Original 1992 Acura Legend Owner: Ben’s Story

lightning

Odometer (Legend):  522,442

522442

Odometer (ILX):  41,793

41793

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.

registration_stickers

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.

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Below is a photo essay of some of the highlights of Ben’s ownership experience.

When the car was a week old – Lake Cachuma

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Spring 1993 at the University of California – Santa Barbara campus

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1993 Mission San Miguel, Central California

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Shadow pic, 1993

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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!

03-legend-sf-theatre-district-parking-garage-sports-cars-only-19970226

April 13, 1997 – Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara

10-legend-stearns-wharf-santa-barbara-19970413_resized

May 4, 1997 – Twin Peaks, San Francisco

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May 4, 1997 – Coit Tower, San Francisco

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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.

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Here’s a line up of the cars, and their owners, who were in attendance at that first meeting.

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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.

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I wonder if any of these other folks still have their Legends today besides Ben.

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September 19, 1997 – Exact Motorsports meet

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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.

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October 11, 1997 – Legend Meet

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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.

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December 7, 1997 – Autocross Event

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December 13, 1997 – Legend Meet

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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.

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1998 – Willow Springs Racetrack, California.  Ben put his Legend to the test.

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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.

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1998 – Meet with various makes & models

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Fall 1998 – Visit to Honda headquarters in Torrance, California

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March 13, 1999 – Winery visit in Santa Cruz Mountains of California

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May 6, 1999 – NSXPO Scenic Drive

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December 12, 1999 – Legend Meet

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February 25, 2000 – Hitting 100,000 miles on Interstate 5 near San Diego, California

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May 18, 2000 – Racing at Thunderhill

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The Legend looks right at home with all these sports cars.

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Fall 2002 Legend Meet – San Luis Obispo, California

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One of Ben’s Legend’s first trips out of California was for the National Acura Legend Meet in 2007 in Nevada.

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This was the NALM 2007 group at a gathering hosted by Acura of Las Vegas.

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Since 2009, however, it’s been on multiple cross-country trips in connection with the annual National Acura Legend Meet.

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NALM 2009 in Branson, Missouri

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2009 Legend meet in Los Angeles, California

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NALM 2010 in Salt Lake City, Utah

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Canyon drive in the mountains east of Salt Lake.  Pictured with my Legend.

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At Rocky Mountain Raceway – racing on the 1/4 mile dragstrip

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NALM 2011 in Morristown, New Jersey

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NALM 2012 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with Legend mechanic Matt Wallace

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And with another car that you all should recognize.

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NALM 2012 drag races

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Today, Ben’s car has 183,835 miles on it.

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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
  • Taillights
  • Cupholder

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:

Continental Divide

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Four Corners.  This should look familiar!

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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!

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Mount Rushmore – South Dakota

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Bonneville Salt Flats – Utah

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Redwood Trees – Northern California

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Golden Gate Bridge

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Crater Lake, Oregon

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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

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Year 2000, his 1992 Grand Prix White on Black interior NSX

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Another shot from 2002

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Later on:  Ben bought a brand new 2005 Silverstone on Black Honda S2000.

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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.

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First odometer reading.

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Few people have had the luxury of taking delivery of a brand new Acura NSX.  Ben is one of them.

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The S2000 and the NSX together

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And the Legend and NSX together

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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.

Arizona

arizona

Arkansas

arkansas

California

california

Colorado

colorado

Connecticut

connecticut

Idaho

idaho

Illinois

illinois

Indiana

indiana

Iowa

iowa

Kansas

kansas

Massachusetts

massachusetts

Michigan

michigan

Minnesota

minnesota

Missouri

missouri

Montana

montana

Nebraska

nebraska

Nevada

nevada

New Jersey

newjersey

New Mexico

newmexico

New York

newyork

North Dakota

northdakota

Ohio

ohio

Oklahoma

oklahoma

Oregon

oregon

Pennsylvania

pennsylvania

South Dakota

southdakota

Texas

texas

Utah

utah

Washington

washington

West Virginia

westvirginia

Wisconsin

wisconsin

Wyoming

wyoming

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!

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15 Responses to “Original 1992 Acura Legend Owner: Ben’s Story”

  1. Kevin Amoth Says:

    As I was reading this excellent blog this morning my brain was kicking in after the first cup of coffee had been consumed. It slowly told me that I knew this car and Ben. As I slowly read Tyson’s well put together article, it came to me abut the time I saw the NALM pictures from Milwaukee. This is where I first met Ben and his car. I remember after a group after dinner the first night looking over his car under the lights in the parking lot. Then during the event Ben had the wildest camera and motor drive I’ve ever seen. I can’t wait until I’m able to shake his hand again in Asheville/Maggie Valley at this year’s NALM event.

    Being from Minnesota and attempting to move back there soon, the picture of Ben on the side of west Interstate 94 going into the Twin Cities brings back many memories. It looks like Ben took that picture last year after leaving Wisconsin on his way to the “northern” route back to California.

    Tyson – can’t wait for you to sign my deck lid again this year and maybe you can do a blog on my car and my challenges with it since 1999. Oh boy, do I have some stories.

