Archive for June, 2018

Taco Tuesday in the Vigor, Literature Highlight, Gearbox Magazine Podcast Feature

Posted in Arizona, Restaurants, Vigor on June 24, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Vigor): 111,196

Odometer (Million Mile Lexus):  975,453

I know, only 25,000 miles to go on Matt Farah’s old 1996 LS400!  Some of you may remember when I put a couple thousand miles on that car back in October 2015 when it only had 922,000 on the odometer.  My friend Adam ran into the car (well, not literally) in Colorado this weekend at a rally event.  I told him to check and see if my log book entry was still present in the glove compartment, and it was!  I wonder when and where the big event will take place.  Thanks for the update, Adam!

I’m a sucker for Mexican food.  Breakfast burrito in the morning, quesadilla at lunch, and tacos for dinner.  I could do that.  So every Taco Tuesday is a bit of a special day for me.  And check out these beauties I found:

Sometimes we get so focused on traveling beyond home that we forget to appreciate the destinations that are within arm’s reach.  I was just talking the other day with a friend about wanting to do a “staycation” sometime in the near future for those reasons.  For now, I satisfied my literal and figurative cravings for something new by trying a restaurant that opened last year in the lobby of the historic 1928 Hotel San Carlos in downtown Phoenix.

Now dwarfed by modern skyscrapers on all sides, the elaborate San Carlos was once one of Phoenix’s most elaborate and high class destinations for the elites who visited the area.  Some say it’s haunted – and for good reason.  An actress plunged to her death from the rooftop not long after the hotel first opened, and to this day it’s said that her spirit inhabits the premises.  I didn’t go in search of any ghost-hunting.  I went for the tacos – and they were worth it!

I parked my 1994 Vigor about a block east of San Carlos along Monroe & 1st Street for $4 (photo above taken at the top level of the garage) and wandered around the downtown district a little.  “Centrico” is accessed from street level and has a small bar inside along with a few tables.  I seated myself at the bar – as the only person there – and ordered up a set of 4 chicken tinga tacos for $10.  They most definitely hit the spot.

Here are some other updates for the week:  Recently, I was featured by Brian Driggs of Gearbox Magazine on an hour-long Podcast discussing this and that about how he and I got into the automotive hobby and what we are doing with it.  If you want to check out the ramblings, here’s the link!  Thanks Brian for the opportunity.

The Integra GS got some lovin’, including replacement of this discolored passenger sideview mirror with a replacement unit which I got from a friend (off a junkyard car) and had repainted at Fix Auto Phoenix for $96 in the correct Torino Red paint.

This car is looking mighty fine!  From a dinner outing last Friday evening:

Here’s the latest on it from my YouTube channel:

I took the other Integra, my GS-R, up to Flagstaff, Arizona yesterday afternoon to beat the heat.  In just a 2-hour drive, the temperature drops about 20 or more degrees.  The car did great for the 300 or so mile round trip.  I’m at around 248,700 on that one and anxious to see it crest 250,000.

The new 2019 RDX selection was on sale at the local dealer when I stopped by as well.

You all know I’m crazy about car literature.  I can get lost going through my boxes and boxes of car magazines from the 1980s and 1990s.  Below is a pic of envelopes with just a handful of the items.  In all I have 57 pieces of literature or brochures specific to just the Acura Legend.  I also have 151 items of ‘generic’ Acura interest, in about 6 boxes in my laundry room.  Yes it’s all categorized in an Excel spreadsheet too.  Shocker.

I came across a few cool pieces, including an article from February 1992’s Road & Track where six sedans were tested against each other:  Acura Legend LS, Audi 100, Mazda 929, Acura Vigor GS, Lexus ES300, and Mistubishi Diamante LS.  I loved a few phrases in particular about the Legend.

This is the instrument by which the other sedans in this category have been setting their watches… Still the dictionary definition of smooth, refined, and reliable, the new Legend LS remains the benchmark.  Consider a zero-to-60-mph time where the next best competitor is more than a full second slower.  The others begin to close the gap at the quarter-mile mark, but by that time, the big Acura’s powerplant has established itself as the powerhouse of record, without a hint of strain.

Love that!  From a 1994 “New Cars” magazine issue:

Did you know that across the entire model lineup, there were 22 colors offered in 1994?

And I thought this was kind of interesting.  On January 6, 1998 – just a little over 20 years ago – I pulled a Kelley Blue Book valuation of my mom’s then 1993 Legend L sedan with 64,000 miles on it.  Suggested retail was $21,200.

