Archive for the Car Show Category

Too SLXY for My Shirt: RADwood 2019 Car Show in Los Angeles

Posted in California, Car Show, Road Trip, SLX on December 9, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (NSX): 116,405

Odometer (SLX): 140,616

Odometer (ILX):  221,578

Odometer (Legend Coupe):  572,261

Trip Distance:  353 Miles

“Hmm,” Chris said from the passenger seat as he shrugged his shoulders.  “Sounds kinda scary.”

I was pretty deflated.  I had just proudly pinned the accelerator to the floor in my red brick of an SLX and it did the best it could to get up to highway speed.  Moments later, he gestured the making of a cross against his chest as we both collectively said our prayers that the old SUV would get us safely to Phoenix, still about 250 miles away, across the barren desert at nighttime with intermittent rain showers.

We made it.  A bit of wind turbulence and poor visibility (one of my headlights is so dim it barely works at all) were about the only problems we had.  We got home to Phoenix at midnight local time after an exhausting day of celebrating the totally tubular 1980s and 1990s in cars & culture.  This was the third time I’ve attended the ‘RADwood’ show in Los Angeles.  In 2017, I took the Legend, and in 2018, I took the Integra sedan.  I always have a riot when being surrounded by such awesome people & cars.

And this time – in a perfectly orchestrated inconvenience – the event was held up a canyon with zero cell signal.  So, from about 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., I spent the day doing what we all did during the 1980s and 1990s:  Actually making real-life conversation with people.  It was pretty freakin’ awesome.

My trip to RADwood was by way of two very special collector cars:  a 1989 Dodge Lancer Shelby (Greg’s) and a 1998 Ford Contour SVT (Jason’s) – both with 3-pedal transmissions.  Unfortunately for us, and for all other show-goers on Saturday, Mother Nature felt like giving us a few rain showers.  While the downpours held out aside from a little trickle here and there, the mud left me wishing I’d brought my galoshes.  It was so slippery, in fact, that I fell down while helping push a Honda CRX with a dead battery into its parking space.  Good thing I had a spare pair of pants on-hand.

At least the 1986 Preludes owned by my friends Chris Hoffman and Chris Green looked spectacular.

The star of the show – at least for me – was a special project vehicle that I had a small role in bringing to life.  It’s right here, pictured with none other than RADwood royalty Bradley Brownell himself, and my friend & automotive journalist Steve Ewing.

You’ll probably remember my old “Fir Green” 1997 Acura SLX that I picked up a year ago from a friend.  It ran & drove okay, but the transmission slipped in third gear and the seats were thrashed.  I enjoyed it for a few months around town as a Home Depot cruiser.  Its life was about to change, however, when Andrew Quillin from Acura Public Relations asked me in late Spring if I had a lead on any SLXs for sale.  I didn’t know of anything decent offhand, so I said, “You can have mine.”

And so it happened.  On June 18, Acura’s fleet management representative drove away in the green beast from my house in Phoenix and I wasn’t sure if or when I’d ever see it again.  Not only did I see it again, but, it had been transformed into a completely different vehicle.  Over the course of the next several months, the SLX spent its summer in Marysville, Ohio, at Honda’s Research & Development facility, getting a cosmetic facelift and a full mechanical transplant.  Behold:

Engineers James Robinson and Jordan Guitar led a team of people who swapped the tired, 178,000-mile 3.2 V6 with a race-tuned 2-liter turbo out of the Pikes Peak RDX racecar.  But they didn’t stop there.  The transmission was replaced with a push-button 10-speed automatic and the vehicle was equipped with Acura’s signature Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive (SH-AWD), plus a fully independent rear suspension.  The only subtle hint that this SLX is something a little different is the hue of Performance Red paint and the side exit exhaust forward to the left rear tire.

While official drag-race numbers have not yet been captured, I’m fairly certain the SH-AWD SLX would smoke my stock example in any performance event.  I haven’t yet driven it.  I only took a brief ride during a mid-November film shoot in the San Diego area.  The result of that film shoot is here, brought to life with the creative mind of Acura’s Zach Vlasuk.

