminate 1,200 water nozzles and are choreographed to music that changes with every season.  Some of these nozzles have the capability of shooting 450 feet into the air!  Here is a video I took with my iPhone.

Back in Utah on Saturday, I went to lunch with my mom.

Historic 1876 St. George, Utah tabernacle:

Time to pull out the Christmas decor.  Random trunk-related discoveries about the ILX: It’ll accommodate a lot more than I thought it would!  I got a few boxes of fake trees in there without having to fold the back seat down.

Secondly, when I went to shut my trunk lid with the same hand that was holding my key fob, the car wouldn’t let the trunk lid latch.  It kept popping back open because it thought the key was inside the trunk.  Seems like the sensitivity needs to be adjusted a little, or else I should just start closing the trunk without having the key anywhere in range.

Sunday was a 415-mile travel day to return home to the Phoenix area from southern Utah.  The route that I took consists of mostly 2-lane back roads and it goes along the east edge of the Grand Canyon.  Traffic was extremely light as I departed at 5:30 in the morning.  The sun finally started to peek over the horizon over an hour later.

My path looked like this.

As I crept closer to Fredonia, Arizona, the temperature sank.  For the first time since I got my car in June, I saw the dash display temperatures in the 20’s.  At one point the temperature reached a low of 18 degrees.  Heated seats, yes please!

Highway 89 “Alternate” creeps up from Fredonia to about 8,000 feet in elevation and offers some great banked curves and twisties along the way.  This picture was taken at Jacob Lake, just before the road begins its sharp descent back to the desert landscape from the pines.  Notice the snow on the ground here as this area frequently gets snowfall in the winter.

Suddenly the highway breaks free from the green & the trees and gives drivers a panoramic view of the red hills known as Vermillion Cliffs.

Here’s one of the roadside photo-ops I’ve frequently visited along the Vermillion Cliffs.  This is a place called Cliff Dwellers, named for the Native Americans who historically have built their homes along the sandstone cliffs.

It took some nerves to get this next shot.  I placed a bit of faith in the fact that this huge rock didn’t come tumbling down and make a pancake out of my ILX.

Just a bit down the road, the Marble Canyon Lodge greets travelers.  From a Google review about this place:

As the closest accommodations to Lees Ferry, this lodge frequently fills up with rafters eagerly awaiting the journey into the canyon or fishermen stocking up for their next excursion. The traffic gives the place a busier, less personal feel than the nearby Cliff Dwellers and Lees Ferry lodges. The rooms here vary, but the ones in the 300 building are brightest and look out at Echo Cliffs. A restaurant and lounge are on the premises, and the lodge also has a selection of unusual books about the region as well as a jewelry store selling handmade silver, copper, and brass designs. Marble Canyon Lodge also rents eight two-bedroom apartments at prices ranging from $134 to $150. Hunting and fishing licenses are sold here.

Since much of this area lies within the Navajo Nation Indian Community, there are multiple pull-outs along Highway 89A where the Indians operate roadside stands selling their wares – usually jewelry, clothing, or artifacts.  Today, the stands were closed but I used one of them as a temporary parking spot.

The long-awaited 20,000 mile mark happened in a remote town of “Gap,” Arizona.  There’s truly little else there besides just a gas station and a trading post.

Here’s a video of the 20k roll-over, as is tradition:

Just for kicks, on this trip I tracked the per-gallon fuel costs at each of my stops.  Here they are in order (these are all for 91 octane Premium fuel – the highest available in this area):

  • Scottsdale, Arizona:  $3.70 at Shell
  • Kingman, Arizona:  $4.05 at Chevron
  • Mesquite, Nevada:  $3.96 at Rebel
  • Hurricane, Utah:  $3.95 at Chevron
  • Flagstaff, Arizona:  $3.89 at 76

I had a great trip and hope you enjoyed the ride as much as I did.

This afternoon I visited the Arizona International Auto Show at the convention center in downtown Phoenix.

Acura was well represented at the show.

Among other models, there were three ILXs:  A hybrid, a 2.0 automatic, and a 2.4 6-speed.

This is the Crystal Black Pearl 6-speed that was on display.  Production # 1179.

All I want to know is:  Where can I get one of those ILX rugs for my front room at home!?

