Archive for the California Category

NALM 2017 Sacramento Wrap Up: Return Drive & Video

Posted in California, NALM, Road Trip on June 13, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  554,211

Day Distance:  757 Miles

I made it home safe & sound from my 13th NALM!  Total drive distance, round-trip, ended up being 1,700 miles.  The car performed flawlessly — its only need was a one-time top-off of power steering fluid about midway through the trip.  I was up and out the door of the La Quinta host hotel at 6:30 on Sunday morning, with a long drive ahead of me.

There were just three stops made that day:  Wesley, Buttonwillow, and Palm Desert, California.  Each time, I topped off the tank, used the facilities, and grabbed a small snack.  I was at my house in Phoenix by 5:30 p.m. – exhausted but feeling satisfied about a very successful weekend.

Departure from Sacramento

Alex sent me this – well on his way to Portland in my Legend sedan, driving through a Redwood tree in Leggett, California.

Meanwhile, it was only a matter of time until I was back in the desert, making my way up the long I-10 grade from Indio to Chiriaco Summit.  They always advise people to be careful about overheating here.

The Phoenix city skyline was a nice sight to see after such a long day on the road.

Tucked away until the next adventure!

Here is a short video I put together.

More to come soon, including coverage of an especially monumental ILX milestone.  I think you know what it is!

Sacramento NALM 2017: Dealer Day at Niello Acura; BBQ at Miller Regional Park

Posted in California, NALM on June 10, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  553,438

Welcome back to Sacramento.  It’s a full-fledged Legend Fest out here, and we’re having the time of our lives.  Somehow I slept in on Friday morning until 8:30 in the morning, but I got my act together in time for the caravan roll-out at 10:00 toward Niello Acura in Roseville about 20 minutes east on I-80.  The dealership had cleared out some space for us and its employees even came out to participate in the car show judging for awards.

Lunch was at a well-known local spot called Squeeze Inn just down the road.  The hamburger came with an encrusted ring of cheese on it.  Impossible to eat without going through an entire stack of napkins.  After that, I got the chance to drive my friend Chris’ 1994 Legend GS 6-speed that he’s been painstakingly restored on the interior.  The car drove great for having 230,000 miles.

We visited my friend Spencer’s dad, Brian, at their dealership on Riverside.  Inside it, we found a collection of classic Hondas including a “barn find” 1981 Prelude that I would love to scoop up and restore.  We made our way back to the host hotel and then figured out a dinner plan.  Ben had done his homework and selected a Chinese place called Frank Fat’s which was just a few miles away, downtown.  We piled into just a couple of cars and valet parked both of my Legends in a parking garage next to the restaurant.  Luckily, the restaurant was able to accommodate our party of 12 with very little notice.  The “family style” entrees went a long way to filling us up.

Saturday morning was the long-awaited annual BBQ, to be held at Miller Regional Park.  Steven led the caravan this time and we managed to find a parking area along Marina View Drive that accommodated all 31 Legends which ended up attending.  I think 31 sets some kind of record!  We had quite a wide variety of cars in attendance — though the colors were pretty monochromatic and we didn’t have a first generation (1986-1990) sedan.

The treat of the day for me was having a special guest appearance by Patricia, who is the original owner of my Legend coupe.  She and her husband Paul live about an hour away and we’ve kept in touch for the 14 years I’ve had my car.  When I found out that NALM was going to be in this area, I notified her and she ended up coming out to see us which was awesome.  Today she’s in a 2010 Lexus IS250 with only 45,000 miles on it, in case anyone was wondering.  Also in attendance was my friend Spencer who came over from Roseville in a “Mugen” Civic Si to check us out.

Patricia:

Spencer:

Our afternoon capped off with the awards ceremony and raffle.  Larry T ended up taking a haul of trophies home, winning a record 3 categories.  I received the “Best OEM” trophy.

All of the awards were fabricated by hand by club member Dani out of real Legend parts, and professionally powder coated.  Very cool!  The raffle included a NALM first:  An entire car being given away.  Steven was the lucky winner of a 1994 Legend LS coupe 6-speed in Sherwood Green with over 300,000 miles on it.  It runs and drives great!  He was thrilled.  Buy-in for raffle tickets was only $100 each and I think 6 people participated.  Pretty cool feature.

