Archive for October, 2016

Wheeled Weekend: ALV 2016 Awards Program; “Neo Classics” Japanese Classic Car Show

Posted in California, Car Show, Integra on October 25, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Integra):

238267

Trip Distance:  758 Miles

jccs_map

Let’s test-drive some new cars!  Today’s update brings you a summary of my wild & crazy weekend o’ fun.  The first half consisted of an automotive program local to the Phoenix area, and the second half involved me taking a crazy drive to California and back so that I could be there for fewer than 24 hours.  Sounds like me, right?

For the last 5 years, I’ve volunteered to help with a Phoenix area “COTY” (Car of the Year) program that caters to folks who are athletic in nature.  It strives to weed out and select the new vehicles each year that stand out as superior for those who demand more from their vehicles:  Those who participate in outdoor sports, primarily.  So it makes sense why GM entered its new Colorado pickup truck, and also why they chose to outfit it with all sort of accessories like an optional kayak rack in the bed.

colorado

This year’s “Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year” (ALV) program was based at the San Marcos resort in Chandler, Arizona.  In all we had 28 new vehicles vying for awards in 8 categories.  The two-day event was structured with a media/journalist day on Friday and then a consumer/athlete day on Saturday.

Prior year ALV event write-ups can be found here:

New this year was a destination drive to lunch in Fountain Hills, Arizona at the Eagle Mountain Golf Resort.  In the afternoon, there were both on-road and off-road short drive routes made available for the 35 or so journalists who attended.  The location, Butcher Jones Recreation Area, was perfect for both types of driving as it was adjacent to a nice, curvy two-lane paved road as well as some gnarly dirt backroads.  I got a chance to try my hand at driving a new Toyota Tacoma TRD on some incredibly gnarly terrain using its “crawl control” feature.  The Ram Rebel won first place in the extreme off-road category.

ram

I also got my first chance behind the wheel of Acura’s second-generation NSX supercar, stickering at $197,000.   The NSX was entered in the event as a special feature only, since clearly its abilities from a cargo-carrying and off-road perspective are limited.  Acura’s Allie Coulter reserved a 40-mile drive for me in the car and I must say I fell in absolute love with it.  While the driving experience differs dramatically from that of my 1992 NSX, that doesn’t make it “bad.”  It’s just a 2017 approach to a 1990 formula, and that means the car is faster, safer, more technologically advanced, and…. missing a clutch pedal.  I can honestly say that’s the only place I find fault with it.

tyson_allie_nsx

nsx_gauges

How does the car behave, anyway?  I punched it in Sport Mode getting onto the Beeline Highway southbound and it kicked me back into my seat.  Zero-to-sixty only takes about 3 seconds in that car, so the G-forces are enough to plant you firmly in your nicely bucketed seat.  The intoxicating part about driving the NSX is the growl of the motor behind the cabin.  It emits such awesome sounds at any RPM.  Visibility was better than I’d expected.  And the car turned more heads on the 101 southbound freeway during rush hour than a supermodel.

nsx_rear

On Saturday, there were test-drive opportunities made available to about 60 athletes who came to the San Marcos to evaluate vehicles and cast their votes.  Other key winners were the Nissan Titan, Kia Cadenza, Kia Soul, Volkswagen Golf, Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Nissan Armada.

desert_center

At the conclusion of the ALV awards ceremony, I grabbed the Integra and hit the highway to drive off into the sunset on Interstate 10.  For the next 6 or so hours, I let the I GS-R’s 1.7-liter, VTEC engine sing to me at 4,500 RPM at 80 miles an hour.  Traffic in Corona, California was jammed thanks to road construction, but I finally made it to my hotel in Torrance a little after 9:00 p.m.

sign

This was only the second year of the “Neo Classics” 80’s & 90’s Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS).  It is hosted at Toyota’s headquarters.  Last year, I attended with my Legend coupe.  This year, I decided to showcase my ‘newest’ car, the Integra.  I was in good company.  Just moments after my arrival, a squad of “DA” bodystyle Integras like mine rolled in and I was able to park next to them and make a few new friends.

integras

tyson_ryu_chris

I also reconnected with a few old ones, including Jeff Koch from Hemmings, Ryu Asada who’s a designer at Mattel / Hot Wheels, and Ben Hsu from Japanese Nostalgic Car.  The quality of both cars and of people is always exceptional at the JCCS event so that’s why I hope to keep attending year after year.

