Archive for October, 2013

Reader’s Ride: Chanc’s 1999 Acura Integra GS-R

Posted in Reader's Ride on October 30, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  527,604


Odometer (ILX):  57,339


‘Twas a fine sunrise this morning in Scottsdale, Arizona!



If you haven’t yet heard the song “Counting Stars” by OneRepublic (the tune that I happened to be listening to when the below picture was taken), I highly recommend it.


The Acura brand launched in 1986 with just two models:  The Legend sedan and the Integra.  Since then, the Integra went through 3 generations before becoming discontinued after the 2001 model year.  I’ve had a special place in my heart for the last generation Acura Integra bodystyle because my dad used to have a 1995 Integra LS.  He bought it with 130,000 miles from the original owner in July, 2006.


The car had sold new for $18,560.  I love seeing original window stickers, and since this car only had one owner, all of its paperwork including the sticker was accounted for.


He sold it with around 230,000 miles on it about 5 years later.  It served him well as a commuter car, delivering great MPG and sporty styling.  By that time, I’d picked him up a set of 15″ GS-R “fat five” alloy wheels for it.


You may remember my friend Chanc who drives a 2006 Arctic Blue TSX 6-speed.  I’ve featured him before on the blog.  Well, Chanc’s Acura ownership story goes beyond that beautiful blue sedan.


For over 10 years, he’s also owned a very unique and fun 1999 Acura Integra GS-R 5-speed.


Here are the stats on this black pearl beauty.

  • Purchased:  September 2003 at 34,500 Miles
  • Current Odometer:  94,500 Miles


Chanc was looking for a car, that if modded, would meet his specifications.  He was lucky enough to find a car with mostly dealer-installed Comptech aftermarket parts.  At the time, Comptech was the only brand that the dealer would install without voiding the warranty.


The driver-centric cockpit of the 3rd generation Integra is simple and well laid out.


Here’s a complete mod list for this black beauty:

  • Iceman Cold Air Intake
  • Comptech Stainless Steel Header
  • Comptech Stainless Steel Catback Exhaust
  • Comptech Sport Lowering Springs
  • Koni Yellow Shocks
  • Comptech Front Strut Tower Bar
  • Comptech Rear Tie Bar
  • Comptech 22mm Sway Bar (replaced with stock)
  • ASR Subframe Brace
  • B & M short shifter
  • Skunk2 Shift Knob
  • Carbon Fiber Spark Plug Cover
  • NGK Blue Spark Plug Wires
  • Goodridge Stainless Steel Brake Lines
  • Full Stereo w/ 12″ Sub
  • Remote Start Alarm
  • McCulloch 6000K HID’s
  • OEM ITR Front Lip
  • Paint Matched Side Skirts
  • 16″ Bronze Rota C10 Wheels
  • Orange Gauge Cluster Lights


I asked Chanc what his favorite thing about the Integra was:

There is nothing like the sound of dual butterfly intake manifold on the B18C1 while ripping through the gears with sharp and responsive suspension to boot.  I’ve been unable to replicate the raw feel in any other vehicle I’ve driven.  It’s like a street legal go kart!
I will vouch for the fact that this car’s handling is confidence-inspiring and snug.  Chanc gave me the opportunity to take it for a spin in July, and the fun factor was off the charts.  Thanks for sharing your love for Acura, my friend!
Lastly, have you all heard of the guy who just broke the record just recently for driving across America in the fastest time?

I’ve driven coast to coast plenty of times in my Acura Legend.  In 2011, I was in San Diego on a Saturday in July staring at the Pacific Ocean, then  a few days later I was in Belmar, New Jersey looking at the Atlantic.  Ed Bolian took a 115,000 mile 2004 Mercedes CL55 AMG and drove it from Manhattan to Los Angeles in 28 hours, 50 minutes.  While my level of preparation for the journey was pretty involved (2 full size spare tires, etc), I was nowhere near as road-ready as Ed was.


Take a look at the write-up on Jalopnik of his interesting accomplishment.  It’s certainly one I don’t intend to match or beat.  Ed’s average speed for the entire 2,813-mile trip?  A whopping 98 miles per hour.  He stopped for gas just 3 times.


Crazy!  I’m jealous of his trip, but what’s the rush?  Slow down and enjoy the scenery!

Honda’s “Thank You” Ad

Posted in Prelude on October 28, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  527,600


Odometer (ILX):  57,227


This was a fun way to start my morning!

Honda has launched a new ad campaign called “Start Something Special” and one of the TV spots that will kick it off is this 30-second clip with a quick cameo appearance of me standing with my pride & joy 1989 Prelude.  I was a senior in high school and had just gotten dressed up for that night’s prom.  White tux – check.  White skater shoes – check.  Prelude with more “bling bling” chrome than Vegas?  Also check.


Those were simpler times.  Many moons ago when I ordered that Utah “4CRUIZN” license plate, I never thought I’d be “CRUIZN” toward 500,000 miles a decade later in an Acura.  Nor could I have known that Honda HQ would have any such interest in using the picture for marketing.  But hey, I was thrilled to oblige!


