NALM 2018 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Part 3: Dealer Day, Banquet/Awards, & Return Trip

As Cher said in 1989, “If I could turn back time….”

If you could turn back time, to what year would you set your destination?  For me, it might be sometime in the early-to-mid 1990s.  I was a fresh teenager at the Woodward Sixth Grade Center, reading Dirt Wheels Magazine and studying up on ATVs, putting miles on my Specialized Hard Rock mountain bike (pictured below in 1996), and playing games like Myst on our Packard Bell home computer.  Life was good.

It was around that time, some of Acura’s best sellers were gracing its showroom floors.  For just one day, Pikes Peak Acura in Colorado Springs chose to re-create such an occasion.  On Saturday, July 21, Manager Joel Archuleta swung open his facility’s doors for six Acura Legends to take over the spots previously occupied by ILX, TLX, RDX, and MDX models.  And the commotion drew quite a bit of attention from both staff members and customers alike.  Adding to the already-nostalgic feeling within the showroom, I requested that the satellite radio channel be changed to 1990s music, and it was.  Perfect.

On display in front, we had the two “twin” Legend GS sedans, my VIN 21413 and Chris’ 21268, configured in identical equipment, and within a few miles of each other in odometer readings.  More on that car in a future article.  Here’s our photo with Joel.

Behind the receptionist desk, we had two generation 2 LS coupes:  Mirel’s black-on-black 1994 LS 6-speed and Ben’s white-on-black 1992 LS automatic.  Capping off the ends of the showroom were Leon’s 1995 LS coupe and James’ 1988 base model sedan.  James’ car drew a great deal of attention as it was the most highly modified vehicle in the spotlight, with eye-catching custom paint, suspension, and other upgrades.  It was also the only first-generation car in attendance.

One of the highlights of having our “dealer day” was seeing a few random local owners come out of the woodwork, including Jesus in a black G2 coupe and Seth in a Desert Mist 1994 Vigor GS.  We welcomed both of them like family and invited them to join us upstairs for our catered lunch.  Dealership personnel cast votes on their favorite car, and the award was granted to Chris for his Legend GS.  Our time in the limelight was short-lived, and by noon we were rolling back out the doors and returning to home base in Woodland Park.

That afternoon, we took the cars to Woodland Park High School and held an informal car show and voting.  There were a few fun categories, like “Least Visor Sag,” and “Cleanest Floor Mats,” but my favorite was one called “Least Idle Smoke.”  In my 14 years attending this car meet, this was the first time I’ve participated in a “smoke-off.”  The concept is straightforward:

  • Park the cars in a lineup
  • Fire up the motors
  • Let the cars idle for about 10 minutes
  • Proceed down the row and have someone rev each car to similar RPM
  • Evaluate which car emits the least blue smoke

It was kind of funny, really.  I mean, these cars are 23 or more years old.  Even the lowest-mileage car in attendance, Leon’s 1995 coupe LS with 145,000 miles on it, let out a puff of smoke.  Oil burning is a common thing.  You’ll see what I mean in the video.

That evening, our NALM concluded with a BBQ banquet, raffle, and awards ceremony at the Country Lodge.  Every attendee received an item, and some received multiple.  Best of Show went to Chris for his Legend build, Longest Distance Traveled went to Alex from Florida, Best Interior went to Leon, and other awards were given.  It was the perfect capstone to an adventure-filled few days in Colorado.

Meanwhile, James L and I prepared for a long return journey ahead to Arizona the following morning.  We hit the road at our anticipated 7:00 departure time and made only a few stops along the way, including a prime photo op along I-25 southbound near the “Highway of Legends.”  Thanks to some walkie-talkie communication, we were able to stay in touch for the entire 850-mile stretch.  Sean, my skydiving friend who I mentioned in Part 2, bought us lunch in Albuquerque at a restaurant called “The Range” off Interstate 40.

Tired but fulfilled, we got back to Phoenix around 8:00 p.m. local time.  Until the next NALM!

It’s 1995 all over again

Me with my GS

Group shot

Looking spiffy

Chris’ car.  Notice how we even swapped out our plates for Pikes Peak ones!

Mirel’s car

Matt and Jesus’ cars

Dinner at Woodland Country Lodge

Home, sweet home, in Arizona on Sunday night

Until next time!

10 Responses to “NALM 2018 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Part 3: Dealer Day, Banquet/Awards, & Return Trip”

  1. Just. Awesomeness! Really impressed how accommodating Pikes Acura was. Smart on their part since now a lot more folks will have a good impression of them…I do for sure. I was wondering where your sedan ended up. Looked right at home there. Now, I have to watch that “smoke-off” when I get home!

    • Haha, I wish I’d been better prepared to capture all the smoke-off participants but I only recorded a few. I was definitely thrilled with the level of hospitality that the PPA folks gave us. Now if I could just convince my local dealership here in AZ to let me display 6 different 1992-94 Acura models inside their showroom for a similar photo 🙂

  2. Two thumbs up on that video. The smoke test made me both chuckle and also wince (those poor rings!). Such a great event by the Acura dealership- they really seem to get the importance of heritage to the brand. How did that showroom event all come about?

    Great to see both Legends going strong on this trip- what was the ending mileage?

    (Kudos for the Myst reference- great game. And was that “Rock Me Amadeus” I heard? Classic.)

    • I pitched the idea of the showroom event during the early planning stages, mostly out of selfishness because I wanted to get my sedan + Chris’ twin sedan inside the showroom together for some pictures for an article I’m writing. So that worked out for us, plus 4 other Legend owners! Ending mileage was on my first post in this series – around 563,400 for the coupe and 160,000 for the sedan. Correct – Falco! I shot that portion because (even though I didn’t time it perfectly) the beat of the song almost matches the speed at which the blinker flashes.

  3. Really hospitable of Pikes Peak Acura to host you guys, although I’m sure they also benefited from the extra foot traffic. No doubt that quite a few customers found your cars to be more attractive than Acura’s current offerings. 😛

    That idle smoke contest is hilarious! Any idea which Legend in the group burns the most oil?

    • I wish I’d captured video of all 10 cars’ emissions. I think Chris (my ‘twin’ GS) might have actually been the worst. The shocker was Corey’s white L sedan with 236,000 miles on it. Super clean tailpipe results – but we later learned that it’s had a full engine rebuild. Time for the rest of us to step up our game!

  4. The NALM always seems like such a great even. I’m hugely jealous that your group got to drive Pikes Peak, that’s a bucket-list item right there. It was interesting to see each vehicle having it’s brakes temperature checked, you’ve got to be pretty happy with how low yours were! I had a chucke at the smoke-test for all the cars, I should suggest something like that for some of the classic events we go on – it would make some interesting viewing. Any other trips planned for the Legend Coupe in the coming months?

    • Lots of good memories from this NALM. I finally just yesterday had a chance to wash both Legends. The month of August is thankfully a little more low key than July was. My only real trip is a quick overnighter to the CA Bay Area for an event having to do with “Car Week” in Monterey, the third weekend of the month. And I’ll be flying instead of driving. So, all the cars get a break!

  5. I don’t think I ever commented on this. Its really awesome that Pikes Peak Acura open its show room to you guys, I couldn’t believe how accommodating they were. While the attendance list was smaller this year, this was a great turnout with a great group of guys.

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