Archive for the Blog Category

Birthday #35 and New Year 2017 Celebrations

Posted in Blog, ILX, Maintenance on January 7, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  550,089

Trip Distance:  232 Miles

phx_tus

Welcome back to the start of a new year and a few more miles to be driven!

Here’s how my last few years have gone.

  • 2014:  128 blog posts, 115,740 views and 41,008 visitors
  • 2015:  95 blog posts, 113,438 views and 39,165 visitors
  • 2016:  84 blog posts, 107,955 views and 40,495 visitors

Clearly I’m posting less frequently and it looks like that also translates into fewer views overall, though somehow “visitors” remains steady.  Today’s post is just a quickie as I’m out the door (and in the air) at 7:05 a.m. tomorrow morning for my annual trip to the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan.

Here was a fun 2016 annual mileage summary that I put together a few days ago with some notes at the bottom if you’d like to geek out with me.

car_nerdery

We need to have a moment of silence for a newly-departed 2001 MDX that reader “Russell” emailed me about.  After 15 reliable years of service, his MDX succumbed to a rusty frame and had to be retired at 525,609 miles on the odometer.

Russell’s email stated:

Tyson, the harsh chemicals used to treat Connecticut roads took out my car today. The part of the body that bolts to rear axle was destroyed by the salts. Done at 525k. Picked up a certified RDX today w 55k.

img_1303

Best of luck with your RDX, my friend!

Winter’s weather wrath is something we don’t really have to deal with here in the Grand Canyon State.  My backyard, in fact, is still green and I had to mow it the other day – even if only to pick up a few fallen leaves from the tree back there.

backyard

I celebrated a milestone of my own last week by hitting 35 years on my odometer a couple of weeks ago.

35

It was a memorable occasion for many reasons.  One of them was a visit from my friend Paul who’s based in Honolulu but happened to be passing through town with his mother and his girlfriend.

tyson_paul

Later that evening, some of my friends took me out to eat at one of my favorite restaurants.

bday_group

I pulled the Integra out on the grass for a couple of evening photographs.

teg_backyard_2

teg_backyard

One of the buildings in Tempe has windows that can be used to spell things out.  When the Super Bowl was in town a couple of years ago, it said XLIX.  Last week it simply said “2017.”

first_solar

Speaking of XLIX, and ILX, I had a 190,000-mile oil change (they call it a “B1” service) and tire rotation last week.  The technician noted a few maintenance items that may need to be addressed in the near future.  Among them:

  • Rear brake pad replacement
  • Leaking rear shock replacement
  • Air and cabin filter replacement
  • Serpentine belt replacement
  • Brake fluid flush
  • Clutch fluid flush

Guess it’s time to blow the dust off the old wallet (I learned that phrase from Josh) the next time I go in for service.

ilx_notes

190k

My friends and I took a drive to Tucson, Arizona for our New Year festivities.

lions_den

My friend James let us stay overnight in his historic 1914 home near the University of Arizona.

group_pic

On my drive home, I received a picture of myself from another friend who wasn’t traveling with us but who happened to come up behind me on Interstate 10 westbound just outside Phoenix.  The world is too small.

letsom_text

This morning I cruised down to Chandler, Arizona for an annual New Year Meet at Science of Speed, an NSX & S2000 specialty shop that I use for some of my maintenance needs.  There was a really nice turnout – probably 30 to 40 cars.  One of them was this unassuming 1992 Formula Red that looks a lot like mine.

nsx_high_mi

Until you peek at the odometer:  347,216.  Wow!  The owner said he’d owned it for 14 years and the car is still on its original engine and transmission.

nsx_gauges

Have a great rest of your weekend!  I’ll be freezing my buns off in Michigan but seeing some hot cars (hopefully) at the auto show.