We wandered down to a Mexican place near the hotel called Nena’s Mexican Cuisine later that evening.  I think I over-did it with the combination plate but it was tasty!  Many have already begun their return trips to home, and I’ll be doing the same early tomorrow.  Over and out!  800 miles to come tomorrow, as I return to PHX.

I’ll have a wrap up video to post in the next couple of days as well.

With Dave from Seattle, and his car in the background

Cruising along I-80 eastbound

Niello Acura’s 2017 NSX in Nouvelle Blue

Lineup at Niello

Interior of Larry’s 67,000 mile car

With long-time friend Danny

Popping engine bays

With Ben who’s been a regular at NSXPO & NALM events for many years

Lunch time!

Look at that cheese border!

Visiting my friend Spencer’s dad

Alex and Alan worked hard on my Legend GS:  They installed all sorts of goodies for me that they’d found at the junkyard, including chrome door strikers, a trim piece in the engine bay, hood struts, new horn button, new antenna mast, new center vent trim, and much much more.  They are awesome!

Roomie James arriving in his rental Sonic turbo

Valeting the coupe at dinner

Crossing the bridge into Discovery Park on Jibboom Street on Saturday

Alex and Alan arriving from their 2nd day at the junkyard

Alan’s straw hat came out!

Dave showing his engine bay with airbrushed flames on the fuel rail covers

And the longer we stayed, the more cars kept showing up!

Patricia’s cars, old (background, my coupe), and new – the 2010 Lexus

Awards all custom / hand-built by Dani

This gen 1 Legend coupe was a 2001 magazine feature car

Logo on back window

Larry, me, and Dani

White Legends back at the hotel tonight

With another friend who showed up – Aaron

Long drive tomorrow!

13th Annual National Acura Legend Meet (NALM) – Sacramento, California

Posted in California, NALM on June 8, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  553,378

Trip Distance:  755 Miles

I’m at it again!  You know this drill – I’ve done it every year since 2005:  Hike it across the country in my rickety old Legend coupe, hang out for a couple of days with people who have the same Acura addiction, and come back to reality.  We might as well call it a support group or a rehab organization but there’s no doubt about it:  I need my annual fix!

This year, California’s capitol city of Sacramento is hosting our group.  This marks the second time in recent years that NALM has been held in the Golden State, since our 2014 event centered around the Los Angeles area.  Sacramento is a pretty painless and simple trek for me from Phoenix, Arizona:  Straight out west on Interstate 10, then hooking up with Interstate 5 northbound.  Easy peasy – roughly an 11-hour drive door-to-door from my place.

On Wednesday afternoon, I snuck out of the office by around 2:00 and hit the highway.  My only stops were in Quartzsite for fuel and then Palm Desert for a Yoo Hoo beverage and a bathroom break.  Miraculously, the freeways on the northern perimeter of Los Angeles were free-flowing and my speed barely dipped below 65 miles per hour all the way until I arrived at my nightly destination at a Motel 6 in Sylmar, right near the intersection of the 210 & 5 freeways.

The car performed phenomenally and I was reminded many times of why I didn’t mind putting 500,000 miles on it.  Thursday morning, I cruised up I-5 another 5.5 hours or so, stopping only for a quick Taco Bell breakfast at 9:30 in the morning in Buttonwillow (don’t judge!) and then to use a rest area just prior to the split between Interstate 5 and Interstate 580.  By the time I arrived at the La Quinta, the Legend group was already out on the road – bound for Lake Tahoe – so I checked in, left a bag in my room, and went out to do a little sightseeing.

Oh, and one cool thing?  My Legend sedan is here too.  It was driven up by my friend Alex who flew in from Phoenix on Tuesday evening.  So for the third time, that car is attending a NALM that I didn’t drive it to (preceded by Chris’ trip to LA in 2014 and James’ trip to Houston in 2015).  It was pretty cool hopping on Highway 50 westbound and being behind my own car!