Though my taste in cars (and fashion) has changed a bit since I was 17 years old, my commitment to the Honda brand remains ever-strong, and I’m glad to thank Honda back for the many miles of travels that the company’s well-built cars have provided me.


Our family’s garage in the late 1990’s did indeed look something like a Honda used car lot.


  • My 1989 Honda Prelude 2.0 Si
  • My brother’s 1984 Honda Civic 1500 S
  • My mom’s 1993 Acura Legend L sedan
  • My project car 1988 Acura Legend L sedan


It’s hard to believe that was 15 years ago!  I’ll close with a text conversation thread from a dialogue today with an old friend who I haven’t spoken with in at least a couple of years.


Out of the blue, an “Are you married to your car?” comment.  The answer is yes, my friend.  And we’ll live happily ever after.   The End.


Tucson in the Legend: Reunited with Original Owner

Posted in Arizona, Legend, Road Trip on October 26, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  527,600


Odometer (ILX):  57,185


Trip Distance:  250 Miles


Have you ever wondered where a car you owned 20 years ago has ended up?  Just like the people who drive them, I feel that every automobile has a “life story” that is fascinating to follow.  As a fitting follow-up to the recent “20 Year Legend Birthday” post, today I drove my Legend to Tucson to meet up with the individual who bought my car new off the showroom floor back in September 1994.


Arizona weather couldn’t have been better for a Saturday road trip.  My friend Paul and I rolled eastward on Interstate 10 and exited at 22nd Street once we arrived in Tucson.


Patricia’s hotel, the luxurious JW Marriott Resort at Starr Pass, awaited us a few miles down a twisty two-lane road later.


Talk about destinations!  If I could afford it, I’d spend a weekend at a place like this.


Patricia competed this morning in the 2013 National Duathlon Championship and placed 5th in her age division.  She ran a 5K, biked 30K, and then ran another 5K.  This woman is fit!  And she has to be, since her line of work is in personal training.  Patricia is based in the San Francisco Bay Area but has clients all across the country.


It was great to chat with her and reconnect.  I’ve been in touch with her for over 10 years now and enjoy keeping her posted on my latest Legend updates.  Paul and I drove her to the lobby after the below picture was taken.  When she got out of the passenger seat, she proudly announced to the security guard who was standing nearby, “This is a celebrity car!” and then went on to tell its story.


I bet it was fun for her to be back inside a car that she’d driven for the first 9 years of its life.  Now if only I could get her out of the Lexus IS250 she’s driving now, and back into an Acura!  Speaking of new Acuras, I stopped by the dealership today in Tempe.  They currently have a “twin” car to my Silver Moon 6-speed.


It must be getting cooler out – tire pressures needed to come up a bit in order to get rid of this warning on the ILX.


This was a nice RL sighting from earlier in the week.  I enjoy those chrome A-Spec wheels!


This bodystyle of RL is rare and somewhat under-appreciated.  I’ve actually never driven an RL newer than 2000!  That’s soon to change, though, because I’ll have an RLX for a week of evaluation in the coming month.


Lastly, regarding high-mileage Legends – here’s some fun news for those who are interested.  A forum member in California posted a link on to an ad for a Legend sedan that reportedly had over 600,000 miles on it.  Sadly, it looked like it had seen better days.  Here’s a screen capture of the ad, which has since expired.


Little paint work needed.


Sold for parts!


And here’s another one from my friend Paul who works at a dealership in Georgia.  This 406,000 mile Vineyard Gray 1993 sedan came in for some service.  Still looks pretty good to me!




Hope they keep on truckin’ to 500k and beyond.


Over and out!

Throwback Thursday: Sirius White Pearl Legend GS

Posted in Legend, Throwback on October 24, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  527,315


Odometer (ILX):  57,133


It sure is getting dark early these days.  On the bright side, I get brilliant sunsets like this for my commute home in the ILX.


One of the 9 Acura Legends in my past was a stunning white 6-speed sedan.  Rewinding the clock to early 2007, I’d just finished up my MBA degree and landed my first “real” job.  It was time to reward myself with something special, and I’d always had a soft spot for the rare 1994-1995 Legend GS sedan 6-speed models.

Posted in a for-sale ad by the original owner’s son Simon, a pearl white 1994 Legend GS was offered up with full records and an amazing history.  It was the classic “little old lady” scenario – almost too good to be true, yet it was 100% real.  I recognized the urgency on sealing the deal before anyone else snagged this rare car.  In short order, I’d arranged for online payment and booked a short flight to Orange County from Phoenix.  I’d never seen a 207,000-mile car with such an immaculate interior.  The seats were so smooth it was like they’d been freshly upholstered.  I grinned all 400 miles home to Phoenix that evening.

Here’s the detailed posting that I shared with the Legend forums soon thereafter, including the following pics.  Key handoff here (no car sale is “official” without one!) with Simon at left:


Amazing interior:


And oh my.  Paperwork galore.


First fuel up in Palm Springs, CA off Interstate 10 eastbound.


