Monterey Car Week – 2019 NSX Reveal, The Quail, and Japanese Automotive Invitational (JAI)

Odometer (Legend Coupe):  563,515

Odometer (Integra Sedan):  72,199

Kids today will never understand the struggle of juggling 3 of these bad boys in the car during a road trip:  Huge compact disc albums, each holding 96 sleeves for seemingly unlimited playlist material.

How else do you think I was able to stay entertained long enough to drive 500,000 miles?  Little did I know when I picked up Jewel’s “0304” album in 2003 that I would be standing next to Jewel herself at a private concert 15 years later.  It’s one of my faves!  I loaded it back into my 6-disc CD changer just recently for good measure.

There she is, in the flesh!

Once again it was my turn to hobnob with society’s elite – even if just for a day.  As I did last year, I attended some of the “Car Week” festivities along the Monterey Peninsula in the Bay Area of central, coastal California.  The Integra got to ride out there on a transport carrier, but I caught a flight on Thursday afternoon and skipped the drive (I didn’t have time for a 24-hour round-trip adventure, as much as I would have loved to do it).

This year was the first time for a new event called the Japanese Automotive Invitational.  It’s no mystery that there is an up-and-coming appreciation for cars that historically haven’t been considered part of the “classic car” community.  Shows like the Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS) and Radwood are designed around capturing some of that movement.

JAI has taken things to an even greater level.  The scene in and around Pebble Beach, California is dominated each August by supercars with six-figure pricetags.  But how cool is it that now a 1992 Acura Integra – an $18,000 car when new – received a VIP invitation to be parked in the same venue?  I was thrilled at the opportunity when it arose.

Last Thursday evening, I attended a private Acura event at the Carmel Valley Ranch.  It took me longer in traffic to drive the 80 miles from San Jose airport to Monterey than it had taken me to fly 800 miles from Phoenix to San Jose.  Gotta love rush hour – but at least I was driving a Ford Fusion Hybrid rental car that pretty effortlessly delivered 40 mpg.

The private grounds of the Carmel Ranch provided an intimate setting for around 100 attendees – select media, Acura enthusiasts (10 members like me from the NSX Club of America), Acura personnel & support teams, and the entertainment.  Four-time Grammy Award nominee and singer-songwriter Jewel Kilcher (better known as just “Jewel”) took the stage and shared her talent with the group – both in dialogue and in song.  Jewel was an engaging speaker and I was a little star-struck to be just a few steps away from her platform.

The star of the show – though Jewel was a crowd favorite – was the 2019 Acura NSX.  Now moving into the third model year of its second generation, the latest NSX is receiving suspension & chassis enhancements as well as a broader palette of available colors.  During Acura General Manager Jon Ikeda’s remarks at the podium, the cover was pulled off a vivid “Thermal Orange Pearl” NSX.  It was stunning from any angle.  I enjoyed admiring its lines while in the company of friends and colleagues.

On Friday, I met with representatives from Motor Trend to assist with load-in of show cars at the JAI show venue.  There were roughly 40 vehicles anticipated, including noteworthy models like the Nissan GT-R, Infiniti Q45, Lexus LS400, and a few Acuras:  My Integra GS-R, a 1990 Legend LS coupe, and a Formula Red NSX.  Over the course of the next couple days, many friends stopped by the display and sent me pictures of/with my car.  I especially loved the phone of automotive journalist Jason Cammisa (bottom right).

My next stop on Friday was The Quail Motorsports Gathering.  For 16 years, The Quail has brought out some of the world’s most famous and exotic vehicles.  Tickets are limited in availability and usually priced upwards of $600 apiece, if that tells you anything about how exclusive the venue is.  But for many, the event isn’t just about the cars.  It’s also about the culinary pavilions and opportunity to bask in an environment of manicured lawns and important (or at least wealthy!) people.  I felt out of my league but enjoyed myself either way.