This evening, that car served as a pizza stand while a few of us congregated in the parking lot to shoot the breeze.  Later we rolled over to attendee James’ shop where some were washing their cars.  Below are a few more pics as things got underway out here.

Alex arriving at my place in Phoenix Tuesday evening

Headed out to grab a bite in the TL

Alex sent this picture of my sedan at the CA state line bright and early Wednesday

Departing after work

Next stop, the City of Angels

By this time, Alex had arrived in my car and sent this pic

Later that evening, he raced the car

Stopping for fuel in Palm Desert

Big ol’ steer off Hwy 58 in Buttonwillow, CA

“Power Market” in Lathrop, California has a UFO halfway-embedded into its roof,

The interior of the station has the other half of the UFO, as well as a myriad of green aliens flying around in purple saucers near the ceiling

Made it to Sac-Town!

Dave from Seattle brought his immaculate 1994 Legend GS 6-speed

Only 99,350 on the odometer!

Park where I was hanging out this afternoon in El Dorado Hills

Check out that T-shirt!  It shows the 1st and 2nd generation, sedan and coupe bodystyles

Much more to come tomorrow!

Two in One: San Vegas and Las Diego Road Trip Weekend

Posted in California, ILX, Nevada, Road Trip on February 17, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  550,486

550486

Odometer (ILX):  192,625

192625

Trip Distance:  1,000 Miles

trip_map

Yeah, I know.  Who RSVPs to a birthday party in one state, and a bachelor party in another state, on the same weekend, and still attends both?  You’re looking at him.  And here I am 1,000 miles later to tell you how that all played out.  The good news is that it feels amazing to go from the awe-inspiring 54th floor of the Cosmopolitan on the Las Vegas Strip one day, to the picturesque and sweet-smelling Mission Beach of San Diego the next.  The bad news is that coming back to reality bit.  Hard.

This past weekend’s adventure started with me scooping up my friend Kyle at his place in central PHX and us making our way, Taco Bell crunchwrap supreme in hand, in the ILX to Las Vegas.  It’s a drive that takes about 4.5 hours through the picturesque yet pretty barren reaches of Highway 93.  We arrived just in time to join the rest of our gang for a bite to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings before venturing out on the town.

vegas_strip

And I can assure you, what happened in Vegas that night will stay in Vegas.  Well, I take that back.  The group text message with 8 people in it became a dumping ground for all the photos and videos from that night’s debauchery, and they will forever live on in the memory bank of each participant’s iPhone.  But this isn’t the time nor place to divulge any of those details.  Las Vegas Boulevard, known better as “The Strip,” is home to some 62,000 hotel rooms.  Tourists are out on the streets 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  There is seriously no end to the available entertainment and we got our share of it.

group

On Saturday morning, we pulled our acts together in time for brunch at “Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen and Bar,” home to some of the best nachos I’ve ever had.  They’re called “trash can nachos” and basically come out in a big tin can that gets dumped on a plate in the center of the table.  Trust me, they were amazing.

vegas_ilx_dash

Snoozing passengers!

sleepy_pax

Kyle, Lance, and I hit the road by early afternoon for the next chapter of our road trip weekend:  a bachelor party in Southern California.  Luckily the drive was a breeze with 95% of it being on southbound Interstate 15.  We stopped briefly in the middle-of-nowhere town of Baker, home to the World’s Largest Thermometer at 134 feet tall.  In typical fashion, traffic was slow-and-go the closer we got to the Los Angeles area, but as dusk settled in, we kept cranking the iPod and karaoke’d to classics like Chumbawumba’s “Tubthumping” (a song now 20 years old!) to pass the time and the miles.

Primitive but predictable, the Motel 6 on 2nd Avenue in downtown San Diego was our resting spot for the evening.  We had just enough time to freshen up there before heading to dinner and a night out on the town at Oxford Social Club in the Gaslamp District.  I felt like a true A-Lister there:  VIP entry, special reserved seating, and a meeting with the owner himself who came over to shake our hands.  The lights and music raged onward as we celebrated the upcoming wedding of my friends Wade & Rustin until the wee hours.