That’s it for the archive preview today.  Few more shots from my Vigor / taco outing:

Hope you’ve had a great weekend!

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Saturday Lunch Outing to Cave Creek, Arizona; Garage & Integra Updates

Posted in Arizona, Integra, Road Trip on June 19, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  561,449

Odometer (Integra GS):  71,937

After 97 days without rain in Phoenix, the streak was broken last Saturday – on the very day that about 15 friends and I had a group drive planned.  While most car clubs would be devastated by a little bit of moisture in the air, we loved it!

While seated at lunch at the Horny Toad in Cave Creek, Arizona, we peeked outside and saw our variety of vehicles getting drenched.  And a wide variety they were!  From a Toyota iQ to a Mercedes-Benz 500SL, we had all our bases covered.  Roomie James presented us with a vivid blue Kia Stinger.  I rolled in the Integra because, as my daily, it’s usually closest to the ‘exit row’ in the garage and I didn’t mind it getting wet.

Things have been busy here at the Auto Spa.  In anticipation of having the car club folks over, I did some arts & crafts at the local FedEx Office.  I photocopied some of my cars’ window stickers (and made them all a standard size), then laminated them for display on each vehicle.  I’m still missing a sticker for my Integra GS-R but the rest of the cars either have originals or reproductions thanks to help from fellow Acura owners.

I also finally had the chance to hang up an acrylic plaque with the May 2017 article from Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car on the Integra.  I was able to make room for it along the west wall of the garage.

The “new” Integra GS is coming along nicely.  Last week I was able to ditch the clunky, flat-spotted, 17-year-old Goodyear 195-60-14 tires and replaced them with new Falkens at Discount Tire.  It ran about $400 out the door and the car rides 100 times better now.

New floor mats are on order (aftermarket, for now) and a friend helped me source a passenger sideview mirror to replace the existing one since it’s a bit mismatched and has the wrong mirror glass in it (it doesn’t say anything about “Objects In Mirror” and the image is distorted).  Stay tuned!  I dropped off the replacement mirror for paint today.

I spent a few hours last week stripping off the dealer add-on plastic wheel well moldings (and all the tape/glue that they left behind).  Time lapse video still pending.  You’ll see it here on the next blog entry.

Wall art – currently awaiting the next picture to go along with the other 5 on my wall from IDrewYourCar.com.

Hemmings article on display

Window sticker copies!

Also showing off this brochure with my custom aluminum wheelstand my brother made me.

Looking clean after removing the pin stripe and moldings.

Current passenger mirror on the car – mismatched and pieced together with glue I guess?

Lastly – continuing the trend of posting a car here or there when I know of great opportunities, here are a few selections for you today.

If you’re looking to get into the NSX game relatively inexpensively and with a really rare car, check out my friend Todd’s 1996 NSX in Brooklands Green.  It needs some cosmetic TLC but might make a good entry level NSX for someone out there.  The configuration is 1 of only 25 cars produced in its interior & exterior color combo.

Craigslist link here.  Tell Todd I sent ya!

If family sedans are more your thing, you might want my friend Asmar’s 1993 Accord Special Edition with only 50,000 miles on it.  It’s all original minus the tires, so plan on doing a little preventative maintenance.  But the price is right.  He’s located in Seattle.  Message me for details and I’ll put you in touch with him.

And another CB7 Accord, this one a 1990 EX in a stunning burgundy color (“Mulberry Red Pearl,” if you want to get technical).  This one is being offered privately to only qualified buyers as it’s not listed on any sites.  In other words, a “good home” is an absolute must.  Contact me for details.  It’s a 136,000 mile automatic for sale by the original owner, located here in the Phoenix area.

Have a great week!

Quick CO Trip: NALM 2018 “Pre-Meet” in Colorado Springs

Posted in Colorado, Integra, NALM on June 10, 2018 by tysonhugie

In a little over a month, the 14th annual National Acura Legend Meet will kick off in Colorado.  As a member of the 5-person planning committee, I attended meetings there this past weekend.  Unique to most other NALM events, this one is being planned almost entirely with efforts from “outside” the local area so it was critical for us to visit the sites and make sure they will work for our group.  We achieved success!

I flew to Denver on Thursday evening and spent 2 nights in the area, arriving back in Phoenix last night.  Sorry, no road trip write-ups to share this time!