As RADwood pressed on, I connected with friends and colleagues from near & far.  I also got to be the eyewitness (or even acting clergy?) for the official sale transaction of a white 1988 Legend coupe that changed hands from one owner to another during the course of the show.  The Acura representation across the show field was in fact pretty impressive:  Even the award-winning second-gen Legend sedan driven by Rob Pia was in attendance, and it won a well-deserved trophy at the conclusion of the show.

Congrats, new Legend owner Daniel!

I made it through the afternoon without any further mud-slides, and I had a great time rubbing shoulders with the leaders & engineers who brought the SLX project to life.  I even had about a dozen of them sign my dashboard with a silver Sharpie, including Executive Creative Director Dave Marek who drew me a picture!

As for the project SLX SH-AWD, it’s gone on to achieve all sorts of fame by way of automotive media outlets in every corner of the country and even internationally.  Here’s an example of one piece by Jalopnik.  And no, I’m not getting the vehicle back, but maybe I can sweet-talk Acura into a test drive.  After some race training, of course :).

Here’s my 5-minute video on this year’s RADwood, and a few photos follow.

Westbound in the SVT Contour

Barrett-Jackson is one of many sponsors & participants in the growing RADwood movement.  Pictured here is Matt Ferguson from Public Relations.

If I were to cheat on Acura, it might be for one of these.  Love it.

Resto-mod SLX sporting custom floor mats, wood trim, reupholstered leather, and a push-button transmission.  But – don’t worry – the tape deck stuck around!

My co-pilots Jason and Chris

Acura senior executive Jon Ikeda was out enjoying the party, too.

Even the former owner of the green SLX, Wyatt, popped in to say hello.

And now – if you are interested – here are a few shots from the filming of the reveal video, and a behind-the-scenes look at some of the effort it took to produce.

Three SLXs in one place!  That never happens.

That engine is more than meets the eye!  And you should hear it!

Setting up a camera mount on my Radiant Red

“For sale by owner” – come and get it!

Actress Amy McRoberts

Andrew from Acura – one of the main brains behind the operation.

Old and new in a San Diego garage

And lastly, since I’m too lazy to put these in their own blog entry, I wanted to thank and recognize a few people who have visited my house in the last few weeks including automotive journalists Clint Simone from Motor1 and Sofyan Bey from Redline Reviews.

I also hosted some fellow Acura friends including my friend Leon who was in town from Los Angeles.

I hope all my readers had a nice Thanksgiving.  I spent it in southern Utah with my RDX-driving friend Shaun and with many of my family members.

Grandma

Mom (and her 2016 RLX)

And the newest member – 1-year-old Ava Mae, inside her Escalade.

Have a great week!

Quick Visit: 2019 Ferrari Club of America (FCA) Meet in Scottsdale, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, Car Show, NSX, PAPA on November 7, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (NSX):  116,205

You want to know how high-class the Ferrari Club of America is?  They have jewelry for sale at their meets.  I kid you not!  I showed up on Wednesday evening to the Scottsdale Doubletree hotel, home base for this year’s massive 300-car club gathering, and took a stroll through the reception hall.  The whole place felt like it was on another level: wine bar, hors d’oeuvres (I always love spelling that), and yes – the finest of necklaces & rings for your perusal.

I was tempted to take the NSX to the meet-up, but I didn’t.  This was a party for the Italians only.  Peter Volny, fellow Phoenix Automotive Press Association member, was one of the key leaders orchestrating this stampede of sportscars.  His team developed a comprehensive website outlining the day-to-day details, which consisted of all the customary ingredients for a quality meeting of ‘car people’:  Plenty of food, driving opportunities, a show (‘concours’ is the proper term in this caliber of club), and performance driving opportunities at the track.  For the track portion, the Ferrari club went to Apex Motor Club which you’ll remember from a recent blog post.

I took a stroll around the property including the “Ferrari Parking Only” section toward the rear.  The cars ranged in age, configuration, and color in a wide variety.  I’m certain many of them held a market value at or beyond the price of my home.  Several of them were covered up – presumably to keep them from being slobbered on by people like me.  Perhaps my favorite feature of any car there was the “BUELER” plate on this ride.  You’ll recall that the famous movie car from the classic 1986 film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” was a 1961 Ferrari 250GT California.

