Archive for the Del Sol Category

Quick Car Updates: Cheesecake Day, TL-S Visitor, RL Shots, & Red Velvet

Posted in Del Sol, House, Integra, Legend, SLX on August 7, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Integra Sedan):  73,323

I guess pretty much every day is a “food holiday” of some sort.  I found this list online which claims to be the “complete list” of holidays, including 13 holidays for the month of August alone.  This coming Saturday, August 10 is National S’mores Day, so get your marshmallows and Hershey chocolate bars ready for the occasion.  That’s definitely one worth celebrating.

I bring this up because July 30th was Cheesecake Day, and my favorite kind of cheesecake is key lime from the Cheesecake Factory.  My 1993 del Sol has a license plate that reads “KEYLIME,” so you can guess where this story is going.  I pulled the ‘Sol out of its slumber and headed over to the Biltmore Mall for some salmon for dinner and a slice of key lime cheesecake for dessert.

Notice, I even whipped out the green HONDA factory associate hat for the occasion. That hat was given to me as a souvenir during my April 2012 visit to the Greensburg, Indiana Honda manufacturing facility for the “line-off” event of the 2013 Acura ILX.  The hat is actually designed to have a hardhat inside it.  Clever wardrobe.

It’s been a busy few weeks at the house, with Ira’s recent visit and then a drop-in from my friend Naveed who has a 2008 Acura TL Type-S.  He was passing through town from Los Angeles to Dallas and spent the night.

Naveed’s car is a super-sweet example with automatic transmission and < 50,000 miles on the odometer – a one-owner car out of Carlsbad, California with immaculate service history and cosmetic condition.

It makes my day that other people geek out about old cars as much as I do.

Interior looked brand new for being 11 years old.

The RL got a few glamour shots that I’ll soon be sharing on Instagram.  The car is my preferred people-hauler, above everything else in the fleet.  It’s just such a smooth ride.  The only issue I need to sort out right now is an intermittent stalling that has happened twice.

I looked into it and it appears there may be a ‘known’ problematic area with the APP Sensor, which stands for Accelerator Pedal Position.  The part runs a couple hundred bucks but it basically tells the engine where the throttle is.  In both cases where the car has died, it was when I was off the throttle, either decelerating or coasting around a corner.  I’ll get it all sorted in due time.

The SLX is coming out soon with its 5th video episode in a YouTube series I’ve been putting together.  Of all my recent uploads, those been getting some of the most traffic / views.  It’s also been fun how many people I’ve “met” through it.  This week, I got an email from a nice gal named Roxana in North Carolina who uses her SLX to tow people out at the beach.  If you don’t believe me, check out her videos.

I’ve pretty much put a pause on spending any more effort or money on the SLX for the short term.  I’m running a Prolong engine oil treatment right now, as well as some fuel system treatment.  But it’s been rock solid.  The best news of the week:  I discovered that the cassette tape player works, so I can rock out to all my favorite 1990s jams in style.

With this summer heat in Phoenix reaching 115 degrees consistently, I was curious how hot my 2 garages (which aren’t climate controlled) get.  The smaller garage on the west side of my property is a single car space with no insulation.  It reached 121 degrees this week.

The other, larger, garage which is on the east side and has insulation, hit 101 degrees – a full 20 degrees cooler.  Still warm though.

The Legend sedan was picked up today for transport to Monterey, California.  It’s headed to the 2nd annual Japanese Automotive Invitational at Pebble Beach.  Here’s my article from when the Integra GS-R went there last year.

And speaking of the Integra – you might get a kick out of this.  I found out that Amazon sells red velvet ropes and stanchion posts for crowd control.  What better way to create the occasional VIP-exclusive area inside my garage (or inside the house, at a party).  This is 100% a joke, but I thought it would make for a fun conversation piece from time to time.

My neighbor Gabe is trying to sell a 1982 Corvette (auto).  He and his wife came over to chat the other day while we were irrigating our lawns.  This one belonged to Gabe’s brother.  It’s been parked / covered since 2008, when the tags last expired.  Does anybody want it?  Hit me up.  I have more pics, the VIN, and can snag a video or any other details.  Odo reads 26,000 miles, which is probably 126,000.