Thanks for coming along on my weekend adventures!  The rest of my photos and a short video are below.

ALV kick-off dinner last Thursday night at “La Stalla” in Chandler, AZ (sponsored by Toyota)

dinner

Groups assembling to do the car drives & reviews

group

Acura’s 2017 MDX Advance

mdx

Sweet NSX photo captured by Mark Elias Media Services

nsx

Love the design of Kia’s new Cadenza

cadenza

Davis Adams from Honda, along with a couple other event participants around the new Ridgeline

ridgeline

Nissan’s Titan showing some off-road prowess

titan

Breakfast is served!

james_breakfast

Midpoint / driver change for Friday’s media drive

bush_hwy

The Ridgeline pickup bed doubles as an ice cooler!

ridgeline_cooler

Biggest downer about about Fiat 124 Spider which was entered:  this automatic transmission.

fiat_shifter

With Shad (GM) and Darryll (VW)

shad_tyson_darryll

Audi’s new Q7 was on-hand for evaluation.

q7

Its most intriguing feature to me?  Four-wheel steering.  My 1991 Prelude had that!  Here is comes as part of a $4,000+ option package.

q7_sticker

With Will who drove up from Tucson to participate

tyson_will

Now, for some pics on the LA trip:  Quick visit to Honda HQ in the Integra

honda_hq

Arriving at the show at the same time as my friend Chris in his immaculate second-generation Prelude.

rolling_in

Lineup of “DA” Integras.  These guys were all California locals but very welcoming!

integras2

With Chris and his Prelude.

chris_tyson

One of the Integras had Honda S2000 gauges!

s2k_gauges

Say what you want, but I loved this ultra base model 1985 Civic DX with only about 40,000 miles on it.

civic

Aztec Green shining during a brief glimpse of sunlight (it was overcast most of the day).

front_left

I love seeing original ads & paperwork laid out like this on display.

paperwork

Ultra clean Honda CRX.  It’s tough to find one of these that hasn’t been heavily-modified!

crx

Armando and his two Subaru SVXs.

armando_tyson

Met a new friend named Brian who drives this immaculate Berlina Black 1991 NSX.

nsx2

And Chris brought out his real Polaroid camera and took this shot (which he later scanned for me).  It’s hard to believe just how far camera technology has come.  But I love how vintage it looks!

polaroid

NSX Meet & Drive to Saguaro Lake, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, NSX on October 16, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (NSX):  106,256

106256

Trip Distance:  50 Miles

map

Formula Red traffic jam!

reds

How about a nice fall cruise to kick off our finally-bearable weather here in the desert?  It would’ve been a great day to own a targa-top-equipped NSX for some open-air cruising, but my 1992 model has a fixed roof so I made do with the windows rolled down.  It’s been gorgeous around here the last few days.

Our friend Jhae is the man when it comes to managing the NSX ownership contingent in Arizona.  On occasions I’ve had people send me photos of NSXs they’ve seen out and about.  If it’s a car I can’t identify, I send it to Jhae.  Seconds later, he’ll give me the full download:  Year, modifications, and ownership history.  That’s why we lean on him to be our local event coordinator.  He pulled through for us in a big way yesterday when we had 15 cars show up for a meet, cruise, lunch, and photoshoot.  It was like a mini-NSXPO event squeezed into a 4-hour timeframe.  And everyone had a great time!

falcon1

The day started out with Kelvin, Frank, Neal, and Curt showing up at my house in two NSXs for a short staging meeting before we all rolled out to Tempe together.  My neighbor Joedee rolled by in her Honda and stuck her head out the window:  “Hey!  Park those down at my garage sale!”

group

It only took us about 20 minutes to get to the meet location, which was in the parking lot of a baseball stadium on Rio Salado Parkway.  Luckily we had the place almost entirely to ourselves.  The cars kept rolling in.  Pretty soon it was 11:00 a.m. and time for Jhae to round up the troops for our roll-out en masse.  There were a couple of stoplights to navigate but pretty soon we were swarming our way northbound on Highway 87 toward Payson, Arizona on a nicely improved two-laner with 65 mph limits.  It was fun to weave through traffic seeing NSXs both ahead and in the rearview.  Some brave videographers in a Honda Pilot hung out its back window for some rolling video.

