Intermission: Die-Cast Model Car Update, Upcoming Events

Odometer (Legend):  534,423


Odometer (ILX):  137,344


I’m about through my 9th summer in Arizona and every year I get a little bit more accustomed to having my metal shift knob “brand” my right palm with the imprint of a 1-6 gear pattern.  We broke a couple of records in the past week or so – 117 degrees Fahrenheit or some nonsense like that.  I kind of lose track after it gets above about 105.  Besides, I’m sitting in an air-conditioned (read:  frigid) office for 9 hours during the workday and I can’t even see the sunshine over my 7-foot-tall cubicle walls, let alone feel it.

Summer is in full swing, and with that I mean I’ve been too busy to even focus much on posting regular updates here.

Here’s what we have to look forward to in the coming several weeks:

  • This weekend:  Road trip to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah
  • Next weekend:  Road trip to Palm Springs & Idyllwild, California
  • Labor Day:  Surprise!  No plans yet for the 3-day weekend
  • September 12:  Honda S2000 Event (details TBD, this one isn’t announced)
  • September 23-27:  National Acura Legend Meet in Houston, Texas
  • October 8-11:  Acura “NSXPO” in Palm Springs, California

Sneak peek of the landscape in Bryce Canyon:


So I hope you’ll come along for the ride as we make the rounds to some of these fun activities.

In the meantime, it’s been about 18 months since I last looped you all in on my project involving 6 die-cast model cars that have been sitting on my rooftop since December 2009.  For the last nearly 6 years, those cars have seen the wrath of Phoenix weather:  persistent heat, drenching “monsoon” rainstorms, and those famous late-summer dust storms that we giggle and call “haboobs.”

So from glistening 1:18 scale metallic paint & chrome, my unfortunate test cars have now faded, yellowed, and weathered as one would expect.  I climbed up on the ladder this afternoon when I got home from work to see just how bad things have gotten.  The BMW 3-series driver side door was wide open.  I closed it back up – not that it’ll help keep the interior any nicer, seeing as how it’s a convertible.

Here’s how my Maserati looks.  This one is on a west-facing side of the chimney.  It clearly sees direct sunlight a lot.


Whereas the ’57 Thunderbird, right in front of it, looks amazing.  It’s by far my best survivor.


The BMW 3-series lost a headlight sometime in around 2012.  The red seats are baked brown.


The SL500’s front grill has deteriorated almost entirely.


The Aston Martin isn’t too bad.  It gets shaded in the afternoons.


I think the ’57 Nomad might be my favorite.  The way the paint has chipped away and the chrome has yellowed makes it look like a real abandoned car.  I get a “Christine” feeling when looking at it.  Who else here loves the Stephen King movie?


It’s as if I can hear “Bad to the Bone” playing when I look at it.


It looks like a real 58-year-old car.  Someone suggested that when my science experiment concludes (end date:  TBD), I should take one of these cars and “restore” it.  Do I have any hobby modelers in the audience who are good with a paint gun?

As for current events, I had a few fun friend encounters this week.  I rolled out to Gilbert, Arizona in the Legend to check out a friend’s newly-built home.


Thanks, Todd, for the tour!  I’ll be back for the pool party!


I also had a visit from my friend Asim who’s based in Washington, D.C., but was in town for work.  I went to start the NSX so we could drive it to Roka Akor restaurant in Scottsdale (great sushi, btw!) and it wouldn’t start.  It cranked all day long but seemed like it wasn’t getting fuel.  Feeling a little defeated (and a lot embarrassed) I told Asim, “Well, we’ll have to take the Legend.  It starts every time.”  And it did.

I’m a little proud of myself for figuring out – and fixing – the NSX starting problem all on my own.  I found out in some googling that the “main relay” is a common weak point.  The solder joints inside the relay get broken or cracked, causing the connection to be lost and thus the fuel pump to receive no power.  I followed some instructions and located the relay behind a panel inside the cabin, just behind the seats.


I had the relay re-soldered by a friend (but ordered a $70 new one, for good measure), reinstalled it, and the NSX started up on the first crank!  I treated the car to a hand-wash last night.


Slippery when wet.  Still cleans up decently for having 100,900 miles on the odometer.


Also this week I got to meet up with my friend Michael who formerly joined a Drive to Five group drive in his BMW 7-series.  He’s since sold the 7 but stayed within the BMW family.  Look at his GORGEOUS 1987 BMW 635csi.  118,000 miles on the odometer and every record since new.  I promise — I saw them.  Michael pulled out an inch-thick portfolio from the glove compartment dating back 28 years.  Unreal.  He let me take the car for a spin and it drove incredibly for such a vintage car.  The A/C blew colder than my 2013 ILX!