Tribute to Million Mile Joe, Home Improvements, & Car Updates

Posted in Arizona, Blog, ILX, Integra, Legend, Milestones on August 6, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  544,118

544118

Odometer (Vigor):  105,807

105807

Only in Arizona could a church use this as an advertising ploy!  I’m tempted to convert.

free_ac

First, a tribute to a man who inspired many.  “Million Mile” Joe LoCicero of Maine became a hero of mine when he and his 1990 Accord reached a million miles back in the fall of 2011. Coincidentally, that was right around the same timeframe when my Legend reached half that distance.  Unfortunately, Joe recently passed away but he will be missed.  As Jason of Driven for Drives put it, “That was a good run.”  Joe, we salute you!

mmj

I was able to track down the VIN to Joe’s Accord, and (nerd that I am) I couldn’t resist running a Carfax report just to see what it looks like when a car’s 6-digit odometer effectively resets itself to zero.

joe_vin

As expected, the title history shows ‘branded’ since the odometer mechanically can’t even show a 7th digit.  (Reminds me of my 1986 Celebrity which only had FIVE digits on the odo).

exceeds

The Accord was in for service in April 2011 at Berlin Honda in Portland, Maine at 970,333 miles.  The next time we saw an odometer reading, it was almost two years later, at Auburn Motor Sales when the readout was 2,707 miles.  Mileage Inconsistency, says Carfax.  Well, duh!

rollover

The most recent Carfax entry on Joe’s old Accord was in December of last year, at 3,341 miles, when the car was purchased by someone in Jefferson, South Carolina.  I’m not sure where the car is today nor who’s driving it, but I hope it’s still getting some time on the open road and not mothballed to a museum where it will dry up and deteriorate.

On the subject of Carfax, I was glad to see that my recent Integra’s emissions pass now shows up, so it’s no longer tarnished by that failure when I brought the car to Arizona earlier this year.

emissions_pass

My apologies for sporadic blog posts in recent weeks as I’m still underwater with home and career activities.  It seems the road tripping has taken a back burner.  My home in Scottsdale, Arizona is on the market and I’ve taught myself how to do some basic repairs.

ABC--FILE PHOTO--HOME IMPROVEMENT-- Starring in the ABC Televison Network's hit comedy series, HOME IMPROVEMENT, are (top to bottom) Tim Allen, Patricia Richardson, Zachary Ty Bryan, Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Taran Smith.

I was quite proud of some drywall repair results, and I spent an entire evening doing a repaint on my guest bedroom which turned out pretty flawlessly.  Here a friend captured me attempting some bathroom updates whilst multi-tasking with my work laptop.

caulk

I ended up with more paint on my hands and shorts than on the wall, I’m pretty sure.

bathroom_repari

It’s yet TBD if I’ll be getting the “dream house” I have my sights set on, but I’m crossing fingers and hoping so.  It would be great news from a car-parking perspective as it has lots of garage space.

acura_coupes

I had an electrician at my home correcting a few small things on Friday afternoon.  I was in the kitchen and he was in the other room working on a light switch.  “All those cars outside yours?” he asked.  “Yeah, I have six cars.”  He responded, “What’s that, you fix cars?”  “Uhh, yeah, that’s right,” I said.  Sometimes I’d just rather not explain the car-collecting craziness.

This week I visited my friend Mirel at his new shop where he’s started a used car dealership.  On site were 3 Legend coupes and a 1992 Dodge Stealth (I’ve always liked those).

integra_legend

Cool plate!

mirel_plate

All these Legends are 6-speed manuals.  Mirel has the right idea!

mirel_coupes

My friend Chris in Maryland has a “twin” car to my Legend sedan.  Awhile back we both decided to go out for a special treat in our own way.  Though separated by 2,009 miles, I enjoyed my iced caramel macchiato and Chris enjoyed his strawberry shake.  My photo on top, his on the bottom.  It’s interesting how the lighting conditions can change the color so much.  In person, they’re identical “Desert Mist Metallic” paint codes.

gs_twins

I extend THANKS to a couple of my friends and readers!  Jason recently had this awesome canvas print made up from my photo at the Arctic Circle back in May.

arctic_circle_canvas

And Tim mailed me these sweet posters from a Honda museum in Ohio capturing the race team.  Looks like I have plenty of art to adorn my garage now!

posters_from_tim

The Legend is getting ready for its trip to Atlanta this September.  I’ll be gone for a full week.

legend_at_chilis

And the ILX is in the hands of a couple of friends this weekend in Boise, Idaho.

