Archive for May, 2018

Bye Old Integra, Hello New Integra: Am I Insane Yet? (Part 1)

Posted in Integra, Utah on May 30, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend Coupe):  560,344

Odometer (Legend Sedan):  158,148

Odometer (Integra Hatch):  248,095

Odometer (Integra GS Sedan):  071,778

Odometer (Vigor):  111,181

Odometer (NSX):  111,553

Yes.  The answer is yes, I’m insane – I don’t need you to put it in the comments, but please do it anyway.

I’ve fallen so far off my rocker I may never be able to get back up.  But that’s okay.  I thought I’d spice up this blog with an unexpected twist and buy an Acura Integra nearly identical to the one I already had.  Why not, right?  I already have twin Desert Mist Metallic 1994 Legends.

So here we go again.  This time I have a 1992 Integra GS sedan 5-speed.  Now let me help give context with some trim level breakdowns:

  • RS:  Basic as basic comes!
  • LS:  RS trim + color matched mirrors, power mirrors and locks
  • GS:  LS trim + anti-lock brakes, power moonroof, alloy wheels, and map lights.  Ooooh!

All 3 are powered by a 140-horsepower, 1.8-liter dual overhead cam 4-cylinder motor.  No VTEC here:  The sedans did not get the same engine technology that the GS-R 3-door hatchback did.

I was definitely NOT in the market for a replacement Integra when this one came along.  To the contrary, I was greatly enjoying restoring my 1992 LS that I went to great lengths to buy, transport. and clean up.  But luckily, thanks to my Bring a Trailer auction, I was able to find a new owner for that one who will really enjoy it.  Ken flew in on Sunday morning and drove the car home to Denver, Colorado.

Short video of the drive-away:

As much as I enjoyed that LS, when a one-owner car comes along with extensive ownership history and all the goodies of a top trim level, you bust a move.  So thanks to my friend Jeff for sending it my way, and to my friend Cody for driving over to check it out – including a FaceTime session with him and with the owners.  Here are the photos from that day.

Screen shot of the original craigslist ad.

71,212 on the odometer!

FaceTime sesh!  Yes, I did.  Chris, this pic’s for you.

This car comes to my collection from a sweet gal named Maxine who lives in southern Utah.  She bought the car brand new off the showroom floor in the Seattle area 26 years ago at Bellevue Acura.

I caught a flight to St. George, Utah on Monday evening, May 7, and spent the night at mom’s place before heading over to Max’s on Tuesday morning for the transaction.  I was a little apprehensive, as is always the case in the hours leading up to the purchase of a new car.  It was about a 30 minute drive to Max’s place in Ivins.  The car was already pulled out of the garage and ready to roll when we arrived.

Max was understandably a little emotional about the event – and for good reason.  She’d owned the car for maybe half her life?  It’s a big deal to part with something so sentimental.  After taking a few traditional key handoff photos, we went through a folder of paperwork dating back to when the car was new.  You all know how excited that gets me.  She had the original window sticker, service receipts, even a slip of paper indicating the commission amount that salesman David Wright made on March 12, 1992.  It was $285.00.

Oh, and I also found a Vehicle Service Contract dated March 30, 1993 at 26,741 miles that was good for 84 months or 100,000 miles.  By the mileage standard, the car is STILL covered!  Haha.

First stop before even getting the revs beyond about 2,500 RPM was the Honda dealership a few miles away.  I’d pre-arranged with the Service Department to take care of a timing belt & water pump change for me – not one to risk driving 400 miles on an old belt in 100+ degree temperatures.  The oil change was also far overdue – with the last sticker from Jiffy Lube on the windshield dated 2009, nine years ago!

The service technician reported that the timing belt was “yellowed and crispy” (yikes) so I was glad I had it changed.

I set sail on my homeward trip, feeling accomplished at picking up a minty little car.  But something still made me uneasy in the driver seat.  Was it the ancient Goodyear tires?  Flat spotted and cracked?  I didn’t exceed 65 miles per hour because of those.  But even beyond that, I was unsettled, and for good reason.  I soon found out why.  Come back next time to read the next chapter…

First Episode:

Departing from Max’s place

Interesting – this car was marked up $2,000 from the MSRP!  $19,275 instead of $17,275.