I liked this one particularly, and not necessarily because of its color or condition, but because it had bugs on the front end.  I get the feeling a lot of attendees – especially those from more than a couple hundred miles away – had their vehicles transported to the event in bubble-wrapped, fully-enclosed, climate-controlled shipping containers.  This owner put his Ferrari to use as it was meant to be.

This morning, I visited the Scottsdale Sports Complex where the concours was being held.  Judges wore matching yellow shirts and readily identifiable badges on their lanyards.  It was clear they took their jobs very seriously.  Notice they even opened up the gas door here for closer inspection.  Funny enough, we do that during the judging portion at Legend meets, but usually only when a tie-breaker is needed between two exceptionally clean cars.

This year’s FCA meet is reportedly the second-largest in the club’s history:  It’s surpassed in size only by the 2015 event which was held in conjunction with Monterey Car Week.  I am sure I’ll be seeing a few more ‘raris than usual on my day-to-day travels through the end of the event this coming Sunday morning.  Maybe I’ll even sneak my way into the lineup with my Japanese imposter.

The Doubletree is swarmed in high class cars

No shortage of color out here

I think this might have been my favorite shade

So 1980s I love it.

I drove a car similar to these owned by my friend Greg recently.

And the obligatory NSX picture for this post.  Notice, I found a convertible Crown Victoria at the gas station.

Long Beach Weekend: 2019 Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS) at Marina Green Park

Posted in California, Car Show, Del Sol, Road Trip on September 26, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (del Sol):  89,349

Trip Distance:  777 Miles

This was a fun way to break up the work week:  My friend Chris invited me to meet up and check out / test drive his very rare model year 2000 Acura Integra Type R.  The car had 48,000 miles on it and handled incredibly.  Like many ‘B-Series’ powered Honda cars, the Type R loves to rev.  Its tachometer goes up to a sky-high 10,000 RPM.  I appreciated the opportunity!

I’m starting to become a ‘regular’ at some of the Southern California car scene activities each year.  The Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS), now in its 15th year, has been a tradition of mine since I started going in 2014.  Back then, none of my cars were eligible because the cutoff for model year eligibility was in the 1980s.  It’s since been modified, and anything up through the mid-1990s is permissible.

The Key Lime del Sol made the trip this time.  This was the first time it’s made an out-of-town voyage since I brought it to Phoenix from Salt Lake City back in May.  I’m happy to report that the car did great.  Here are write-ups from my prior trips to JCCS.  With the momentum behind the event (growing so much that it had to change venues last year) I’m confident it will be a “thing” for many years to come.

I had a special guest at the house last Thursday afternoon:  My friend Ken from Pennsylvania rolled into town in his vintage 1981 Honda Accord.  His dedication to the event was impressive – even in the face of a breakdown somewhere in Wisconsin, he was able to put a spare fuel pump to use the following day and be back on the road without much time lost.  Driving with an old car in adventure to say the least.  It’s best to live by the Boy Scout motto:  “Be Prepared.”

By the time Ken and I made it out of Phoenix during rush hour, then completed our trek across the desert, our arrival in Torrance at the Holiday Inn was a little before midnight.  The next day, we toured the Honda Collection open house (which I’d visited just recently in July).  I enjoyed a night out with a few local friends before tidying up the del Sol and calling it a night.  My wake-up call on the show day itself always comes very early – in this case it was 5:40 a.m. so I could be at a meeting point in Long Beach by 6:45.

(Why they had this sign up for the “14th” annual 2018 event from last year, I’m not sure.)

This was the largest JCCS in the event’s 15-year history.  Over 400 vehicles were displayed in organized fashion at Marina Green along Shoreline Drive.  The Honda section, as in prior years, was headquartered on the west end of the park.  Luckily I rolled in around the same time as some of my closest colleagues so I got to park near them.

A few particularly cool vehicles caught my eye throughout the day.  I enjoyed my friend Chris’ 1988 Dodge Ram 50 pickup truck.  A Dodge at a Japanese car show?  Yes.  That’s because his Dodge was technically just a rebadged Mitsubishi Mighty Max.  Which reminds me, speaking of rebadges, I think the SLX will make a JCCS debut next year.

At the conclusion of the show, some friends and I dined nearby at the Islands Burger restaurant and hydrated after a day in the sun.  The del Sol got me home safe and sound to Phoenix later that evening.  Until next year!