The only other update I can share is the the ILX needed its first alternator replacement.  I had just arrived at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago and got a “CHECK CHARGING SYSTEM” message, literally as the car rolled 216,000 miles.  I made it to my Hon-Man mechanic who got me into a new Denso starter for about $490 parts & labor a couple of days later.

Have a great rest of the week!  I’m off to explore some new turf soon, but I’ll save the details for next time.

Platinum White Pearlescence: 2019 Acura ILX A-Spec Review

Posted in Del Sol, ILX, Integra, Vehicle Reviews on June 26, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (2013 ILX Premium):  215,114

Odometer (2019 ILX Premium A-Spec):  5,329

It’s about time I got to try out the latest ILX!

Since its mid-2012 debut as a 2013 first-year model, the gateway model to the Acura brand has undergone two separate ‘refresh’ exercises – the first in 2016, and now again in 2019.  Quality has improved, tech has advanced, styling has evolved, and yet the pricetag has stayed constant and even gone down throughout the way.  At $32,545 as-tested for the A-Spec variant that I put a few hundred miles on over the past week, I consider it a very strong bang for the buck.

It’s no mystery that the elimination of the manual transmission option that took place in 2016 was a dagger to my heart and soul, but the new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission is not that bad.  In fact, I sort of enjoyed more of a kick-back driving style over the last few days.  It must be old age settling in because I’ll be turning 38 later this year.  Yikes.

The ILX I tested has essentially the same motor as my 2013:  a 2.4-liter, 201-horsepower, straight-four with iVTEC.  So it goes without saying that long-term maintenance should be a breeze (I’m well into the 200k+ range with mine).  Where the new ILX sets itself apart from mine is in terms of the technology.  Navi with voice recognition, touch-screen display, ELS Studio premium 10-speaker audio, and a host of safety features are all things that are “new” to me.

Beyond that, the aesthetic treatment is handsome, with the A-Spec package bringing in 18″ wheels, sport red leather seats with suede inserts, a contrasting decklid spoiler, and exclusive badging.  I have to admit I considered for a moment whether Acura would notice if I swapped the interior of the 2019 into my 2013, but it’s probably best that I not find out.

It was fitting that along with the new ILX came a 2018 Kelley Blue Book “5-Year Cost to Own” trophy that Acura representatives gave me for my display case.  I can’t think of any other individual who can attest with 100% certainty of that.  The car has cost me $7,600 to maintain over the course of 215,000 miles.  That includes 29 oil changes, 8 air filters, 2 sets of rear brake pads, 2 transmission fluid changes, and 4 sets of tires.

I found the newest ILX to deliver all that I’ve come to know and enjoy from my 2013 – sans the clutch pedal – and even a bit more.  I think the 2019 would make a great, efficient, reliable daily driver for someone that gives exclusivity and value at the same time.  Consider the fact that Acura sold only 1,351 ILX models nationwide in the month of May 2019.  To put that in perspective, that same month the company sold 5,415 RDX models and Honda sold 32,800 Civics.  Personally I love driving something that not everyone else drives.

Dig It:

  • Large back-up cam screen
  • Audio system +++
  • Blind spot monitoring tech
  • Appearance – exterior, especially rear
  • Nimble, fun-to-drive dynamics
  • Improvements to details like the key fob quality
  • Subtle features like a “Start” button that changes color
  • Bang for the buck – so much content for the price

Meh:

  • Aux + cig lighter hook-ups are in the center console under a lid
  • Rear cross-traffic alert overly sensitive – beeps when cars are passing by even far away
  • Front turn signals are LED, rear are halogen – should be uniform
  • Multiple people commented on the obnoxiously large “A” emblem up front
  • I don’t know if I’ll ever be a fan of black wheels
  • Some LED license plate lighting would be an inexpensive way to class up the rear

Here’s a video I put together, and below are some pics from my week with this sweet little ride.

KBB awards on display!

The subtle yet effective aesthetics are evident here

From this perspective the cars are 100% similar

The LED taillights are perhaps my favorite feature of all

Head to head

The bottom line

Keys – old, new.  The new is more durable and feels heavier / higher quality.

