Certifiably Insane x 2: Acquiring a 1996 “Radiant Red” Acura SLX Premium

Odometer (Fir Green SLX):  178,690

Odometer (Radiant Red SLX):  139,142

Because one is never enough, right?

As much fun as I’ve had with my 1997 SLX that I picked up in December, I’ve always had in the back of my mind that it was a “placeholder” until a better one came along.  Kind of like my 1992 Integra LS sedan was last year – I let it go when I found (or a friend found, rather) my now-current 1992 Integra GS sedan with a higher trim level and fewer miles.

Incidentally, this is the first time my blog posts have been back-to-back car purchase stories, since I just talked about the new del Sol a few days ago.  I didn’t ever intend on taking on 2 additional vehicles simultaneously, but the timing worked out that way.

As you can see, I’m sitting on “twins” briefly until the Fir Green Mica base model heads to its new home – which is already determined, so I don’t even have the trouble of needing to list it for sale.  More on its future owner/use to come in a later blog entry.

What about my latest 1996 is so compelling?

For one, it’s only the second “Radiant Red” I’ve ever seen – and I’ve never seen one in real life – only online.  My preferred colors were Radiant Red, and Ebony Black, in that order.  Back in December, I started a daily search across a variety of online vehicle classifieds.  I wanted the “Premium” trim for its special goodies, including power folding chrome sideview mirrors, heated leather seats, alloy wheels and other features.

My search was not fruitful for a very long time.  Geographic location-based buy/sell apps like OfferUp which can be difficult to get a nationwide grasp on.  AutoTrader has exactly zero SLXs listed.  Then there’s Facebook Marketplace, which can be especially tricky because it only allows a geographic search radius of 100 miles.  My strategy there was to pick a handful of major cities around the country each day to see what popped up.

On a Monday morning around 6:00 a.m. I decided to hit Chicago.  Boom.  Eyes lit up, all of a sudden I was wide awake.  A semi-truck repair company had taken this 139,000-mile example in on trade toward some repair work performed and was selling it, along with a handful of other mixed-bag cars (Chevy HHR, Ford pickup, and other randoms).  It had just been listed the day prior.

I sent an initial inquiry to the seller and asked for his phone number.  We spoke briefly, and I think he was a little uneasy about dealing with someone about 1,700 miles away.  I tried to ease the tension a little by later sending a photo of my current SLX via text.  I got the VIN on his, ran a Carfax, and proceed to make payment and transport arrangements.  By 11:00 a.m., the deal was done and transport driver pending assignment.  That was easy!  I arranged transport via a company called Montway.

Pick-up – coincidentally, in a suburb of Chicago called Phoenix, Illinois.

Arrival in Phoenix, Arizona about a week later.

The SLX arrived on Memorial Day, May 27th.  Come with me as I take an initial walk around and see exactly what we are dealing with.  The funny thing was, when I Google street-viewed the address on the vehicle title, I saw the SLX parked there in August 2017.

Check out the video below if you dare see this Illinois rust bucket in all its glory.

Ad inquiry

Photo from the ad

Photo from the ad

Would it have made the trip from Chicago to Phoenix?  I sort of doubt it.

Clean two-owner Carfax.

The new Acura SLX:  Designed for people with a well-developed sense of adventure, and an equally well-developed sense of taste.

First pics

That duct tape interior, though!

3.2 V6 rated at 190 hp

#Chicago – this is what we knew to expect!

The antenna was a series of Phillips head screwdrivers and hose clamps.

First wash

A visit from Jack as I begun my initial detail efforts

More to come on how this played out!

Side note, go see the video that Ethan from Hello Road put together on Radwood Las Vegas.

My Legend GS makes an appearance at about 3:05 in!

28 Responses to “Certifiably Insane x 2: Acquiring a 1996 “Radiant Red” Acura SLX Premium”

  1. So radiant! The seats though… a little leather conditioner and good as new. Right? 😛

    • Oh man. The seats are the least of my concerns. There’s actually a hot pad inserted into the seat bottom of the driver’s seat because there is so much foam missing. Haha.