Speaking of, this is what happens when you’re part of 2 massive group texts and you put your phone away for a few minutes.  Ugh, the anxiety of unread messages.  I put both threads on “do not disturb.”

unread_texts

And what California trip would be complete without a stop at the beach?  My phone told me we were a mere 14 minutes from Mission Beach so we saddled up in the ILX and went to check it out.  The smell of a fresh sea breeze and the sound of crashing waves will never get old.  We wandered northbound along the sand for a little while before looping back to meet the rest of the gang in Little Italy for brunch at a spot called Prepkitchen.

ocean_front

tyson_lance_kyl

The final leg of this epic weekend journey was the stretch of Interstate 8 that links San Diego with the Phoenix area, an oft-desolate road that runs parallel to the Mexican border.  Kyle took the wheel from the halfway point in Yuma onward, which was great because I needed some time with my eyes off the road.

The gang in an elevator

elevator

View from the Cosmopolitan hotel room

vegas_view

Soaking it all in, with Lance

lance_tyson

This was the burger I had at Guy Fieri’s restaurant.  I liked the fries better!

burger

Stop in Baker, CA with Kyle along I-15 southbound.

baker_sign

Gas prices there, ouch!

baker_gas

World’s Tallest Thermometer – 134 feet tall – indicative of the highest temperature ever observed in Death Valley nearby.  Notice it was only 67 degrees at the time of our visit.

baker_thermometer

Continuing on down Interstate 15

i15south

California’s inspection stations have never caused me too much delay.  I just get waved through.

california_inspection

i15

Ahh, the beach!

pacific_ocean

Looking northbound alongside the sidewalk at Mission Beach in San Diego

bech

ocean_front

Fuel and bathroom break in Gila Bend, AZ on the way back to Phoenix Sunday night

sunset

Check out this story about my friend Steve who flew across the country recently to buy a minty 4th generation Honda Prelude and drive it all the way back to Arizona!  Congrats, Steve!  I’m looking forward to seeing the car when you visit tomorrow.

And finally, does anyone out there want to be my twin?  This Legend coupe is up for grabs in the Los Angeles area!

twin

Have a great weekend!

Quick Trip to Los Angeles: Historic Honda Roots & Dinner in West Hollywood

Posted in California, Car Show, ILX, Integra, Maintenance, NSX, Road Trip on November 20, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  548,869

548869

Odometer (ILX):  185,579

185579

Trip Distance:  758 Miles

phx_weho

Would you believe that American Honda, the powerhouse that sold a record 1.5 million vehicles across the Honda and Acura brands in 2015, got its humble roots selling just motorcycles out of this small office space in Los Angeles?  Some 57 years ago, here at 4077 W. Pico Boulevard, the company first took root in the United States, but it has forever since changed the landscape of the powersports and automotive industries.

American Honda's first corporate office - Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA.jpg

Today, that same office space has changed hands probably more times than one could count, and is currently leased by an acupuncture & wellness facility.  Sadly the condition has deteriorated substantially and the neighborhood isn’t all that great.  I happened to be in the area yesterday morning so I stopped by for a pre-sunrise photo.  The building is available for lease, and it would sure be a lot of fun to move in and create a museum or replica of the way things used to be.  Dreams.

honda_pico_boulevard_2016

Looking westward down Pico Boulevard.  The roads were surprisingly quiet at this hour.

pico_boulevard_honda_2016

Thanks to the lady selling tamales on the street next door for taking this quick shot of me.

tyson_on_pico

Last Sunday, I met up with a few fellow second-generation Acura Integra drivers at a park in Tempe, Arizona for a little meet & greet.  Now 26 years old, this bodystyle has aged pretty well and the few that survive are in the hands of enthusiasts like the handful of guys I met that day.  It seems most people consider the Integra a blank canvas upon which to express his or her own sense of style, but I’ve decided to keep mine original to its 1992 factory configuration.

meet2

It’s always fun to meet with other car-nuts at events like these.  Especially in cases, like this one, where the host brought out Dunkin Donuts to share with everyone.  Thanks to German for that!