For today’s photoset we travel back to February 2007 – six and a half years ago.  I had just installed some 19″ Racing Hart C2 wheels on the Legend GS and took it for a weekend drive through the mining country in the Superstition Mountains about 70 miles east of the Phoenix valley.  These are the pictures I took that day.


Superior, Arizona



That open window in this abandoned brick building was so inviting.  ‘Urban exploration’ is a hobby of mine that I enjoy almost as much as playing with cars.


I met up briefly with my friend Chris who also had a 1994 Legend, but his was a Sherwood Green L model.


Don’t try this shot at home, kids.


Superior felt like a ghost town, and in reality it’s not far from becoming one.


This is the same “Hotel Magma” that was featured in the blog on an ILX this summer.


I felt like I needed to take off my shoes or wear booties every time I got in here.


There’s something serene about those cliffsides at dusk.


That Legend lives on in even better shape today than when I sold it.  My friend Wayne from Houston, Texas bought it from me in October 2007 when I moved on to a Honda Prelude project.  Wayne has since made some mechanical updates including replacement of the ABS pump.  The car today only has 215,000 miles on it.

My coupe at the time had a mere 274,000 miles on it, and looked something like this.


Heber, Arizona


Mogollon Rim, Arizona


We made it to Friday!  What’s everyone up to for the weekend?

2013 “Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year” Competition

Posted in MDX, Vehicle Reviews on October 20, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  527,276


Odometer (ILX):  56,926



Some of us thrive on being on-the-go all the time.  Aside from being an avid road tripper, I juggle other hobbies including competitive long-distance running.  People who have lifestyles like mine demand a lot from their vehicles.  That is the notion behind the Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year program, now in its 10th year.

Each October, automakers enter vehicles to compete in this event that brings together athletes & autos for a day of evaluation.  Last year, I was the team captain in charge of the group evaluating the hybrid & alternative fuel vehicles.  This year, I assembled a team of 10 athletes and we spent the morning taking turns driving the 5 vehicles that were entered in the “Luxury On-Road” and the “Luxury Family” divisions.  Those vehicles were as follows:

  • 2014 Acura MDX
  • 2014 Audi SQ5
  • 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT
  • 2014 Mercedes-Benz E350 Wagon
  • 2014 Volkswagen Touareg TDI

There were a few key areas of evaluation that we focused on when casting our ballots:

  • How well did the vehicle’s design & size fit with my active lifestyle?
  • Could I find a comfortable seating position?
  • Were the climate, radio, and other features intuitive?
  • Was there sufficient room & security for athletic equipment?
  • Did the engine have sufficient power?
  • And so on.

ALV was hosted at Local Motors in Chandler, Arizona.  Local Motors is a unique automaker that collaborates with buyers who help co-create their own vehicles, including the go-anywhere Rally Fighter.  Here’s a little information on LM from the company’s YouTube channel:

Local Motors is the first car company to co-create vehicles online with its virtual community of designers, fabricators, engineers and enthusiasts from around the world. Through open-source principles, Local Motors helps solve local transportation-related problems, locally; makes transportation more sustainable, globally; and delivers, through distributed manufacturing, game-changing vehicles and components.

The Local Motors facility was the perfect venue for ALV due to the availability of an off-road driving course.  The athletes on my team had a great time putting our test vehicles through their paces.  In the end, the crowns for the divisions that my team evaluated went to the Audi SQ5 for “Luxury On-Road” and Acura MDX for “Luxury Family.”  Check out the extensive photo gallery below for a closer look at the people and the cars that made this day memorable.  Thanks for reading!

Video recap:


The day before the ALV program, Acura Western Region Public Relations representative Vincent Manganiello flew in.  I was able to meet up with him for a bite to eat before heading to the ALV festivities.  I proudly wore my blue 2013 National Acura Legend Meet (NALM) shirt for the occasion.  Vince and I had a great discussion on Acura goings-on.


Ultra marathon runner Jenn Shelton also flew in to participate as a celebrity judge.  She is sponsored by Hyundai and is the country’s fastest woman to run a 100-mile race.  Yes, 100 miles.  It takes about 15 hours for her to run that distance (achieved in 2007).  Next weekend, she’s running the Grand Canyon from the South Rim to the North Rim… and back again.  Where does she get all that energy?  I had a great time visiting with her as I shuttled her in my ILX to ALV from the Phoenix airport.


Later that evening, a “welcome dinner” was hosted at The Gilbert House, in Gilbert, Arizona.  It’s a 1928 Sears Roebuck home that was converted to a catering business in the 1980s.  Famed automotive spy photographer Brenda Priddy (at left below) was on-hand to handle photography duties.  My friend (and a fellow ALV team captain) Woody was thrilled to see her.


I sat at a table with Woody and Vince for dinner.  The salmon entree was exquisite!


Always seeking ways to further tie together athletes & automobiles, ALV was pleased to welcome some retired NFL football players who served as celebrity judges.  Here, Rob and Nina Russin sat with Mr. & Mrs. Bernard Wilson (Arizona Cardinals).


On Saturday morning, check-in was a frenzy of people but we got everyone squared away with nametags and packets of information including their ballot forms.  From there, we were turned loose for walkaround presentations by the OEM representatives and then got behind the wheel for drive time.


