NALM 2016 in Atlanta Day 5: Dealer Day, Car Show, & Awards Ceremony
“We could have a nuclear war and there would be two things that would survive: cockroaches and Tyson’s car.” That was the quote of the day from NALM attendee Steve Dunn, better known to the Legend community as Stevieray. Steve hails from Tennessee and is a long-time friend and family member. Because that’s what this group of people has become to me. It’s an annual family reunion when we get together. Sure, there are always a few nutjobs in the mix and there’s always plenty of drama to go around, but we share a common bond that keeps us coming back year after year.
This morning, we were hosted by Carland Acura in Duluth, Georgia for a meet-and-greet / BBQ. Thanks to the efforts of ground team planning member Kevin Amoth, Carland had allocated an entire parking lot for our group and they served up tasty chicken, burgers, and hot dogs for the group. The Legends flowed and in and out from around 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 or so p.m. when I took off, but in all I think we had more than 30 in attendance – making this one of the largest national meets in the event’s 12-year history. A few extra special attendees brought out their prized cars for the viewing – and some, for the driving.
For example, for the first time in my life, I got to drive a right-hand-drive “Japanese Domestic Market” (JDM) Honda Legend coupe. It’s one of 11 right-hand-drive cars owned by Legend connoisseur Marlow who brought it. It drew a crowd for obvious reasons. The condition was remarkable as the car only had 47,000 kilometers on it. Marlow let me take it for a spin, too. Talk about a trip! I had to get used to not only being on the wrong side of the car, but activating my turn signal with my right hand instead of my left, viewing my rearview mirror at my left instead of my right, and taking a whole new perspective on the traffic around me!
This is the driver’s side of the car! Notice that it’s badged as a “Honda.”
Later in the afternoon, our group got together just up the street from our hotel in Oakwood for a car show and some judging at a parking lot on the campus of the University of North Georgia. Bonus points were awarded to anyone who had special upgrades to their cars, exceptionally nice condition, etc. I pulled my “two minute floor mats,” as Chris called them. They’re called that because they never stay in my car for longer than two minutes before they’re put back in the trunk – I use them for only shows and special occasions since they’re brand new in the box.
The evening events were a cocktail hour, dinner across the street on Highway 53 at a restaurant called “Cookout” sponsored by the ground team, and a closing ceremony / awards distribution event along with prize raffle.
Kevin as usual took command as the Master of Ceremonies in our headquarters of the Best Western, room #218. There were plaques distributed for a variety of achievements including Best Paint, Best Interior, and Best Engine Bay. I took home the Engine Bay one! Kevin also made special recognition of those who had traveled from near and far to be a part of the event.
It was my honor to get a photo with the entire NALM 2016 ground team – minus Alex, who had to leave earlier this afternoon to head to Chicago, at the conclusion of tonight’s activities. These are truly world-class people and have delivered far and beyond the expectation. That “Legendary Ln” sign we were holding? It’s going home with me, along with two others that will soon adorn my new garage back home in Phoenix.
Tyson, Evan, Chris, Kevin, Alan
Until next time, over and out. This year’s event is in the books! Tomorrow morning begins my nearly 2,000-mile trip home.
Following Waseem and others to the initial meet-up at Carland Acura
Lining up in the parking lot
Chris showing off his $41,885 window sticker
Rich’s clean Granada Black Pearl Legend GS
Gabe wore his shirt from the Drive to Five Celebration in 2011.
A few more locals showed up who hadn’t yet participated in any part of NALM.
With Alan and Eric in front of the 1993 L sedan that I once owned.
Looking good there!
More of the parking lot
Acura brought out a $68k RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD to show everyone
Marlow’s Japanese-spec Legend. Notice he’s driving on the right side.
More scenes from the parking lot
One of my fave colors: (1991-only) Golden Glow Pearl. You either or love it or you hate it!
Dinner at “Cookout” across from our hotel, sponsored by the ground team
Kevin gave out Love’s gas station booklets and gas cards to a select special attendees (those who had traveled the greatest distances). It was even personalized with the # of Love’s gas stations I’ll pass on my way home.
Kevin handing me one of my street sign awards.
He’s definitely deserving of this award he received himself!
Oh, and here’s that drag-race video I promised! A full-blown NALM summary video will take me some time to prepare, but I couldn’t resist sharing this snippet. Enjoy watching me blow Chris’ doors off. Haha.
(And thanks, Chris, for letting me win)