meet1

For years I’ve waited for the right opportunity to take a photo of my “Vig” at “The Vig.”  The Vig is a restaurant on 16th Street in central Phoenix that has some of the best brunch in the valley.

the_vig

The 1992 NSX has been under the knife for the past week or so, getting a completely refreshed Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) to rectify a warning light that’s been showing up for a long time.  Braking performance under normal circumstances have been unaffected, but the ABS is deactivated when the light is on.  This is a very common issue for the early NSX models like mine, and luckily Science of Speed offers an upgrade kit designed specifically for this application.  It involves retrofitting the later model year (2002-05) NSX components.

nsx_spare_bay

I’m picking up the car the first part of this coming week.  SOS did also recommend a few other maintenance items that will wait until my next major “90K” service coming up in 4 years.  The timing belt and water pump were changed in January 2011 under the previous owner’s ownership, so they aren’t quite due yet.  That was a $2,200 service at the time.

For having driven the NSX 26,000 miles in the 5 years I’ve had it, it’s actually been relatively inexpensive to own & maintain.  GEICO did just raise my 6-month premium to $179 because the street address at which I now reside is higher risk.  Interestingly enough, the NSX is still far cheaper to insure with full coverage than the 2013 ILX (which comes in at over $300) even though the NSX is certainly worth much more.

nsx_at_sos

This weekend’s travels took me to California on Thursday afternoon.  The Los Angeles Auto Show kicked off last week with Media Days being held on Wednesday and Thursday.  Typically, I would have been there as a journalist with the Redline Reviews team to cover the event’s new car reveals, but my work time-off situation wouldn’t quite allow for it.

Still, I was determined to participate in the after-hours stuff so I set out in the afternoon for what should have been a six-hour drive to Hollywood for a dinner engagement with about 30 other people.  Lucky for me, I also gained an hour due to time zones because that drive in reality ended up taking over 8 hours.  Construction zones in multiple places on Interstate 10 and the expected LA rush-hour traffic made for slow going.

desert_center

My Garmin Nuvi GPS unit crept up its ‘delay’ timer the closer I got to my destination.

delay

At least red is a pretty color!

red

I did finally make it to the venue at “Tortilla Republic,” though, and just 15 minutes before it started.  Here, I’m pictured with Sofyan, Aaron, Rob, and Peace who are the backbone of the Redline media group.  I’m hoping to partner with them in two months at the Detroit Auto Show if I can play my cards right with the time-off request.  Cross your fingers!

tortilla_republic_group

Hollywood’s “Walk of Fame” is home to 2,500 stars like this in the ground.  It was walking distance from my motel and I happened to snag a picture of one of the stars, Mariah Carey’s, while en route to breakfast on Friday morning.

mariah

Sunrise in downtown Los Angeles

los_angeles_morning

I made one major pit stop on the way home, to see some friends in Palm Springs.  Scott & Sandy are a couple who I’ve featured on the blog previously.  Their ever-evolving automotive collection spans a wide variety of tastes, from their 1992 NSX to a 1980s Mercury Bobcat (rebadged Pinto), to their latest:  a 1964 Mercury Park Lane which they just had brought over on a transport truck from Houston.  It’s waiting for some brake work so we didn’t take it for a spin, but those guys sure have some great taste in cars!

scott_sandy_tyson

I took a spin in their 41,000-mile (!) 1976 Cadillac Seville which rode like it was on a cloud.

seville_dash

Also checked out Scott’s latest toy:  a 1991 Civic “RealTime 4WD” wagon that he’s going to restore.

rt_wagon

Many thanks to Scott and Sandy once again for their hospitality.

Finally today – I’d like to make a quick introduction to my friend Melissa, who has launched her own blog.  It’s called “Working from Home.”  In today’s workplace, thanks to the advances in telecommuting, you can be in virtually any part of the world and still be connected to your day job.  I’ve participated in conference calls from the road, logged into my email from airplanes and hotel rooms, and been on Skype meetings while in another state.  It’s starting to matter less and less that you’re seated in desk 4S018 at Phoenix Plaza Corporate Office staring at 4 cubicle walls.

melissa_logo

Case in point:  I worked with Melissa on a daily basis for over 4 years, but I never met her.  She was over 2,500 miles away at our Rhode Island office and I was based in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Did the geographic distance make us any less productive as coworkers?  I honestly don’t think so.  And herein was born the opportunity for Melissa to create an outlet where she could share some of her learnings over the many months of working from home.

