Archive for the California Category

Best Hits of the 80s & 90s: “Radwood 2” Car Show in Anaheim, California

Posted in California, Car Show, Legend, Road Trip on December 3, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  557,148

Trip Distance:  356 Miles

Let’s take a moment to appreciate my fashion sense in this photo from circa 1990.  I’m pictured at left here with my two brothers.  Rolled up jean shorts?  Check.

Popped collars, fanny packs, and porn-staches greeted me upon arrival to “The Phoenix Club” yesterday morning just a few miles from Disneyland in Anaheim, California.  It was almost as if I’d gotten stuck in a time warp and traveled back in history 20 years.  When I saw this Delorean a few minutes later with license plate “BKNTYME,” my suspicions were confirmed.

Yesterday’s event was the most brilliantly-executed and exciting car show I have attended in years.  It was something different, and something very “me.”

Radwood” was a contrast to go from the white-collar LA Auto Show media days which I attended earlier this week, with its forever growing ego-contest and snooty “the coffee at our booth is better than yours” attitude, to a venue where cutoff jeans are appropriate, Bud Lights are readily available, and Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me” is blasting on the loudspeaker.  I loved every minute of it.  I only wish I’d invested in a slap bracelet, Hypercolor T-shirt, or some stone washed jeans ahead of time so I could better dress the part.  One smart attendee was even taking pictures with a disposable camera!  You know, the kind that you “click,” then have to manually advance the film.

This event was born as a small show in 2016 in the Bay Area catering specifically to the era of vehicles produced from 1980 through 1999.  Now in only its second year, the event shifted venues to a place with far more capacity and still sold out well in advance.  Thanks in part to clever partnership with Jalopnik, Clarion, Japanese Nostalgic Car, Bring a Trailer, and many other sponsors, the word was spread far and wide.

Attendees traveled from all around the country to attend.  One attendee – Peter Monshizadeh – drove all the way from Overland Park, Kansas, and entered three vehicles in the show:  His Dodge pickup truck, which was towing a trailer with his Nissan 300ZX and a period correct motorcycle.  That’s dedication.

And who could forget automotive journalist extraordinaire Jason Cammisa running around in booty shorts that would make Richard Simmons jealous.  This was a sight to behold.  Jason’s immaculate BMW E30 station wagon, among many other “feature cars” including my friend Chris Hoffman’s CRX, was on display in the main tent area near the stage.  Jason ended up taking home an award – a 1985 Nintendo game cartridge glued to a plaque, of course – for his Bimmer, and it was well deserved.  His enthusiasm added to the fun and atmosphere of the program.

I was in good company in the Honda/Acura family.  My friend Rob Pia proudly showed his immaculate, 130,000-mile 1994 Legend sedan in glistening Cashmere Silver Metallic, and next to him my friend Chris Green parked his award-winning 1986 Honda Prelude with only 50,000 miles on the odometer.

I had the privilege of meeting a couple of ‘new’ Legend owners, too, and had some friends stop by who live in the area.  Cars from all regions were accepted and recognized.  Even the 1991 Pontiac Bonneville parked in our row with nearly an entire keyboard of buttons on its steering wheel attracted lots of attention.  Another guy named Tyson who drives a beautiful black 1997 BMW M3 introduced himself and his car to me – complete with a period correct cassette tape sitting on the center console.

But how about this?

Perhaps one of my favorite vehicles was Ryan Glass’ 1992 Ford Explorer, which started life as a pretty ho-hum Eddie Bauer edition but has been extensively and painstakingly converted into a Jurassic Park movie icon.  “Spared no expense,” were the words that came to mind as he described to me the custom wrap, brochures in the back seat, bumper and taillight protector guards, and even a pair of velociraptor-spotting goggles on the passenger seat.

As the day carried on, I reflected on how much I appreciated the laid-back and friendly vibe at Radwood.  I hope the event continues its great momentum and carries on for years to come.  I’m already starting to brainstorm ideas for next year’s trip, and it might have to be in the Vigor since I didn’t see one this year.  Now if I could just get ahold of some Reebok Pump footwear.  Below are some more pictures and a short video!

I knew the day started off right when I saw this pay phone outside my motel in Orange, California.