  2. Congrats on the find of the color and model you wanted!
    And wow – they were sure offering some sweet options on that model –
    “Power folding chrome sideview mirrors, heated leather seats, alloy wheels”

    Also – how fun that the google street view had it in the image – also – only two owners – crazy cool

    • Well, only 1 of the power folding mirrors actually retracts so I didn’t really get that feature in its entirety. Haha. Can’t wait to share more about my adventures with this pile of rust!

      • Yeah – I am from western New York and I forgot how those snowy states have the rust on older cars.
        And your radiant red sure is a beauty

  3. Ummm. It appears on the surface you downgraded except for the odometer?

    There’s a story here and can’t wait to hear it!

    • The story shall unfold in due time! Here’s the thing –

      Red is Premium
      Red is a better color
      Red has 40k fewer miles
      Red has a fully functional transmission
      Red has good working A/C
      Red was $1,400

      Green also has torn seats
      Green needs a $1,600+ transmission rebuild
      Green doesn’t have working air
      Green was $400

      These are both dirt cheap running and driving vehicles.

      Have to pick your battles, right? These are few and far between. I’d be totally fine with this red one if it weren’t for the rust. But if all I’m doing is showing it at a Radwood show once in awhile, I don’t intend to ever make it perfect. Just road worthy and safe. I’ve put about 80 miles on it so far.

  4. For the first time I nay actually be speechless…. 😮
    Really – I honestly have no words!

    • I don’t blame you! This is just the tip of the iceberg, and the rusty Titanic SLX is heading straight toward it. Wait til you see the next episode.

  5. Wow, that original passenger rear mud guard took quite a hit sometime in its past life! Glad you were able to rescue this one. Even with the rust, we all know you’ll get it show-worthy soon enough. I’m still amazed by that engine bay work (spoiler?). Also, thanks for tossing me the keys for a test drive!

    • Haha, “show worthy” depends on what kind of show I’m taking it to. For Pavilions or Radwood, yes, I’ll get it there. For Pebble Beach – take a hike. This thing wouldn’t be allowed within 100 miles of Monterey. Hahaha

  6. EPIC! I laughed out loud three times watching this video (“Somebody really liked their McMuffins…”). So awesome. The follow-ups are going to be like an episode of “This Old House” (“This Old Acura”?). You’ve got quite the challenge ahead of you to restore this thing to proper running order, but I’m eager to watch it unfold.

    What’s your plan of attack for this thing? Engine stuff? Body work? Interior?

    • Everything on this is sort of back-burner in comparison to other priorities (house wise, car wise, life wise) so I don’t anticipate this project to move very quickly. But as far as priority goes, initial concern will go to anything that is a safety or roadworthiness issue (like the old tires I mentioned above). I’m afraid this one will probably never be ‘showroom’ but it will look good enough to be a conversation piece at an event here or there. Just call me the Bob Vila of old Acuras 😉

  7. Have you gone and lost your mind??? I decided to open up this post, expecting to read about the Samba Green purchase, and I see red!! HAHA! WTH. Just cover your entire backyard with a roof and turn it into a showroom, charging a fee for admission to tour. I could be your tour guide!

  8. Sixspeedmiata Says:

    Thanks for the plug, I like to be the Integra hunter. Nice SLX collection, looking forward to seeing it soon.

  9. Any plans to add a first generation Acura TSX to your collection in the future? 😉

  10. I am sorry but the car is not for sale. However, I will let you test drive it in October. 😀

  11. I love it! Most people would think you’re a little nuts, but from someone who can understand, this makes perfect sense. Better factory spec and a working transmission are worth the trade off. Everything else can be fixed, replaced or repaired with a combination of time and money. Besides, we really want to see you take this on the occasional off-road adventure, so it doesn’t need to be a garage queen. Looking forward to the upcoming detailing posts and videos, I always enjoy watching you perform your magic on newly purchased cars. The ST is heading into the dealership tomorrow for it’s first WOF (our roadworthy inspection here), can you believe it’s already three years old?!? Time has flown. Fingers crossed it passes without any major issues. Hope your week is going well!

    • No way, I can’t believe the ST is already 3 years old! Hope it passes WOF with flying colors (I’m sure it will). Time to get that thing out on another road trip soon! Have a great weekend!

  12. Wow! That’s certainly an adventitious purchase! 😀 I’m sure you’ll soon whip this beat into shape – looking forward to reading more.

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