Be sure to check out the article “Are You On Mute?” under the “Real Work” section.  It’s one of my faves.

Have a great Thanksgiving week!

Wheeled Weekend: ALV 2016 Awards Program; “Neo Classics” Japanese Classic Car Show

Posted in California, Car Show, Integra on October 25, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Integra):

238267

Trip Distance:  758 Miles

jccs_map

Let’s test-drive some new cars!  Today’s update brings you a summary of my wild & crazy weekend o’ fun.  The first half consisted of an automotive program local to the Phoenix area, and the second half involved me taking a crazy drive to California and back so that I could be there for fewer than 24 hours.  Sounds like me, right?

For the last 5 years, I’ve volunteered to help with a Phoenix area “COTY” (Car of the Year) program that caters to folks who are athletic in nature.  It strives to weed out and select the new vehicles each year that stand out as superior for those who demand more from their vehicles:  Those who participate in outdoor sports, primarily.  So it makes sense why GM entered its new Colorado pickup truck, and also why they chose to outfit it with all sort of accessories like an optional kayak rack in the bed.

colorado

This year’s “Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year” (ALV) program was based at the San Marcos resort in Chandler, Arizona.  In all we had 28 new vehicles vying for awards in 8 categories.  The two-day event was structured with a media/journalist day on Friday and then a consumer/athlete day on Saturday.

Prior year ALV event write-ups can be found here:

New this year was a destination drive to lunch in Fountain Hills, Arizona at the Eagle Mountain Golf Resort.  In the afternoon, there were both on-road and off-road short drive routes made available for the 35 or so journalists who attended.  The location, Butcher Jones Recreation Area, was perfect for both types of driving as it was adjacent to a nice, curvy two-lane paved road as well as some gnarly dirt backroads.  I got a chance to try my hand at driving a new Toyota Tacoma TRD on some incredibly gnarly terrain using its “crawl control” feature.  The Ram Rebel won first place in the extreme off-road category.

ram

I also got my first chance behind the wheel of Acura’s second-generation NSX supercar, stickering at $197,000.   The NSX was entered in the event as a special feature only, since clearly its abilities from a cargo-carrying and off-road perspective are limited.  Acura’s Allie Coulter reserved a 40-mile drive for me in the car and I must say I fell in absolute love with it.  While the driving experience differs dramatically from that of my 1992 NSX, that doesn’t make it “bad.”  It’s just a 2017 approach to a 1990 formula, and that means the car is faster, safer, more technologically advanced, and…. missing a clutch pedal.  I can honestly say that’s the only place I find fault with it.

tyson_allie_nsx

nsx_gauges

How does the car behave, anyway?  I punched it in Sport Mode getting onto the Beeline Highway southbound and it kicked me back into my seat.  Zero-to-sixty only takes about 3 seconds in that car, so the G-forces are enough to plant you firmly in your nicely bucketed seat.  The intoxicating part about driving the NSX is the growl of the motor behind the cabin.  It emits such awesome sounds at any RPM.  Visibility was better than I’d expected.  And the car turned more heads on the 101 southbound freeway during rush hour than a supermodel.

nsx_rear

On Saturday, there were test-drive opportunities made available to about 60 athletes who came to the San Marcos to evaluate vehicles and cast their votes.  Other key winners were the Nissan Titan, Kia Cadenza, Kia Soul, Volkswagen Golf, Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Nissan Armada.

desert_center

At the conclusion of the ALV awards ceremony, I grabbed the Integra and hit the highway to drive off into the sunset on Interstate 10.  For the next 6 or so hours, I let the I GS-R’s 1.7-liter, VTEC engine sing to me at 4,500 RPM at 80 miles an hour.  Traffic in Corona, California was jammed thanks to road construction, but I finally made it to my hotel in Torrance a little after 9:00 p.m.