I spoke with Brand Ambassador “Karla” who said she’ll also be attending the Los Angeles International Auto Show this upcoming week.  I told her I’ll see her there!

Watch for the full write-up on the next installment of D25!

Bon Voyage

Posted in Road Trip on November 20, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  517,090

Odometer (ILX):  19,056

One of my most loyal international blog readers is Francesco from Italy. I’ve been following his travels in his Fiat for the last several thousand miles.  Italy, incidentally, is always one of the top countries viewing Drive to Five.  Last week, it ranked third in the list with 37 viewers.  Here’s a look at that week’s Top Ten.

Francesco recently turned over the 260,000 kilometer mark in his car.  Congratulations my friend!

Keep the updates coming, Francesco.

The rest of today’s news is more of a grab-bag of stuff that surfaced this week. Consider this an intermission before a pending trip report from this week’s upcoming holiday travels to Utah in the ILX.

Meanwhile, in Florida it’s a red Legend invasion!  Somehow the stars aligned at my friend Alan’s place in Floral City and he ended up with not one, not two, but three Milano Red 1994 Acura Legend LS coupes when my other Acura-hoarder friend Alex visited him.  Two automatics (155k & 136k miles) and a 6-speed manual (203k miles) made up the trio.

Thanks for the pics, Alex!  You guys are crazy but I love it.

Speaking of red Legends, it’s funny how some cars just keep popping up time and time again.  Case in point:  Look at this 1994 Legend LS coupe automatic on Ebay currently.  With just 113,000 miles, it’s a low miler (that’s only 6,300 miles per year).  But I’ve known this Legend since it had half that many miles, back in 2005.  At the time, it belonged to my friend Steve and he’d taken it over from the original owner, his father.  Here’s the for-sale ad that I posted to help Steve sell the car back in when it had 61,000 miles on it.

May 2005, Utah:

It’s been on quite a ride since then.  As the Autocheck shown in the Ebay ad indicates, the car went from Utah and spent some time in Florida, then Texas, then New York, and now it’s in Maryland.  Almost 7 years, multiple owners, at least two accidents, and 52,000 miles later, it’s back up for grabs on Ebay.  The VIN proves this car’s identity.

November 2012, Maryland:

Every Legend has a story to tell.

Haven’t seen enough red yet?  How about a custom red interior in this 1993 Legend LS coupe.


I love learning of other people who have driven their Acuras as far as I have, but I also recognize how cool it is when an ultra-LOW-mileage car shows up somewhere.  One such example is this Canadian 1989 Legend L coupe automatic.  It’s only got 840 kilometers on it (525 miles).  Total!  It sold to a gentleman in Calgary, Alberta.

Until it’s taken down, the ad is still here.  Ad copy states:

WOW!! Check out this super rare Brand New 1989 Acura Legend V6 Sport Coupe Sedan..evry option available inc pwr buckskin leather seats, pwr sunroof, premium C.D stereo, alloy mags, only 840 original KM, brand-new from McFadden Honda Lethbridge AB CANADA, looks/drives/smells like new!! this car would be the loweset 1989 Acura Legend V6 Car in the World!!! phone for complete story and history..serious buyers only.. price is firm as we are not real anxious to sell this baby!!own a rare piece of Acura Legend History!!! SOLD TO A VERY NICE PERSON!!!

Wouldn’t it be cool to own a museum-worthy car like that?

I got a wild hair this past weekend and threw one of my 19″ Racing Hart C2 wheels on the ILX to see what it would look like.  The C2’s are one of the only sets of wheels I kept of the 13 total sets I’ve had on my Legend over the last 9 years of ownership.

Anybody think they look decent on there?  Cast your vote in the comments below.

The most common question I get at work as Friday approaches is, “Where you off to this weekend?”  Well, my colleague Paul took it a step further.  He went ahead and planned the mother all of all road trips for me.  We’re talking about a circle-the-country, 10,314-mile drive that would take 8 days if I did nothing except drive for 24 hours a day.  I think Paul has just slightly over-estimated my level of driving ambition, but I admit this would be a heck of a ride.

This was a very fitting fortune cookie to receive at Pei Wei during dinner the other night!

On that note, I’m off for a road trip!