Rolling 88,888 miles at 88 miles per hour.  I pictured Doc Emmett Brown from Back to the Future:  “When this thing hits 88 miles per hour, you’re going to see some serious shit.”  Well, I didn’t see any of that, but it was still fun to celebrate.

Visit to the American Honda main office

Inside the museum with David and David

Lineup awaiting in staging lanes

Running into friends from all over

My friend Ryan’s 1988 Daihatsu Charade – love it

My buddy Logan

Dave Heath from Honda who works with Auto Shows & Exhibits

The Honda display was nicely laid out

Ever seen a lifted Lexus LS400 on mud tires?

Primary colors?  I think we were just missing blue

Dinner group before my return trip to Phoenix

Last but definitely not least:  The automotive journalist community is pretty small, and is better described as a close-knit family.  Recently, a colleague of mine named Miles Branman in the Southern California region was injured in an accident.

One of the media organizations (similar to PAPA, that we have here in Phoenix) called MPG (Motor Press Guild) has launched a series of auctions in fundraising support of Miles. Among the items up for grabs are some some exclusive collector items donated by Acura.  Check these out:

These are all one-of-a-kind finds, and they’re for a good cause!  The auctions end next Thursday, October 3 at 5:00 Pacific.

Thanks for looking.

RADwood Las Vegas 2019: Hip on the Strip

Posted in Car Show, Legend, Nevada, Road Trip on April 30, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend Sedan):  161,272

Trip Distance:  606 Miles

Greg and Jennifer Davis hit a home run with their wardrobes at last Saturday’s “RADwood” 1980s-1990s car show in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Greg’s “1991 NBA Finals” cap looked brand new, and Jennifer’s T-shirt showcased none other than Pee-wee Herman, who from 1980 through 1992 had one of the most widely-recognized voices in homes across America.  I grew up watching Pee-wee’s Playhouse on Saturday mornings, complete with its talking chair and flying bicycle.

Paul Reubens, who portrayed the iconic nerdy character as the star of the show, is now 66 years old.  Isn’t it crazy how time flies?  For folks like me who grew up with our eyeballs on big-box Magnavox TV sets and who played in the yard with MicroMachines, it’s fun to reminisce about the cars & culture that surrounded us during that era.

RADwood is a venue that specifically showcases that kind of culture.  On Saturday evening in Vegas, I attended my fourth of such an event, and in my fourth different vehicle.  For prior write-ups, here are blog entries from the others I’ve been to:

Each show has had its own unique style and flavor thanks to different venues, timing, and extracurricular events.  The Las Vegas Convention Center hosted this one – the same massive show hall that serves as home base for the SEMA convention each year.  I rolled into the show in my 1994 Legend GS sedan, alongside my friend Dane in his 1992 Dodge Stealth R/T.

Brandon M, Brandon H, Dane, Tyson, Jay, and Ryan

My favorite vehicles weren’t necessarily the most eye-catching or exotic.  Instead, they were everyday vehicles that simply don’t usually get preserved to the level that these were.  I fell in love with a red pearl 1990 Toyota Pickup extended cab 4×4 at the Barrett-Jackson booth that was so clean, you could eat off the undercarriage.

I also struck up a conversation with the owner of an exceptionally pristine 1987 Acura Legend L sedan in Florence Blue.  The Legend, as it turns out, was a family heirloom from the owner’s father who cared for the car from new until he passed away in 2015.

His son has now gone to great lengths to restore and preserve it, complete with paint work, new leather, and a mechanical freshening.  It looked so pristine despite having 180,000 miles on it, and the period-correct “Golden State” California license plates really completed the overall look.

I had a short conversation with Brad Brownell from the RADwood leadership team.  “This is a litmus test for future events in this area,” he said.  In just the few short years since the event first kicked off, it has gained strong momentum.

The group’s Instagram following is approaching the 30,000 mark and there are events in the works for locations across the country and even in Europe.  I can only hope that Arizona gets its chance in the spotlight, and that they’ll allow me to show my entire fleet!

I recorded some of the action on my Sony Hi-8 Handycam in the below video.  I had hoped to capture footage using this 1985 Quasar VHS camcorder that I inherited from my grandmother, but I can’t get it to stay powered up.

