Archive for the Car Show Category

Visit to the 2017 Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction

Posted in Arizona, Car Show on January 26, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  550,387

550387

Odometer (ILX):  190,802

190802

“You barely put a dent in that.”

esprit

That’s not a comment anyone wants to hear when they’re walking past an $800,000 supercar like music legend Steven Tyler’s Hennessey Venom, or a 1 of 1 Pontiac Kammback Trans Am, or a showroom fresh 47-year-old Chevy pickup with 400 original miles on it.

Fortunately, my friend Chris wasn’t talking about denting a car.  He was talking about putting a dent in this gigantic footlong jalapeño & cheddar sausage I picked up from one of the vendors at Saturday’s 46th annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction.

sausage

You’ve never quite seen an automotive buffet like the one in Scottsdale, Arizona this past week.  Over an 8-day period, some 1,700 collector cars found new homes in one of the best-known and widely-viewed auctions in the country.  For anyone with a hankering for a slice or two of literature and automobilia, that’s on the menu too.  Since 1989, Scottsdale’s venue for the Barrett-Jackson auction has been Westworld, not far from my home.  My friend Chris flew in from Baltimore to see what all the sights, sounds, and tastes had to offer.  We didn’t go home hungry.

barrett_tent

Chris and I attended the auction on Saturday morning.  Weather in the Phoenix area had finally broken from a 4-day stretch of rain – much to the relief, I’m sure, of the many people who had their prized, gleaming garage queens out in Westworld’s staging areas for display prior to being auctioned.  The ILX got stashed several miles away in the offsite parking lot and we caught a shuttle bus to the epicenter of activity.

tyson_chris_barrett

It was a star-studded afternoon:  Justin Bieber (Ferrari 458), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Chevelle), and Burt Reynolds (Trans Am) each took the mic at different times during the day to hawk their rides.  Chris and I made the rounds in both the interior and exterior staging areas.  High-dollar “Salon” cars had premium parking in the enclosed areas nearest the auction block.  Other cars – not quite as elite but still well out of my price range – resided in the external grounds shaded by tents.

nova

There didn’t seem to be much rhyme nor reason as to how the parking was arranged.  It wasn’t uncommon to see a Volkswagen Beetle parked next to a Hummer, parked next to a 1962 Chrysler.  But that’s what kept it interesting.  There was something for everyone.  And new this year, there was a live video stream on B-J’s website so that the “auction action” could be viewed by car enthusiasts both near and far.  In all, the week+ long festivities wrapped up with $102 million in sales, with the auction being attended by 320,000 people in person.

desoto

Now the automotive buffet got even more interesting.  My friend Jonathan Klinger from Hagerty called and offered a couple of tickets to skybox #11 in the auction hall – an exclusive opportunity to rub shoulders with the cast & crew from Velocity TV channel.  Not to mention, snacks and drinks were on the house, and the view from high above the show floor couldn’t have been better.  I’ve now been spoiled with skybox access twice, since last year I attended in Acura’s skybox when the 2017 NSX VIN 001 was auctioned off for $1.2 million.

barrett_view

Barrett-Jackson truly was a feast for all the senses.  Now if only I could have brought home some take-out.  In the form of a shiny new toy, of course.  Many thanks to the organizers of Barrett-Jackson for admitting me with a media credential this year!

Here’s a short video I captured of Bieber’s Ferrari on stage with a few of his comments at the end.

Bus ride from the “offsite purple lot” where we’d parked the ILX, several miles away.

bus_ride

Media creds!

barrett_media

This NSX used to be Berlina Black.  It’s a custom build by Clarion car audio.

clarion_nsx

The “Salon” area, including Justin Bieber’s matte-blue-wrapped Ferrari in the foreground.

salon

This 1958 Chevy Corvette was named “Eye Candy.”

eye_candy

30-year-old Buick GNX with only 1,524 miles on it.

gnx

I always think of Skittles candy when I see a color like this McLaren was wearing.

mclaren

“Breathing New Life Into a Legend”

bronco

Loved this “barn find” Shelby Cobra GT 350.  They didn’t even run it through the coin-op wash!

barn_find_shelby

shelby_barrett

The “tri-five” (55, 56, 57) Chevy Bel Airs are always a hit.

interior

I loved the design on the dashboard of this 1962 Chrysler Imperial.