Toasty day to be heading out!

Just for kicks – check out this 6-minute video my friend Hy and put together last weekend of his immaculate Accord SE as I was invited to roll a milestone with him.

And a video of my friend Jim taking delivery of a 2018 Accord 6-speed:

And a video of my friend Kyle arriving home with his ‘new’ 2009 Pontiac G8 6-speed:

And one more, from just this past weekend.  I went junkyarding with my friend Michael – check out his really nice 1990 Legend L sedan with only 60,000 miles on it.

That ought to keep you all busy for a few days.  Have a great one!

Southern Arizona Saturday: Douglas, Arizona Road Trip & Historic 1907 Gadsden Hotel

Posted in Arizona, Integra, Road Trip on May 27, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Integra GS-R):  248,090

Trip Distance:  464 Miles

Occasionally, my friend Jason and I like to get together for lunch.  The only challenge is, Jason lives 388 miles away and in another state (Las Cruces, New Mexico).  Though for us, that “challenge” is actually an “opportunity.”  Over the years, we’ve targeted some awesome midpoint destinations like Duncan and Willcox.  This time, we decided to head to the historic Mexican border town of Douglas, Arizona.

Incorporated in 1905, the town was named after a mining pioneer named James Douglas and was home to two copper smelters.  Perhaps its most significant architectural structure is the Gadsden Hotel which opened in 1907, destroyed by fire, and then rebuilt in 1929.  The Gadsden name comes from James Gadsden, who was the U.S. ambassador to Mexico in 1853 when the United States bought a 30,000-square-mile region from Mexico via treaty.

The hotel itself is a five-story, 160-room building with elaborate features like a Tiffany & Co stained glass mural across one of the walls in the lobby.  It seemed like the perfect destination for our Saturday lunch jaunt.

And short of being inside Mexico, wouldn’t you think that the best (or at least most authentic) Mexican food would be found as close to the border as possible?  So it worked out perfectly that Casa Segovia at the Gadsden is less than one mile from the international border checkpoint.

My drive started out around 8:00 on a Saturday morning – a little earlier than anticipated because we’d forgotten about the time zone difference between NM & AZ.  Arizona doesn’t observe Daylight Saving Time, so Jason got a jump on me, and I hurried to hit the road as well so that we could arrive in Douglas around the same timeframe.

The Integra GS-R whirred to 4,200 RPM happily and stayed there for the next 3.5 or so hours.  I did make just one stop, at Picacho Peak along Interstate 10 about halfway between Phoenix and Tucson, for some Lunchables and a Vitamin Water.  Judge away!

Meanwhile, Jason was on his way, too, but from the opposite direction.

The last hour or so took me through some of southern Arizona’s famous old western towns, including Tombstone (“The Town Too Tough to Die”) which was bustling with tourists who were probably headed to the O.K. Corral to see a gunfight reenactment.  I motored on through town and found my way via Highways 80 and 191 to Douglas – so close to the Mexican border that I could see the international fence toward the end of the street.  Jason was already there, snapping pictures and getting acquainted with the lay of the land.  I parked the ‘Teg behind his 2004 Mazda 6.

The Gadsden was elaborate by even today’s standards, so I had to imagine that it must have been home to some really wealthy guests back in the day.  When we walked through the front entrance, we saw that the interior of the lobby had been decked out in a dozen or so round tables with silver place settings and turquoise napkins.  We later found out that this was for a wedding to be held later in the day.  We had the place largely to ourselves – and clearly we had “tourist” painted on our faces because the gal at the registration desk asked, “Can I help you?”

I was a little star-struck at how intricate some of the architecture was – a large rounded staircase dominated the foyer and for some reason reminded me of the movie Titanic.  The woodwork was detailed, and the stained glass mural lined the entire east side of the roofline.  There was a photo album on the front desk that I thumbed through to see some of the historic photos and newspaper articles that the Gadsden had been featured in.  I also confirmed my suspicions about the hotel being primarily an escape for the elite:  Eleanor Roosevelt was noted as having stayed there.