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Deftones Concert

Posted in Concerts on November 18, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  516,965

Odometer (ILX):  19,012

Besides a luxurious Acura, the most important ingredient for any awesome road trip is good music.  As some of my blog readers have seen, I’ve been to a few shows this summer.  Last night, I saw the Deftones perform live at the Marquee Theater in Tempe, Arizona.  It was the second time I’d seen them.

My friend Raul (who also saw Metallica with me earlier this year) drove out from Studio City, California in his white 2010 Acura TSX 6-speed for the occasion.

We had to get a few “sibling” pictures before sundown.

Though it’s not an Acura, Matt’s 2012 Nissan 370Z Sport 6-speed is a worthy ride, too (he’d waste us both in a drag race!) so he joined for the group shots.

“Enough with the cars; let’s get to the concert!” they said.  On the way to the venue, Raul commented that the ILX felt just as large as his TSX inside.

Marquee accommodates around 1,000 fans and had been sold out (and even OVER-sold) long before this event.  It was a shoulder-to-shoulder experience being crammed into the venue with so so many other people.  Good luck trying to endure the line for the bathroom at a concert like this!

Me, Matt, Raul, pre-show.  Ready to rock!

Opening act was Scars On Broadway, well known for songs like this one.

Finally, Deftones (established 1988) took the stage and the crowd lit up.  My favorite song, which received a ton of fan involvement, was Poltergeist.  When lead singer Chino Moreno took the stage and started clapping to the beat, everyone enthusiastically joined in.  I loved it!

In all, we heard 19 songs.  Chino spent very little time with “talk” and the band moved quickly from song to song.  Just the way it should be!

Here is one clip from “My Own Summer (Shove It)” that I recorded with my iPhone.  As one may imagine with a song title like that, there was a lot of energy in the theater and a lot of noise.  It was one of only a handful of times during the show when I seriously pondered, “Should I put those ear plugs in now?!”

The inevitable post-concert traffic jam in the parking structure after the show.  Folks were surprisingly courteous in allowing others to exit.  I didn’t mind the delay – after having stood on my feet for the last several hours, I was just enjoying my plush leather seat.

After the show, we wanted to re-live the moment for a couple songs in particular so we blasted the ILX’s 7-speaker Premium audio system to some of the selections from the band’s most recent album, Koi No Yokan.

Enroute to Whataburger for a midnight hamburger.  But, this wasn’t just any hamburger – this was a green chile double!   Two beef patties, Monterey Jack and American cheese, and seasoned green chiles.  This is only available in 3 states, of which Arizona is one of them!  Great food to cap off a great concert and evening.

I’m having a blast with the ILX and excited to close in on 20,000 miles soon.

Quick pic at my grad school for a visit yesterday.  T-Bird class of 2006!

‘Tis the season, right?  Check out this ILX Santa commercial that was released this week.

Long-Lived Legend

Looks like there’s another Acura Legend coupe in the running for 500k status.  My friend Alan shared with me this link to an Ebay auction for a 1994 L coupe automatic with over 418,000 miles on the odometer.  Impressive status!  Condition of the car leaves a bit to be desired, but I wonder how well it runs?

Holiday travels await the ILX this upcoming week, as I’ll be making my way to Utah yet again to spend time with family for Thanksgiving.  For those who will travel before my next blog installment, be safe and have a great holiday!


Posted in ILX, Legend on November 11, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  18,628

Odometer (Legend):  516,913

Tonight I drove 140 miles round trip for a medium strawberry malt at DQ.  Typical!  I needed to stretch my highway legs a bit so I met up with my friend Will there.  He lives in Tucson and drives a 2011 Camaro.  Picacho Peak’s DQ, right off Interstate 10, seemed like a logical midpoint between the Phoenix and Tucson areas.

And the malt was worth it.

The Legend is running great but did give me a check engine light on the return leg.  I suspect (in fact, I’m almost entirely sure) it’s related to a “code 12” (EGR system) fault.  The EGR system on this car has been serviced regularly but I think it might be time for another check-up.  The car still ran great!

Tunnel Bucket List

As a follow-up to the Road Bucket List that I put together a month or two ago, I also have a fascination with tunnels and bridges.

Check out this link for a list of some of the coolest places I’d love to take my Acuras.