Greg and Jennifer took home a well-deserved award for their 1991 Mitsubishi Galant VR-4, pictured below.  That award, in fact, was shaped like the “Aggro-Crag” obstacle that was part of the Nickelodeon TV series “Guts” which ran from 1992 through 1995.  Take me back!

Below are a few additional photos from a RAD afternoon in Las Vegas!  Thanks for reading!

Vegas-bound, and stopped for a photo on Legend Ranch Road off Highway 93

This was the write-up that I displayed with the car

Get Rad!

Ethan Tufts, who handles some of RADwood’s social media as well as his own site, linked here.

Loved this Porsche!

A visit from mom, and from Sunny from Salt Lake.

Exceptionally nice looking BMW M5.

Cruising the Strip after the show, as seen from my friend Jay’s Mercedes-Benz.

And some fun on the drive home:  My friend Chris in Baltimore and I have “twin” cars, and since we were both on the road at the same time on Sunday, we decided to stage some similar photos.  YooHoo beverages included!

Barn Finds & Egg Hunts: Easter Holiday Weekend in Utah

Posted in Car Show, Misc Travel, RLX, Utah on April 24, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (RLX):  23,456

Trip Distance:  $80 Round-Trip Flight (Gasp)

With all the fancy paint jobs and gleaming chrome at the 34th annual Easter Car Show in Hurricane, Utah last Saturday, the car that most stood out to me was in fact the dirtiest.  It was a 1963 Chevrolet Impala that had literally been pulled from a 20-year-slumber in a barn in Milford, Utah the day prior.  The only things touched prior to its entry in the car show were the tires, which needed replacement in order to facilitate transport.

A registration renewal sticker on the back license plate confirmed – this car was last on the road around September 1999.  I was a senior in high school at that time.  It seems like eons ago.

Even the interior remained filled with dust and had a crusty paperback book sitting on the backseat.  There is something so fascinating about a “barn find” vehicle – a certain mystique, like the feeling of encountering buried treasure.  I’m sure it took a lot of restraint for the owner, Brent Pearce, to resist wiping off the dashboard or at least running a vacuum through the carpet.

I neglected to take a look at the odometer (I know, of all things) but given this car’s condition, it looked to be a low-miler.  I’m sure it will take some time, effort, and money to get its V8 engine to awaken from a deep 20-year-slumber.

My second favorite thing about the car show was this $6 sloppy joe.

I had an enjoyable weekend in southern Utah with family and friends, especially since mom (pictured below) let me borrow her “new” Crystal Black 2016 RLX as my rental car for a few days.

I enjoyed tooling around my old digs and doing it in style.  The seat belts make a satisfying “tug” at you when you buckle them, and when you take a corner at a moderately high speed.  Fit & finish are top notch, and the audio system rocks.

The other noteworthy vehicle at the show was my brother’s 1954 Ford F-100 pickup.  It’s powered by an engine from General Motors, which is a little odd.  The supercharged “LT4” V8 was tuned to 650 horsepower by Blake Foster from Speed Tech Performance.

Body work is perfect, and that “Snapper Rocks” paint color is one of BMW’s offerings.

Here’s a short walkaround along with Q&A with Blake who was there representing his business.

We got the family together on Sunday morning for a 500-egg (!) Easter hunt.

Luckily some of the eggs were bigger than my 4-month-old niece Ava, so they were easy to spot.

Thanks to my friends David and Matt for their recent visit!

Have a great one!

Quick Q&A with Dave Magers, CEO of Mecum Collector Car Auctions

Posted in Arizona, Car Show, PAPA on March 18, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  565,313

Odometer (ILX):  213,342

I shook hands last Friday morning with the CEO of the largest collector car auction in the world!  I was one of 11 journalists from the Phoenix Automotive Press Association (PAPA) who were invited to an exclusive Q&A with Dave Magers during the opening weekend of Mecum Auctions’ first event in Phoenix.

Mecum is a powerhouse in the collector car marketplace, launched in 1988 with humble family beginnings but today hosting 14 auctions nationwide, each one at about $30 million or more in sales.  That’s a lot of steel & rubber changing hands each year (roughly 15,000 vehicles, actually).