I put my custom wheelstand to use that my brother hand-built for me out of aluminum.

Roll-in shot, thanks to Chris in the 1986 Prelude.

Photo with Rob in ‘vintage’ motif.

Ran into my friend Grant with his beautiful Mercedes SL.  Check that fanny pack, too.

One of two super clean generation 1 Legend coupes on display.

And another.  Becki was awesome!  How much Aqua Net did she need for her hair?

Visit from Penny.

Shooting the breeze with Jalopnik’s Andrew Collins.

A visit from Fred and checking out the Clarion Legend coupe.

The aforementioned 1991 Bonneville!  With a “LeBra” on the front, of course.

Love me a big-body Benz 560 SEC.

Original owner 1990 Honda Civic 4-speed manual with over 300,000 original miles.

Just $6,635 MSRP for this thing.  I think he got his money’s worth!

My friends Felix and Matt

Love the 1990s Mitsubishi Eclipses.  What happened to Mitsubishi?

Good NSX representation, too.

Sweet CRX, but look what’s on the roof.

That’s right:  Boombox and some cassettes!

Reconnecting with the man himself:  Matt Farah and his now-969,000-mile 1996 Lexus LS400.  I drove this car a couple of years ago and blogged about it.  It’s on a quest to hit a million miles.

Oooh, love this old 5-series BMW.

2G Integras with a super clean 3G Prelude.

My friend Derek, repping a Mazda 929 sedan.

Late night drive home to Phoenix!

2017 “AutoMobility” & Los Angeles International Auto Show

Posted in California, Car Show, Legend, Road Trip, Vehicle Reviews on December 1, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  556,770

Trip Distance:  379 Miles

Greetings!  I’m jotting down a few words here from the Media Center at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  LACC is now pretty familiar turf for me, as I’ve had the opportunity to attend a number of times.  Here are write-ups from my prior LA Auto Show visits:

I had to miss 2016 due to work engagements, but I still made it to some of the social eventsRedline Reviews‘ Editor-in-Chief Sofyan Bey was kind enough to extend an invitation to me so I could be a part of the festivities this year.

After two full days about about 10 miles walked between the South Hall and the West Hall to see all the latest and greatest, I can tell you there is a lot of change brewing in the automotive industry as a whole.  Personal mobility is taking on a whole new dynamic, as technology speedily moves toward an increased focus on autonomy.  As cars become faster, safer, and more efficient, similar strides are being made in self-driving technology.  It’s no mystery, though, that I’m a driver.  Is “automobility” something I should dread or embrace?

My trek to LA started on Tuesday afternoon from Phoenix in the Legend coupe.  It’s a tried and true road warrior, and certainly a more comfortable cruiser than the 1992 Integra I drove to Utah last weekend for Thanksgiving.  The closer I got to the epicenter of the 13-million-resident LA metro area, the more congested my beautiful open roads became.  I was delayed about 35 minutes on I-10 nearing Riverside thanks to a combination of accident + commuter traffic.  Gotta love it.  In all, the 379-mile one-way trip took me close to 7 hours.

Wednesday was a jam-packed day of press conferences, kicking off with a BMW presentation around 8:30 and a stampede of journalists migrating from one booth to the next throughout the day.  Some of the big news this year?  Oh just a few highlights that stuck out to me:  Lexus coming out with a 3-row RX SUV.  BMW launching a convertible i8 and new M5.  Mercedes has a new CLS.  Mazda’s next-generation 6 sedan is out.  Subaru has launched its biggest SUV yet, a 3-rower called the Ascent.  Nissan’s “Kicks” replaces the Juke, and Hyundai has its own new cute-ute called the Kona.

600 horsepower, all-wheel-drive BMW?  Hotness.  Not to mention that color.

Jeep’s Wrangler comes back again looking about the same but with a completely new chassis and lots more tech.  Kia debuts its new Sorento, Infiniti shows the QX50, and Lincoln ditches its alphanumeric naming conventions for traditional names like its new Nautilus (replacing the MKX).  That’s a step in the right direction, don’t you all agree?  It was a slow-ish show for Honda & Acura, with no formal press conferences but still plenty to look at inside the respective booths.  I can’t begin to squeeze two full days of automotive news into a few paragraphs here, but check out Redline’s YouTube playlist on the auto show for a glimpse at some of the sights and sounds we enjoyed.