Another one that didn’t make the Jalopnik top 10 list is the Gotthard Road Tunnel.  At 10.2 miles long, at one time it was the longest tunnel in the world.  It’s now in 3rd place.  Guess it’s time to get my passport renewed and research car-shipping methods!

Alaska Round Two?!

I received an email this week that had the wheels in my mind spinning much like the wheels on my Acuras do.  Back in 2006, my longest-ever road trip in the 1994 Legend was from Phoenix, Arizona to Fairbanks, Alaska – totaling around 7,600 miles round trip.

Upon arrival in Fairbanks that May (and unaware beforehand of exactly what types of vehicle services would be available there) I was happy to find a Honda dealership.  Well, technically it was a Honda, Subaru, Toyota, Scion, Kia, Mazda dealership!  Kendall Auto changed the oil on my Legend before my dad and I started the return leg of our adventure.  I hadn’t heard from this dealership for years, until receiving this follow-up email this week entitled “Exclusive Savings for your Legend.”

Maybe it’s time to grab a current copy of the Milepost and start trip planning.  Roll up there in the ILX, re-create some of the routes I took in the Legend?  Who’s down for a carpool or caravan?  Here’s what rush hour looked like on the Alaska Highway for us back in 2006.  Traffic was pretty intense!

Welcoming A New Half-Million Miler

Back in July, I met Steve Stone who drives a black 1963 Corvette with a lot of miles and a lot of history.  At the time, his car had 487,000 on it.

I extend to Steve my congratulations on hitting 500,000 miles in his car this year!  Following is an excerpt from an update I received from him a couple of days ago:

We still needed around 1,000 miles to turn the half million mile mark, so this last week we went to Ely, MN and back. We turned the half million mile mark on Wisconsin highway 12, just south of I-90, I-94 and the Wisconsin Dells.  This year we have traveled the Vette around 20,000 miles (so far) and visited 27 of the lower 48 states. We also attended numerous shows and car events.

ILX News & Weekend Updates

The results are in, and the ILX gets 5 stars in crash tests!  Pretty nice performance there.

This weekend I hosted a couple of friends who were visiting from out of town.  My friend Scott from Dallas was one of them.  I met Scott during a cross-country NALM road trip in the Legend in mid-2011 and he attended the Drive to Five celebration last November.

Saturday was car clean-up day.  Matt did a detail on the 2012 370Z and Jeremy worked on his 2006 GX470 while the ILX looked on and waited its turn.

Weather was unusually cool for this time of year with highs in the low 60’s.  We took a hike up “A” Mountain – also referred to as Tempe Butte.  This 1,500-foot elevation hill has a giant yellow A painted on the side in support of Tempe-based Arizona State University (ASU).  (This picture pulled from Google Images)

The hike only took 15 minutes but afforded us some great views from the summit.

There’s a jokester in every crowd.

Jeremy raced us back to the trailhead and pulled the ILX around to pick us up.

First time this ILX has had 5 people in it!  A tight squeeze for a compact car, especially considering that Jeremy (driver’s seat) is 6’6″ tall.  But, Jeremy still was able to get comfortable and he commented on his approval of the smooth-shifting manual transmission.  With temps having dipped down a bit, we also put the seat heaters to use.  The ILX shuttled us around in comfort AND style.

Sending Scott on his way at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport this morning.  Come back to visit soon.

Happy Veterans Day to my readers, and may your holiday travels be safe and scenic.

Help find a stolen Legend!

Posted in Legend on November 6, 2012 by tysonhugie

Special Request Post!

Back in February 2004, I took one of my first big road trips in the Legend to a meet in San Francisco, California of 28 Acura Legends (a record, in its time).

Road conditions in the Reno/Tahoe area left my (then 126,000-mile) Legend pretty dirty.

But a trip to the coin-op wash and I was ready for the meet.

Lots of great people there, including Margaret with her LS 6-speed.

And Keith, with his Milano Red beauty.

A stop at Acura of Pleasanton (this one’s for you, Adam).