62_chrysler_dash

Only 246 miles on this Pontiac!  Talk about fresh.

246_miles

Quick meet-up with RealTime racing legend Peter Cunningham.

peter_tyson

This pair of 1970 Chevy pickups came from a barn in Alberta, Canada.  Each one has fewer than 1,000 miles on it.

pickups

What’s not to love about a bright red 1990 Lotus Esprit?

lotus

Outside tent area with vendors and more cars

barrett_outside

Sing it with me.  “Apple bottom jeans….”

boots_with_the_fur

Custom car builder Dave Kindig in the background at the Velocity TV skybox.

dave_kindig

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. on stage talking about his Chevelle.

earnhardt

“Chasing Classic Cars” host Wayne Carini.

tyson_wayne

Thanks for coming along!

Rock & Roll Marathon Weekend – Future Classics Car Show – & Special Visitors

Posted in Arizona, Car Show, Running on January 22, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  550,387

550387

Odometer (ILX):  190,476

It’s been a full house at Hotel Hugie this week.  I’ve had company cycling in and out for the past week or so and I’m happy to play host!  Visiting from Palm Springs, California was my friend Scott who came to town on business AND to market his bright yellow 1977 Honda Civic which went up for sale at a collector car auction later in the week.  It brought $14,000!

77_civic

Last Sunday, I ran the 14th annual Rock & Roll Half-Marathon in Phoenix with my mother who had driven down from Utah.  Race day weather couldn’t have been better:  even though the forecast had called for a 30%+ chance of rain, things stayed dry and the overcast skies kept it from getting too warm.  In the end, I somehow pulled off a 2 hour, 22 minute finish time with mom sneaking past the finish line at 1:58.

tia_tyson_after

Darn it mom, I’ll beat you someday.

race_stats

On Monday evening I attended the second-annual “Future Classics Car Show,” sponsored in part by ClassicCars.com, Hagerty, as well as other names in the collector car industry.  It was open to all years, makes, and models, but I opted to take my 1994 Legend GS sedan since it hadn’t seen the light of day in a few weeks.  The car didn’t exactly fit in — most vehicles in the show were more of a ‘tuner’ variety, with big wings, decals, and racing wheels.  But I was happy to represent the all-stock Japanese luxo-sedan.  Parked next to me was my friend Kyle in his 2005 Pontiac GTO, which incidentally ended up winning a trophy in its class.  Congrats, Kyle!

lineup2

On Wednesday, I made a trip to the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport to pick up my good friend Chris who’d just flown in 5 hours from Baltimore to spend a few days with me.  Chris and I have been ‘car friends’ since the late 1990s when we were both dabbling in Honda Prelude circles.  This week, he became the first of my friends who has driven all 6 of my cars.  There you go Chris, the proof is in writing!  You win the grand prize!

tyson_chris

It was an action-packed few days complete with highs and lows.  Mother Nature dished out lots of rain which put a damper on Chris’ travel plans, but it didn’t keep him from taking a trip to Sedona in the Legend sedan and hiking 7 miles in the mud to Devil’s Bridge.  Getting there was an adventure in itself.  He’d intended to take the NSX but only made it 15 miles north of town when the car left him stranded thanks to a faulty ignition switch.  A $195 tow and $101 (parts & labor) repair later, the car was back on the road the next day thanks to Science of Speed in Chandler.  First time that one has seen a tow truck in the five years I’ve owned it!

nsx_tow

On Friday, I telecommuted and supervised Chris while he did some ILX maintenance for me, including replacement of rear brake pads, the engine air filter, and the serpentine belt.

chris_brakes

I introduced him to my favorite Mexican place, “Lose Dos Molinos,” on Camelback Road later that evening to compensate him in part for his labor efforts.  A couple of other special guests made their debut at my home including Mark McCourt and Jeff Koch from Hemmings, then Jonathan Klinger from Hagerty.  Talk about friends in high places.  I was honored to have such automotive elites checking out my home and garage.  I thank them for helping keep the car collecting community alive.

tyson_mark

Speaking of car collecting, you’ll soon read more about my trip to the 46th annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction which was our source of entertainment all day Saturday.  Watch for an upcoming post on that.