sign

This was only the second year of the “Neo Classics” 80’s & 90’s Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS).  It is hosted at Toyota’s headquarters.  Last year, I attended with my Legend coupe.  This year, I decided to showcase my ‘newest’ car, the Integra.  I was in good company.  Just moments after my arrival, a squad of “DA” bodystyle Integras like mine rolled in and I was able to park next to them and make a few new friends.

integras

tyson_ryu_chris

I also reconnected with a few old ones, including Jeff Koch from Hemmings, Ryu Asada who’s a designer at Mattel / Hot Wheels, and Ben Hsu from Japanese Nostalgic Car.  The quality of both cars and of people is always exceptional at the JCCS event so that’s why I hope to keep attending year after year.

Thanks for coming along on my weekend adventures!  The rest of my photos and a short video are below.

ALV kick-off dinner last Thursday night at “La Stalla” in Chandler, AZ (sponsored by Toyota)

dinner

Groups assembling to do the car drives & reviews

group

Acura’s 2017 MDX Advance

mdx

Sweet NSX photo captured by Mark Elias Media Services

nsx

Love the design of Kia’s new Cadenza

cadenza

Davis Adams from Honda, along with a couple other event participants around the new Ridgeline

ridgeline

Nissan’s Titan showing some off-road prowess

titan

Breakfast is served!

james_breakfast

Midpoint / driver change for Friday’s media drive

bush_hwy

The Ridgeline pickup bed doubles as an ice cooler!

ridgeline_cooler

Biggest downer about about Fiat 124 Spider which was entered:  this automatic transmission.

fiat_shifter

With Shad (GM) and Darryll (VW)

shad_tyson_darryll

Audi’s new Q7 was on-hand for evaluation.

q7

Its most intriguing feature to me?  Four-wheel steering.  My 1991 Prelude had that!  Here is comes as part of a $4,000+ option package.

q7_sticker

With Will who drove up from Tucson to participate

tyson_will

Now, for some pics on the LA trip:  Quick visit to Honda HQ in the Integra

honda_hq

Arriving at the show at the same time as my friend Chris in his immaculate second-generation Prelude.

rolling_in

Lineup of “DA” Integras.  These guys were all California locals but very welcoming!

integras2

With Chris and his Prelude.

chris_tyson

One of the Integras had Honda S2000 gauges!

s2k_gauges

Say what you want, but I loved this ultra base model 1985 Civic DX with only about 40,000 miles on it.

civic

Aztec Green shining during a brief glimpse of sunlight (it was overcast most of the day).

front_left

I love seeing original ads & paperwork laid out like this on display.

paperwork

Ultra clean Honda CRX.  It’s tough to find one of these that hasn’t been heavily-modified!

crx

Armando and his two Subaru SVXs.

armando_tyson

Met a new friend named Brian who drives this immaculate Berlina Black 1991 NSX.

nsx2

And Chris brought out his real Polaroid camera and took this shot (which he later scanned for me).  It’s hard to believe just how far camera technology has come.  But I love how vintage it looks!

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Quick Trip: “The Quail” Motorsports Gathering in Monterey, California

Posted in California, Car Show on August 21, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  544,256

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Odometer (ILX):  180,000

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Happy weekend!  I spent a day rubbing shoulders with the automotive elite at an exclusive motorsports show called The Quail in Carmel, California on Friday.  Some 3,000 entry tickets were pre-sold at $600 apiece.  I was lucky to score one for free, thanks to prior involvement with the NSX Club of America and the fact that Acura is a major sponsor of the event.  It was a feast for the eyes, ears, and tastebuds.

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From the moment I showed my credential and was given a site map / lanyard, I turned my gaze to the entrance of the event.  Immaculately manicured lawns were lined with brightly-colored supercars and exotics.  Event workers dressed head to toe in white apparel flanked the entryway.

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This was not just your everyday “car show” in a Home Depot parking lot with people plopped down on camp chairs and shooting the breeze.  Instead, wait staff brought around wine, champagne, and caviar.  There were 5 or 6 different tent pavilions with free regional-themed food and live music.  And I don’t think any vehicle on display had a value of fewer than six figures.  Many were seven.