stoplight

We branched south at Bush Highway and went to the Lakeshore Restaurant for lunch.  Luckily, Lakeshore was able to accommodate our party of 25+ on the outside patio overlooking Saguaro Lake and the weather was perfect for dining al fresco.  The BBQ chicken sandwich was a solid 10 out of 10.  Jhae made some announcements and notified us that current NSXCA (NSX Club of America) members would receive $10 off their meals.  Sweet!  There were also some giveaways like Hot Wheels NSX scale models and posters.

marina_sign

eating

A few of our attendees had to split off at that time, but the rest of us headed to east Mesa for a photoshoot at Falcon Field next to some very cool old aircraft.  Many thanks to Jhae for his planning efforts and to all the great folks who came out in support.  Looking forward to getting the gang together again soon!

Morning visit from my friend Brett who was driving through from California to Arkansas in his 2007 TL Type-S.

brett

Here you can see the difference between Monte Carlo Blue (left) and Long Beach Blue (right)

pre_meet_2

Just prior to rolling out

pre_meet

Waiting at the first light

lineup

Nice view in the rearview

mirror

Looking eastward over Saguaro Lake

tyson

Lunch is served!

lunch

There IS water in the desert!

saguaro

Heading back out on Bush Highway

bush_hwy

Reds lining up at Falcon Field

reds2

 

Extreme Garage Makeover: My 1990’s Acura Showroom

Posted in Legend, ILX, NSX, Vigor, Integra, House on October 12, 2016 by tysonhugie

Descending order!

Odometer (Legend Coupe):  548,712

548712

Odometer (Integra):  237,380

237380

Odometer (ILX):  183,721

183721

Odometer (Legend Sedan):  150,668

150668

Odometer (Vigor):  106,293

106293

Odometer (NSX):  106,150

106150

Total Miles:  1,332,924.  1.3 million miles!

Time-travel back with me about a quarter-century to those glorious early 1990s.  I was only about 10 but I still remember them fondly.  You turn on your FM radio and it’s Ace of Base “The Sign.”  Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump, and Toy Story are big hits at the box office.  And if you stroll down to your local Acura dealership, you might see vehicles like this:

pano

final

integra

The Acura brand, at the time only about 5 years old, was having a heyday.  The NSX debuted as a world-class supercar with uncanny reliability.  The second-generation Legend was selling like crazy – some 65,000 units in the 1991 model year alone.  The Vigor was a brand new model with the touring comfort of its larger Legend sibling but with nimble handling.  And the Integra GS-R boasted a 1.7 liter VTEC motor with more horsepower-per-liter than any other motor in the world.  Life was good.

Oh, and all those cars in the picture?  They’re stick shifts.  Did you know that there is no new Acura sold today that has a clutch pedal?  That in itself is one more reason why I hang onto the past like this.

1991_dealership

Last weekend, I called upon the expert services of the most efficient, hard-working construction crew I’ve ever known:  My family.  Between my dad and my brother, there is no home or car repair task that can’t be completed (in record time).  When I bought my new Phoenix home in late August, the main selling factor was the fact that it had two garages.

For the last 5 years, I’d been renting storage units in different parts of town to accommodate all of my vehicles, so when the opportunity arose to pick up a home that could fit them all, I worked quickly and made it happen.  (For reference, back in March at an NSX meet I had been lusting after a local club member’s place which similarly had gargantuan parking possibilities).

There was still just one hurdle:  The largest garage was split into two separate 2-car units with a garage door at each end.  This was fine for the previous owner, Charlie, who used half the garage for his woodworking & welding, and the other half for his two vehicles.  But I had other plans for the space:  I wanted to knock out the separating wall and create one gigantic Acura automotive storage mecca.  And that I did!  Or rather, my dad, brother, and stepmom did.

prep

Here’s a look at the progression taken from the south entrance in just 4 photos.