Which brings us to the final chapter of Chris’ visit, in which we took a 250-ish mile round trip to Tucson & back in the Legend coupe to tour the Pima Air & Space Museum, a collection of hundreds of retired aircraft.  My favorite was getting to see the Douglas VC-118A that served as Air Force One for Presidents Kennedy & Johnson during the early 1960s (pictured below). On the way back, I introduced Chris to In-N-Out Burger, a favorite fast food chain in this region.  He said the shake wasn’t half bad.

air_force_one

presidential_aircraft

That puts a wrap on what you’ve missed during the last couple of weeks.  Now, make the most of the few minutes of the weekend that remain!  I know I will!  Until next time.

Interior of Scott’s 1977 Civic.

77_civ_gauges

Some literature my friend Richard sent me.  Love this old stuff!

brochures_from_rich

Scott gave me a huge “A” for my garage.  It used to adorn an auto show display booth.

big_a

Also had a visit from my friend Ryan and 3 of his 4 kiddos.  The guest book is filling up nicely!

ryan_tyson

Not to mention this crowd of troublemakers I hosted for pasta dinner the night before the half-marathon.

group

Another shot from the Future Classics Car Show

lineup

Grabbing a bite with Sam and Kyle

sam_kyle_tyson

Headed to pick up Chris from the airport and my friend Lance happened to be right behind me!  He snapped this shot!

coupe_airport

Chris’ arrival.  He’s come out at least 3 times now from Baltimore to visit.

chris

Shots Chris took with the Legend sedan on the Red Rock Scenic Byway in Sedona, Arizona.

red_rock_scenic_byway

gs_sedona

Maintenance underway!

chris_filter

Mark from Hemmings gave me these awesome VHS promotional tapes from the 1990s!  I can’t wait to put them to use!

vhs_tapes

This postcard was inside one of them.  “The question isn’t whether to lease an Acura, but rather which Acura to lease.  We understand what a difficult decision it is, and we recommend you seek professional help.  From your professionally helpful Acura dealer.”  Love that!  I’ll take one of each!

legend_vigor_lease

Visit from Hagerty’s main man in Traverse City, Jonathan Klinger.

tyson_jonathan

Hitting up a mecca for airplane geeks

pima_air_space_museum

The SR-71 Blackbird, this example from 1964, maxes out at over 2,100 miles per hour and flies at 85,000 feet.  This is a serious aircraft.

sr71

Double-double, animal style!  If you know what that is, you’ve been to In-N-Out Burger.

chris_in_n_out

2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan

Posted in Car Show on January 11, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  190,267

190267

Aloha from 35,000 feet.  As I generate these thoughts, I’m midway through Delta’s 4-hour flight #2021 with service from Detroit to Phoenix, and luckily a sweet old woman swapped me into her window seat way back here in row 31 so I can at least enjoy the scenery a little.

wing

The North American International Otto Show.  Wait – Otto?   Yes.  Did you know that the Detroit Auto Show was originally named for Otto Shaw, a German Immigrant who opened Detroit’s first used car dealership on Woodward Avenue?  The show was named the Detroit Auto Show until 1989 when it finally took on the “international” flavor when organizers decided it was only fair to recognize the fact that more than just the United States produced cars.  This factoid comes from “autoblopnik” with tongue in cheek, but one fact holds true with definite certainty:  This show is the country’s most extravagant display of automaker fanfare related to new model releases each year.

naias_badge

This year marked the 5th anniversary of my first trip to the show, back in January 2012.  At that time, I was attending the Media Days as a guest of Acura along with a group of a half-dozen or so automotive bloggers.  The main event of interest for me was the unveil of two cars that year: The ILX Concept and the NSX Concept.  Oddly enough it has taken Acura almost these entire last 5 years to fully bring the NSX to market (it sold between 60 and 70 units in December 2016) but the ILX is already in its 5th model year and has had a light refresh as of two years ago.  Heck, by the time the fully-redesigned second-gen ILX comes around (maybe for the 2018 model year?) I’ll probably have 200,000 miles on mine.