ilx_rainbow

Green with envy.  These ones want a road trip, too.

vigor_integra

The NSX is still in southern Utah and my brother had his friend Grant from Renu Auto do a full detail on it.  The paint is finished off with an “Optimum Gloss Coat” paint coating.  Results speak for themselves!

nsx_2

Looking forward to bringing this one back to AZ later this fall.

nsx

Lastly, you all know I have my “Spy Shot Roundup” posts on a regular basis.  In all my years of collecting spy shots from people, I’ve had the same car submitted by multiple people before.  Like twice.  But in recent weeks, FOUR DIFFERENT SPIES have sent me this 1992 Legend L sedan wearing Wisconsin plates!  The owner has to be wondering by now why she’s being followed by such a skilled group of paparazzi!

From Beau, July 16th, 2016

IMG_5118

From Jack, July 20th, 2016

IMG_5115

From Matt, July 21st, 2016

IMG_5117

From Kyle, August 1, 2016

IMG_5116

Unreal!  I’m bound to run into this one eventually!

Check out our wacky late-summer “monsoon” weather.  This 17-second video shows a courtyard at my office on Friday.  First, getting torrential rains, and later – within a couple of hours – with blue skies and sunshine.  Make up your mind, Mother Nature!

The Heat Is On

Posted in Arizona, Blog on June 23, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  543,536

543536

Odometer (ILX):  173,250

173250

Please start playing this video before you read today’s post.  Let it give you some background music.

Okay, you know the heat is bad when twice in one day, you see cars on fire on the side of the road.  It happened on Monday.  First, this red Corvette and then a white Altima later in the day near my house.  I guess these extreme temperatures are taking their toll on more than just us human beings!

corvette_fire

You haven’t lived until you’ve felt 120 degrees on your face, or burned your hand on a metal shift knob.

120

My buddy Sunny was in town from Utah this past weekend and my friends and I enjoyed showing him around a little.  One of the stops we made was to my storage unit in Glendale where I keep the 1994 Legend GS.  We pulled it out and went to lunch nearby at a neat place I discovered called “Kiss the Cook Restaurant.”

sunny_with_gs

kiss_cook_restaurant

Hours are 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Kiss the Cook has some of the best omelets in the Phoenix Valley.  I actually went with a grilled cheese and it was tasty.

kiss_cook_sign

menu

Funny thing about the menu is that it does promise a kiss with every meal.  Our kisses were indeed delivered after paying our bill.  However, as soon as I got outside I realized what a horrible idea it was to take them.  My eyes scanned the parking lot for the nearest dumpster and I promptly threw them away.  Can you imagine putting a Hershey Kiss in your pocket – or anywhere – and getting into a vehicle that’s been baking in 120 degrees?  No thanks!

kisses

I sold my 1993 Legend L sedan this week.  Details will be shared at a later date, but it’s going to a very worthy home and my final mileage on the odometer was just a bit under 179,000.  I only had the car for about a year and I had big plans for it, but just never had enough time, money, or space to really make anything happen with it.  It’s better off going to someone who will actually put it to use.

93b

The transport truck has already arrived on the other side of the country!  It took only 2 days in transit.

93a

Getting loaded up:

I wanted to share a few photos that I received from friends this week.  First off, my friend Scott who worked for American Honda once attended an Acura NSX preview event in 1990 when the first generation NSX debuted.  Here are photos of him with that car.  I also enjoyed seeing the other (now-vintage) models in the background.

scott_nsx_1

Scott has aged just as gracefully as these Acuras in the last 26 years.  Wink wink!  Notice – if you look closely at the license plate in the above photo, it reads:  “YOU’RE FOLLOWING THE MOST SATISFYING CAR ON THE ROAD.”

scott_nsx_2

Speaking of RED cars, my friend Paul sent me this yesterday.  Did you know that for the 2017 model year, Acura is (finally) offering a bright red color on the ILX?  It’s called San Marino Red, and I think it looks fantastic.  I would have opted for that color if it had been available in 2013!  My Silver Moon is kind of “blah” in comparison.

red_ilx

And finally, check out these beauties.  My friend Ira’s TLX and my friend Anthony’s TL-S.

tlx_tl

Stay cool out there!

