Odometer (Legend): 522,442
Odometer (ILX): 41,793
Commitment: Can you imagine keeping the same car for over 20 years? That’s what my friend Ben has done. He’s been a proud Legend owner for twice as long as I have. As for many of us, his love for Acura started before he even had a driver license. This story centers around his 1992 Acura Legend LS coupe that he bought brand new. I hope you’ll enjoy some of the highlights of his ownership experience as much as I enjoyed learning about them.
Ben’s car is still wearing its original “3D” series California plates dating back to its in-service date in 1993. California plates have since sequentially moved forward to today’s “7A.” It’s extremely rare to see a vehicle still wearing its first combination. And look at that stack of registration stickers – 20 of them, stuck on top of one another.
Ben’s Legend story started was 14 years old when he first took a ride in his friend’s father’s 1989 Seattle Silver Legend sedan and was amazed at the smoothness and features it had.
When Ben was 19 years old, he bought his Frost White Legend coupe with black interior from Acura of Mountain View in Mountain View, California (the building has since been converted into a pool hall). The asking price was $29,995 and it was the last 1992 Legend on the lot.
I still remember the day I saw it for the first time, and the following day when we bought it. I still remember the salesman, Steve Cheng. I wonder where he is today. I wonder if he’s still selling cars. If so, it would be cool to re-enact the key handoff (with the unused keys) in the Tyson tradition! If we could find him, he would probably be in his 60s today. I remember he told me after we bought the car that I had made the right choice. I had previously had my heart set on a 3G Nissan Maxima. He said that long after the Maxima is gone and forgotten, the Legend would still be a nice, classy car, and he was right!
Ben’s car had just 65 miles on the odometer when he took delivery. He still has all of his original paperwork as well as documentation on the car’s complete life history. These are a couple of pictures from before he added an OEM spoiler and some 16″ Legend GS wheels to replace the 15″ stock 7-spokers.
Below is a photo essay of some of the highlights of Ben’s ownership experience.
When the car was a week old – Lake Cachuma
Spring 1993 at the University of California – Santa Barbara campus
1993 Mission San Miguel, Central California
Shadow pic, 1993
Ben has owned several other very elite rides over the years, including a BMW M3, Toyota Supra, and Acura NSX, but he’s hung onto the Legend longer than any of those. As the years went by, he racked up the miles traveling to Legend meets and other destinations.
February 26, 1997 – Ben parked his Legend in “Sport Car Only” parking. Seems fitting!
April 13, 1997 – Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara
May 4, 1997 – Twin Peaks, San Francisco
May 4, 1997 – Coit Tower, San Francisco
June 12, 1997 – Ben’s first recorded attendance at an organized Acura Legend meet. This event from 16 years ago has since been succeeded by dozens of meets across the country. Today’s National Acura Legend Meet – NALM – carries on in spirit the intent of this historic meet-up. It’s something special to meet & interact with other individuals who share our passions.
Here’s a line up of the cars, and their owners, who were in attendance at that first meeting.
The later half of 1997 became a very busy year for Ben, as he attended sometimes multiple meets per month. Here’s one from July 19, 1997.
I wonder if any of these other folks still have their Legends today besides Ben.
September 19, 1997 – Exact Motorsports meet
September 20, 1997 – BMWCCA Rally. This was Ben’s first (and only) rally experience, after having been invited by a friend who had a 1992 BMW 325i.
October 11, 1997 – Legend Meet
November 2, 1997 – Legend Meet. This is a great close-up of the pioneer of the online Legend community as we know it: Jim Trinh. His green 1991 LS sedan, named “Vivian” became famous in the late 1990’s as the feature car for website Legend.org.
December 7, 1997 – Autocross Event
December 13, 1997 – Legend Meet
April 11, 1998 – Legend Meet. In a future post, I’ll discuss more about what I’ve learned from Ben about how the Legend’s online following got its start. He was there for the early days and is still every bit as involved today.
1998 – Willow Springs Racetrack, California. Ben put his Legend to the test.
1998 – HID headlights installed. Ben was one of the first to install this upgrade on his Legend. This update as well as other are discussed on a website he put together in the late 1990’s.
1998 – Meet with various makes & models
Fall 1998 – Visit to Honda headquarters in Torrance, California
March 13, 1999 – Winery visit in Santa Cruz Mountains of California
May 6, 1999 – NSXPO Scenic Drive
December 12, 1999 – Legend Meet
February 25, 2000 – Hitting 100,000 miles on Interstate 5 near San Diego, California
May 18, 2000 – Racing at Thunderhill
The Legend looks right at home with all these sports cars.