I interacted with a lot of great people at the meet – including Sara who had an immaculate 1995 Legend LS coupe 6-speed in Granada Black exterior and Ivory interior.  A few days ago on November 3rd 2012, Sara’s car was stolen from a residence in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The search is on.  I know this blog reaches Legend owners and enthusiasts from around the nation so if anyone recognizes her car, do advise us.  Here are some details she provided:

  • One piece JDM Headlights
  • VIN: JH4KA81700SC000547
  • California License Plate: 168 SJ
  • Airhorns
  • Limo tint
  • Factory 16″ GS wheels
  • Completely stock except for stereo upgrades

Here is a picture of her car.

To my readers from all over and specifically the Bay Area, please be on the lookout.  The Legend enthusiast community is small so there’s a good chance someone out there might see and recognize this car.  Follow this link for instructions that Sara provided on notifying the authorities or leaving an anonymous tip.

Thanks for your help on getting this car back to its owner!

SEMA Show Recap

Posted in ILX, Nevada, Road Trip on November 4, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  18,367

Two million square feet of automotive accessory exhibits.  Can you imagine how crazy I was to think I could experience all that the SEMA show had to offer in just one day?  Not happening!  But, I did have the chance to see the “core” booths that I had most looked forward to visiting.  Among them, the Acura booth.  If I’d gone all that way and seen nothing BUT the Acura booth, my trip still would’ve been a great success.  In only 4 days since my most recent Drive to Five update last week, the ILX and I traveled 964 miles from Phoenix Arizona, to southern Nevada and southern Utah.  Here is how the adventure played out.  Be advised, there are a ton of pictures in here!

I arrived in Las Vegas after the 300 mile drive on Thursday evening.   The 4,750-room, 45-floor Wynn casino is where I stayed the next two nights.  There’s even a Ferrari dealership inside the main level near the gaming area!  This is truly a high rolling kind of place.  My friend found a great rate when he booked it way back in February. View from the hotel room at the Wynn (and my reflection!):

The Las Vegas Convention Center which hosted SEMA is just a few blocks from the hotel (and visible in the above picture), but after having walked a few miles on the Strip on Thursday night, I wasn’t about to do any more hiking.  On Friday morning, we drove over in the ILX and left it in a $10 parking space while we wandered with wonder through as much of the SEMA show as we could possibly see.

Thanks to my brother for allowing me his entry pass!

Arriving at the convention center.

After a solid 20 minutes of hunting (and trying to decipher a 4-page SEMA directory) I finally found the Acura booth, #24987, right behind the Honda one.

Matt and I acting like we run the place, behind the Acura Concierge counter.

What do you spy in the background here?

That’s right, the star of the Avengers movie:  Tony Stark’s car.

It drew a ton of crowd attention!

But the cars I was more interested in seeing were modified Acura ILX’s.

This one is going to compete at a 25-hour endurance race called Thunderhill.  It’s been built by Team Honda Racing – West, which is based in Santa Clarita, California.

No heated seats or leather in here!  This car is all about weight savings & speed.

The bars on the hood are high power LED lights for nighttime racing.

The Thunderhill “Endurance Racer” is a sweet ride, but it’s the blue “Street Build” ILX is the one that has me wanting to make some modifications to my car.  Pictures do the car no justice; it’s absolutely stunning in person.  The upgraded Tein Coilover suspension alone runs $874!  Well out of my budget reach for now — which is probably a good thing, because if I did anything with my suspension it’d void the car’s warranty anyway.  Here’s a walkaround video of this gorgeous Fathom Blue ride.

I reconnected with Daniel Yong who works in Auto Accessory Marketing at Acura’s Torrance headquarters.  The last time I had seen Daniel was in June when I got my ILX.

Some other goodies in the Honda area.  2013 Accords, all tricked out.

There were some interactive displays.

Here’s the race-ready Honda Fit that Acura Senior Manager of Public Relations, Sage Marie, took first place in recently.  He participated in the SCCA National Championship Runoffs in the B-Spec class.

Some other sights from around the show.

Loved this Lexus LF-CC coupe concept car.

Ran into my friend John Bazay who’s helped me with some photography in the past.  John was working the Giovanna wheels booth.

Nice name for a transmission company!

There was a drifting event going on outside.

Fighting traffic on Las Vegas Blvd (“The Strip”) after leaving the convention center.  Thank goodness for a light-effort clutch!

On Saturday, I set my sights on southern Utah for my next destination.  A birthday party and a wedding reception awaited me there.  But I took a moment to snap a shot of the ILX in front of the Trump tower and the Encore casino – adjacent to Wynn.