Salton Sea, California Road Trip Part 2: Slab City, East Jesus, & Niland Mud Pots

Posted in Blog, California, ILX, Road Trip on March 21, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  542,248

542248

Odometer (ILX):  158,038

158038

Trip Distance:  266 Miles

niland_to_scottsdale

“Uhh, guys.  We have a problem,” said Jason with a look of despair as we were just getting ready to hop in the cars and continue our Southern California tour last Saturday.  I couldn’t think of what could possibly be the problem.  My eyes immediately went to the tires of his car thinking he might have a flat.  “I locked my keys in the trunk,” he told us.  My mind started rushing with the complexity of the situation.  Here we were, 4 miles down a dirt road in a teeny town with only 1,000 people, standing in a field next to some geothermal mud pots.

jason

If it had been 30 years ago, we might have had to go into town and summon help the old fashioned way.  But the solution was pretty clear and pretty flawless:  James hit the OnStar button on the overhead console of his 2016 Chevy Malibu and summoned help.  The representative was able to patch us through to an available locksmith about 30 miles away in Brawley.  Meanwhile, we had about an hour to kill, so I sat in the backseat of the Malibu and took advantage of its WiFi hotspot and air conditioning vents since it was 90 degrees outside.  Technology has really made even an emergency situation feel pretty dang convenient.  Help came to the rescue:

locksmith

We pick up today’s story after our visit to Salvation Mountain near Niland and take it even deeper into the “weird category.”  Imagine a place where you can take a vehicle, tent, trailer, or even corrugated tin and pop up a dwelling and just stay there as long as you want.  It’s the “last free place in America,” say some.

slab_sign

Slab City, USA.  If you want to live in the middle of the desert, the land is yours for the taking.  Jason, James, and I headed eastward on a dirt road from Salvation Mountain and entered a wide expanse of land that was littered – literally – with peoples’ belongings and makeshift residences.  A man playing guitar atop an entrance sign looked like he might have been a permanent resident.

guitar_man

I’d seen a hand-painted sign promoting a library of some sort, so I decided to head that direction and see what we could find.  The washboard road was dusty and I lost sight of James in my rearview mirror as I left his white Malibu in a cloud.  But soon I saw a big painted arrow which pointed me in the direction of the library’s parking lot.  “24 hour Library,” it said.

library2

Here we met some locals.  While browsing the books in this open-air shack, I saw a couch and a couple of chairs set up around a chess set.  An old man in a cowboy hat came up and greeted us, cigarette in hand.  “John,” his name we later learned, proceeded to give us a warm welcome to Slab City and provide the run-down on everything we possibly wanted to know.  “You guys skateboard?” he asked.  “You guys want to float the canal?”  His stories were endless.  The library, as it turns out was operated by a one-legged woman and her boyfriend named Caveman, who weren’t there that day.  (“But don’t ask about her leg,” he said.  “She lost it train-track hopping and that’s about all she wants to say.”)

john_john

For being set up in a shack, this library was remarkably well organized by topic or theme.  A “Google Tree” contained the encyclopedia / reference section.  John, and another guy who surfaced who was also named John, extended an invitation to the upcoming Prom Night in Slab City where they’ll have live music and other entertainment along with a “formal” (tongue in cheek) dance.  There was a table spray painted “Free” with all sorts of garbage up for grabs.  I asked John & John if it ever rained in Slab City (wondering how all the books are so well-preserved).  They said it only happens a couple of times a year.  They both heartily recommended we take the time to visit a place called East Jesus, down the road, so we headed that direction after getting our fill of the library.

east_jesus_sign

“EJ” the sign led us, so I stirred up another clout of dust in my ILX and my fellow road-trippers and I entered the next quirky phase of our day’s journey.  There was a literal fork in the road.  I hit the brakes so quickly out of excitement that I activated the ABS system and skidded to a stop on the dirt road.

fork_in_road

In East Jesus, it’s art for days.  People have taken garbage and made things out of it.  An old Honda Civic sedan at the entrance was covered in circuit boards and bullet shells.  There was a wall of television sets with messages painted on them.