Check out the comparison of “A” badges

Short vid and pics from over the weekend, including a jaunt to “Horny Toad” in Cave Creek for lunch, and a meet-up with friends in east Mesa.

The Captiva Blue 1993 del Sol Si belongs to fellow YouTuber Chris Sadowski.

Mirel came out in his Legend

Mirel, Chris, Tyson, Corey, Nick, Jonathan, Greg, John, Ken

Two of the cars in attendance were extremely rare Turbo Grand Prixs, produced in partnership with McLaren for the 1989 and 1990 model years.

Red SLX Evaluation Continues, del Sol Cleanup, & Visit from Jason

Posted in Del Sol, SLX on June 13, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  214,899

Did you get your Tetanus shot this year?  Because we are about to dive into the rusty SLX and do some preliminary cleanup and evaluation.  First item of business was getting the oil changed at the Honda dealership near the house.  My service advisor, Richard, advised me over the phone that the undercarriage looked “rustier than the Titanic.”

That was not a very good sign.  But his technician was able to get my new front brake pads and rotors installed without too many challenges, which took care of the “metal on metal” grinding that I observed in the first video.  One small step forward, I guess.

I did also successfully get the vehicle registered and I’m happy to report that it seems to run and drive well despite the obvious cosmetic issues.  Even the air conditioning works well.  I went over the paint with a one-step Zaino by hand but I hesitate to get too aggressive with anything beyond that since the clear coat is so thin.  Turned out okay, right?

The question at hand is where and how to prioritize any upcoming work.  This vehicle falls at the very bottom of the list in terms of “needing” to get things done.  And when I do get to that point, I think safety & mechanical concerns rank way above getting new leather seats.  For example, one of the tires is from 2006.  I don’t trust a 13 year old tire in 120 degrees in Phoenix summer at any speed.  So there’s that.

The car that doesn’t need a lot of work is the del Sol.  I did a light engine detail and it came out looking showroom fresh.  I also installed the replica floormats that I had picked up on Ebay a few weeks ago.  They look nice for the price!  A timing belt replacement is scheduled since the existing unit is from 2011.  Hon-Man to the rescue.

It’s been a fun little adventure getting started with these projects, and I had company from a couple of friends this weekend to get a glimpse at what’s going on in my garage.  Jason of Pawela’s Garage stopped by for a couple of nights in his 1998 Ford SVT Contour 5-speed in brilliant Toreador Red.  The car was awesome to drive!  The look on my face when we took it to breakfast shows just how much I was enjoying it.

Then later in the weekend, my friend Ken brought his Suzuka Blue Honda S2000 over for a quick lunch run.  It is such a night & day driving experience from the del Sol.  Super tight and fun.  That color is amazing, too.

Here’s the next video installment, if you dare!

And a short video highlighting some of the adventures with Jason.

Door sill cleanup

The passenger fog lamp lens doesn’t even have a housing behind it

That new awning is coming in handy

Quick touch-up on wiper arms

What in the world are they using on their roads in Illinois? OMG.

Initial pics post-cleanup

Taking care of that rear wiper arm and installing a new blade

Proud member of the Hagerty Driver’s Club and got a greeting card in the mail

Birthday outing for a friend

SLX + SLX pics

Heading to breakfast with Jason on Saturday morning

Swapping keys for a bit

A friend made this meme and I had to share it.

That paint looks absolutely wet!

A local friend gave me a Motor Trend 1994 Import Car of the Year award!  I don’t even know how rare this thing is (maybe 1 of 1?) but it was for the Honda Accord.

Jason working on SLX projects

Squeezing 2 (small) cars into the west garage

More to come!

Pocket Rocket: Introducing the “Samba Green” 1993 Honda Civic del Sol Si

Posted in Del Sol, Road Trip, Utah on June 6, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (del Sol):  88,292

Trip Distance:  800 Miles

So this ought to be a fun summer cruiser, right?  I put together a spreadsheet the other day of all the cars I’ve owned.  If we exclude temporary “project” cars and the like, the grand total comes out to 27 vehicles.