While most of the Phoenix & Scottsdale community thinks of “auction month” as happening in January (see recent post from Barrett-Jackson), Mecum came to the Valley of the Sun at a time when it could have the exclusive spotlight.  It also operated out of a facility that more readily accommodated visitors with on-site parking and other niceties:  The State Farm Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals NFL team.

Dave invited us behind-the-scenes to learn more about what it’s like in his role and the thought process that goes into strategy for where / how to expand the Mecum enterprise.  Clearly he and his team are doing something right:  The Phoenix auction was just put into contract last November.  It was initially designed to accommodate 600 vehicles over two days.  That 600-vehicle registration cap was reached in a mere 48 hours.

After some additional rework and coordination, the event was reconfigured and expanded to sell about 1,400 vehicles over three days, closing out on Sunday just in time for a Garth Brooks concert to take over the venue the following morning.

I was greeted at the entrance to the main forum by 2 red LaFerraris, each likely valued at $3-4 million or more.  A small 8×11 sheet of paper in front of them said “Available for Immediate Purchase.  Text such-and such phone number.”  I failed to take down the number, but if any of my readers have a craving for speed and a fat wad of cash to blow, hit me up and I can probably find out where those cars ended up.

The lineup of cars looked a lot like other collector auctions I’ve been to, with a high volume of predominantly domestic makes and models from the 1950s through 1970s.  Other outliers were there, but fewer and farther between.  Dave indicated that the auction prides itself in “treating everyone equally.”  A bidder who purchases his high school dream car for $25,000 may in fact have more attachment to the car and more satisfaction in the bidding process than someone who plunks down $2M on an exotic car for an investment.  So the Mecum team treats everyone the same.  In thumbing through the booklet of available cars, I did come across a bit of an oddball find:  This 1996 Accord EX Wagon, lot #T110.  I’ll have to see what it went for.

Ever think about how most of these auctions cater to 50-60 year old men?  It’s no mystery:  They are the demographic with enough disposable income to buy their dream cars.  Knowing this, Dave and his marketing teams customize their messaging accordingly: If you’re 25, he wants you to follow the auctions online, and probably buy a ticket to come spectate.  If you’re 50, he wants you to come buy something.  He’ll always market toward 50-year-olds, just that the cars they’re looking for will evolve.

Dave’s concern is about a “gap” of vehicles between about 1980 and 1995 when cars (to most people, anyway) weren’t as collectible or desirable.  Guess what?  That’s where some of us thrive, and it’s clear from sites like Bring a Trailer that the 1980s and 1990s collector community is very alive and well (I’ve now auctioned 3 vehicles from that era and each one of them has far exceeded expectations).  Niche buyers and collectors of those types of cars just aren’t going to venues like Mecum as their marketplace of choice.  And that’s perfectly okay!

Speaking of which, does anyone want an absolutely insanely mint 1982 Chrysler LeBaron convertible?  Say no more.  It’s right here.

Someone in our group asked Dave about his personal cars.  When he’s not “touring” with his auction’s 33 semi trucks to destinations nationwide, Dave commutes 140 miles round trip per weekday (!) from Chicago to a Walworth, Wisconsin in a Dodge Challenger Hellcat, but the two favorites from his collection are a Ferrari 458 Italia and a Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS Gullwing.  A man of good taste indeed.

Many thanks to the Mecum team for their hospitality.  I have no doubt this year’s auction was a complete success and I hope you will enjoy coming back to the Valley of the Sun for years to come!

Here was a sweet Nova SS 396 that I saw.

In a few other updates:

Mom is still happily cruising around in her new RLX.  She had the OEM splash guards and spoiler installed this past week.  She also rolled the 22,222 milestone.  I hit the same milestone in my ILX in December 2012.

I added a sticker to the mirror in the cabinet in the garage.  “Eat, Sleep, Acura.”

And I finally took the chance to go through my old stash of license plates and do something decorative with them.

Some of them are now used as a border along the ceiling in the laundry room, which is the entrance to my showroom.

I saw this relic 1985 Celebrity while at the local pick-&-pull junkyard on Saturday.

I had a couple of friends over on Saturday night:  Michael S (in a white 1993 Integra GS) and Michael O (in a blue 1988 Legend L).  It was fun to have some new guests in the garage for a little bit.