Within 24 hours of picking up my rental car at the San Jose airport, I turned it back in.  This trip was the pure definition of a “whirlwind,” but an enjoyable one it was.  Enjoy a collection of photos and a video below!

I knew I was on the right track when I spotted a 2019 MDX A-Spec ahead of me on the interstate ramp.

Orange was the name of the game in all decor!

Precision Crafted Cocktail, anyone?

Actor Jesse Metcalfe was one of the event’s attendees

An orange so juicy I want to lick it.

Jewel behind the wheel of the NSX.

NSX Club of America Vice President May “May Purple” Lee.

Acura General Manager Jon Ikeda

Automotive journalist Carlos Lago & his wife

I’ll take it!

Nightly stay at the Hyatt Regency Monterey

The Infiniti display near Pebble Beach at the Japanese Automotive Invitational

This weather was a shocker, especially when coming from August in Phoenix.

More from the Infiniti display.

My friend Jerry’s 1990 Legend LS coupe at JAI

Arriving The Quail and seeing a lineup of friends’ NSXs

Acura was giving away orange hats at The Quail.

With Charles Koch from Acura Shows & Exhibits, and fellow NSXCA member Ed Somers

With Motor Trend’s Karen Brown at JAI

Couple quick sidebars:  Thanks Jhae for the limited edition pin!

And I saw this 1G CL on craigslist.  Did you know that if you rearrange the letters in an ACURA emblem, it can spell CAR?  (see top left).

Have a great week!

13 Responses to “Monterey Car Week – 2019 NSX Reveal, The Quail, and Japanese Automotive Invitational (JAI)”

  1. autoscribe1974 Says:

    What an amazing experience. Livin’ the dream, Tyson!

  2. That seems like an amazing event! Jewel sounds as great as she did two decades ago – I always thought she had a unique voice and song style. As for cars, the revamped NSX looks terrific in that shade of orange.

    So many drool-worthy cars at that event. The section of Ferraris that were momentarily in the video were fantastic. One question for you: why did you send the GS-R and not a different car from your fleet? (Nothing wrong with the G2 Teg of course! Just curious why that one had its number called and not one of the other vehicles.)

    • Motor Trend came to me with a specific list of cars they wanted help sourcing. Two of them were Acuras: 1G Legend, and 1G Integra. I found them the white 1990 Legend coupe, but didn’t have any luck with an early Integra. So I offered them anything in my own personal garage to pick from. They wanted the GS-R despite the fact that it is probably in the worst cosmetic shape (recent 250,000 milestone to blame!). My new GS sedan with only 72,000 miles would have “shown” better but I think they liked the fact that the GS-R is significant for that Japanese era.

  3. Acura obsessed AND Eurythmics Greatest Hits? We obviously share some D.N.A.

  4. That is some orange! Just wait until people start suing for burned out retinas. Haha

    • I know, juicy! It will be interesting to see this color side-by-side with Acura’s “Imola Orange Pearl” which was offered on the 2002-05 NSX. Happy Tuesday!

  5. I still have my CD wallet (only one, not three…) and had to make do with a single-disc player in my Ford Escape at the time! Can’t bear to get rid of it, even though I use Spotify almost exclusively at this point in the car. Fun to see what was on repeat back in the day.

    LOVE the orange on the NSX, and the 24 hour trip sounds like quite the time. I’d love to get out to something like that eventually.

    Oh, hey, I hit another milestone in the racecar during Sunday’s 40-minute race – 157,000 miles. Bought it with 144k five years ago and even with all the racing miles, it’s on the original drivetrain including clutch. No photos as I was a bit occupied, but figured you’d appreciate it nonetheless.

    • That’s awesome – congrats on the racecar milestone! It’s impressive how well the mechanicals have held up over 13,000 miles of mostly track use! Looking forward to your next write-up.

  6. Mr. Tyson Hugie, This is fantastic! Great content. So great to see all the behind the scenes of what you experienced at Pebble Beach. I feel like I know you a little better now..

    Great work!

    Best regards,

    Tina Overfelt

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