Here I’m standing in front of some of the vehicles my team was assigned to evaluate.


Our ‘victim’ vehicles were ready to be put to the test.  Here, the Acura MDX, Mazda CX-9, and Mazda CX-5 lined up.


My ILX tried to hide between a couple of 2014 Jeep Cherokees so that it could compete.


No such luck.  What does everyone think of that new Cherokee front end?  Pretty wild!


Some of the “Best Value – Family” vehicles lined up here for a photo-op:


The 2014 Toyota 4Runner took home the award in Best Value Off-Road.  It’s a highly capable rig!


Audi representative John Shilling came to present two vehicles – the 2014 Audi SQ5 and the 2014 Q5 TDI (diesel).


We gathered for his walkaround presentation and learned about the SQ5.  Its motor is derived from the well-loved Audi S4 and has over 400 horsepower.


Hands-down, Woody’s favorite vehicle was the SQ5.  I think I smelled tire smoke when he rolled back into the parking lot.


Volkswagen representative Darryll Harrison presented the 2014 VW Touareg TDI (diesel) and its many features.


Diesel powerplants are becoming much more commonplace in new cars, and the level of refinement VW has achieved with the Touareg is remarkable.  It doesn’t even sound like a diesel.


Darryll was also busy showing off the SportWagen TDI.


Jenn took the Mercedes-Benz E350 Wagon for a spin and was all grins.


In the back seat, Mercedes representative Diedra educated us on some of the many features of the wagon.


No local car event would be complete without a spy appearance.  Brenda Priddy was there to capture the action on camera.


Ever seen a 4×4 Jeep with a Track setting LAUNCH CONTROL?  You’re looking at a control panel on the console of the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT.  It was a crowd favorite for the entire day.


Jack’s grin can only mean one thing:  He’s about to put those 470 horses to work.  The SRT is powered by a 6.4 liter HEMI motor.  This thing scoots, and as Chrysler representative Scott Brown put it, “It begs to be flogged.”  At $68,000, Scott told me that it’s not uncommon for Corvettes to be traded in on one of these.


Chuck with the impressive $70k E350 4MATIC, highly optioned out with a Sport package and AMG wheels.  Read more about this awesome wagon in my recent Drive to Five Review.


Check out this gorgeous 2014 Grand Cherokee “EcoDiesel.”  This rig has a whopping 730-mile range on a full tank of gas.  That would come in ultra handy on some of my cross-country drives.  I posed for a picture with the Jeep and with Chrysler representative Kathy Graham.


At the other end of the cost spectrum, we had the 2014 Nissan Versa Note, entered in the “Urban” category.  This car, at only $17k, was definitely a nice bang-for-the-buck ride.  It even had heated seats for that pricetag!


The Kia Soul, at around $24k as-equipped, took home the award for that category, beating out both the Versa as well as the Fiat 500L.


Speaking of Kia:  “Best Paint” was not an ALV award category, but if it had been, I would have definitely presented it to the Kia Sorento.  The jewel-like red color was so stunning that a police officer pulled one of the athletes over in it.


Mike, Jim, Will discussing facts & figures about our competitor vehicles.


The blue Buick Encore was a much smaller ride in person than I thought it might be.  Quite the fun rig!


Seat back and looking cozy in the driver’s seat, Will tested out the audio system.


The 2014 Durango was entered in the “Best Value – Family” category.  Some of the athletes even brought their kids with them in order to properly evaluate its versatility.


Here are some of my team members:  Jim, Tyson, Kevin, Cameron


Charles, Katy, and Woody


Mike, Tyson, Rob, Jack, and Paul


And Will, with the one vehicle (pictured at center) he would have LOVED to take home if Jeep had let him.


Many thanks to ALV Co-Founder Nina Russin for putting on an amazing event, 10 years and counting.


Since the core content of my blog is my love for Acura, I’ll share a little about the 2014 MDX Advance that participated in ALV this year.  The MDX was popular with the athletes all day.

Redesigned 100% for the 2014 model year, the MDX is whisper quiet going down the road.  That is, until you lay into the throttle and awaken the 290-horspower, 3.5 liter direct injection V6 engine which roars to attention.  The MDX is chock-full of driver assistance technology, including a lane-keeping system that maintains position within a lane when the driver begins to veer.


Vince completed a brief walkaround presentation for the MDX and highlighted some of its features.  This 7-seater even has tri-zone GPS-linked climate control.


“Let’s roll!” says Woody.


And they’re off.


Chuck and I were mesmerized by the signature “Jewel Eye” headlamps which have individual LED bulbs.  At nighttime, this setup provides optimal illumination.  Even the high beams are Jewel Eye.


Paul is an Acura guy through and through, since his daily driver is a 2013 TL SH-AWD, so he felt right at home behind the wheel of the new MDX.  He said he liked that the touch-screen gave “feedback” feel when pushing buttons.


This MDX in particular was equipped with the Tech, Advance, AND Entertainment packages.  Woody, Charles, and Rob (left to right, below) put it to the test.  There is a gigantic 16.2″ DVD rear entertainment system with HDMI and wireless headsets.  As-equipped, this vehicle goes for $57,400 including destination.