acura_booth

Redline Reviews, hopefully by now one of your favorite YouTube car review channel subscriptions, invited me to be part of the team.  I worked with Editor-in-Chief Sofyan Bey, along with his support staff members Peace and Rob, who together produce some of the most thorough and timely video segments in the industry on automotive reviews, new vehicle reveals, and other industry news.  We stayed at a ruggedly industrial repurposed bottling plant from the 1930s on Fort Street, just a mile away from Cobo Center which is the convention hall that becomes the epicenter of all NAIAS activity for the week.

redline_team

On Monday, January 9th, we staked out our spot in the Media Center by 6:30 a.m. (remember, that’s 4:30 in the morning for this Arizona guy!) and hit the show floor running by the time the first press conference, Chevy’s, kicked off at 7:30.  In all, the day involved walking some 14,000 steps totaling out to over 8 miles.  Each automaker’s booth more impressive than the last, many of which offering up food and beverages in attempt to woo the journalists.  It worked for me.  I’ve never met a finger food I didn’t like.

odyssey

A productive day it was.  In all, Sofyan and crew – myself included – captured footage for 10 videos.  Noteworthy subject matter included the new Subaru WRX, Chevy Traverse, GMC Terrain, Honda Odyssey, Ford F-150, Kia Stinger, Lexus LS500, and Toyota Camry – all of which are either brand new or very substantially revised models for the 2018 model years and beyond.

tyson_sofyan_terrain

The crazy thing is just how far the bar continues to be raised.  Almost every press conference transcript includes the words “safer, stronger, more fuel efficient, faster.”  Every year we seem to be creeping ever-closer to automotive perfection.  Where a few years ago it was revolutionary for an automaker to have a 7 or 8 speed automatic transmission, some (Odyssey, F-150) are now getting 10 speeds.

ls500

Going by the wayside are large displacement V8 engines.  Even the 2018 Lexus LS series (above), which debuted 28 years ago in 1989 as the company’s flagship sedan, for the first time will now only be offered with a twin-turbo V6 motor.  That’s not to say it’s taking a step back in power, since the V6 still pushes out over 400 horsepower.  And the “electrification” of the automobile industry expands with each year.  Honda announced that half of its new models in the next 3 years will be “electrified” in some way.  Gas pumps are inevitably being replaced by power plugs.

steve_tyson_brian

A full day of work by me and the rest of the Redline team was followed by an evening at the charming home of Motor Trend Editor, Frank Markus, and his husband Michael in the suburb of Royal Oak about 25 minutes north of downtown.  I picked up a friend from the airport and we headed to the festivities.  There, I was able to rub shoulders with the automotive elite like auto reviewer Jason Cammisa who hosts Motor Trend’s “Ignition” segment and garners tens of thousands of views, as well as Steve Siler and Brian Gurney, pictured above.

sonic

Detroit got its fair share of overnight snow on Monday – so much, in fact, that my rental Chevy Sonic LTZ was nearly stuck a few times while I navigated my way around town.  I’m a noob when it comes to snow driving.  I’ll remind you, it’s been 11 years since I moved to Phoenix.  I made a few visits to local friends and made my way back to the McNamara terminal at Detroit’s international airport.  And with that concluded an action-packed 48 hours in Motor City.  It was worth every second, and every air-mile.  Thanks for reading!

Here’s a 13-minute video of some ramblings Sofyan and I shared after the first day of the show.

Dollar rent-a-car gave me the choice of any compact in this lineup.  I just picked the Sonic at the far end.

dollar_rental_choices

Press conference lineup for Monday morning, January 9th.   Each automaker gets 25 minutes to wow and impress us.

press_schedule_naias

Visiting my friend Waseem who just recently bought a place in Grosse Pointe, about 10 mi north of downtown.

waseem_house

Waseem’s 1990 Legend LS tucked away.

waseem_legend

Dinner with other local friends Hass and his lovely wife.

hass

This was an amazing fish taco from a place called Batch Brewery.

batch_brewing_food

Our AirBNB accommodations in downtown Detroit.