Michael S’s Integra just completed the 150,000 mile mark and Michael O’s Legend has 190,000.

Finally:  A friends recently made some fun acquisitions, including Ryan here (at left) picking up a 1992 Vigor.

Then Chris, here at left, picking up a 2016 MDX Advance.

And Ira, who snagged a brand new Civic Si that nearly perfectly matches his NSX!  Oooh, that blue!

Congrats, guys!

Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction 2019: From Starfires to Supras

Posted in Arizona, Car Show on January 16, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  564,893

Our shuttle bus driver from the offsite parking lot to Barrett-Jackson this year must have also had a part-time job as a comedian.  There was a collection bucket for tips & donations at the front of the bus, as many buses have.  But the difference with this one was that it had a picture of a 1985 Ford Escort taped to it.  “Escort Fund,” he called it.

Over the radio he announced to all passengers, “If you see an Escort there today, go ahead and bid $24 on it for me.”  I don’t know if he’ll ever realize his dream of owning such a car (or of such a car ever being sold at Barrett-Jackson) but I admired his optimism and of course his appreciation for a 1980s piece of history.

The mecca for automotive auctions is a place where you can look in virtually any direction and see a six- or seven-figure automobile – soon to be up for grabs to the highest bidder.  While my pocketbook stayed firmly planted, well, in my pocket, that didn’t keep me from enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells (mmm, nothing like exhaust in the morning) of the 47th annual Barrett-Jackson collector car auction.

The 8-day event kicked off with a full roster of activities planned, and I went on opening day with a few friends to scout out the scene.  I had quite a few favorites, including an exceptionally clean 1950 Buick convertible – a car I’ve always wanted to own ever since finding vintage photographs of my late grandfather with his.  We perused the available inventory, both indoors & out, and enjoyed plenty of nostalgia.

While I love seeing a “tri-five (1955-57)” Chevrolet as much as the next person, they are exceedingly common at events like these.  My greater appreciation goes toward cars that are more obscure – something like the 1971 Ford Thunderbird.  Just look at the beak on this thing. And critics gave the 2009-2013 Acura design language a hard time!  That was tame in comparison.

Among the highlights for Barrett this year is the sale of the first production 2020 Toyota Supra, a car that for about 20 years has been absent from the marketplace.  Toyota’s newest iteration – the 5th generation – was unveiled by Craig Jackson at a press conference on Monday morning.  It will be powered by a 335-horsepower motor and share a chassis with the BMW Z4.  Audience members were given the opportunity to ask questions after a short introduction.  I raised my hand and asked if the car will have a manual transmission.  The answer, sadly, was a “no.”  And such is the sad case for so many of today’s modern performance cars.

The only two Hondas that I recall seeing – and I’m sure there were more – were both from model year 2001, and silver in color.  One was an exceptionally clean S2000 with fewer than 1,000 miles on it, and the other was VIN 00001 NSX (an automatic, sadly).

Low mileage is definitely the name of the game for most of the cars going up for auction.  It’s not uncommon to see vehicles on display with fewer than 100, even – such as a 2001 Plymouth Prowler with only 24 on it.

I got my fill of horsepower at this year’s Barrett-Jackson auction.  Maybe someday I’ll actually have the means to sit in the bidder area and throw a few bucks down on a Ford Escort for that shuttle driver.   Enjoy a few pics and a short video below!

Also, speaking of auctions, go take a look at my 1990 Accord EX up for grabs at 7 days, no reserve on Bring a Trailer!

A friend is also selling his 1995 Dodge Stealth which ends the same day.  Have a look at his auction.

Mercedes going all crazy with this 6×6 G.  Pretty ridiculous!

A few of the 50s and 60s cars in the salon showcase.

New cars had their chance in the spotlight too, including this BMW 12-cylinder, $160,000 sedan.

This Oldsmobile had my favorite color of the event.

The below sign made me laugh.  Yes, I reminisce about my Celebrity.  But I don’t ever expect to see one at Barrett-Jackson.  Although, a Ford Pinto recently sold there for about $18,000, so you never know.

Here’s the S2000.

Jack worshiping the Mercedes SL.  We all love these!

Gotta love a Nova SS.