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I made the rounds as I worked my way toward the large Acura display and was greeted by a couple of colleagues who were already there:  Chris Willson from Science of Speed, and May Lee, the VP of the NSX Club of America.  On display was an elevated white platform with the Acura Precision Concept in the middle, with the NSX GT3 racecar on the left and a ‘street’ NSX at right.  Around 11:00 a.m., seasoned racecar driver Dario Franchitti arrived for some interviews.  I shook his hand and we talked a little.  He’s no stranger to fast cars, having won 4 Indy races.  He’s ordered a “Nouvelle Blue Pearl” 2017 NSX which will be delivered to him later this year.

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Right down the street, the Bonhams collector car auction was taking place all day.  My friends Scott and Sandy were selling their 1959 Mercury Park Lane – lot number 74 – and hoped for a good outcome.  I caught a shuttle ride over there to meet up with them.  The entire area was bustling with people, music, and activities – with auction bidding coming over the loudspeaker in a British accent.  “Nine hundred fifty, do I have nine hundred fifty?” he’d ask.  Seriously?  $950,000 – people spend that kind of money on cars.  The most expensive car sold this week in Monterey was a 1955 Jaguar D-Type that went for $19,800,000 at RM Sothebys Auction on Friday night.  Pocket change.

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The quick in-and-out Monterey trip capped off with a car event that differed greatly from The Quail.  It was called Concours d’LeMons, and it was a tribute to “the oddball, the mundane, the truly awful of the automotive world.”  Scott, Sandy, and I cruised in their Mini Cooper over to check out the festivities in Seaside on Saturday morning.  The Concours is free and “you get what you pay for.”  This tongue-in-cheek poke at the hoity toity Pebble Beach and Quail crowds seems little a little more my style.  We saw an Amphicar, a couple of AMC Pacers, and of course a Yugo on the grounds.  My friend Jason Cammisa from Motor Trend was on-hand as one of the judges.

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And with that, I was dropped at the curb of the cute but functional 4-gate Monterey airport and shed my fleece sweater, knowing that in about 2 hours I’d be back in the desert’s inferno and dealing with nearly twice the temperature.  Thanks for coming along for the adventure!  And, many thanks to the folks at Acura for making it possible for me to attend.  Here’s a very short video, along with some of the other photos I took.

Porsche-mania:  Cars for sale at Bonhams.

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Breakfast is served

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Ultra rare BMW “Z1” with only 34 kilometers on it.  This went for $90,000.

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Ferrari something-or-other that’s worth more than any home I’ll ever own.

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Love these lines.

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Hey, finally a red car I can relate to.  This 1991 NSX with 85,000 miles looks showroom fresh and belongs to Acura headquarters.

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A few celebrity sightings, including this one with Acura’s Chuck Schifsky.

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RealTime’s Peter Cunningham, whose collection I visited in Milwaukee last month.

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Science of Speed’s Chris Willson

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Acura PR’s Gary Robinson

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A few folks from Hagerty Insurance, including Jonathan Klinger who inspired this blog 5 years ago.

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Like the colors of Skittles candy.

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With my buddy Donny from Cadillac, leeching off the free food at the Rolls Royce booth.

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Feasts for the eyes, too.

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Acura CEO Jon Ikeda – a friend of mine since his days with the Acura Design Studio.

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Scott and Sandy’s 1959 Mercury with 40,000 original miles, which went for $40,000.

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Scott and Sandy themselves.  Thanks for the hospitality, guys!

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As seen from the parking lot of the Concours d’LeMons.  Hey, wait?

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The original owner of this 1987 Chevy Cavalier was especially proud of it.  And he’d driven it all the way from Michigan!

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Before you go, check out the website of author Darius Nabors.  He and his friend Trevor set out 59 weeks ago to visit all 59 national parks in 59 weeks.  They’ve achieved their goal!  I learned about Darius while thumbing through the American Airlines magazine on my flight from Phoenix to Monterey on Thursday night.  Congratulations, Darius!

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