tvs

This was perhaps the most oddball collection of “stuff” I think I’ve ever seen.  I’ll let the pictures and video tell the story here.

buckshot

Jason, James, and I had lunch back in Niland at the Buckshot Deli & Diner.  The hamburger meat is homemade and delicious, and I chugged two huge glasses of their lemonade. A sign on the wall read:  Food choices:  1)  Take it.  2)  Leave it.

mud

The last place on my “to-see” list was something I’d read about online called the mud pots.  Just 6 miles from where we had lunch, but about 4 of those miles were on a dirt road.  That had never stopped us before, so we decided to check them out.  Mud bubbles up from the ground and sometimes shoots into the air.  Over time, it has formed little mounds of dirt. It reminded me a lot of the geothermal activity at Yellowstone National Park.

shoe

tyson_mud

I got a little too close to a fresh mud stream and ended up ankle-deep in it.  My shoe was so heavy afterward.  The other guys had a good laugh about it.  The good news was that I had a pair of flip-flops in my trunk ready for just such an emergency.

mud_pot_parking

Mud pot video:

It was around this time when we were just getting ready to part ways and Jason had his keys-in-the-trunk incident.  A nice man in a pickup truck gave us bottled waters while we waited.  I was surprised it took the roadside assistance guy no more than 5 minutes to get access to Jason’s car and get us back on our way after he’d arrived.  James and I headed east on Highway 78 while Jason made his way to Interstate 8 and we split up the threesome.  Our route took us through the Imperial Sand Dunes – also called Algodones Dunes – which span 45 miles in length by 6 miles in width.

dunes_sign

There were lots of people out in off-road vehicles enjoying them.  The highway itself was a bit of a roller-coaster with lots of dips posted 55 miles per hour but a lot of fun when taken at about 10 mph over that.

dunes

We dined in Blythe, California – reunited with Interstate 10 and our favorite diner, the Courtesy Coffee Shop.  The grilled cheese was just what I needed to fuel me sufficiently for the final 2 hours of the drive back into Arizona and home to Scottsdale.

Here are the rest of my pics from our adventurous day!

Inside the library at Slab City

library

Lounge area inside the libary

couch

“Google Tree”

google_tree

Bathroom break in the middle of nowhere along the dirt road

ilx_6

Not even sure what this thing is

keyboards

More from East Jesus

creature

Nice dashboard on this 1980s Toyota Tercel.  Clutch felt good!

tercel_dahs

This is called the “Car-B-Que” at East Jesus.  They light bonfires inside an old Mercedes sedan.

car_b_que

Menu at Buckshot Restaurant in Niland, Calif

buckshot_menu

Looking down into a mud pot

mud2

Sand dunes along Highway 78 between Brawley and Blythe, California

ilx_dunes

Oh, and HAPPY 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY!  It was 5 years ago today (March 21, 2011) that I made my first post on Drive to Five.  Since then, the blog has been viewed 418,313 times.  My biggest day ever, with 1,800 views, was the day after I posted about getting my new 2013 ILX back in June 2012.

Thanks for being a part of the adventure, and here’s to many more good times.

drive_to_five_5_year_summary

Acura “Periscope” Event – Tomorrow!

Posted in Blog on December 9, 2015 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  148,877

148877

So here’s something a little different.  Anybody free tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. Pacific?

If you have a smart phone, you’re going to want to download the free app “Periscope” if you haven’t already.  The logo looks like this.

periscope_logo

Here’s the idea behind Periscope:  You’re able to pop your head into the life of a random person (or to follow specific people) across the world for a glimpse into what they’re doing in real-time, with photo and video.  I was first introduced to Periscope by none other than Jason Richmond, better known as HondaPro Jason, when he was streaming live video from the SEMA Show in Las Vegas in November.  I’ve since seen it used as a powerful and engaging way to entertain viewers!   It’s the next best thing to having all those attendees there in the flesh.