detroit_airbnb

The crowd goes wild over the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse.

traverse

Still one of my favorite designs ever:  The Genesis G80 rear.

genesis_g80

Nissan is bringing out a Rogue Sport model that looks pretty snazzy.

rogue_sport

A run-in with none other than the famous “HondaPro” Jason Richmond, who has built a career out of being a Honda brand advocate.  You go Jason!

jason_tyson

Toyota’s new 2018 Camry is trying pretty hard to look sporty.  This “XSE” version even includes quad exhaust tips.

camry

Big in the news is Kia’s latest offering, the “Stinger” GT.  Complete with Brembo brakes and the whole 9!

kia_stinger_back

kia_stinger

Sweet car in Motor Trend Editor Frank’s garage.  1985 Town & Country!

frank_wagon

Snowy Tuesday morning in downtown Detroit.  I got to use the ice scraper on my Sonic.

morning_snow

BONUS MATERIAL!  My friend Scott is storing a 1977 Honda Civic CVCC in my garage for about a week until it gets auctioned off.

ilx_civic

civic_interior

And my roommate James is testing a 2017 Honda Ridgeline this week.  That means there are a lot of Hondas around this house right now!

ridgeline

Finally, my long-time friend Chris stopped by this evening to show me his latest ride:  a 1999 Mitsubishi 3000GT SL 5-speed.  It only has 97,000 miles on it.  I’ve loved these cars since they first came out.

3kgt_back

Those seats were in remarkable shape for being 18 years old.  Congrats, Chris!

3kgt_interior

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!

NSXPO 2016 in Orlando, Florida

Posted in Car Show, NSXPO on November 8, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend Sedan):  150,724

150724

Odometer (Legend Coupe):  548,850

548850

Odometer (ILX):  184,321

184321

Today, I’m taking you to Florida.  I sadly missed the opportunity to drive 2,140 miles each way from Phoenix to Orlando this past weekend, but it was for the best.  With my new job giving me very limited paid time off, I had no choice but to catch a flight on American and fly the friendly skies to this year’s annual gathering of crazy Acura NSX enthusiasts.  It was still very much worth it!

nsxpo_logo

It’s hard to believe that the last NSXPO in Palm Springs is already a year behind us in the rearview mirror.  The Orlando planning crew raised that ever-lofty bar even more so:  This year’s event has introduced some of the biggest venues and the most organizationally “put together” agenda I’ve ever seen.  On Thursday, a group of 200-someodd NSXs cruised together to the Kennedy Space Center for a special tour.  And on Friday, that same group took to the world-renowned Sebring Racetrack for a performance driving event.

sebring

My Friday evening flight took about 4 hours, but seemed like 7, thanks to the time zones on my west-to-east travels.  Longtime friend and fellow Legend lover Alan Jackson was kind enough to leave me a “rental” vehicle at the Orlando airport:  the 1994 Acura Legend coupe in Milano Red that he’d purchased from my mother back in 2010.  The odometer at crank of the key was just under 170,400 miles and it fired to life like new.

milano_airport

Fellow car-nut Brian who’s local to Orlando was kind enough to show me around that evening.  While certainly not a “fun” destination like Disney World nearby, one very important Orlando place in recent news is the Pulse nightclub where dozens of people were killed in June.  It happened to be literally around the corner from Brian’s home so I got a photo there while paying my respects.

pulse

One of the traditional NSXPO events is the “Concours d’Elegance,” which is basically a car show.  The entire northeast section of the Springhill Suites hotel parking lot in Winter Garden was overtaken by NSXs when I arrived on Saturday morning.  Right off the bat, I received a text message from my friend Jermaine from New Jersey.  “When did you get here?”  He’d seen me wandering around outside from an upper floor of the hotel.  Jermaine is one of many former Legend owners who have taken their Acura ownership to the next level by getting involved in the NSX game.  Check out his Rio Yellow 2000 NSX here:

tyson_jt

There was a BBQ between 11:00 and 1:00 in the parking lot.  I attended a panel discussion in one of the conference rooms and learned some very insightful information.  Among the participants was Chris Willson, owner of Science of Speed, an NSX performance shop located in Chandler, Arizona.  Chris and his team have taken the initiative to create the “Heritage Program” which focuses on sourcing or reproducing critical parts which have been discontinued.  For example, the NSX “twin disc” clutch has been discontinued from American Honda so owners who are seeking to buy a “factory” replacement part are left having to seek other aftermarket alternatives.