Congratulations to Vince and the rest of the Acura team on an outstanding vehicle!


I had a great time at the ALV program and look forward to participating again next year.

Readers’ Rides: A TL, a Legend, and a Silverado

Posted in Reader's Ride on October 18, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  527,271


Odometer (ILX):  56,792


Happy Friday!  It’s my pleasure to introduce a few friends to the blog audience this morning.  Devan, owner of DNA Auto Detailing, has always been an Acura guy.  When I met him in November 2011 at a car show in Gilbert, Arizona, he was driving this exceptionally clean White Diamond Pearl 2003 Acura TL.


He recently sold that when it had about 184,000 miles on the clock.  His new ride is this gorgeous Alabaster Silver 2006 Acura TL.  It’s loaded to the brim with the Technology package.


Here are a couple pictures of our silver bullets together when he stopped by earlier this week.


The first thing I noticed when I got inside Devan’s TL was how clean it smelled.  He’s using a Febreeze air freshener and I must say it was amazing!


Devan has made some nice upgrades to the lighting in his TL.  All interior lights, as well as the license plate lights, are now LED.


Sweet ride!  Congrats, Devan.

Several weeks ago, I introduced you to Mirel who’s owned a few Legends.  His latest ride is a Granada Black Pearl 1993 LS coupe 6-speed that he picked up two months ago.  He recently got the car back from a full repaint.  It turned out fantastic!


The factory spoiler with LED brake light was added to the trunklid.  There are only a couple of updates left:  wheel refinish & driver’s seat leather re-upholstery.



This coupe has just over 111,000 miles on it.



It was great to catch up with Mirel for a few minutes.


The last feature today is a vehicle with mileage that even surpasses my Legend’s in distance driven.

I met a guy named Paul via the local “Phoenix Automotive Press Association,” otherwise known as PAPA.  Paul owns a moving company called Atlasta Moving Company and his tried-and-true Chevy Silverado 3500 pickup is his workhorse.  It has 602,732 miles on the original engine.




Paul tells this truck’s impressive story best, so I’ll let him do the talking:

The Silverado 3500 4×4 is a 2002. I purchased it with 2 miles on it from Van Chevrolet in Scottsdale, Arizona in late September of 2001. What sold me on this truck primarily was the Duramax engine mated to an Allison automatic transmission. Over the last 2 years, I’ve changed the synthetic oil ( which I’ve used all it’s life) to every 5000 miles instead of 3000 miles, since money became tight during the recession.

The only complaint I have with this engine has been the injectors. It’s currently on its 5th set, and at $4800.00 per set of eight including installation, it’s expensive! I’m on my second transfer case. Even though it’s a shift on the fly “four wheel drive”, the transfer case is constantly engaged, causing “non four wheel drive” wear and tear. I’m also on my second transmission solenoid. That has been the only issue with the regularly maintained tranny.

I had a head gasket blow at about 500,000 miles, thus warping the aluminum heads. The amazing part of that story was that I was on a road trip of about 1200 miles, and I continued that trip with the blown head gasket, stopping often to add coolant as the “low coolant” light came on. I was towing a fully loaded enclosed trailer at that time, made my delivery, and made it back home to Phoenix.

I switched to a cowl hood about a year ago after a defective set of Yokohama tires blew out the drivers side front fender, bumper, and partial hood. A few weeks later, the passenger rear Yokohama blew out requiring a new rear fender. Other than that, all body panels are factory. The only other recent upgrade was that I had the front seats recovered, as it looked as if there was a dog fight within the cockpit! I was missing chunks of leather and foam due to wear and tear.


It’s great to see that Paul’s Silverado is still getting the job done, even after all those miles.



The next time I need a heavy duty hauler, I’m definitely gonna grab a GM.

Keep on truckin’, Paul!

Legend Emissions Check

Posted in Legend, Maintenance on October 16, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  527,260


Odometer (ILX):  56,760


The great news today is that I’m street legal for another 2 years in the Legend.  My new renewal sticker expiring November 2015 is on its way in the mail after undergoing the renewal process today at lunch.  Arizona has a good grip on how to lessen the pain of automotive registration.  Thankfully, it required no trip to a motor vehicle office.

I instead went to the ADEQ (Arizona Department of Environmental Quality) emissions check station near my work and waited in line with the car for about 15 minutes before having the test performed.  The fee of $27.75 has been the same since I moved to Arizona in 2006.  I was sent on my way with a VIR (Vehicle Inspection Report).  Then, I went online and paid $108 for a 2-year renewal.  Done-zo.

The last time I had the emissions performance checked on the car was in November 2011, when I shared all previous reports.  Following is a summary table showing the results of each of the 5 tests performed on the car since I moved here:  255,000 miles, 302,000 miles, 401,000 miles, 500,000 miles, and 527,000 miles:


Note:  For all 3 areas evaluated, the Legend performed better at 527,000 miles than it did at 255,000 miles when my first emissions check was performed.  I also found it interesting how widely some of the numbers can vary while still being within acceptable standards.