The vehicles on display at LAAS are only part of the appeal of the event.  It attracts some of the world’s renowned auto journalists.  Our team ended up seated in the Media Center right behind most of the Jalopnik staff, including Andrew Collins who I can thank for this awesome piece he put together about a year ago.

The after-hours activities this year were just as entertaining, with a Hyundai-sponsored party the first evening at Novo night club, and a social event in West Hollywood the following night at Doheny Room where I connected with a few fellow journalists.  All too soon, it was time to again part ways with those colleagues.  The Redline team flew out Friday morning and I made my way (90 minutes to drive 38 miles – thanks again, LA!) toward Anaheim for a car show to be held Saturday morning.  More on that to come in a future post!

Acura booth with the redesigned 2018 RLX on display

Don’t mind if I do hang out here!

I admired some of Honda’s hardware while in the booth.  These dozen or more awards are just from this year’s LA Auto Show alone!  There are boxes and boxes of things like this sitting at the corporate office in Torrance.

Fellow car geeks Brian and Chris

Some of you may recognize this ‘other’ Brian – none other than the famous Brian Cooley from CNET.

Quick shot with the Redline team (Sofyan, Peace, Rob) and Honda’s Davis Adams.

Street parking the coupe in West Hollywood!

This might just be the best motel parking space I’ve ever had.  Huge.

Bonus:  A few pics from last weekend’s Thanksgiving trip to Utah

Brother’s redoing his living room and said I could park in it.  Why not?

My nephew Locke

Cruising around some of my old stomping grounds

HUGE shout-out to blog reader Eric who had this custom embroidered Polo shirt made up for me, with the date of my 555 milestone from back in October!  Thanks, Eric!

Over and out!

 

 

 

Catching Up: Acura Day in Torrance, St. George Marathon, & 555,555 Milestone

Posted in California, Integra, Legend, Milestones, TL, Utah on October 15, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  556,062

Odometer (Integra):  241,233

Check this out.  You are looking at 7 friends on a hill overlooking St. George, Utah.  And those two cars – at the precise moment this photo was taken – had a combined 1,111,111 miles on their odometers.  It was a special day on Saturday, October 7th when my friend Josh and I coordinated this meet-up with much anticipation.

I’m so far behind on blogging that today’s post will be more like a newsletter on what you’ve missed.  I just returned yesterday from spending a few days in the Los Angeles area where I took part in some activities at the main office of American Honda Motor Company for “Acura Week.”  Invited by my friend and Acura Public Relations manager Matt Sloustcher, I drove out there Thursday evening and participated in an all-associate Q&A interview.

It was an exciting experience to talk about how I’d become interested in the brand, share feedback on current & future brand direction, and interact with people who are just as passionate about these topics as I am.  Joining me on the stand were Jon Ikeda, General Manager for Acura, and Jeff Conrad, Senior Vice President for Honda.  In all, the ‘formal’ program on Friday afternoon lasted only about 1/2 hour, but the campaign ran a total of 5 days with activities each day designed to educate, promote, and generate awareness for the Acura brand among internal colleagues.  The level of hospitality was awesome.  Thankfully, I didn’t get too tongue-tied.

Just a week prior, I was tasked with two huge milestones of a completely different nature:  I ran the St. George, Utah marathon and I achieved that long-awaited “all-fives” odometer reading on my 1994 Legend coupe, in partnership with Josh who celebrated the same on his 2005 TSX.  It was a rollover more than a year in the making, executed with painstaking precision with the help of a half-dozen friends who wanted to be there for the occasion.  It took a lot of planning to get Josh’s car (700 miles away, in Boise) and my car (400 miles away, in Phoenix) to the same midpoint and pointed toward one another on a closed road within 2/10ths of a mile of each other.  But we succeeded.

There’s much more to come on the “Fantastic Fives” achievement, as a video production is currently underway and you’ll see it soon enough.  For now, here’s a 2-minute teaser!