I gave Periscope a test-drive for the first time this week, and I’m a little hooked.  I decided to see who was online in my general neighborhood and randomly clicked a broadcasting user.  “Thanks for joining, Tyson,” the guy on the screen said.  A total stranger!  He knew my name because it had shown up on his screen that another viewer had joined the feed.  Awkward for me, but funny at the same time.  Later I went global and selected a live feed from a Periscope user in Buenos Aires.  The guy’s message was entirely in Spanish, but the funny thing was, his background music was “Creed” with that classic “With Arms Wide Open.”  Thousands of miles away and enjoying Creed.  Who’da thunk it?

Point of all this – tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. Pacific there will be a special charity event to benefit the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation that involves Periscope and slot cars.  At this time that’s about all I’m at liberty to say, but here’s the official announcement:

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines. The Slot Car Holiday Heats are live this Thursday. Join @Acura on Periscope on 12/10 at 10:30am PST for a charity race. Benefiting the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. #RaceYourHeartOut

More details tomorrow!  For now, get your phones ready for race action.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

 

 

The 90’s Are Back

Posted in Blog, ILX, Legend, NSX, Road Trip, Vigor on July 12, 2015 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend Coupe):  534,030

534030

Odometer (Legend Sedan):

146970

Odometer (Vigor):  104,384

104384

Odometer (NSX):  100,807

100807

Odometer (ILX):  133,489

133489

Total Combined Miles:  1,019,680

Time warp.  If you drove down my street last night at 7:40 p.m., you would have seen me standing on a step ladder in the middle of the street to capture a picture that embodied the essence of 1990’s Japanese car design.  The Vigor, Legend, and NSX parked on my driveway were three of the four vehicles marketed by Acura Division of Honda Motor Company in the early 90’s under the “Precision Crafted Performance” slogan.  I’m pretty sure the neighbors were peeking out from behind their blinds and making fun of me.

three

Some 20-plus years after they were introduced, each of these vehicles have aged well and are well on their way to becoming classics.

backs2

Ranked in order of price here, the Vigor was $28k, the Legend, $41k, and the NSX $65k when new.  That’s $134,000 worth of cars, that I paid a total of $36,500 for.  Did I get a deal or what?

three2

In the background here were two “hiding” Hondas – my neighbor’s black Accord and my 2013 ILX.

backs

Thanks for putting up with my craziness but this was a photoshoot I’d been wanting to do for some time now.

three3

Today I have a grab-bag of features to share – no real “theme” but rather just a a few updates on what’s been going on this past week.

ilx_mr_luckys
Automotive journalist Jeff Koch who did the photos for my Hemmings feature last November invited me to check out a car he was testing.  It’s this 2015 Dodge Charger Hellcat in “TorRed” paint job.  It’s an absolute monster of a car, with a 707-horsepower V8 engine that left me grabbing for a handle when Jeff gave it a little gas on the Loop 101 onramp.

hellcat

Even just while parked outside the pizza joint where Jeff and I grabbed lunch, the Hellcat drew a crowd of Mopar fanatics.

jeff_with_hellcat

Sometimes I wish I had 700 horses at my command, but then I realize that my 201-horsepower ILX is getting 34.8 over miles per gallon.  I’ll take the fuel economy.  You all know how much I drive.

nsx_at_shellys

On Thursday, my friends Chris, James, and I went over to check out a sweet custom home owned by our friend Shelly.  Look at that lineup of garages!  Real estate goal of mine, for sure.

nsx_tyson

Meanwhile, I’ve made some great progress this week with my “new” 1994 Vigor GS.  I had to laugh when Chuck from Acura’s Public Relations team in Torrance, California made a comment on my Instagram post about picking up the Vigor.  “You own more cool Acura cars than we do — and we’re Acura, for crying out loud!”  Well, Chuck, come borrow the keys any time!

chuck_comment

I had a few visitors this week coming to check out the car.  One was Joe who drives a 1995 Legend LS.

tyson_joe

One was my friend Armando who drives a sweet Subaru SVX.

svx

And one was Phil who drives a 1992 Legend LS.  Thanks to all you guys for stopping by!

