Quick Retreat: Exploring Southern California with Vigor [Featuring the Honda Museum!]

Odometer (Vigor):  114,000

Trip Distance:  856 Miles

I was pulling up to the emissions check station for the 2-year smog check in the 1994 Vigor this morning when the odometer turned exactly 114,000.0 miles.  Small miracles like that have a way of making my day.

Then I extended my arm to rest my elbow on the window sill while waiting for my turn.  I’m pretty sure I got a second-degree burn from the temperature of the surface.  This Phoenix heat doesn’t mess around:  It’s like opening up the clothes dryer, crawling inside, and setting the timer for 40 minutes of permanent press.  But that’s OK.  We have the refuge of various refreshing beaches within a half-day’s drive.

My friend Dillon was paying us a visit from the east coast, all the way from North Carolina.  Dillon is a long-time friend and fellow automotive enthusiast, so he was a great road-trip companion for the roughly 900-mile weekend trip to Southern California.

Our trip took us first to the exclusive and private Honda Collection Hall, located just a block from the American Honda corporate office in Torrance.  I’d heard that it would be open for an informal open house / reception, and since Dillon and our other accompanying friend Joseph had never been inside, we decided to check it out.

My favorite artifact in the museum was the Laurel Blue Metallic 1990 Accord LX on display with over 1 million miles on it.  That’s right – we were in the presence of high-mileage royalty:  “Million Mile Joe’s” car, which made it that distance on its original engine and transmission.  Joe was recognized with a parade and a free car, but unfortunately has since passed away.  His Accord lives on under the caretaking hands of the curators of the museum.

Here is a video on the MMJ Accord.

No trip to CA is complete without its share of traffic, and we were dealt a hefty serving of it.  It took us about 4 hours to go the < 200 miles from Los Angeles to San Diego where we’d be spending the remainder of our weekend.  But the company was enjoyable and the cooler temps made for a prime opportunity to put the windows down and enjoy the scenery as we rolled southbound, with occasional views of the Pacific Ocean from Interstate 5.

We met up with another Vigor owner, Ryan, for lunch on Saturday as well as Mike with a Mustang and Jason with a Civic.  It was a rare sight to see the 3 Acura Vigors in one parking lot together, and in fact, during some photos at the stadium next door after lunch, we even (unintentionally) parked them in proper order, from model years 1992, 1993, and 1994.

All said and done, the trip was just what the doctor ordered to cool us down a bit.  Here is a 9-minute video celebrating the 4 years I’ve owned my Vigor (since 4th of July, 2015) as well as highlights fro the California adventure with Dillon and others.  And below are some other news updates from in and around the garage.

In other car updates, the RL got a wax job and is looking great for 210,000 miles.

Recent visit from a few friends.

Supporting my friend Ethan from Hello Road with a T-shirt.  Give his channel a look!

I loved this del Sol ad that I found on Facebook.

Cruising the ‘Sol with my buddy Kurt.

Musical cars.

RL at a housing development called “The New Legend.”  Fitting.

Tail end of Joe’s car

A couple great cars in the museum

Beach time near Belmont Park

Dropping off Dillon at Sky Harbor on Monday night

The ‘new’ (red) SLX is coming along.  I’m getting mixed reactions from followers who have kept up with the progress so far.  A few have said that the vehicle would be better suited as fire kindling in the backyard given its condition.

Others are 100% supportive of continuing with restoration efforts to see what I can make of it.  I don’t intend to go all-in with effort & expense.  At this point the objective is just to ensure roadworthiness and make it look decent enough for a Radwood car show.  I’m pretty much there.  I showed it for its first time two Saturdays ago, at the Scottsdale Pavilions show on July 6.

Dining out while at the show.

Here are 2 more episodes from my YouTube if you haven’t seen them already.

Engine detail

Nice results!

New wheels

12+ new hoses thanks to Hon-Man

Should I have gone this direction with the rebuild?