At least I had nice scenery during my wait, stuck behind this nice black AMG Benz.


For purposes of the test, the technician gets inside the vehicle and runs it through all 6 gears on a dyno while an exhaust tube is connected to the muffler.  I had to show him how to deactivate the Traction Control System that was kicking in, but otherwise it was a smooth experience and he didn’t grind my gears.


The only comment that he made about the car after taking down the mileage was, “Are you the original owner?”  I should have told him, “No, I was only 11 when this car came out.”  But I just said “Yes,” so I could get on my way!  Here are the numbers:


And we’re off!  Glad to have this taken care of for another 2 years.  Cheers!


ILX Drive: Coronado Trail in Eastern Arizona

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip on October 14, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  527,207


Odometer (ILX):  56,713


Trip Distance:  537 Miles


Confession Time:  When I was 8 years old, I got carsick and threw up Hawaiian Punch in the back of my aunt Jodi’s SUV.  It made a mess of my Cabbage Patch doll, and to this day my family has never let me forget about it.  It took a couple of decades until I could stand to drink HP again.

Curvy roads don’t agree with my stomach — unless, I’ve discovered, I’m the driver.  On Saturday morning I put my Acura ILX’s suspension to the ultimate handling test on some of the tightest twisties and hairiest hairpins of any road I’ve ever driven.

The roller-coaster ride is called Highway 191.  Formerly known as US 666 – the “Devil’s Highway” – it’s famed as one of the all-time favorite driving destinations in the southwestern United States for motorcyclists and sports car drivers.  This weekend’s trip took me and 5 friends to the eastern part of Arizona, where the White Mountains are just undergoing the transition from summer to fall and the leaves radiate vivid color.  This was the third time I’ve driven Coronado Trail and with each visit I’ve been in a different vehicle and had a vastly different experience.

On Friday afternoon, Paul stopped by in his 2013 Acura TL SH-AWD.  He accompanied me as copilot for this journey, while my other friends Mike and Matt followed along in a 2012 Volkswagen GTI 6-speed.  Our ascent from the Phoenix desert floor of 1,100 feet to the town of Payson at 5,000 feet meant we needed plenty of grunt to climb the grades.  Thankfully due to the gearing of the ILX, my cruise control held me at highway speed in 6th gear on the Beeline Highway while rarely needing to downshift.  We spent the night in Springerville, Arizona where my friend Jason had arrived from Las Cruces, New Mexico earlier in the evening.

Saturday morning greeted us with the brightest of blue skies and with crisp 32-degree ambient temperatures.  For the first time since last winter, I donned a hooded sweatshirt for insulation from the chills.  After chowing down on some breakfast, the open road awaited us.  Over the course of the next several hours, we dipped from over 9,300 feet down to 3,400 feet in elevation over some technical, narrow roadways.  This was a both-hands-on-the-wheel driving experience.  Follow along on the journey via the photos and video below!

Paul did a pretty nice job of taking this ‘selfie’ of us while we made our way up Highway 87 to Payson.


Matt and Mike reviewed the menu at Buffalo Bar & Grille in Payson, Arizona.  A sign on the wall read:  “Rednecks Welcome.  All Others By Appointment Only.”


We had Highway 260 almost entirely to ourselves as we headed east from there toward our nightly destination in Springerville, about 2.5 hours away.  When we arrived, the ILX was again reunited with Jason’s silver Accord.  I’d last met up with Jason on our drive to Denver, Colorado a couple of months ago.


Cozy in the America’s Best Value Inn.  For $78, the place did not disappoint!


I was somewhat prepared for the chill that greeted us the following morning.  Jason resorted to using a microfiber towel to clean the ice off his windshield.


It had been quite some time since I turned my ILX seat heaters to “HI” setting and cranked the heater to full blast.


For us Arizonans, frost on the car is a rare sight.


My favorite part about staying hotels and motels is the breakfast buffet.  This waffle and OJ hit the spot.


On the way out of Springerville, we laid our eyes on some of the town’s highlights, including Rusty’s Meat Shop.  Note that Rusty’s is also an official Trophy Elk Contest Scoring Location.


There was a classic car show going on nearby.  Probably the biggest event this town of 1,700 had seen in quite some time.


Ready to drive?  Here we have our contenders:

  • 2013 Acura ILX 2.4 6-speed
  • 2012 Volkswagen GTI 6-speed
  • 2004 Honda Accord 3.0 6-speed


The ILX had the GTI beat in the horsepower department by just one measly horse.  The GTI’s powerplant is a 2.0 liter, 200-horsepower turbocharged inline 4.  Jason’s Accord reigned supreme at 240 horses from its 3.0 V6.


As we got underway and headed southbound on Hwy 191, we were quickly alerted (multiple times, in fact) that this route is not snowplowed on nights, weekends, or during snowstorms.  Basically, if you’re caught in a blizzard during any of those times, you’re out of luck!  Thankfully, our weather conditions were perfect.


Our first pit-stop was about 25 miles down the road in Hannagan Meadow.  This grouping of log cabins was established in 1926 and remains today as a resort-type destination with cabin rentals around $200/night.