I loved seeing all the brass keys hanging behind the registration desk.  Real keys, from long before the days when we started using those newfangled credit card ones.

To our left was an entrance to Casa Segovia, the Gadsden’s in-house restaurant.  Jason commented “I feel under-dressed for this,” and I muttered, “I don’t know how much this is going to cost,” as we walked inside.  We were both pleasantly surprised:  I honestly expected most of the entrees to be about twice the cost they were.  Score.  There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted something substantial and Mexican, so I went with the chicken fajitas, which came out still-sizzling along with two tortillas and some sides like guacamole and sour cream.  TDF, they were.  That means “To Die For,” a phrase I learned from my mother.

Meanwhile I caught up with Jason who’d driven nearly an identical distance to Gadsden as I had, in his tried and trusty Mazda with 249,000 miles on it.  Considering my Integra had 248,000, we collectively showed up in Douglas with about half a million under our belts.  We took a few photos of the cars at other locations on “G” Street, including the Grand Theatre just a block north.  The theatre’s marquee said, “NOW SHOWING,” but based on the looks of things, the only thing it was showing was its age.

Next, we buzzed the 8 or 9 blocks south to the international border fence, but without a passport I wasn’t able to (nor had I intended to, for this trip anyway) cross into Mexico.  And lastly we stopped in at the Visitor Center, equipped with stacks of pamphlets of brochures and a sign-in guest book which Jason and I of course tagged.  Our visit was short but sweet in nature – all of 90 or so minutes spent together until we split ways and sailed to our respective homes in opposite directions – but we enjoyed catching up.

Next time I’ll make it an over-nighter and request whichever room Eleanor Roosevelt stayed in.

Tracking Jason’s location while en route

Fork in the road at Benson, Arizona where I headed south on Highway 80

Getting close!

Davis Road which cuts across from Highway 80 to Highway 191

Just about there

Arriving in Douglas, you see the sign pointing you to Mexico

Parked and ready to eat!

Historic image showing the hotel looking largely the same as it does today.

Dinner specials from July 3, 1969.  It’s $3.25 for rib eye steak!

Exterior shots

International border fence at the Mexico line

Stopping in Tombstone on way home to get a little dust on my cowboy boots, err… sneakers.

Thanks for coming along!

Time Flies! My Legend GS 6-Speed 10-Year Anniversary – May 23, 2018

Posted in Legend on May 24, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend sedan):  158,148

There I was, minding my own business, southbound on Main Street in Logan, Utah.  It was the fall of 2004.  I was 22 years old, an active and busy Business major at Utah State University (go Aggies!).  I don’t know where I was driving to at the time – maybe to grab a bite to eat at grandma’s house south of town.  But I caught a glimpse of a car parked alongside the road that nearly made me clamp down on the brakes.  It was a Desert Mist Metallic Legend GS.

Well, that called for a detour.  I took the next right hand turn and circled around the block with determination and a higher heart rate than normal.  I parked my (then 146,000-mile) Legend coupe right behind the GS, stationed in front of the Coppermill Restaurant – about where the black Honda Pilot is sitting in this July 2017 Google Street View image.

My heart skipped a beat even more aggressively when I peeked inside the passenger front window and saw a stick shift lever.  What were the chances!  I questioned whether to leave a note, or to go into the restaurant and ask around.  But just then, the owner of the car came outside.  I introduced myself awkwardly.  “Uhh, hi, I’m Tyson.  I drive the Legend parked behind yours.  And if you everrrrrrrr want to sell, here’s my number.”  And I got his contact information.

It took me four years until he sold it to me.  It was May 2008.  By then I’d graduated MBA school, moved twice, and was working full time 800 miles away in a different state.  But I made an offer way beyond “book” value ($7,500) to see if I could finally get him motivated to sell.  And that did the trick.  That initial purchase price was just a small fraction of what I subsequently dumped into the car both mechanically and cosmetically.