tyson_phil

The Vigor got some detailing this week.  I took to the undercarriage with a high pressure wash so I could clean out 20 years’ worth of dirt & gunk that the car had accumulated during its lifetime in Colorado.  Then I hit the paint with a hand-wax of Meguiar’s carnauba wax and buffed it off with a microfiber towel.  It turned out nicely.

vigor_trunk

The interior doesn’t need much but I’ll probably condition the leather soon.

vigor_interior

Exhaust tip polish:  Before & After

vigor_tips

Freshly painted wiper arms in black satin Rust-Oleum.

wiper_arms

Oil change and full inspection at Acura of Tempe (couldn’t resist a photo with a new TLX)

vigor_tlx

And looking pretty shiny now.

vigor_clean

Ben from AutoNation where I purchased the car sent me a follow-up email.  It’s clearly a “form” email, but I had to laugh at how he offered to help me understand how to operate the “technology.”  Thanks, Ben, but I can handle 1994 technology just fine!

ben_email

In other Acura news, my younger brother Payton picked up a sweet ride for his daily driver.  He’s now in a 1993 Legend L coupe 6-speed with just 135,000 on the odometer.  He sent me this text earlier in the week to share the news.

payt_text

After some fresh window tint and a quick wash, he had it looking great already.  Congrats Payton!

payton_coupe

Yesterday, a few friends and I went to Sedona for a day.  It’s a nice escape from Phoenix – only about 120 miles each way – and offers cooler temperatures and nice landscapes all around.  I’ve blogged about Sedona multiple times, including most recently in a Toyota & GMC pickup truck comparo back in May.  James captured this photo of the ILX northbound on Highway 179.

ilx_hwy_179

 

sedona_sign

 

Scenic viewpoint in Sedona

tyson_in_sedona

Couldn’t sit here long – parking not allowed along that stretch, and the lot was full with tourists!

ilx_in_sedona

Dating back to 1993, this McDonald’s on Highway 89A is the only one in the world with its arches painted turquoise instead of yellow.  The city mandated the color change in the interest of preserving the “desert” color scheme of the town.  Even the homes blend in. Here I’m with Jack and Donald, two of my road trip partners.  Thanks to James from Six Speed Blog for taking the photo.

tyson_jack_don

Rolling back into Phoenix on Interstate 17 southbound

ilx_interstate_17

And lastly:  I don’t know where or how this photo was captured (and it wasn’t by me!) but isn’t that new NSX sweet?

nsx_testing

Have a great week!

Carfax Reports and Smog Checks

Posted in Blog, ILX, Legend, Maintenance on May 7, 2015 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend Coupe):  533,379

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Odometer (Legend Sedan):  146,786

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Odometer (ILX):  124,503

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Some people buy a vehicle as a disposable appliance – a sheer means of transportation to get from A to B.  Others hold their vehicles so near and dear that they’ll rebuild them – twice – after catastrophic collisions.  Where do you fall within that range of car owners?

One of my favorite things to do on rare weekends when I stay in town is to visit the local Ecology “pick & pull” auto junkyard, plunk down $2 for my entry fee, and simply wander around through the aisles of parted-out cars.  I like to eyeball the interiors and look specifically at the gauge clusters to see just how many miles each one traveled before being put to rest in the graveyard.  Occasionally I’ll come across something with fewer than 100,000 miles on it.  Most of the time the odometers are between 200,000 and 300,000.  And every once in awhile, I’ve seen them beyond that – but never anything in the 400’s or 500’s.

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The thing that I wonder about, though, is what kind of story each car would tell if it could talk.  How many of those vehicles have ever had “Just Married” painted on them?  How many were driven by a zealous 16-year-old as his or her first car?  How many ever took a cross-country trip from one coast to the other?  How many of them were ever stolen?  Or, a more somber thought, how many of them became witness to their driver’s death in a collision?

Many people today buy a car without ever having thought of its prior ownership history.  For me, such history is a hugely important part of how “good”  a used car is.  I go crazy for a clean car for sale by its original owner, with a stack of detailed maintenance paperwork, a clean title, and some original floor mats.  Mmmm.  It’s scary to think of buying something without any kind of record.  There are, however, ways to at least know something about where any car’s been.