Fall 2002 Legend Meet – San Luis Obispo, California
One of Ben’s Legend’s first trips out of California was for the National Acura Legend Meet in 2007 in Nevada.
This was the NALM 2007 group at a gathering hosted by Acura of Las Vegas.
Since 2009, however, it’s been on multiple cross-country trips in connection with the annual National Acura Legend Meet.
NALM 2009 in Branson, Missouri
2009 Legend meet in Los Angeles, California
NALM 2010 in Salt Lake City, Utah
Canyon drive in the mountains east of Salt Lake. Pictured with my Legend.
At Rocky Mountain Raceway – racing on the 1/4 mile dragstrip
NALM 2011 in Morristown, New Jersey
NALM 2012 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with Legend mechanic Matt Wallace
And with another car that you all should recognize.
NALM 2012 drag races
Today, Ben’s car has 183,835 miles on it.
He’s based in China and only travels back to the U.S. a few times a year, but the car is regularly exercised and it has become an icon at the annual NALM due to its ownership history and condition.
When I asked Ben what’s kept him driving the Legend for all this time, he said:
It was my first brand new car, and has been with me for almost my entire adult life. It was with me when I graduated college, been through several job changes, friends have come and gone, other cars have come and gone, I’ve moved several times (including in and out of the country), but through all this, the Legend has been a constant in my life, and has never let me down or left me stranded at the side of the road.
Ben added that he also kept the Legend because he hasn’t yet seen a worthy replacement for it. His maintenance history with the Legend has been meticulous since the car was new:
- Every 3000 Miles: Oil/Filter Change
- Every 7500 Miles: Minor Service
- Every 15000 Miles: Medium Service
- Every 30000 Miles: Major Service
- Every 75000 Miles: Replace Radiator
- Every 90000 Miles: Replace Timing Belt, Water Pump
He’s on his 3rd battery, 2nd set of radiator hoses, 3rd set of brake rotors, and has replaced other parts as needed.
- Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS)
- Driver Interior Door Handle
- Driver Exterior Door Handle
- HVAC Blower Motor
- Brake Master Cylinder
- 2 CD Changers
- Aspirator Fan
- A/C Compressor clutch (a result of driving through a river)
- 1 Set Shocks
- Driver Window Regulator
- Left and Right Rear Window Exterior Trim
- Driver Side Window Switch
- Catalytic Convertor Heat Shields Upper and Lower
- 2 Bose Amps (1 under recall in the late ’90s)
- 1 Set CV Joints
The car will be undergoing a very extensive service prior to a cross-country trip from California to North Carolina in a couple of months.
Following are a few more notable landmarks that Ben has visited on his Legendary travels:
Four Corners. This should look familiar!
Musical highway near Lancaster, California. The grooves in the road play a song when driven across. The road originally was funded in part by Honda because it was used in Civic commercials. Residents complained about the noise levels, and the road was paved over in 2008. However, due to its popularity, it was rebuilt in a more remote location. I’m definitely going to travel out there soon!
Mount Rushmore – South Dakota
Bonneville Salt Flats – Utah
Redwood Trees – Northern California
Golden Gate Bridge
Crater Lake, Oregon
It’s fitting to note that Ben’s love for Honda & Acura span beyond just this one single car. Over the years, he’s owned several others.
September 13, 1998 – Ben’s 1989 Legend L 5-speed
Year 2000, his 1992 Grand Prix White on Black interior NSX
Another shot from 2002
Later on: Ben bought a brand new 2005 Silverstone on Black Honda S2000.
And finally: July 30, 2005 – Taking delivery of his new 2005 Acura NSX-T 6-speed manual in Silverstone Metallic with Black interior. He still has this car today, and it has fewer than 7,000 original miles on it. Truly a collector item.
First odometer reading.
Few people have had the luxury of taking delivery of a brand new Acura NSX. Ben is one of them.
The S2000 and the NSX together
And the Legend and NSX together
Quite the impressive lineup of cars!
Much like I’ve done over the years with my Legend (see “State Lines”) blog entry, Ben has made an effort to get a picture of his Legend at every state line he crosses. He’s achieved quite a few! 32, to be exact. Here they are, in alphabetical order.
Ben’s car will cross through 10 more “new” states during his drive this August to the National Acura Legend Meet in Asheville, North Carolina. Thanks, Ben, for being a loyal Drive to Five follower and for sharing your story with me! I look forward to seeing you at NALM!