Trip to Mars: Pennsylvania Weekend Trip, feat. an Olds Toronado & a Modified Legend

Odometer (Legend):  561,596

Trip Distance:  2,050 Miles by Air

There really is life on (in) Mars.  About 1,700 people, in fact, call this little town in Pennsylvania home.  And I met a few of them this past weekend.  In fact, I had a native Martian who was walking by graciously take my photo while I leaned up against a silver flying saucer in the town square.

Today’s travel journal brings you something a little different.  You could even say that it’s out of this world.  Not because I went to Mars, but because I got on an airplane for a change instead of driving the wheels off an old Acura!  I had an appointment on Friday in Wexford, Pennsylvania which is just north of Pittsburgh.

Getting there was a bit of a chore – thanks to Southwest, my 4-hour flight turned into about a 12-hour day of travel:  I arrived at the airport early in typical fashion, only to discover we were two hours delayed for a mechanical issue.  Then two more hours delayed for a crew change.  And then had to wait while we were re-routed for weather conditions.  What an ordeal.  Eventually, I was grateful to be on the ground in PA and rented a white Chevy Impala Premier for my short commute to my hotel.  The Bose stereo was my favorite part!

On Friday evening, I indulged in some of Pittsburgh’s sights and sounds thanks to my local friend Drew who was a gracious host.  We dined at “The Church” Brew Works on Liberty Avenue.  Built in 1903, the Roman Catholic cathedral is now home to a restaurant.  I highly recommend the buffalo meatloaf – made from bison and accompanied with a side of broccoli.  All of the drinks are named appropriately for being served inside a religious institution, including the Celestial Gold Pilsner and the Heavenly Hefeweizen.

Following dinner, Drew and I climbed to the top of nearby Mount Washington which offered up a spectacular evening view of the Pittsburgh city skyline.  Our vehicle of choice was his 111,000-mile 1981 Oldsmobile Toronado with burgundy velour interior.

The hood ornament far ahead of us pointed the way and the V8 motor rumbled with a satisfying burble as it put power to the ground through a 3-speed automatic transmission.  I especially liked the steering wheel, narrow in diameter with such sensitive input required that Drew could spin the wheel with just a single finger.  Things like that reminded me of my first car, an A-Body 1986 Chevy Celebrity.

Saturday’s car-adventure gave me a completely different driving experience.  Over the years I’ve interacted with hundreds of “car people,” primarily those who are part of the Honda & Acura enthusiast communities.  None of those people are quite like my friend Lou.  A long-time member of the Acura Legend forums and Facebook groups, Lou is one of the most active and known.  I’d met him a couple of times prior, but never given the chance to drive his car.  That all changed on Saturday morning at his home about 3 miles from my hotel in Mars.

Lou’s Legend started out life as a 1992 L sedan automatic.  But that’s where the familiarity ends and the wildness begins.  Every nut, bolt, and mechanical component of his Legend has been drastically modified to squeeze every ounce of power and performance out of the powertrain.  And he has succeeded to put it lightly.

I pride myself in the fact that I didn’t stall the car when getting a feel for its clutch, which reaches its friction point near the top of the pedal and has very little “forgiveness” when it comes to a transition between off and on.

The ‘power factor’ is where Lou’s Legend sets itself far apart from any other Legend I’ve ever driven.  It will willingly lay down rubber in gears 1, 2, 3, and 4.  I didn’t dare give it wide open throttle in 5th because it would probably have done it there, too.  The turbo let off a “psssshhh” whistle each time I released the accelerator and I needed both hands firmly planted on the wheel when I gave it some heavy throttle getting on Highway 19.

Lou’s complete build sheet is shown at the bottom of this post.  It’s a great deal of content to list out, but it will give you a glimpse of the extreme attention to detail that he has demonstrated with this unique performance Legend.

Thanks, Drew and Lou for the great hospitality and for helping me incorporate some tourism and horsepower into my trip!

Drew’s Olds, & Views from Mount Washington

Lou’s Legend Test-Drive

When you have a 4-hour flight, you get bored & start reading safety materials.  This group of people on an emergency life raft looked like they were having a fun summer.

Grilled cheese at my first stop on the trip, a “Eat N Park” diner in Cranberry on Perry Highway.  It’s kind of like a Denny’s since it’s open 24-7.  G

I enjoyed cruising the scenic backroads in my Impala.

The address provided by Google for the flying saucer did not take me to it.  But I got on aerial maps and found it just a little further down the street ahead of me.  My location at left, saucer at right, circled.