1 – Prior owner’s stuff:

before4

2 – Space cleared out, wall still there:

before2

3 – Wall removed, finish work underway:

ready

4 – Garage completed, vehicles staged:

garage_after

The Friday morning after a 12-hour drive from northern Utah, my garage makeover crew set to work on the task ahead.  Due to limited time-off at my new job, I had to go into the office.  After settling in to check emails, I decided to walk across the street to Starbucks.  At 7:32 a.m., my brother sent me 2 photos.  He and dad had already torn down the wall!  There were dangling wires and a few boards, but I couldn’t believe how much larger the space looked.  It made my day.

wires

Friday afternoon I joined the work crew and assisted with masking and taping off so that my dad could spray the paint on (a much more efficient way to tackle a large surface area than using rollers).  The garage turned into a cloud of misty white air as dad applied two coats.  Smartly we shut the garage doors so that the cars in the backyard didn’t end up with overspray.

paint_prep

We installed 3 matching ceiling fans and hung up two banks of cabinets in the southeast corner for my detailing supplies and tools.  The final step was general clean-up and the hanging of a few banners and signs.  Dad sprayed the garage out with the hose to get rid of the dust and debris, and then we did a quick wipe-down of each of the 5 cars that would be going into the showroom.  Even my 4-year-old nephew Beckam gave us a hand for that chore.

beckam

I’d had months to think about how best to position the vehicles within the space, and I wanted to keep things symmetrical.  We ended up putting the two sedans at the north end, the two coupes at the south end, and the NSX centered in the middle at a 45-degree angle.  I even finally had a use for the aluminum display stand that my other brother, Payton, had built for me earlier this year.

nsx

I couldn’t be happier with the results.  When the 7 fluorescent light tubes kick on and gleam against our bright white ceiling & wall paint, it’s shocking.  Next on the list (but a ways down the road) will be a floor coating, which means I really ought to get some leaks addressed on the cars before I do that.  The Vigor is dropping oil, and the Legend coupe leaves a trail of power steering fluid virtually everywhere it goes.

My family members and I finished out the weekend by planting a couple of citrus trees in my backyard.  For 10 years I’ve been living in Arizona and my dad has been wanting to harvest oranges and grapefruits, so we are finally making it happen.  Below are the rest of the pics!

 

Edit 10/15/16:  Just confirmed for kicks that I can get 6 cars in the main garage pretty comfortably.  Sweet.

1

2

3

trees

Taking a look at the plans

plans

Before – south garage (prior owner)

before3

Before – north garage (prior owner)

before

Before wall removal – north garage

before1

Cars parked in the backyard awaiting their new home

cars_outside

Wall coming down

garage

Dad working on wall removal

wall

Getting ready for paint

dad

Visit from friends Kyle and Matt

hangin

Out on the town with my brother Bentley, Lance, and Rob

friends

Cars got rained on while they were ALL outside!

rainy

Nephew Beckam gives us a hand with weed removal

front_yard

Cars parked in the back – with Beckam’s Power Wheels pickup

backyard_cars

Taking a break

relaxing

Getting closer!

me

Posters ready to go

signs

Family dinner at Switch Restaurant on Central Ave

switch

Final spray down of the floor

sprayed_out

Posters getting put up

hanging_pics

Vigor wash

washing_vigor

Legend sedan wash

washing_gs

Tucked away

three

Dad and Beckam with the finished product

dad2

sides2

sedans2

sedans

sides1

Artwork is ready to install, like this framed Legend coupe poster:

art

New NSX interior!  I don’t think I’d shown this yet.  Fresh leather.

nsx_interior

And a bath for the ILX so it doesn’t feel forgotten in its separate garage.

ilx_washed

Mexico, A Marathon, A Milestones, & Miscellaneous

Posted in ILX, NSX, Road Trip, Running, Utah on October 2, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (NSX):  106,150

106150

Trip Distance:  424 Miles

phoenix_to_rocky_point

Hey, that odometer below can’t be real can it?  Sorry Gabe, I think you’ve tampered with it!  Though the number sequence makes me think of a catchy tune I once heard.

gabe_post

Seems one of my cars has been doing some road tripping without me in recent weeks!  Whilst I was enjoying myself on my travels to and from Atlanta recently, my friend Kyle took the ILX south of the border on a little weekend trip to Mexico.  His destination was called Puerto Peñasco, or, in English:  Rocky Point.  It’s a small beach town on the shores of the Gulf of California in Mexico that can be reached in about 4 hours drive time from Phoenix.  It is, in fact, our closest beach (getting to San Diego’s Pacific shoreline takes about two hours longer).