    To Ben & Tyson, keep it between the white lines and I look forward to seeing you both at this years NALM event!

    • Kevin, these types of “reader’s ride” features have become one of my favorite parts about writing the blog. Your story is really unique, too. How many people can say they’ve purchased the same Legend twice? Would love to share your Legend history sometime on the blog if you’re up to it.

      I, too, am looking forward to seeing Ben in North Carolina. I’m hoping that his route and mine will intersect at some point – maybe we can roll into Maggie Valley together. His state line pics are better than mine, because he’s actually been able to get himself into the picture frames as well! I’ll try that next time.

      Thanks for reading!

      • Hi Tyson,

        Thanks for posting this story up. I enjoyed discussing my experience with you as much as I’m sure you enjoyed writing it up!

        Getting myself in the State Line pics – a tripod and remote release is your friend. It’s a pretty big production though, not just get out of the car snap the picture and be on your way. From beginning to end, it takes probably 20 minutes to set up the tripod, frame the shot, take test shots, adjust the exposure (and flash, if needed) so both foreground, background, and faces are visible, take various angles/poses, then tear down the whole rig and pack back into the car.

        A few times there were people waiting for me to finish up so they could take their own pictures also!

      • Oh, and when taking those pictures on the side of the road, especially in warm humid environments, be careful of ticks. They hide in the grass and shrubbery, and bite you painlessly. I picked one up during the Wyoming picture, and I didn’t notice it until later that night that it had bitten me and attached itself. Luckily, it hadn’t been that long, so I was able to completely pull it out before the stage where it can potentially transmit disease. Found another one on my shirt the next morning!

    • Hi Kevin,

      It was a pleasure meeting you at NALM 2012 as well. See you in Asheville! You are correct, that picture was on the side of I-94 crossing in to Minnesota from Wisconsin! I actually have another picture on I-90 crossing into Minnesota from South Dakota from NALM 2011, but this one was the better of the two.

  2. Ben is as true “Legend” in the Acura Legend community in every sense of the word. His passion is evident. Pioneer is also another earned title I feel fits perfectly. To be one of the few who have purchased their Legend new, meticulously maintained it through out the years, AND still be giving back to the Acura Legend community is nothing short of simply amazing.

    Being one heckuva really cool person just adds the cherry on top.

    Those that have met and interacted with Ben are very fortunate. (as I have several times)

    One of those people who you hope will be around for a long time. (like he hasn’t been already!)

    Great stuff Tyson and Ben! Keep the passion alive!

    • Thanks Dave – and thanks Ben for contributing to the blog. It seems that every Legend owner has a story that’s equally meaningful. I’m anxious to see what his next 20 years bring!

    • Hi Dave,

      Thanks for the kind words! Hope to be able to meet up with you sometime soon!

  3. This is so amazing. Two true “Legends” that contribute so much to the Legend community and share so much in-common with their travelings and enthusiasm with Acura. It’s not common to find such enthusiast for a brand like such, but the ones that exist are truly unique Legends.

    I too would like to know how many Legend owners are still out there from said meets.

    I am not a Legend owner yet, but I sure plan to be one some day, just so I can meet you all and experience an Acura of before my time.

    • Dillon, I agree, it would be interesting to see where all those (former) Legend owners ended up – and specifically, what they’re driving today and whether they feel it’s a worthy replacement. Thanks for reading the story! Hope you have a great weekend.

    • HI Dillon,

      Thanks for your kind words! I can’t speak for all the Legend owners from the original 1997 meets, but I do keep in touch with all of the core group members

      – Many of them have moved on to the NSX world.

      – Of the core group, only one of them besides me still has his Legend, although it’s probably on it’s last legs, at 260K miles (original HG though), and he may be selling it soon while he can still get something for it.

      – One of the core group got an Audi A6 after he sold his Legend, and I think he’s still in the Audi world today.

      – Jim Trinh moved to Australia in the early 2000s, and as Legends were too prohibitively expensive there at the time, he moved onto the Subaru Legacy. I think he may still have a Legacy (maybe not the same one he originally had) today.

  4. Wow. Great post.

    I was not aware that you can park your car at Mount Rushmore and have the Presidents heads show in the background! This makes me consider driving over there for a photo opp. Mount Rushmore is one of the most iconic places in the entire USA.

    Ben or Tyson: Is that picture with the Legend and Mount Rushmore directly in the background taken in the regular parking lot for cars or a special location? Do all people who go to Mount Rushmore have the opportunity to park their cars and take a pic with Mount Rushmore in the background?

    • Hi Carlos,

      The picture was taken from the far end of the top level of the visitor parking garage, which is open to the public. I was lucky enough that the day I went, the top level was largely empty, so I parked the car at the best angle, and did some creative camera framing to come up with the shot you see. So, yes, everyone has the opportunity to take this picture, as long as the area isn’t too crowded with other cars.

  5. Ben:

    Where is Florida???

    We in Florida believe our state is one of the most important in the country. After all, entire presidential elections have been decided based on our votes 🙂

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