orange_co

Just a few miles up the road, the Orange County National Golf Club hosted our large group in a banquet room for a formal dinner and program that evening.  Keynote speakers included Ted Klaus, Project Leader for the NSX, as well as seasoned race veteran Peter Cunningham who has recently taken a new role in leadership for the RealTime team, as well as others from Honda R&D.  Peter will be at the helm for the 2017 season race campaign of the NSX “GT3” racecar.  I happened to be seated at dinner across from a guy named John who’d just finished a 13,000-mile cross-country road trip in his own Berlina Black 1991 NSX.  I was in good company!

banquet

Oooh, fancy awards.  Everything about NSXPO was high class.

awards

No trip to Florida would be complete without a stop at the state’s most exclusive and exciting theme park:  “Legend Land.”  Otherwise known as Alan Jackson’s house in Floral City, Legend Land has become a mecca of sorts for the Legend enthusiasts.  Alan and his wife Nancy welcomed me to their beautiful estate where we enjoyed a lakeside lunch of Italian sausage and homemade potato salad.

lunch

I also got to witness firsthand the replacement of a left rear wheel speed sensor on a 1994 Legend coupe belonging to local enthusiast Thomas.  My friend Alex took me back to the airport in his 6-speed BMW 5-series.  It had quite the roar thanks to its V8 and custom exhaust system.

alex_bmw

Though short, my visit to Orlando was definitely sweet and I was glad to reconnect with old friends as well as make a few new ones.  Thanks for coming along for the adventure!  Enjoy a few pics & a short video.

Hanging with my buddy Brian

tyson_brian

Interesting ‘wizard’ gift shop on Irlo Bronson Road in Kissimmee, FL

wizard

Hey, that doesn’t look like an Acura ZDX to me!  Nice try.

z

Few shots from the parking lot at the host hotel in Winter Garden

group

Love this “Monaco Blue” color.  It’s rare!

monaco

My friend John Komar (right) and his brother both brought their NSXs out.

komar_brothers

Brooklands Green:  1994-95-only color.

brooklands

Check out this odometer!

320k_nsx_2

Original engine.  That was on this 1991 NSX:

320k_nsx

I got a kick out of his comment on the judging form in response to “why he should win” the Best of Show.

320k

Racing legend Peter Cunningham selling T-shirts

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Imola Orange Pearl.  Pictures don’t do this color justice!  Notice, even the leather interior was orange!

imola

Doing a drive through Walt Disney World

disney

Tee time, anyone?

golf

A few 2017 NSXs were on hand, including this Valencia Red beauty.

chinsx

Poolside at the host hotel.

hotel_pool

Orange County National Golf Club, cocktail reception.

cocktails

Sunday morning drive to Floral City to return my rental car.

legends

Arrival at Legend Land, pictured here with Alan and Alex.

alan_tyson_alex

Working on Thomas’ Legend coupe.

legendland

Quick shot with Abby (the pup), Nancy (Alan’s wife) and a gator statue.

fl_group

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!

polaroid

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

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

Odometer (Legend):  544,256

544256

Odometer (ILX):  180,000

180000

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.

quail_mat

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.

quail_entry

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.

bugattis

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.

group_with_dario

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.

lemons_sign

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.

jason_tyson

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.

porsche

Breakfast is served

bonhams_breakfast

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

bmw_z1

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

laferrari

Love these lines.

testarrosa

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

nsx

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

chuck_tyson

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

peter_tyson

Science of Speed’s Chris Willson

tyson_chris

Acura PR’s Gary Robinson

gary

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

jonathan_tyson

Like the colors of Skittles candy.

lambos

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

donny_tyson

Feasts for the eyes, too.

quail_crowd

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

hugie_ikeda

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

tyson_with_park_lane

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

scott_sandy_tyson

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

prius_v6

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

cavalier_z24

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!

darius_nabors