Thanks to Kyle’s contribution to the ILX’s adventures, the car has now traversed every country in north America this year.  You’ll recall that back in May, my friend Jason and I drove our cars to the Arctic Circle north of Fairbanks, Alaska.  If you plot a route on Google Maps from the Arctic Circle to Rocky Point, it comes in at just fewer than 4,000 miles one-way.  Heck of a road trip!

north_america

Kyle took a few photos to share with me, including shot of a fuel-up at “Why” just before crossing over the international border southbound.  You can read more about my visit to Why from 2013 at the hyperlink.

ilx_in_why

Arrival at the beach

ilx_in_mexico

Crossing back into the U.S. of A:

us_border_station

And getting a foam bath.  Thanks Kyle!

foam_bath

I have a couple weeks’ worth of miscellaneous news to catch up on here, I guess.  I had to hit the ground running at work after having been gone for 5 business days on the Atlanta trip.  Luckily, my coworkers were patient with me while I got caught up.  Last weekend was a nice relaxing time at home.  I hit the yard with my new Honda lawnmower on Saturday morning and washed cars that afternoon.

Thanks, Mark, for sending me the November 2016 issue of Automobile Magazine with a feature on the 1992-93 Integra GS-R!

gsr_article

My buddy Mirel bought a new car that I helped him transport.

tyson_in_mirel_coupe

6-speeders:

mirels

I’ve had lots of company at my house, including Jenn & Tiffany:

jenn_tiff_tyson

And Brian:

tyson_brian

The cars got a bath in the backyard.

dmm

And Jeremy and I took the Legend sedan to brunch.

sedan_brunch

This past Friday morning, I buzzed up to St. George, Utah in the ILX for a family visit and a marathon event.  Yesterday, I took a swing at my tenth full 26.2-mile marathon run.  Having run only a few 3-milers this entire year, my training was lacking to say the least.  But I committed to this back in April and as I boarded a school bus in the morning at 4:00 a.m. to drive me up State Route 18 to the start line, I thought to myself, “Am I insane?”  I think many of the people on the bus had the same thought process.

It became painfully clear at about the midpoint in the race that I was not adequately prepared, but I pressed on, using a jog / walk alternating method to get me through the course.  I never came to a complete stop or took any breaks, but just rather kept moving forward at a semi-consistent pace.  Luckily, the St. George Marathon is primarily downhill in nature so I was able to let gravity help me along.  My finish time was 4 hours, 54 minutes which is on the slow side for my competitive age bracket, but I was just grateful to finish in one piece!

A few more pics from my weekend follow here.  First, checking out grandma’s old Quasar video camera.  We dug it out of storage.  The date of manufacture is June 1985.  Anyone remember lugging around one of these?

doce_camera

camera_mfg_date

Visiting with my nephew Beckam:

tyson_beckam

And my niece Viv.  That’s her kitty “Marie” but we call her “Pizza.”  You’ll have to ask Viv why.

viv_tyson

Race morning!  With mom at the start line.

tyson_tia

Start line with our friend Jed.  My shorts (no, not a skirt!) look highly reflective.

jed_tia_tyson

This marathon participant is a “legend” in her own way.  Deb Zockoll is the only St. George Marathon runner who has now competed in all 40 runs in the event’s history.  She is an inspiration to many!

deb_tyson

Closing in on Mile 15 with Snow Canyon State Park in the background.

snow_canyon

Looking surprisingly fresh when I ran past Grandma and Aunt Jodi around Mile 24.

tyson_running

Grandma’s sign:

doce_sign

Taking a minute during my run to greet a few of my younger fans, Vivienne and Beckam.

viv_beckam

Best motivation ever!  This is what I most looked forward to at the finish line.

tru_moo

Final standings:

run_stats

Quick pose with Tanya.

tyson_tanya

Thought this was pretty cool – an old Caddy parked at the “Field of Screams” haunted corn maze in St. George.

hearse

Sending congrats out to my dad who rolled 200,000 miles on his 2010 Hyundai Sonata this weekend!

sonata_200k

He sent the picture to me and my two brothers.  He said he’s shooting for 500k.

sonata_texts

My friend Jack described my garage as “spearmint gum”  I wonder why!

spearmint

And today, I got to drive home in my 1992 NSX from Utah.  It had been since May that I last drove it.  The odometer turned 106,000 miles somewhere between Kingman and Wikieup.  I was reminded of how much I enjoy that car!  Best of all, it has a fresh leather interior thanks to my brother’s workmanship.  I’ll post interior pictures of it soon.

driving_nsx

I-40 in Kingman, Arizona.

kingman_i40

Turnoff at Burro Creek Campground along Highway 93.

nsx_burro_creek

That’s it for now!  You’re all caught up.  Have a great week.