I recently got to spent an evening with Donny Nordlicht (Cadillac) and Sofyan Bey (Redline Reviews) who were in town for a media event.  Thanks for inviting me out, guys!

I have some special recognition for a couple of friends who went above and beyond the call of duty.  My friend Kyle put some elbow grease into the TL and got it looking shiny and new after our Zion hike, and my friend Hy entrusted his prized TSX with me for a couple of weeks while he performed a full detail on my 1994 Vigor.  The car came back yesterday sparkling better than ever before!  Thanks Kyle and Hy!

Finally, along with my behind-the-scenes look at the Honda main office on Friday, Brand Champion Charles Schnieber told me about some exciting new things going on in the racing circuit.  Check out a video he narrates on Civic performance heritage.

I’ll let the rest of the photos below tell the story.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Westbound at 4k+ RPMs in the Integra on Thursday

Fueling up in Palm Desert

Friends Logan, Davis, and Vince who work at Honda HQ

Acura Week schedule

With Acura PR Manager Matt Sloustcher

The below greeting card was given to all associates at corporate on Friday morning, along with an “A” emblem lapel pin.

Meeting up with my journalist friend Lance who was lucky enough to get an NSX on loan for a few days.

Hitting up “Fleetwood Square” in Tarzana before heading home.  The building is in the shape of a Cadillac front end, in case you couldn’t already tell!

Last weekend’s trip to southern Utah included a drive through Vegas, including the Strip, which was a somber place to be just 4 days following the tragic shootings.

Friday morning 10/6 in St. George with mom, and with my friend Conor who’d flown in from New York.

Off to see the town in the Legend

“Face-swapping” with my 5-year-old nephew Beckam.  Yikes.

The half-million-milers reunited once again.

St. George Marathon – probably the most scenic 26-miler you could ever run.

Plus, how’s this for motivation?  (And they did deliver on that promise)

Mom (with more energy than she knew what to do with), Josh, Conor, and Jason

Grandma was there with her traditional poster.  I had 2 cousins also running.

Trying to keep up with nephew Beckam when he sprinted with me for a block.

Finish line!

Josh getting the TSX prepped for its showtime.

Quiet on the set!

Anddddd, success!  High five for fab fives.

Looking purdy with all those miles.

Interview session back at my brother’s.

Mom serving up breakfast pre-departure Sunday morning.

More TL-S glamour shots

And my ‘visitor’ at the house for a couple of weeks, Hy’s immaculate 2004 TSX.

Clearly I had the wrong car to be driving by “Legend Cleaners.”

And look what I test drove a few weeks ago:  a Fir Green Mica 1996 Acura SLX Premium.  Oh, boy.  I passed on that.

 

Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS) 2017 – Long Beach, California

Posted in California, Legend, Road Trip on September 25, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend sedan):  155,969

Trip Distance:  760 Miles

Hey, look who came home with a second place award!

This weekend, I drove to Long Beach, California to participate in the 13th annual Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS) along the banks of the Pacific.  It was not my first time being part of the event – in fact, I guess you could say I’m a bit of a seasoned veteran now.

Unfortunately, the “Neo” show – specifically dedicated to 1980s and 1990s cars – was suspended for 2017 due to a potential venue change, but special consideration was made for 20 spots in the “regular” JCCS show to allow for cars from that era, and I jumped at the opportunity.  There are awards given in a total of 25 categories — 3 of which are specific to Hondas.  By comparison, 8 are Datsun/Nissan and 6 are Toyota, so the Honda representation tends to be smaller at this venue.  I was glad to take part.

One highlight was also the fact that I wasn’t the only second-generation Legend in attendance.  Clarion, known in the aftermarket industry as one of the premier car audio companies, has just completed a build of a sound system inside a very clean 1994 Legend LS coupe 6-speed.  Jubal Leierer, Clarion’s Manager of Merchandising and Special Programs, was in attendance at NSXPO earlier this month and told me they’d have the Legend out at JCCS, which was exciting.  I’ll have a special post about that car in the coming weeks.