The cars lined up for a photo-op, looking photogenic despite some bugs on the front ends.



That blue Acura hoodie happened to match my shoelaces perfectly.  I promise I didn’t plan it that way.


We took a peek inside a couple of the rental cabins just for fun.  They’d make a great place to escape for a weekend.


It was a good thing we were fueled up because it would be about 120 miles until we saw any form of civilization.  This was the warning at the top of a map we picked up at Hannagan Meadow:


Back on the road!  Up until 1993, Highway 191 was actually Highway 666 – thus the reason it has been referred to as the Devil’s Highway.  It’s also now known as “Coronado Trail” – named after a Spanish conquistador who followed this route between the years 1540 and 1542.


Views are spectacular, but the narrow road offers very few places to pull off and enjoy them while sitting still.  This happened to be one of those locations.


We stretched our legs and pulled out the cameras for a few shots.  I smelled burning brakes and/or tires when I approached Matt’s VW.  I think he was having a little too much fun with those curves.


This shot of the ILX also shows Jason’s Accord’s headlight.


Left to right, our group:

  • Jason, from Las Cruces New Mexico
  • Tyson
  • Paul, originally from Michigan
  • Matt, originally from Pennsylvania
  • Mike, originally from Minnesota


One of my favorite signs along the entire stretch of road is the below “10 MPH NEXT 11 MILES.”  These curves mean serious business.  I think Paul might have regretted riding with me when I took a few of the corners at an aggressive rate of speed.  My fresh Michelin tires provided plenty of bite, and the ILX’s close-ratio 6-speed transmission was a breeze to flick through the gears with minimal effort.  I found body roll to be very minimal and weight transfer to be very predictable.  The ILX was engineered for optimal performance on roads exactly like this one.


One more pit stop for some Mega Stuf Oreos and trail mix.


This scenic overlook gave us a dramatic look at the beautiful eastern Arizona landscape.


A gigantic tarantula seemed to be enjoying the view, too.  Here, the guys were following it.


I turned over the ILX to Mike for a piece of the drive.  He commented on how smooth the transmission was.


Meanwhile, Jason let me take the wheel of his Accord.  At 139,000 miles, the suspension still felt tight and the car delivered power at RPM ranges that vary greatly from my ILX.  It’s a great touring ride!





The last piece of Coronado leads sharply downhill toward the mining town of Morenci.


The Morenci mine is the largest copper mining operation in North America and is operated by Freeport-McMoRan.


It was awesome to stand at the rim of this massive man-made canyon and soak in the scenery.


Highway 191 treated us to a tunnel as we made our way through the rest of the mine.


Clifton, Arizona is a town stuck in a 1913 time warp.  That’s when most of these streets along the former main street were constructed.  100 years later, it has an eery ghost town feel to it.


We feasted at PJ’s Mexican-American Restaurant.


Mike, Matt, and I opted for the Mexican food and it was top notch.


Note that PJ’s offers a “daily rate” for folks who want to sit and drink coffee all day.  Just $9!


And finally, after looping back to Phoenix, Paul and I unloaded the ILX.


Thanks for joining me on yet another fun-filled Acuradventure.

Acura, Please Build This ILX

Posted in ILX on October 12, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  56,629


It’s amazing what just a few simple updates will do for an already great vehicle design. Now that the ILX is going into its second model year, the Acura design team has already been in full-swing of deciding what “mid-model changes” to implement on the vehicle.  It’s always fun to see what people can come up with.  One graphic designer even rendered the a version of the ILX as a 5-door wagon, as seen on Acura Connected.

Acura enthusiast Dillon from North Carolina, who goes by the handle “Hondatalover” in online forums, has put together some amazing renderings that I wanted to share with you.

This is a picture I took of my ILX last week in northwestern Arizona, but with some special ‘tweaks’ by Dillon.  Notice that the vehicle has been equipped with red/clear taillights, dual chrome exhaust tips, and an accent chrome strip along the edge of the trunk lid.

ILX rear sunset2logo

Here is another one that Dillon put together with 18″ wheels off an Acura RDX.


Following are the enhancements (both seen & unseen) to this special ILX, written by Dillon:


  • 18×8.5″ Wheels (Larger Genuine Accessory wheel or 2013+ RDX wheel)
  • Genuine Acura Ground Effects
  • Dual Exhaust
  • Rear Diffuser
  • Revised taillights and license plate area with a chrome strip to ‘bridge’ the the taillights together


  • A-Spec suspension with IDS System (Integrated Dynamics System/ Comfort, Normal, Sport).
  • All Season Performance tires or optional Summer Performance tires
  • LSD (Limited Slip Differential)
  • Larger Brakes
  • AHA System (Agile Handling Assist)


  • Free-flowing intake with noise tube (Opens when Sport mode is engaged to allow sound into the cabin).
  • Free-flowing exhaust with bell mouth header, revised mufflers and high flow cat
  • Hondata ECU Reflash
  • Slightly larger intake valves with more aggressive VTEC cams on both the Intake and exhaust valves.