Lastly, I had to laugh when a friend showed me this ad for an immaculate 2000 Acura Integra GS on Ebay.  The car is clean and all, but you know what my favorite part was?  The guy has created a binder for his service records.  Even the cover of the binder has a sketch of the car, a title in appropriate font, and the dates for original purchase and second owner purchase.  I need to meet that guy.


Safe travels, happy Friday (soon!) and enjoy the weekend.







23 Responses to “Intermission: Die-Cast Model Car Update, Upcoming Events”

  1. JoeHansen Says:

    Its a dream of mine to see bryce canyon. Enjoy it brother!

    • Thanks sir! Yeah it’s been awhile since I went there too. I think I’ve only been inside the park once, even though I grew up 2 hours away from it. Have a great weekend!

  2. I thought for a second last July to ask you about the models on your roof. But then it was so hot the thought quickly left my mind. Great read as always. Those silly main relays will get us. I always carry several in my two Legends. Can’t wait to see you again in Houston.

    • Looking forward to seeing you as well! It’s too bad we wont be having a “pre-NALM” pizza party at my place this year. I keep extra main relays on hand for the Legends, too.

  3. Man, your real cars have fared way better than the model ones. They could use your detailing skills for sure! Sorry about the NSX snafu. I had a ’91 Accord that intermittently refused to start but ran fine when it did. I called the local Honda guy, and I could barely finish the sentence before he said “main relay”. Haha. So that 2000 Integra is probably the nicest out there, but auto trans? Killer. Bryce Canyon… such a beautiful place. Have a great time!

    • Thanks Brad! Looking forward to getting away for a couple of days (as always). And FOR SURE the automatic is the only reason why that Integra is still available – it would’ve been scooped up (and modded to hell!) for sure by now, otherwise. Haha. Happy Friday and hope you have a great weekend!

  4. Shaubhik Roy Says:

    Yeah, I was thinking you might have a Main Relay problem and you posted that you did. Wow, maybe great minds think alike? Lol. How much are main relays anyway? The ILX is racking up some mileage now, I can estimate my own mileage by comparing it to the ILX. 🙂

    • Yep, good call for sure. I ordered a new main relay and it was around $70. I’m really surprised they even still make them. MOST of the NSX parts catalogs online say “Discontinued” everywhere! The ILX will get another 1,200 or so miles this weekend, starting today. Have a great one!

  5. Another great read! Looks like some nice future travels too.

    • Thanks Nate! Yep, we’ve just arrived in southern Utah and we are excited to head on into Bryce Canyon tomorrow. Cruise on down! Hope you have a great weekend!

  6. Hey Tyson,

    What a coincidence, had the 93SE over at Honman to replace the oil pan last week (don’t ask) and when I was ready to leave it wouldn’t start.

    Since Tait had it sitting out in the sun for hours guess what failed!?

    That’s right, the infamous “main relay.” I can’t complain too much as this one was the original so after 22 years it didn’t come as a complete surprise.

    FYI if ever anyone has trouble starting their Honda/Acura and suspects it’s the relay Tait should me a cool way to diagnosis it and temporarily get it running.

    If ever the car won’t turn over and just cranks and you know where the relay is located, keep cranking and rap with your fist (sounds scientific right?) in the area of the relay (works best if it’s on the relay). Done correctly this should allow the car to start and determine in fact it is the relay…

    This seems to be the “archilles heel” for almost every Honda and with climate change and hotter summers something we may all expect to see more often. May actually be worth keeping a spare around, just in case.

    • Must be that time of year for all Honda main relays to go on the fritz! I have a spare one (or two?) for the Legends that I keep on-hand just in case. It’s interesting how a part so small can cause a no-start condition like that. Glad the 93SE is back up and running. Did it roll 130,000 miles yet?

  7. those poor cars! Left out in the AZ sun for years!! I think I sense a binder cover or two being printed out in the near future for you.

  8. Hello Tyson. I just found out that Acura may be installing a turbo four on the ILX in the future. If they strap that 300 horsepower / 300 pounds of torque beast from the new Civic Type R in there, it would be incredible.

    • Wow, yes that would be a pretty sweet powerplant for the ILX. A far cry from the 150-horsepower engine the base model came with when the car debuted in 2013 (yawn). We’ll see what happens. Thanks for the link!

  9. Hey Tyson! Thanks for the shout out. Great seeing you! Too bad the NSX had a little snafu. Glad it was a quick and easy fix. We will have to take it out next time I am in PHX.

    • Great seeing you as well, and thanks again for taking time out of your busy schedule to spend the evening geeking out about “car talk” with me. I’d like to get back to Roka again soon. That was some good stuff. Keep me posted on your house progress!

  10. I stopped by to read some of your older articles and update your car on the hall-of fame. Glad to see you are still keeping active with both cars.

  11. You really dealt with several engaging issues in this write-up. I came across it by utilizing Bing and I’ve got to admit that I am now subscribed to your internet site, it’s really decent (:

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