The NALM event will kick off on July 18 at the Country Lodge in Woodland Park, Colorado, about 20 minutes up Route 24 west of Colorado Springs.  It’s a scenic, twisty highway that gains elevation in the pine forests to over 8,000 feet in elevation.  Our host hotel has a nice back deck with plenty of space for soaking in the views and scenery.  On Thursday, we have a scenic drive to Breckenridge with lunch at Legends Grill.  Fitting, right?

Friday, we summit the almighty Pikes Peak at over 14,000 feet – one of the country’s most famous and picturesque highways.  That afternoon, we’ll be exploring the historic mining towns of Victor and Cripple Creek.  We have a pizza dinner planned for that evening.  On Saturday, Pikes Peak Acura in Colorado Springs will host us for an open house and food, including the chance for a few “feature” Legends to be parked inside the showroom.  That afternoon, we’ll have our judging for the awards and later on, a closing dinner, awards, and raffle prizes at the Country Lodge.

We are greatly looking forward to this year’s event and have attendees coming in from 9 different states.  Here are a few photos of how our planning activities went this weekend.  Registration is still open here.

Chris enjoying the deck at Country Lodge

Our rental was a 2018 Nissan Altima SL.  Not too bad!  611 mile range!

View of the peaks from Highway 24

Pikes Peak Acura in Colorado Springs

Evan, Chris, Alex, Alan, Tyson

The RealTime Race Team happened to be prepping the TLX-GT for this year’s hillclimb event, slated for June 24

Riding back up the mountain in Adam’s 1988 Toyota Celica. Adam is a local Toyota / Lexus owner but former Legend owner, and he’s been giving us a hand with local insight.

Turnoff to Pikes (and the North Pole, it seems!)

View from Country Lodge deck

Back of Country Lodge

Exploring old mining towns

Adam’s 1999 Lexus LS400 was a posh ride for this portion of our activities

It’s a sweet car for the 198,000 miles it has on it!

Someone showed me this commercial the other day and I dug it.  Michael J. Fox selling the Integra sedan!

Have a great rest of the weekend.

Southern Utah Weekend: Bryce Canyon National Park & Glen Canyon Dam

Posted in Arizona, Legend, National Parks, Road Trip, Running, Utah on June 5, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  561,413

Trip Distance:  1,070 Miles

Do you know what a hoodoo is?  The name to me sounds a lot like “voodoo,” and according to the Internet, can be used interchangeably with it.  But there’s an alternate definition you may not have heard of.  A hoodoo can also mean a column of weathered rock.  Check out this view of a vast number of hoodoos that I saw on Friday at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.  Now you know!

This past weekend’s 4-day, 1,000-mile road trip took me through Bryce as well as some of Utah’s other scenic wonders.  It was the perfect escape from the day-to-day grind.  I’ve visited Bryce a few times in the past, including when my friend Peter’s TSX rolled 200,000 miles three years ago and a trip to “Hell’s Backbone” in the ILX five years ago.  Still, I can never get tired of seeing that amazing landscape.  I took for granted that I grew up with so many beautiful national parks virtually in my own backyard in southern Utah.

My tried and trusty Legend coupe was the chariot of choice for this backroads adventure, and it delivered perfect reliability as I knew it would.  The idea for this trip came about because two friends were competing in the Bryce Canyon Ultra Marathon – a “50K” (32-mile) trail run that would subject them to some of the region’s most challenging terrain but also some of the most rewarding views.  I think they’re nuts, but then again my own sanity is a little questionable too.

Bryce is one of five national parks in Utah and perhaps one of the least traveled – just the way I like them.  The way we got there was pretty straightforward, with a night in my hometown of St. George on Thursday, and then northbound to Cedar City.  From Cedar, that’s where things got interesting.  We climbed nearly 5,000 feet in elevation on Highway 14 eastbound over the course of 18 miles – windows down, sunroof open, and soaking in the glorious temperatures.

From there, we hooked north on Highway 148 past Cedar Breaks National Monument.  By that time, we were at 10,000 feet in elevation – high enough that even on June 1, we saw snow on the roadside.  Cedar Breaks was awe-inspiring.  We were also delighted that there was next to no traffic.  The road is closed from November through May so it had just recently opened back up for the season – literally, the visitor center opened the very day we were rolling through.

Our destination for the next two nights was Panguitch, Utah – a tiny (2,000-resident) town on Highway 89 and home to the Blue Pine Motel, which has been there since 1901.  While the accommodations weren’t first class, they were definitely warm and inviting.  It’s a family owned atmosphere and a step back in time.  We loved our stay.  My friend and I visited Bryce Canyon later that first afternoon, some 20 minutes away, and soaked in some of the views from Rainbow Point and Sunset Point.  Cars are $35 but we picked up an $80 annual parks pass for admission into any of the National Park units for an entire year.  Seems like a decent value!