My maintenance receipts since then add up to $7,790:

Add to that about $3k in paint work, a $500 wood & leather steering wheel, a full size spare, factory fog lights, lip spoiler, and tint.  I’m into this car $13,000 PLUS its original purchase price, so about $20k.  Yeah, I don’t think I’ll make my money back any time soon.  But that’s okay.  It’s been an excellent journey and every mile has been worth it.

Today, most of the 26,000 miles that the car has been driven in the last decade were for leisure travel:  3 National Legend Meets in California and Texas, some recreational weekend trips, and visits to see family and friends.  It’s been a great ride.  My friend Alex even drove the car to Portland.  Let’s see where the next 10 years take us!

Oh, and by the way, my 1992 Integra LS sedan sold today to a lucky buyer who’s flying from Colorado this weekend to pick it up!  Thanks to all who watched and commented during the auction and throughout my ownership!

First video I ever took of the Legend GS, in June 2008 when I flew up to northern Utah to drive it home.

Anniversary video, recorded yesterday, May 23, 2018.

A few years pre-purchase, paying a visit in Logan, Utah.

The “actual” test drive before I bought the car, April 2008.

Paired up with my friend Branson’s (at the time) 1994 Legend LS coupe.

Driving home to Arizona via Highway 89A through Vermillion Cliffs.

First ‘glamour’ shots thanks to my friend Dax

Reproduction window sticker thanks to my friend Chris

Urban Jeeping: Fiat Chrysler Media Event in Paradise Valley, Arizona

Posted in PAPA on May 21, 2018 by tysonhugie

It’s a Jeep thing – and I definitely don’t understand it fully – but after spending a few miles behind the wheel of the all-new 2018 “JL” Wrangler Rubicon (with a huge grin on my face) I can definitely see why Jeep culture is so strong.  It’s just a shame I had to experience it in the urban grid of central Phoenix as opposed to the red rock Mecca of Moab.  Maybe next time I’ll sneak away for a more “extended test drive” (wink, wink).

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) hosted a handful of members from the Phoenix Automotive Press Association (PAPA) last week for an up-close look at some of the brand’s new products, including the the Wrangler, refreshed Cherokee, and all-new Ram 1500 pickup truck.  With typical generations lasting upwards of 10 years each, engineers have to work extra hard to make sure their vehicles will withstand the test of time both mechanically and aesthetically.  The Wrangler’s iconic shape has changed very little over the years, and that’s for good reason.  But its underpinnings are as advanced as any modern vehicle should be.

We received a demo from representative Trevor who showed us how the soft top mechanism operates and how the windshield folds completely flat.  Did you know that the fold-flat windshield feature dates back to wartimes, when Jeeps had to be packed as tightly as possible into crates for overseas transport?  I think it’s cool how Jeep has preserved some of those nostalgic features.

The entire vehicle has been built to endure any kind of abuse thrown at it.  Pre-production JL Wranglers were put through 16 hour “mist tests” with non-stop exposure to water, and all of the dash and electronic components still operated successfully.  There are a total of 5 USB ports in the vehicle.  Just when you thought there was a competition to incorporate the most cupholders in a vehicle, Jeep has now done it with USB ports.  Cuz you gotta have your iPhone fully charged to capture video of that next summit up Hell’s Revenge trail.  Yikes!

The Rubicon that I drove was a 6-speed manual, 4-door in Firecracker Red.  It took me a minute to get accustomed to the clutch engagement point but once I made my way out of the parking at Lon’s at the Hermosa, I was enjoying every minute of having the wind my hair and the sun on my face.  The Wrangler is just an all-around fun vehicle to drive – and for being such a capable off-roader, it surprised me how gracefully it handed city surface streets in and around the Paradise Valley area on my 6-mile drive loop.

My favorite Ram was the Bighorn in white – a truck so advanced, it practically drives itself… through any terrain… with a trailer.  Throw a task at this truck, and it will probably reign victorious.  Ram trucks are now available with a largest-in-class 12″ touch-screen, 100+ safety & security features, and a 360-degree surround-view camera.

Some of the other features I found impressive were related to towing.  The truck itself is long enough to begin with, but adding a boat or camp trailer behind it makes for a pretty nerve-wracking driving experience.  FCA engineers have lessened the stress by developing a blind-spot-monitoring system which smartly takes into consideration the length of the trailer AND the truck combined.  Now that’s smart trucking.