My trip to Long Beach took place last Friday, September 22nd.  I fought some westbound traffic on Interstate 10 getting out of Phoenix, which is to be expected during the afternoon rush hour.  Saturday morning I had a short 15-minute jaunt from my hotel in Torrance to the JCCS venue at the Queen Mary.  Right off the bat, I ran into a few friends at the registration line.

I was assigned a parking space next to a newfound friend, Daniel, who drives a 1990 Accord coupe 5-speed which he inherited from his grandmother.  It was a stunning blue color.  I also met a guy named Ryan who is the proud owner of a 1988 Daihatsu Charade.  It was the only Daihatsu entered in the whole show.  And it was mint!  Only 56,000 miles and a 5-speed manual.

The oldest vehicle on display was this 1965 Honda T500 pickup truck.

Throughout the day, I wandered around and enjoyed the scenery.  By 10:00 a.m., I was already ready to give the food truck vendor $17 for a grilled cheese sandwich with turkey and avocado.  It hit the spot.  My friends Davis and Joseph came out to say hello – Davis works at Honda in Public relations, and Joseph is a long-time Acura fan who painstakingly restored his 1992 Vigor recently.   During the 1960s, Honda ran a motorcycle ad campaign that said, “You meet the nicest people on a Honda.”

Well, I’ll second that statement!

My short video here:

Here are a couple of videos that my Legend made it into.

MotoManTV piece at 19:00:

And 1:39 here:

Westbound drive on Friday evening near Desert Center, California

Crossing over a series of bridges on the way to the Queen Mary in Long Beach

Check out this lineup of ultra-clean Honda CRXs

Meeting Marcus, owner of HeelToe Automotive

Very clean Celica

A whole rainbow of colors on display

Meeting the famous Tim “Merciless” Mings who is based in Duarte, CA and who specializes in restoration of Honda N600, S600, and Z600 cars.

Windows sticker of an old Z car

With lots of brochures and literature on display

My friend Chris H’s 1980 Honda Accord

Meeting the crew including Zac from Bring a Trailer, one of my favorite automotive websites.

Logan and Davis stopping by to visit

Joseph stopping to visit

This is Joseph’s “Royal Plum” 1992 Vigor.  It’s in great shape for 188,000 miles!

My friend Chris G’s two Preludes:  1986 and 1989.  They have 49,000 and 70,000 miles respectively.

Interior of the ’89 Si

Love this little foam core display board he had up in the rear window.

Pop-up headlights!

“Made in this 80s.  Loved by the ladies.”  This sticker was on a 1980s Nissan Pulsar.

Headed back to the desert via Hwy 91, Hwy 60, & Interstate 10.

Arrival in Phoenix around 11:00 p.m. on Saturday after an easy drive.

Labor Day Weekend 2017 – Palm Springs, California Trip & TL 100,000 Milestone

Posted in California, Road Trip, TL on September 5, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  554,713

Odometer (TL):  100,468

Trip Distance:  542 Miles

Cue the confetti.  We have another 100,000-miler in the house!

It’s rare for me to own a car with “only” an odometer reading of 5 digits.  In fact, the lowest mileage car I’ve ever owned aside from my 2013 ILX that I got new, was my 1994 Legend coupe that had 95,000 miles on it when purchased in 2003.  That car has come out of hiding a few times in recent days, and several of you have asked why I haven’t posted any updates.  Check out this sunset last night at the Phoenix Financial Center 19-story building on Central Avenue.

The Legend is still trucking along, and the building itself is legendary in its own way.  Constructed in 1964, it was designed to look like a computer punchcard.  My favorite story about its construction is that (Legend has it!) there is a time capsule within the building that was supposed to have been removed in 2012 which has never been found.  We’re now 5 years beyond that date!  I’d be tearing the place apart to find it.  Here’s the story of what I did this Labor Day Weekend.

Nestled at the eastern base of the 10,000-foot-tall San Jacinto Mountains, there’s a city in Southern California that’s made a name for itself as a popular weekend destination.  Palm Springs is home to 44,000 people and some of the best mid-century architecture in the country.  I’d be crazy to not take advantage of a 3-day holiday weekend, and it seemed like a perfect destination.  On Friday afternoon, a friend and I hit the highway and headed westbound to see what the city could offer us.