Bryce Canyon National Park was established 90 years ago and covers about 55 square miles.  Navigating it is easy since there’s just one main 18-mile-long, north-south road with a loop at the end.  We hiked 1.3 miles round trip on the Navajo Trail loop at Sunset Point before hitting up the restaurant inside the lodge for a delicious bite to eat.

The runners rocked their event, which started and ended in the foothills east of the small town of Hatch on Saturday.  The level of difficulty was pretty extreme, with a 7,000-foot elevation change over the course of the 32 miles, along with high temperatures, rocky or sandy footing, and windblown dust.  Our friends came in at 9 and 10 hours – exhausted but feeling accomplished.  We treated them to Diet Cokes on ice, just as they’d requested.

The small town vibe continued when we made friends with the owner of Cowboy Smokehouse back in Panguitch, who gave us a free order of bacon-wrapped sweet potatoes for our appetizer.  It tasted better than it sounds.

By Sunday morning, it was time to make the trek back home, so my friend and I headed out southbound on Highway 89 under a bright blue sky.  We stopped just once in Utah – for fuel in Kanab – but decided to lollygag a little at the Arizona/Utah state line in Page.  We happened to arrive at the Glen Canyon Dam at Lake Powell just in time for a 10:30 a.m. tour (and it would only cost us $5 each).  Score!  I’ve always wanted to take a dam tour.  It was a dam good time.

For 45 minutes, we were part of a group of 15 people listening to a tour guide teach us about the dam and its history.  We got to ride in two elevators, down a total of over 700 feet to the base of the canyon where the Colorado River runs below.  The dam was completed in 1966 but the lake behind it, Lake Powell, took 16 years to fill up!  Today there are 8 turbines capable of generating 1.32 gigawatts of power.  When I read that on one of the signs, it made me think of Doc Brown’s quote in Back to the Future about needing “1.21 gigawatts.”  Great Scott!

My favorite part of the tour was learning that for 1 year only, traffic did flow over the dam itself.  I asked our tour guide about it because I could see the the faded remnants of a double-yellow line on top of the concrete.  She told us that for just 1 year (1978) traffic was directed across the dam, because construction was taking place on the adjacent bypass bridge.

For lunch, we hit up Fiesta Mexicana in Page, then worked our way to Flagstaff on Highway 89 and connected with Interstate 17 for the final 2 hours of downhill slide into the Phoenix Valley.  If only we could have brought some of the cooler temperatures back home with us!  The oven has been preheated and we are ready to bake here until October or so.  Gotta love it!

Thanks for coming along!

Glen Canyon Dam Tour

Here’s something new for the blog.  I have 3 readers who are selling cars and who contacted me about listing them here.  Does anyone have interest in these?  Let me know and I’ll put you in touch with the sellers.

Brandon’s 1990 Legend L coupe for sale

  • Automatic
  • 155,000 Miles
  • San Diego, CA
  • $ Make Offer

Matt’s 2003 CL-S for sale

  • 6-Speed Manual
  • 255,000 Miles
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • $4,300

Srikanth’s 1991 Legend L sedan for sale

  • Automatic
  • 151,000 Miles
  • Providence, RI
  • $ Make Offer

More trip pics – snow along Highway 148, in June

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Pond near the starting (and finish) line of the 50K race

Hanging with mom at the finish line

Sandy’s Audi Q5 got dirty while my Legend stayed clean back at the motel

Small town talk:  I had to ask someone what “chicken lights” are.

Blue Pine Motel parking

Hanging at Glen Canyon Dam.  Watch your step!

View looking toward the bridge over the Colorado River

That’s a lot of concrete

The dam’s 8 turbines

Not an elevator button you get to see every day

Have a dam good day!

The New 1992 Integra GS Sedan 5-Speed, Part 2: Drive Home & Initial Cleanup

Posted in Integra, Maintenance, Nevada, Road Trip on June 2, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  560,985

Alas, my adventure from the purchase of this 71,215-mile Integra was not over yet.  This new (old) Integra GS wasn’t quite ready to break free from the cobwebs of long term storage:  Just as I started getting comfortable on my return trip to Phoenix, roughly 100 miles into my trip, the motor started cutting out intermittently on the interstate.

At first it didn’t interfere with my ability to keep momentum, but eventually, even with my foot on the accelerator at full engagement, I was dropping speed – and quickly.  I was about 20 miles north of Las Vegas on I-15, in about 100 degree temperatures, on the shoulder.

