Acura Past & Present

Odometer (Legend):  521,628

521628

Odometer (ILX):  33,775

33775

Sometimes, history can be fun.  When the Acura brand was born, I was just 5 years old.

“Acura’s Bargain Birth” is a 2011 article on the beginnings of the Acura.  Here’s a link to the page.  The Acura concept was initially called “Channel 2.”  The thought of bringing a car with a V6 powerplant and a pricetag of over $20,000 to the Honda family of automobiles seemed by many to be crazy in the early 1980’s, but that was the idea.  In February 1984, a press release announced the creation of the second brand, which at the time hadn’t yet been named.  I thought this excerpt regarding the Acura name itself was fairly interesting:

The name came from NameLab’s Ira Bachrach, whom Elliott described as “a nutty linguistics professor, with an office on a houseboat in the San Francisco marina.” NameLab proposed a derivative of the Latin word “Accuratus,” which means, “careful, accurate, exact.”

Acura didn’t have a logo until three years after its launch. Initially it was a set of widely stretched mechanical calipers, with a cross-beam that made the logo look more like an “H” than an “A,” in tribute to Honda.

But when Munekuni showed the logo to Soichiro Honda, the company founder said the calipers should be closer together.

“Mr. Honda had no problem with the brand having a different name,” Elliott said. “Actually, Mr. Honda regretted putting his name on his car. We took the Honda name off all Honda products in the U.S. at about the same time as Acura launched. We talked about not putting the Acura name on the car, but it was a new brand, so we had to have it.”

Acura’s first dealership was in Claremont, California and it was called Metro Acura.  Today, there are 272 dealers.

metro_acura_first_dealership

The man at the helm of Acura’s public relations during those formative years was Kurt Antonius.  I have a bunch of old press materials in my literature collection, and one of them is this Press Release dated October 4, 1991 announcing the features of the 1992 Legend.  Kurt’s name is listed as a contact in the header.

1992_acura_legend_press_release

Kurt has since retired from the Honda organization but in September 2010, I had the privilege of meeting him at a special Honda S2000 event at the Honda / Acura Headquarters in Torrance, California.

kurt_antonius_vp_pr

To me, he and the others who led the early efforts of creating the Acura brand were pioneers.  Acura truly did trailblaze the way for other Japanese luxury brands that soon followed suit around 1990 (Lexus, Infiniti).  This is a picture from the February 1989 Chicago Auto Show when the revolutionary all-aluminum NSX sportscar was unveiled.

1989chicagoshow

Thanks Ryan for sharing the article.

Twenty seven years after its introduction, the Acura name to me is still synonymous with precision and performance.  My 2013 ILX 2.4 is a great example of that.  It was a big jump for me to take a 19-model-year leap forward when I retired my 1994 Legend from daily duty and started driving a 2013 ILX.

This week, I had a friend in town from Salt Lake City, Utah for a few days.  At 6’6″, Jeremy doesn’t fit in very many cars, but the ILX seemed to accommodate him well.  He borrowed the car during his Phoenix visit.  He’s owned his fair share of Acuras and definitely joins me in appreciation for the brand.

jeremy_with_acura_ilx

My car is now 1/3 of the way to 100,000 miles already!

33333

Jeremy sent me a picture of the iMid display showing a call from me.  That was kind of a trip.

bluetooth_phone_call

Last night, we took the ILX to the “Old Town” Scottsdale for dinner with a couple of friends. The underground parking deck off Camelback Road was eerily vacant but it made for a photo op that was too good to pass up.

ilx_with_tyson

acura_ilx_taillight

ilx_with_tyson_2

ilx_with_jeremy

On the Legend front, aside from cleaning off the bugs that I picked on my way home from Utah this past weekend, I haven’t done much with it.  I’m getting excited for the Arizona Legend Meet that’ll be held two weeks from tomorrow.

Anybody looking to be my stunt double?  There’s a twin to my Legend and it’s for sale currently in Florida for $3,800.

twin1

The ad copy is shown here.

twin2

That interior doesn’t look half bad for its age!

twin5

For those who are still hungry for a little more of a history lesson today, several weeks ago, I came across an old CD-ROM in my literature collection called the “1995 Acura Advertising Planner.”  It was full of treasures.

This one is my favorite:

LEGAD4

Here are some of the others that I enjoyed.