Luckily for me, my 2007 Acura TL was about to pass a pretty big milestone.  It took the car 10 years to rack up 100,000 miles.  I had to pull over about 30 miles east of Quartzsite, near the Arizona-California state line to celebrate and capture the occasion on video.

We rolled into the Hard Rock Hotel on Indian Canyon Road and valet parked the TL before going out on the town.

The next day was primarily spent lounging next to the pool, despite the fact that it was 104 degrees outside and we had little shade to work with.  One of Palm Spring’s roadside wonders is the “pink door house,” so we made sure to stop there on the way back to Phoenix on Sunday morning.  Bubble gum pink, it sure is.

More pics below from the weekend’s shenanigans.  Coming up later this week:  A flight to Milwaukee for this year’s “NSXPO” annual Acura NSX meet-up.  No, sadly, I won’t be driving out there.  But I’ll at least enjoy whatever festivities I can from the comfort (or discomfort?) of a rental car.

Roadside stop in Quartzsite with my copilot

Palm Springs in all its glory, set against the San Jacinto peaks

Our hotel for 2 nights

Best coffee (ahem, “koffi”) shop in town!  They have 3 locations.

The frozen white mocha hit the spot.

Other news:  I got to check out & drive my friend Daniel’s 2018 Acura TLX A-Spec last week!  It wasn’t my first time behind the wheel of such a car (see Maryland trip) but I greatly enjoyed a more thorough test drive.

Daniel’s car accelerates, handles, and looks like a true sports sedan.

I must say I don’t mind it one bit!  Give it a clutch pedal and I’m sold!

Another shot of the Legend + PSC building last night.

Road trip to Tucson & back today with coworker Amanda for work.

Lastly, remember how some Hondas of old had “5 speed” badging like this?

A friend told me about these $9.99 Amazon emblems that say “6 speed.”  I got one.  As a joke, I promise.  I’m not going to install this permanently!  But I thought it would be funny to mock up with Scotch tape for a picture.

The TL needed a quick pic too!

Have a great week!

Monterey, California: ARX-05 Racecar & 2018 Acura RLX Debuts at The Quail Motorsports Gathering

Posted in California, Car Show, RLX on August 20, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  554,418

Odometer (Sonata Rental):  12,000

“Car Week” in Monterey, California is kind of a big deal.  A lot of automotive enthusiasts have heard of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.  Don’t you dare call it just a “car show,” because its organizers are that confident it’s much, much more than that.  The event, which started in 1950, draws some 15,000 spectators annually who come to see some of the finest collector vehicles in the world.  When you consider that ticket prices are $375 a pop, it comes out to a $5.6 million event.  “Big smoke,” in the words of my grandpa.  This ain’t your everyday cars & coffee. And it’s for a good cause, too.  The proceeds from the event benefit United Way and other charitable organizations.

What many don’t know is that there are dozens of other automotive events in the Monterey Bay area of the Central California coastline the same week as Pebble.  My friend Rob and I flew out to attend two very special activities.  One of those was “The Quail” Motorsports Gathering, held at the Quail Lodge & Golf Club with its lush green lawns and clubhouse facilities.  Acura is a major sponsor at The Quail and I first attended this event in 2016, wide-eyed and awestruck at the quality and class that it exudes.

Once again I was given the opportunity to attend The Quail, but this time with an added extra bonus.  True to Acura’s “Precision Crafted Performance” slogan, the company has become increasingly active in racing and motorsports.  On Thursday morning bright and early, my friend Rob and I flew from Phoenix to San Jose, then hit up the beach in Santa Cruz since we had a little bit of time to kill.

We checked into our ‘tiny house’ AirBNB rental in nearby Soquel up a scenic, windy canyon road.  The house was far out of reach from any cell phone signal, which was actually kind of nice!  After a wardrobe change, we made our way to the Carmel Valley Lodge in Carmel for an exclusive debut.

Announced in early July, in partnership with Penske, a new “Daytona Prototype International” (DPi) racecar will make its first race at the Rolex 24 in Daytona, Florida in January.  Named the ARX-05, the racecar is powered by a 3.5 liter, twin-turbo V6 engine (fundamentally similar to that which powers other Acura models today).  Acura pulled the sheets off the car to a group of enthusiasts (including me) on Thursday night.