19 Responses to “Quick Retreat: Exploring Southern California with Vigor [Featuring the Honda Museum!]”

  1. Jurassic park SLX??? Yea… er no. 😀 Actually it is pretty cool, but I’d feel a bit of a dork driving it! As it is RED appears to be coming on nicely.
    Sounds like you had a great trip and that museum look great. The million mile Accord is amazing! And on it’s original transmission? Very cool.

  2. A Honda museum, friends, and a beach? Sounds like a great way to beat the heat! Glad to see the Vigor is still doing well after four years of ownership and made the trip with no major issues. You may have mentioned it and I just missed it, but does it need any maintenance or repairs in the near future?

    Man, that secret Honda museum is definitely on my bucket list of places I’d love to see. I’m happy that they have Joe LoCicero’s Accord. It’s sad that he’s passed on, but cool that his Accord, at least, will be spared the junkyard or falling into the hands of some modder kid who ruins it by slathering it in plastidip or modding it to death. If I ever visited there, I’m not sure which car I’d run to first – probably that first-gen Prelude or one of the Integras. Did you hav a favorite there?

    • I think my favorite was Joe’s car, for sure, just because of the stories it could tell “if it could talk.” What an inspirational car. The Vigor seems to be doing well, maintenance wise. The only thing I can think of that might be on the to-do list is that the tires are getting old and it could use an alignment since it pulls to the left. Also, the radio is pretty much garbage. The speakers sound like tinny “department store” FM radio with mostly just treble.

  3. A vigorous trip! Bittersweet to see Joe’s million mile Accord given that he’s no longer with us. At least his memory lives on with his car on display at Honda’s museum. Think your Legend coupe might end up there after the one million mark as well? 🙂

    • Totally agreed, it’s a nice tribute. The Legend coupe likely won’t hit 1M in my lifetime (I have 9 other cars right now to “share” miles with) but it’s already been inside the museum – it was parked there for 1 days on 11/4/11 when I hit 500k. And that’s good enough for me. Hope you have a great weekend, Brad!

  4. Hello Tyson.

    I love the following video of million mile Joe. Do you think you can incorporate it into your post? Thank you.

  5. What a fun trip and clearly got lots of sun. I’m betting San Diego is in full recovery mode now that you’ve left. Lets talk about that Jurassic Park SLX tho! You need one! Looking forward to reading about your recent endeavor.

  6. Wesley Adams Says:

    Even Tyson isn’t immune to a little criticism!


    I love the red SLX build and think it’s awesome!

    I love seeing all of these vintage Hondas!

    There’s a guy on AcuraZine who just got a 92 Integra RS that he is restoring!

    Seeing more people do that brimgs me here, where the vintage Hondas amd Acuras live!

  7. I saw million mile joe passed 3 yrs ago today. What happened? He was pretty young.

    SLX is coming along nicely. I’m still amazed at the growing number of 4 door automatics in your fleet!

    • I know, I looked it up the other day, I think he was in his 50s. Not sure what happened, but glad his car is in good hands (and I hope it’s getting driven a bit). Have a good weekend!

  8. SLX keeps looking better each time! I’m a supporter of this project. Glad the Vigor has been getting some time on the road. Certainly a gem. I was super happy to see Joe’s Accord is being showcased in the Honda collection. That thing looks new! Did that collection used to have a green Del Sol like yours?

    • I don’t believe the Honda collection currently has a del Sol, or at least, it’s not on display in the room we visited. (I have heard they have other adjacent storage facilities).

  9. Thank you for sharing your pictures of the Million Mile Honda from the Museum. Joe & I visited the museum when we traveled to the west coast. It was wonderful to see that they took out of storage and placed on the showroom floor with all the other HONDA GREATS!
    Joe would be so happy to know know folks still appreciate
    his accomplishments.
    Enjoy Life & Reach for Your Goals : )
    Sharon L.

    • Sharon, it’s an honor to have you stop by the blog! Thank you and your family for your inspiration to all of us. I wish I could have met Joe when he was around, but glad to know that his Accord is being preserved and enjoyed. Drop a line if you ever find yourself in Arizona – I’d love to introduce you to my collection of cars that aspire to the mileage Joe achieved. Tyson

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