There are a few that stand out as unique:  My Infiniti I30 and Chevy Celebrity were my only non-Honda/Acura cars.  The SLX is my only 4×4.  And even though 22 of the 27 have had moonroofs, none have been a true “removable top” or convertible.  Enter the del Sol, which in fitting translation to English means, “Of the Sun.”  Because this one will actually let me feel some of that Arizona sun like no moonroof ever could.

Honda’s fun, yet economical two-seater CRX model lasted through 2 generations and 8 model years until it was discontinued after 1991.  Two years later, a successor was named and the “Civic del Sol” was launched in the United States in 1993.  Its top trim was the Si model, with a 1.6-liter, 125 horsepower 4-cylinder motor and 5-speed manual transmission.  It was Honda’s attempt at giving a roadster-like driving experience, many years before its legendary S2000 roadster came out.

The Civic del Sol model evolved over a 5-year lifespan, including cosmetic changes, powertrain changes, and even a name change (by dropping the “Civic” prefix).  At its peak, the del Sol sold over 25,000 units in the United states its initial model year, dropping each year for 5 years until only 5,000 were sold in 1997.  That kind of trend is sometimes typical for new model launches – as I recall, the Acura Legend had a similar linear sales decline over the 5 years its second-generation model was sold.

This is a fun commercial from when the del Sol first came out.

Samba Green is certainly one of the most polarizing colors that a conservative company such as Honda has ever offered on a production vehicle.  While my Aztec Green Integra is pretty wild itself, it can’t quite compare to the lime green hue of the del Sol.

This Samba came from the original (77-year-old, if you can believe it) owner named Fred who lived in northern Utah.  He kept it for 26 years and drove it during summertime in western Wyoming and northern Utah.  His maintenance records were painstakingly detailed, including a 14-page handwritten ledger kept in the glove compartment which documented every single fuel up and its associated MPG.

That’s some attention to detail I can appreciate!  When Fred decided to part ways with his del Sol in late April, my friend Jason in Salt Lake was the first to respond to a classified ad listing.  It wasn’t for about a month that I was able to make a trip to that area and pick up the car, so Jason and his wife were gracious enough to store it at their home for me.

The pick-up agenda coincided with an already-planned visit to northern Utah to visit friends and family members the last weekend of May.  I arrived at the Salt Lake airport and was picked up by the little green machine and Jason.  Our first stop was for some fine dining at a place called Lucky 13.  Shaun and Sunny decided to join us, in their Legend & TSX respectively.

I had a nice weekend traversing northern Utah topless and visiting family.  On Saturday I met up with some other local Honda/Acura fans at Legends Sports Bar.  In addition to Shaun coming out again, we had Talin in her MDX, Daniel in his Integra GS-R, and Nate in his Tacoma.

The del Sol’s buzzy 1.6-liter made the 800-mile trek from Logan, Utah, to Phoenix, Arizona with ease.  I made good use of my cassette tape audio adapter, and I took the top off after sundown near Wickenburg for the final hour or so of the trip.  I can definitely see why there is such a devout enthusiast following for these little cars!  Looking forward to seeing what kind of fun I can have with it!

Here is a short video and below are some additional photos of my new little green machine.

Original ad (redacted)

Photo from the ad

FaceTiming with Jason to see the car for the first time, from 700 miles away.

The car at Jason’s (with his Legend in the background)

Check out those green stripes on the seats!

Jason’s son has a future in automotive modeling.

Initial mileage at 87,170.

Getting new tires at Discount – gotta love how cheap tires are for 14″ wheels!

Already got ahold of some literature including a Car & Driver magazine from when the car debuted.

Incidentally, a friend of mine is pictured in the 1993 brochure!

New floor mats, soon to be installed.

Key handoff from Jason, even though he wasn’t technically the person I bought it from – he just held the car for me for a few weeks.

Visiting a park in northern Utah named after a relative.

Canyon cruise with Ryan and his 2001 Honda S2000.  Vastly different car, and superior in a lot of ways.

Visiting my friend Paige at the Parts Department at Jody Wilkinson Acura in Salt Lake.  I’ve known her since I was 16.

Rolling back home with a visit to mom, who wore the right color for the occasion.

Visiting my brother and his kiddos.

Home sweet home, tucked in!