In attendance were stakeholders from both Acura and Penske, as well as a few celebrities sprinkled in:  While everyone else was in sport coats and neckties, Jay Leno came down the entryway stairs in his typical head-to-toe denim fashion.  Comedian Adam Carolla, actor Jesse Metcalfe, and Motor Trend’s Johnny Lieberman were also making their rounds through the crowd.  I enjoyed the chance to reconnect with friends who were there from the NSX Club of America and other Acura enthusiast communities.  And the ARX-05?  Absolutely stunning!

Acura’s head of PR, Matt Sloustcher, at right here in the blue.

On Friday, we made our way to The Quail.  The 50-mile drive down Highway 1 from our tiny house in Soquel to Quail Lodge took us over two hours, thanks to traffic from Friday commuters + car show people like us.  At least the instructions were clearly laid out:  We needed to stash our Hyundai Sonata rental car in “sponsor city” car lot, check in for our credentials, and then ride a shuttle bus to the entrance.

We made it to the Acura booth just in the nick of time for the press conference at 11:20 a.m.  First on the stage was Matt of Acura Public Relations, pictured above.  Then Art St Cyr, President of Honda Performance Development, introduced the ARX-05 to the crowd and turned the time over to Roger Penske for a few closing remarks.

Rob, Ira, and I made the rounds to experience some of the cuisine and beverages at the 5 food pavilions.  Each one was regionally themed (Beverly Hills, Carmel Valley, China, Italy, and France).  My favorite was the fried rice at the China booth.  We got ice cream for dessert at Infiniti’s display.  There was no shortage of buffet-style dining at this event!  That’s probably one of the reasons why each of the 3,000 tickets go for $600 a piece.  Champagne and caviar?  Right this way, please!  Notice, too, the restrooms are called “water closets.”

There was a ride-and-drive station set up on the outskirts of the grounds where people would sign up in advance to drive the NSX and other Acura models.  Acura’s RLX, debuting for the 2014 model year, was the successor to the RL, which was the successor to the Legend, so naturally it holds a special place in my heart.  Sales success has not been great historically, but with some enhancements for the 2018 mid-cycle refresh, it might just gain some relevance in the marketplace.  The RLX puts a total of 377 horses to the ground via all-wheel drive in the upgraded trim level.  From a design perspective, it now more closely resembles its smaller TLX sibling.  My favorite view is the rear.

In the evening, Rob and I met up with my friends Scott & Sandy for dining at a Mexican place in Carmel:  A fun, walkable town along the coastline.  Saturday’s flight back to Phoenix came around midday and I was delighted that our travels toward the San Jose airport took us through some very scenic and curvy backroads.  Now, if only I’d had a car better than a Sonata rental to experience them in!  Many thanks to Acura for the invitation to participate in this weekend’s activities!   More photos and a short video follow.

Airport bound in the 1994 Vigor GS!

Beachfront view while we ate lunch at Picnic Basket in Santa Cruz

Headed up the canyon road to our place in Soquel

Kicking back!

Evening arrival at Carmel Valley Lodge

By this time we had met up with my Oregonian friend, Ira (at right)

Sharing some remarks on the newly-redesigned 2018 RLX

Friends from the NSX Club of America – with a great photo bomb by Acura President, Jon Ikeda

Chris, Ira, May, Tyson – NSXCA Members

Jhae Pfenning and Peter Cunningham – a couple heroes of mine!

And the one and only Jesse Metcalfe, as seen in Desperate Housewives

Rob and I looked like a couple of church missionaries in our dress attire and bland midsize sedan

The Quail entrance.  That grass is real!  Totally immaculate.

Having ice cream from Infiniti

One of the only Hondas I saw there:  An S800 roadster

NSXCA group again

Come right on in!

More scenery

Dinner friends Scott & Sandy in Carmel

Saying goodbye to the tiny house in Soquel before flying back to Arizona

San Diego, California Trip & A Petrolicious Article

Posted in California, Road Trip, Vigor on July 18, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Vigor):  107,599

Trip Distance:  710 Miles

The Center of the World, as it turns out, can be anywhere you want it to be.