I liked this old Ace Hardware in Mars.

Great rates available here!

“May Peace Prevail On Earth.”

Supermarket mural.

I sampled the “S’Mars” ice cream at Peach Tree.

Rolling around with Drew in his Toronado.  That burgundy interior is to die for!

That suspension soaked up cobblestone streets like nobody’s business.

View from Mount Washington.

The heart of Lou’s machine.

Checking out another Legend coupe he has in the backyard, soon to be parted out.

Lunch spot at Firebirds.

Detail from Lou on his Legend:

This is a 1992 Acura Legend L model sedan originally was a 3.2 (Type 1) with a 4-speed automatic. I’ve since converted the car to a 3.5 with 3.2 (Type II heads) and a 6-speed manual with a custom intake manifold and turbo kit.  In short, the only bolts and parts not changed on this car are the ABS system and brake hard lines; every other parts, nut, bolt, and wire has been touched.

Suspension/Brakes/Wheels/Steering

Ksport 36way coilovers
Addco front sway bar
Addco rear sway bar (with poly bushings)
Custom bolts for rear sway bar
Telion rear upper strut bar (rare)
FUT rear lower short tie bar (adjustable)
FUT rear lower long tie bar
90a poly front control arm mounts (1 of 1 set)
Solid front motor mounts (custom made)
Poly filled (60a) transmission mount
SPC balljoints
Mini BBK using RL caliper brackets
300mm slotted brembo rotors (front)
Slotted brembo rear rotors
New type 2 calipers all four corners (2 pistons up front 1 piston rear) all powder coated candy apple red
Goodridge stainless brake lines
Hawk HPS pads
New oem master cylinder
New rear lower control arms
New front lower control arms
SPC front upper adjustable balljoints (3 degrees)
New moog lower balljoints
18×7.5 +45 Akuza Intimidator wheels
Falken tires (rear)
Continential DWS tires (front)
Electronic power steering from a RHD S2000

Engine/Drivetrain

The engine was built by Laskey Racing in California C35A block (completely stripped and redone using all OEM gaskets and seals)
C32A type 2 heads
C32A type 2 cams
Chevy comp cam valve springs
CP pistons 9:1 compression
Pauter Ibeam rods
ACL bearings
ARP bolts throughout
Clutch masters 850 series twin disc (1 of 1)
Clutch masters Aluminum flywheel (1 of 1)
6-Speed from a 93 coupe (rebuilt to OEM specs/best gearing)
Hondaman23 Built 7 spring LSD
raxles OEM rebuilt axles
200 amp Bosch high output alternator
DrDave remained oem starter
Oem clutch slave cylinder
Oem clutch master cylinder
Braided clutch pedal line
Labrat aluminum pullies
Telion aluminum crank pulley
Modified Legend oil pan
Chevy LS Truck OEM coils
Magnacore plug wires (converted from coil on plug)
NGK 7 plugs
PCV system uses 10an vents in the valve covers
Custom all aluminum radiator 2.5″ thick core
SPAL slim line 1500 cfm 12″ fans with shroud
Rangerjoe short shifter
Custom intake manifold with 90mm q45 throttle body
1/2″ custom fuel rails
1400cc Fuel injector development injectors
Stant rad cap
Engine bay wiring was tucked
8an feed line (earls ultrapro e85 black teflon hose)
6an return line (earls ultrapro e85 black teflon hose)
Magnafuel 4303 (or 4301) fuel pump

Turbo System/Exhaust

Everything was fabbed at Chuck Beaverton Automotive. Schedule 40 stainless for the manifolds and cross pipe, aluminum for the intercooler pipe, 3″ stainless for turbo back, all piping and hot parts are ceramic coated bright silver inside and out.
Precision 6466 (gen 2) Fual ballbearing, billet wheel
2 tial 38mm wastegates
1 tial 50mm BOV (candy apple red)
Bell intercooler core, custom end tanks and piping
1 Wiggins clamp
3″ turbo back exhaust with “high flow cat”
Varex mufler (has a cutout inside he muffler, wireless control for quiet and loud)

Body

JDM headlights retrofitted with fxr bixenon projectors
Theretrofitsource d2s bulbs
Theretrofitsource hid ballasts
Carbon fiber pillar garnishes
Carbon fiber jdm explodz wing (ultra rare)
JDM tail lights
95 GS bumper update
Rain visors (not installed)
3rd brake light (lights up the word LEGEND)

ECU/Electronics/Interior

The car used to be Type F interior (tan) but now it’s been converted to Type A (black) and then dyed using SEM products to give a modern-day black interior look with black suede headliner.