FULLLINE

SMETHNGS

LEGAD1

QUITEPOS

MOSTCHAL

LEGAD3

LGSSD34R

230HORSE

RSLEVALU

LLSCFRVW

LEGAD2

TROPHY

LLSCP34R

ACTUALLY

And finally, I feel inclined to share on the blog these latest renderings of the 2014 Acura RLX, courtesy of Dillon – aka “Hondatalover.”  With a few enhancements to the already-handsome RLX design, he has made the conservatively-styled car into a show-stopping hot rod.  Look at those gigantic split 5-spoke wheels.  I love what he’s done there.

4.1watermark

ZGlow1watermark

The RLX is now, by the way, on sale as of a couple of weeks ago!  I might head over and build & price one of my own on Acura.com shortly.

RLX SH-AWD online1.121watermark

Thanks Dillon for sharing these!  Hope everyone has a great weekend.

10 Responses to “Acura Past & Present”

  1. Thanks so much for the share, Tyson! I enjoyed your blog, as always. That was some great findings on Acura’s history! Gotta love old Acura and their advertising prints.

    • You bet, Dillon! I look forward to seeing what you continue to come up with. You have a good eye for design and I’m impressed. Thanks for sharing the photos with me / us.

  2. Nice. You can learn something new every day. I did not know that the word Acura derives from the latin word accuratus and which means accurate. This is the first time I associate the word Acura with accurate. I think it perfectly describes the Acura brand.

    • I’ve always seen the tie-in between the name Acura and the word “accurate,” and to this day I think the slogan that best identified Acura was when they’d say “Precision Crafted Performance.” At the end of the day, that’s where Acura excels: attention to detail, exactness, and performance. The fact that they’ve pulled 310 hp out of a 3.5 liter V6 in the RLX is pretty sweet.

  3. You mention the RLX in your column. This car is really growing on me. Check out a test drive of this car at

    Look at that beautiful interior while the reviewer is driving it. That tan leather interior and stitching on the dashboard is gorgeous. And check out the driver’s facial expressions when he floors the accelerator. This car has some power.

    • That was an entertaining review! I liked the ‘bloopers’ at the end. He has good taste in music – I love Linkin Park. It would be really weird for me to get used to driving a vehicle with “active brake hold.” I’d probably hover my foot over the brake pedal anyway in case it decided to release itself randomly. Anyway, YES the RLX looks amazing. I still haven’t driven one yet but will make a point to do so on my next dealership visit. Thanks for sharing the YouTube link. If you end up checking the car out in person, let me know your feedback.

  4. The RLX has “roadtrips” written all over it. Not only will the driver and front occupant be riding in stylish comfort but from the looks of that video, three rear occupants are going to be pretty comfortable with plenty of leg space back there.

    Your column has a link to an article mentioning that Honda and Acura almost released a V8 engine but scrapped plans when the financial crisis of 2008 took hold. I could only imagine what the RLX would be with one of those V8 engines from a Honda Indycar. Doesn’t Honda supply or supplied most of the Indycar V8 engines?

    I went to an Indycar racing event a couple of years ago in Homestead Florida which is close to Miami. Danica Patrick was racing. She did awesome coming in second in a field of 25 to 30 cars. I loved Indycar racing. My dream is to attend the Indy 500 one day. i would have loved to see one these V8 indycar engines strapped to the RLX making 400+ horsepower and 400+ ft/lbs of torque with cylinder deactivation, all wheel drive, and all wheel steering. That is my dream machine.

    • Sign me up for one of those V8 powered RLXs too, Carlos. You’re right, Honda has Indycar racing heritage so the company knows how to build a V8, they just haven’t thrown one in a production car. Plenty of people have done swaps, though. I typed in “Honda V8” into YouTube and found a ton of stuff, including this S2000 powered by a 5.3 liter Chevy V8!

  5. 1/3 of the way to 100k!

    That “1995 Acura Advertising Planner” is a MUST FIND! Arg!

    I remember talking with a guy at work as we were both waiting to see what logo Acura would come up with.

    Great write up Tyson!

    • Dave – email or PM me your street address and I’ll mail you a copy of the advertising planner CD along with a color copy of the front cover insert and everything. It would be my pleasure. And yeah, 66k to go until 100k… who knows? Maybe this one will get to 500k after all! 🙂

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