The (three) residents of the small town of Felicity, California think they’re the lucky ones who can claim such a title.  Passers-by on Interstate 8 between Yuma, Arizona, and San Diego California may look to the north of the highway and see a spiral staircase seemingly leading to nowhere.  It’s a 25-foot-tall set of stairs that were brought over from the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Also among the oddities on this site are a pyramid (it’s the desert, after all) and a small church set atop a man-made hill.  When my friends and I travel to southern California, Felicity is one of my favorite pit stops, and it was just one of the highlights a short & sweet trip to San Diego and back this past weekend.

For a change of pace, I pulled the 1994 Vigor out of the garage and put it to work.  After all, it had only been driven about 2,400 miles in two years and it hadn’t left the state since July of 2015 since I first brought it to Phoenix from Denver.  Luckily, the old Arcadia Green 5-cylinder was up to the task and made the trip flawlessly and in the comfort of nice cold air conditioning.  In all, there were 7 of us making the westward trek to escape the summer’s heat so a couple of friends drove separately.

San Diego’s weather forecast is among the country’s most predictable and comfortable.  The highest monthly average high temperature (in August) is 76 degrees and the lowest (in December) is 48 degrees.  To those of us who’ve been hitting triple-digit temperatures since the first week of May, it’s a perfect escape at only 5.5 hours away.  Plus, Yuma, at the halfway point, has a Panda Express.  Sign me up for that roadside destination.

James secured us a sweet 1910 era home on Myrtle Avenue via AirBNB which suited our needs perfectly and was located within a few blocks from the social activities which we wanted to attend.  It was located in the Hillcrest part of town, just north of Balboa Park and conveniently located not far from the I-8 freeway that we had come into town on.  I was able to stash the Vigor streetside for a couple of days and not have to worry too much about parking.  On Saturday I enjoyed the opportunity to throw a beach towel on the front yard under a shade tree and enjoy the cool breeze.  That afternoon, a few of us attended a pool party.

Here’s one heck of a chair.  Or a scene from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

Our evening took us deeper into downtown San Diego, to the “Little Italy” part of town.  It was originally an Italian fishing neighborhood and today is home to some of the best Italian dining in southern California.  From our table at a restaurant on India Street called Civico 1845, I could see the harbor just a few blocks away and the open air dining was a nice refreshing break.  Not to mention – the food was phenomenal (albeit $22 for my entree).  At the end of the meal, our wait staff delivered a plate of tiramisu so James in recognition for his 31st birthday the day prior.  He graciously shared with the rest of us, and we burned off a few calories by walking down to the waterfront afterward.

For our return trip to Phoenix on Sunday morning, Rob took the passenger seat of the Vigor and we sampled its audio system while relaxing to Enya’s “Caribbean Blue” on CD.  The car’s motor whirred at 3,100 RPM.  One of my favorite stretches of interstate in the country is the piece of I-8 between In-Ko-Pah Road and Ocotillo, California, which descends sharply from 4,000 feet to seat level.  You can see old segments of US Highway 80 in certain areas, long since bypassed when the interstate took its place in the 1960s.

Thanks for coming along for the trip!

Fuel stop in Alpine, CA as we began our descent into San Diego

Brunch spot for Saturday morning

Rob, Tyson, James, Kyle, Jack

This wasn’t brunch; it was lunch.  But it was amazing!  From Luna Grill on University.

Departure time and loading up the car.

Saying farewell to our temporary home.

Stopping at the Center of the World in Felicity, California.

The Vigor, James‘ tester Genesis G80, and Jack’s RSX.

Here is some reading material for those of you who might not yet have seen it.  Petrolicious editor Alex Sobran asked me to put together a guest editorial for the site.  I was honored at the opportunity.  Petrolicious is one of my favorite automotive websites.  One day I’d like to collaborate on a video production with them.  Here is the article I put together.

Finally, a friend showed me a cool old TV commercial for the 1994 Legend coupe.  I thought it was great how the car is shown in a setting of such opulence and class.  I think you might have to have Facebook to view it, and can’t figure out how to embed the video here so see if the link works for you.

Have a great week!