  • Front brake calipers are painted black with “Acura” written in white on them
  • Subtle strip of carbon fiber is present in between a (newly added) silver trim piece and the perforated leather trim on the front and rear doors (Interior)
  • Dark silver interior trim throughout the cabin
  • Black headliner
  • “A-Spec” engraving on the illuminated door seal trim (front and rear)
  • “A-Spec” Badging
  • Ambient interior and exterior lighting are all LED.  Door handle (interior and exterior/ Front and rear)
  • Puddle lights in the mirrors
  • All lighting systems are LED (Headlight high beams are LED low beams are Xenon HID)
  • Further sound deadening the car through out to remain the premium ride quality (when not in Sport mode)

What a hot ride that would be!


I’ve just returned from an adventurous weekend drive in my ILX.   Picture 400+ curves in a 100-mile stretch of road!

Don’t change that dial – you’ll read all about it in a couple of days.


20-Year Birthday for the Legend

Posted in Legend on October 9, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  527,124


Odometer (ILX):  55,975



Travel back to 1993 with me for a moment.  Bill Clinton was the 42nd president of the United States.  Two of the big movies that year were Jurassic Park and Mrs. Doubtfire.  The average price for a gallon of gas was $1.16.  And I was only 11 years old.

It was October 1993 when my 1994 Acura Legend LS coupe was assembled in Honda’s Sayama, Japan factory. The build date is indicated at the top right of this sticker in the driver’s door jamb.


Twenty years later, it’s still on the road.

This Legend coupe was the 832nd made for the 1994 model year.  The car was originally allocated to Stevens Creek Acura in Santa Clara, California but was transferred at some point to Acura of Pleasanton, in Pleasanton, California.  The original owner of the car, Patricia, told me that the car had been on the lot for quite some time.  In fact, the dealership sat on it for over 6 months.  The car spent its first 251 miles as a “demo” car for client test drives.


Patricia drove the car an average of about 10,000 miles per year for its first 9 years, primarily sticking around the Bay Area in California.  Patricia is a triathlete and personal trainer.  She had specifically sought after a car that would be sporty and fun, yet luxurious at the same time.  This car hit the spot.

Here’s the abridged chronology of my Legend’s lifetime.

  • October 1993:  Build Date
  • September 1994:  Initial sale to Patricia with 251 miles
  • September 2002:  Sold to 2nd owner Carla with 91,500 miles
  • March 2003:  Sold to Tyson with 95,000 miles
  • May 2003:  100,000 Milestone
  • December 2005:  200,000 Milestone
  • July 2007:  300,000 Milestone
  • October 2009:  400,000 Milestone
  • November 2011:  500,000 Milestone.  Featured at “Drive to Five Celebration” at Acura Headquarters
  • October 2013:  Currently at 527,000 Miles

The Legend’s Carfax report is about 8 pages long, jam-packed with service records, emissions compliance results, and registration renewals.  The car has been serviced at 19 different Honda/Acura dealerships over its lifetime, as far east as Princeton, New Jersey and as far west as Fife, Washington.  If anyone wants some entertaining reading material, email me and I’ll forward you a copy of the PDF document.

I was lucky to obtain quite a bit of paperwork dating back to when the Legend was brand new.  I thought this would be a fun chance to share some of that with you.

Here’s a Pre-Delivery Inspection dated March 17, 1994:


Original invoiced dealer:  Stevens Creek Acura in Santa Clara, California


MSRP:  $41,885 including $385 for Destination & Handling


Dealer invoice on the car was $35,125


Original sales price of $35,500 on September 24, 1994.  Patricia made a hefty $25,000 down payment!


Fast forward almost 9 years, and I had begun my search for the perfect Legend at age 21.  Here is a printout of my AutoTrader search results dated March 24, 2003.  Similar Legends were priced anywhere from $9,900 to $10,799 on this page.


The Kelley Blue Book values at that time were as follows:

  • Retail:  $13,225
  • Private Party:  $11,060
  • Trade-In:  $8,750


The Legend was priced at $9,950 but I negotiated to $9,500 and paid cash when I picked it up on March 26, 2003 in San Jose, California.

Here’s a picture from April 2003 in St. George, Utah.  I was the proud new owner of a sub-100,000 mile Acura Legend LS coupe.


This picture was taken with my friend McKay Rollins who had been an inspiration for the purchase, having owned a green 1991 LS coupe that I fell in love with years before buying a Legend of my own.


And this last throwback picture was taken ten years ago in October 2003 at Sugarhouse Park in Salt Lake City, Utah at one of the first Legend meets that I ever attended.  Hard to believe it’s been a decade since that day.


Left to right:

  • Jason; 1988 Legend L Sedan
  • Eric; 1987 Legend L Coupe
  • Tyson; 1994 Legend LS Coupe
  • Branson; 1993 Legend LS Sedan

Those were good times.  I look forward to seeing what the next decade will bring.  Though my daily commuter is now the 2013 ILX which I am enjoying a great deal, the Legend lives on as a weekend cruiser.  As a celebration of its birthday, I took it out at sunset for a quick photoshoot last night in Papago Park, Phoenix Arizona.









Thanks for being a part of the journey!  Now, would anyone care for a slice of cake?