Thanks to Scott Brown, Carrie Owens, and others who made this midday press preview possible!

Fellow automotive journalist Jeff Koch who’s photographed my cars for Hemmings

Refreshed Jeep Cherokee – now with more conventional headlight design

Ram Longhorn 1500:  20″ wheels, heated seats all around, and genuine wood & leather interior.


Might need to get me one of these babies!

For Sale (Already!?): 1992 Acura Integra LS Sedan 5-Speed

Posted in Integra on May 17, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  560,287

Guess what!  The universe works in mysterious ways.

After lost sleep, a little blood, lots of sweat, and perhaps a tear or two, I’m already parting with my latest Acura-quisition to make room for one that’s a little more desirable.  While I certainly had no intentions of making another car change so soon (literally, only 2 months later), I was in Las Vegas this past weekend for WestFest when I got an email from my Miata-loving friend, Jeff.  He told me about a cream puff Integra GS he’d found on craigslist in my hometown of St. George, Utah.

The GS, for starters, was the highest trim level for the Integra sedan that year – rolling in options like a moonroof, alloy wheels, and an anti-lock braking system.  Best of all, this specific Integra has a remarkable 71,000 original miles on it.  How is that even possible?  That comes out to only 2,700 miles per year over the course of 26 years.  Apparently some people don’t drive like I do.  Here’s the only teaser I’ll give for now.

I’ll delve into the details on the NEW (old?) ride in a future post and video, but for now, it’s time to bid farewell to the car I worked so hard to purchase, transport, and make my own.  The car has hit Bring a Trailer and I invite you to follow the auction if you’d like!  Bidding will go for 7 days and conclude on Thursday, May 24th at 11:40 a.m. Pacific time.

Link to auction:  No Reserve:  1992 Acura Integra LS Sedan

18-minute walkaround video:


Product Review / Quick Video: “Automotive TouchUp” Paint Products

Posted in Integra on May 6, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Integra LS):  117,853

Odometer (Legend LS):  560,217

Unless you’re cruising around in a bubble-wrapped car, chances are you’re bound to pick up a nick, a scratch, or a ding from time to time.  As a veteran of over a half-million miles on a single car, I can attest that some wear and tear is unavoidable no matter how careful you are.

Solutions like protective “clear bra” films help prevent damage but only when installed early on – and even they are not impervious to 100% of the threats in the battle zone of our day to day commutes.  This is where Automotive TouchUp comes into play.  Full resprays are expensive – at least the quality ones.  Luckily, there are cost-friendly answers that deliver good results for a do-it-yourselfer like me who just needs to hit a few small areas.

Automotive TouchUp was kind enough to mail me a kit complete with the tools and supplies needed to correct some imperfections on the focus car in question:  My 1992 Acura Integra sedan.  The Torino Red Pearl paint, specially formulated in code R-72P, was a near-perfect match for my car, despite the fact that the paint on my car has been around for 26 years of wear, tear, and sunshine exposure/fading.  Check out that sign in the background:  “The New Legend.”  Clearly I was in the wrong car when I took that picture earlier today.

In all, the kit came with 5 different products, plus sandpaper and some small brushes that look kind of like Q-tips:  prep solvent, primer, base coat, clearcoat, and rubbing compound.  For my exercise, I only needed to hit 2 small areas on the front bumper so I took the easy route and just prepared the area, did a base coat, and then a clear coat.  The bottles have little brushes inside them so I didn’t end up using the Q-tips.

For the few minutes it took me to knock this little project out, I am very happy with the results.  This 1992 Integra is ready for the auction block, and I have a new surprise in store for you all soon regarding its replacement.  Thanks to the folks at Automotive TouchUp for the chance to give these products a whirl!  It’s much appreciated!



Quick couple of sidebars.  Roomie James is road-testing a Honda Clarity this week!

And the Vigor hit a milestone on the way back from a work trip to Tucson on Thursday.

Whole lotta ones right there.

Have a great week!