I was able to re-start the car a couple of times and limp along southbound in the emergency line, but meanwhile I was doing my research and figuring out next steps.  I HAD to get back to Phoenix somehow that night, still over 300 miles away, for important work meetings the following day.

So, was my best option to tow the Integra home somehow, rent another car, or try and catch a flight out of Vegas?  I got the car to a Love’s gas station and bought a bottled water while waiting for a neon green tow truck, so I had a few minutes to do my research and collect my thoughts.  Look at this call history!

Not how I thought the day would go!

What I discovered was that rental car agencies are not friendly to work with on the phone – and that’s if you can even get someone on the phone at all.  Many were closed at 6:00 p.m.  One wanted to charge me a $300 one-way drop-off fee if I picked up a car in Vegas and drove it to Phoenix.  Another refused to rent to me at all without a round trip flight ticket.  WTH?  I met one slammed door after another.

Southwest Airlines came through for me.  Luckily, there are about 8 departures per day between LAS & PHX.  I was able to snag a seat on the last flight out for the day – departing around 10:30 p.m. – and make my way to the airport after leaving the Integra at the Acura dealership on Sahara Avenue.  My nerves were shot when I got home around midnight.  But by gosh by golly, I made it to those work meetings.

Description of the problem that I wrote on the envelope with the key when I night-dropped the car.

Flying home!

Meanwhile, the Integra GS sat for a week at the dealership, 300 miles away from my home.  Its diagnosis?  A bad fuel pump and a leaking fuel filler line, which of course was discontinued.  It’s a good thing I have friends in high places.  My friend Hy found a used part on Ebay which I promptly ordered and had shipped to the dealership.

I received word on Tuesday that the part had arrived and would work, then awaited an ETA on the car’s roadworthiness.  On Wednesday, I learned they had the wrong fuel pump and a new one would be arriving the next day.  Thursday, they got the right part.  And Friday, it was tested and confirmed good.

After what seemed like forever, I was able to fly back to Las Vegas and retrieve the car.  I took a 7:05 a.m. flight on Southwest on Saturday (really racking up those Rapid Rewards loyalty points!) and was on the ground a little after 8:00, picked up by my friend Dane in his Lincoln – Starbucks in hand for me.  Bless his heart.

We headed directly to the dealership on Sahara and I met up with a friend who works there, Louie, as well as my service advisor, Mitch.  It was a relief to (again) be heading out in my new car and I was optimistic about this latest fix taking care of the issues.  I grabbed breakfast with my Dane and Brandon at the Egg & I before hitting the road.

FOOD!

And smooth sailing it was – I kept things really easy on the car, low RPM, easy acceleration, kind of holding my breath that nothing else would happen in the 300 miles that remained.  When I finally got to my house at 3:00 p.m., I breathed a sigh of relief.

So here’s how the overall purchase timeline worked out.

  • April 27:  Notified of the car being for sale by Jeff
  • April 30:  Cody test drove
  • May 1:  Made offer, which was accepted, booked flight
  • May 2:  Scheduled 90k maintenance with Honda dealer
  • May 7:  Flew to Utah
  • May 8:  Picked up car, had maintenance, started driving home, broke down, towed to dealer
  • May 9:  Identified issue
  • May 10:  Found discontinued / used part, ordered on Ebay
  • May 15:  Part arrived
  • May 16:  Notified of incorrect fuel pump
  • May 17:  New pump installed
  • May 18:  Fuel system passed testing
  • May 19:  Returned to Las Vegas & drove the car home

After getting the car home, I spent dug in and started getting things cleaned up in the same fashion that I did it with my LS.  In fact, it was deja vu.  (I just spent 5 minutes looking at the etymology of that phrase.  Turns out it’s French, and it means “already seen.”  You’re welcome!).  Even the local emissions check station agents looked at me a little funny as I arrived in a new Integra.  “Weren’t you already here?” they asked me.  “Where do you keep finding these cars?!” was the next question.

So here I am, one Integra sold, one purchased, and taking a break from running a used car dealership for a little while now.    Here are a few episodes on YouTube for your viewing pleasure.  Get lots of popcorn ready.

Part 2:   Transport Home

Part 3:  Cleanup

Part 4:  Engine Cleaning

Home and part of the family!

That front plate was the first thing to go.

And of course – the next day – a few pics in the backyard.

Engine bay – before

Engine bay – after

Thanks for following along on yet another of my crazy automotive adventures!