Diamond d9 7″ components up front
Alpine h701 sound processor
Alpine c701 controller
Alpine dva-9860 headunit
7″ screen inside JDM navi trim in dash
Converted to LS climate control
JDM navi climate control (installed where radio would be ( 1 of 1 install using USDM console)
Suede wrapped headliner
Leather wrapped a/b/c pillars
Hyundai Tiburon leather front seats (super comfy)
Working cup holder!
TL shift knob and boot
Real carbon fiber switch covers
SMD led throughout the car
LED window switches
DEI alarm and remote start with DEI sensors for auto windows etc
Relocated battery to trunk
Knukonceptz kolossas 0ga wiring throughout the car 12 ga for speakers
Sundown 2500w sub amp
Eclipse (2 channel forget the model number) amp for front stage (old school and real watts!)
ProEFI 128 ecu with custom harness
ProEFI flexfuel kit
ProEFI can display (screen)
ProEFI Fuel pressure sensor
ProEFI Oil pressure sensor
ProEFI Coolant temp sensor
ProEFI Air intake temp sensor
Black dash no cracks!
Suede dash mat
Fiberoptic stereo wiring
Black carpet (no rips or tears)
OEM rubber floor mats
Red LED needles installed in gauges
JDM door sills
New OEM vehicle speed sensor
3-4 layers of second skin sound deadener (SUPER quiet inside)

Performance

Car on 8psi pump 93 makes 360whp/399wtq.  On e85, it was making 510whp/598wtq on 16psi with some breakup (ran out of Dyno time).  It was turned up on some street driving the night before you drove it.  It’s on 19 psi with unknown power levels, but probably 550whp and 640wtq judging by the proefi gauge.

15 Responses to “Trip to Mars: Pennsylvania Weekend Trip, feat. an Olds Toronado & a Modified Legend”

  1. What a whirlwind of a trip! That Legend is a mythical creature… always spoken of but never seen until now.

    • Haha, seriously. There’s that saying. The man, the myth, and the Legend. Well, this one is a little bit of all 3. Glad I got to put the pieces together and see it really does exist.

  2. The impala has come a long way since the 2000 model my friend had. That’s on my short list to rent and review too. Cool you got to see The Greek.

  3. I woke up in the middle of the night and figured I could get through this blog post in about 7 minutes… Hahaha!
    Thanks for the great videos and pics. Never a dull moment in the life of the mighty TH.
    *most impressive… only one little LS component in Lou’s mod list. 😎☺️

    • Haha, well, first of all I’m sorry to keep you up at night! Hope you sleep better next time. And second, thanks for being such a great follower 🙂 It’s meeting up with people like Drew, Lou, and YOU that make all these travels worthwhile. Some people really know how to roll out the red carpet. Hope your week is going well, Pam!

    • pnut91…. I’m Lou but just curious what little LS component your referring to? The climate control? its a jdm navi unit I bought that god so many years ago, but I needed that specific unit so I could make the center console the way i wanted haha

  4. Tyson! I am glad you didn’t get rained out there in Pittsburgh. The white Toronado is divine; the square headlights make a statement for sure. And that interior! Also, is that the same Lou who came up to Elk Meadows a few years back when we went to visit Mert under the tree? I was a little concerned about the speed factor in your video driving his car…. and happy you’re back home safely. Love, Mom

  5. First of all, that Legend is epic. Is Honda Tuning still published? Because that build deserves a full magazine spread. Spinning the tires in second, let alone third and fourth? Really enjoyed when you let that SUV get a little ahead of you at the light and then just walked away from it in third.

    Fun tour of Mars- I’ve driven through western Pennsylvania, but haven’t stopped there much. “The Church” seems a cool place to check out!

    • Unfortunately Honda Tuning has been out of print since about 2014. Somehow back in the day I made it into the “Grassroots” section with my Legend. That was fun. But agreed, hopefully Lou can get some quality press for all the effort and expense he’s put into that build. Mars is worth a stop! Next time I’ll spend a little more time.

  6. That Legend is VICIOUS… always good to see some modified Hondas, even though personally I’m not one to modify my own haha!

    • Agreed, even as a person who leaves my cars totally stock, I can appreciate the time and effort it takes to customize a car and it truly becomes an expression of personality. Vicious is a good word to describe this one! Haha

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