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Carfax and Autocheck are companies in business to provide that kind of reporting.  Carfax has been around since 1986.  The company has access to 10 billion records from 86,000 sources (motor vehicle departments, auctions, insurance companies, repair facilities, etc).  With just a VIN or a license plate (and a credit card), regular consumers can pull vehicle history reports from those billions of records.  Carfax is certainly not a complete record, and it should only be considered for a used car purchase in combination with other research.

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As I’ve been casually in the market for a 1992-94 Acura Vigor, I grabbed a $45 Carfax account and started running reports on a few prospective cars, including the above pictured beauty (sarcasm).  My account gives me access to UNLIMITED reports by license plate / state, or 5 reports by 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).  I had some fun with this.

One Vigor showed record of a whopping 13 owners in its lifetime.  I ran some of my friends’ cars for the heck of it, too.  I also checked out some of my “old” cars to see where they ended up. I was intrigued by the report on my first car:  the 1986 Chevy Celebrity that was my pride and joy from 1997-98.  I laughed the other day when I saw this picture on Instagram because the keys shown there are exactly what the keys to my Celeb looked like (square for the ignition, round for the door & trunk locks – I think).

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I know my parents bought the car new in 1986 from Axtell Chevrolet in Logan, Utah.  But the first record on Carfax wasn’t until March 1994 with an odometer reading of 555 miles.  Say what?  Yes.  The odometer on that Celebrity only had 5 digits.  So, by the time the car was only 8 years old, it had already turned over to 00,000 and made any future readings erroneous.  Utah noted that fact on the Celebrity’s report.  The car’s title was branded with “Exceeds Mechanical Limits.”  Can you imagine if my ILX only had a 5-digit odometer?  It would have rolled over once already and it’s a 2-year-old car.

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By the time I got the Celebrity, it had around 194,000 miles on it.  But of course, the odometer read only 94,000.

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That Celebrity dropped off Carfax reporting a decade ago, since the last record was a purchase reported in March 2005.  I’m sure the car has long since been crushed and turned into scrap metal.

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I thought it would be interesting to go ahead and share the detailed Carfax reports for my Legend and for my ILX.  The Legend’s history is tainted so it’s a little unnerving to post it here, but it’s all in the interest of a good history lesson.  Some of you may know that I hit two deer with the Legend in summer 2007.

It took almost six years — until early 2013 — before that insurance claim started showing up on the Carfax report!  My car’s title today is clear.  There are a whopping 77 service records, and oddly enough, Carfax thinks my Legend is actually worth about $2,600 MORE than retail book value!  That means I could price it at about $4,700 since “excellent” condition value is $2,173.

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It took me 11 screen captures to get the full Legend Carfax report.  Here you go!

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Then there’s the ILX.  Clockwork maintenance from Acura of Tempe, and not much else.

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There’s one more Legend record that’ll be showing up soon.  I got a $41.23 oil change on Wednesday with 5W30 synthetic blend oil at Acura of Tempe.  It had been over 6 months since my last service, but only 1,703 miles.  I really hadn’t driven the car much since last fall!  Here’s the latest snapshot from my Excel maintenance record showing service and repair costs since about 512,000 miles.

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The technician did note a number of leaks, including the differential, transmission, driver side inner CV boot, and rear main seal.  This all does come as a bit of a surprise though since my garage floor is squeaky clean and I’ve never noticed a drop in any fluid levels.

Today during lunch, I took my Legend GS sedan for its emissions (“smog”) testing.  The test is required once every two years and it evaluates the levels of pollutants in the exhaust output.  The wait was only about 20 minutes.

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Here are the numbers:

  • Hydrocarbons in grams/mile:  .49 (applicable standard = .80)
  • Carbon monoxide in grams/mile:  7.65 (applicable standard = 12)
  • Oxides of nitrogen in grams/mile:  .66 (applicable standard = 2)

It passed, I was issued my certificate for a $20 fee, and I went on my way.  My 2-year renewal registration with the State of Arizona was only $95, and $50 of that was because I have a personalized tag.  It really is a cheap car to hang onto.  I gave the car a bath before putting it back into storage.

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Oops, should have pulled out the vacuum.

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Happy Friday!