On my way out of Las Vegas, I had to pay a visit to my friend Jeff.  It’s hard to believe it, but I’ve known this guy nearly a decade now and we met — you guessed it — through Acura.  Back in 2003, I was driving my 1994 Legend coupe and Jeff was driving a 1993 Legend coupe.  We met at a Las Vegas Acura “meet” and have kept in touch ever since.  This picture of us with our Legends was taken in July 2003.  That year, Jeff traded his in in Legend on an Acura CL.

Here are our current rides.  Jeff’s Nighthawk Black Pearl 2003 Acura CL Type-S is a rare 6-speed manual (one of only 480 vehicles produced in this color & transmission configuration).  It’s also equipped with some highly sought-after Comptech upgrades under the hood.  His car today is at 92,300 miles. Thanks to his meticulous care, it looks and runs as great now as it did back then.  Even the leather interior is supple.

I encouraged Jeff to take the ILX for a spin so we took a test drive with his son Cody.  Jeff observed that the slick-shifting 6-speed felt a lot like his CL but the clutch effort was quite a bit less.  He liked the small diameter, thickly padded steering wheel.  His son Cody was impressed that the ILX comes standard with push-button start and said, “I really like this interior!”  Cody also offered to wash my car, which I respectfully declined since I had places to go and more bugs to kill.  Next time, Cody!  I’ll take you up on that offer.

The drive from Vegas to St. George is only about 100 miles and it’s straight freeway.  Boring!  In Mesquite, Nevada, I decided to detour a bit.  Instead of taking I-15 the remaining 40 or so miles, I instead took my ILX on Old Highway 91 — the road that was the main north-south highway before completion of I-15 through the Virgin River Gorge in 1973.  I love taking a step back in time and traveling the old roads because they offer so much more “flavor” to a trip than an interstate.

It would’ve been only 38.9 miles had I taken the freeway.

Instead, it was 47.1 miles and took quite a bit longer.

Narrow bridge on old Hwy 91.

About halfway to St. George, I breezed past some old rusted-out car hulks in a ditch alongside the road.  I was intrigued so I turned around and went back for a few pictures.

Amazingly, even the chrome rear bumper on this car is still shining like new.

Can any of my Drive to Five readers identify these cars?  I’m guessing something from the early 1950’s.

Time has truly taken its toll on these.

Onward I go!  Here are a few other pictures from my backroads adventure.

See how much more fun this is than a freeway?

Upon arrival in Utah, I approached approached the Jacob Hamblin home on the outskirts of Santa Clara.  Jacob was one of the more famous Mormon pioneers who settled the area in the 1800’s.  Tours of his home are offered but I didn’t have time for much more than a picture of the ILX in front of this two story home made of adobe, sandstone, and ponderosa pine which dates back to 1863.  Hamblin only lived in the home until 1869 until he set off for some missionary work and never returned.  The home is in remarkable shape for its pioneer era vintage.

Since I was still feeling in a historic mood, this morning after breakfast I swung by Judd’s Store.  This place has been around since 1911 and is still open today.  They have some of the best breadsticks around!

Another “key” structure in the St. George community is the Mormon temple, which was constructed from 1871 to 1877 under direction of church president Brigham Young.  The temple has a total floor area of 110,000 square feet.  Its exterior finish is red sandstone (native to the area) which has been plastered white.  The building and its grounds are immaculately maintained.  Hard to believe it’s over 135 years old!

Just past the Arizona state line lies an exit called Black Rock Road.  There’s nothing there, except for this one building that’s totally boarded up.  This sign welcomes (and warns) visitors.  Needless to say, I didn’t venture inside the structure!

Hopping back on Interstate 15 southbound which would lead me through the Virgin River Gorge.

And home sweet home in Scottsdale I’ve arrived.  Thanks for following along!

EDIT updated 11/5/2012:  I can’t believe it took me until now to realize I posted this entry on the one-year anniversary of my completion of 500,000 miles!  It was one year ago, on 11/4/2011, when I rolled on the red carpet at Acura headquarters in Torrance, California to celebrate the milestone in my 1994 Legend.

I appreciate all of you who have come along for the ride since then.  Here’s to many more miles of fun!