Archive for the Legend Category

Southern Utah Weekend: Bryce Canyon National Park & Glen Canyon Dam

Posted in Arizona, Legend, National Parks, Road Trip, Running, Utah on June 5, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  561,413

Trip Distance:  1,070 Miles

Do you know what a hoodoo is?  The name to me sounds a lot like “voodoo,” and according to the Internet, can be used interchangeably with it.  But there’s an alternate definition you may not have heard of.  A hoodoo can also mean a column of weathered rock.  Check out this view of a vast number of hoodoos that I saw on Friday at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.  Now you know!

This past weekend’s 4-day, 1,000-mile road trip took me through Bryce as well as some of Utah’s other scenic wonders.  It was the perfect escape from the day-to-day grind.  I’ve visited Bryce a few times in the past, including when my friend Peter’s TSX rolled 200,000 miles three years ago and a trip to “Hell’s Backbone” in the ILX five years ago.  Still, I can never get tired of seeing that amazing landscape.  I took for granted that I grew up with so many beautiful national parks virtually in my own backyard in southern Utah.

My tried and trusty Legend coupe was the chariot of choice for this backroads adventure, and it delivered perfect reliability as I knew it would.  The idea for this trip came about because two friends were competing in the Bryce Canyon Ultra Marathon – a “50K” (32-mile) trail run that would subject them to some of the region’s most challenging terrain but also some of the most rewarding views.  I think they’re nuts, but then again my own sanity is a little questionable too.

Bryce is one of five national parks in Utah and perhaps one of the least traveled – just the way I like them.  The way we got there was pretty straightforward, with a night in my hometown of St. George on Thursday, and then northbound to Cedar City.  From Cedar, that’s where things got interesting.  We climbed nearly 5,000 feet in elevation on Highway 14 eastbound over the course of 18 miles – windows down, sunroof open, and soaking in the glorious temperatures.

From there, we hooked north on Highway 148 past Cedar Breaks National Monument.  By that time, we were at 10,000 feet in elevation – high enough that even on June 1, we saw snow on the roadside.  Cedar Breaks was awe-inspiring.  We were also delighted that there was next to no traffic.  The road is closed from November through May so it had just recently opened back up for the season – literally, the visitor center opened the very day we were rolling through.

Our destination for the next two nights was Panguitch, Utah – a tiny (2,000-resident) town on Highway 89 and home to the Blue Pine Motel, which has been there since 1901.  While the accommodations weren’t first class, they were definitely warm and inviting.  It’s a family owned atmosphere and a step back in time.  We loved our stay.  My friend and I visited Bryce Canyon later that first afternoon, some 20 minutes away, and soaked in some of the views from Rainbow Point and Sunset Point.  Cars are $35 but we picked up an $80 annual parks pass for admission into any of the National Park units for an entire year.  Seems like a decent value!

Bryce Canyon National Park was established 90 years ago and covers about 55 square miles.  Navigating it is easy since there’s just one main 18-mile-long, north-south road with a loop at the end.  We hiked 1.3 miles round trip on the Navajo Trail loop at Sunset Point before hitting up the restaurant inside the lodge for a delicious bite to eat.

The runners rocked their event, which started and ended in the foothills east of the small town of Hatch on Saturday.  The level of difficulty was pretty extreme, with a 7,000-foot elevation change over the course of the 32 miles, along with high temperatures, rocky or sandy footing, and windblown dust.  Our friends came in at 9 and 10 hours – exhausted but feeling accomplished.  We treated them to Diet Cokes on ice, just as they’d requested.

The small town vibe continued when we made friends with the owner of Cowboy Smokehouse back in Panguitch, who gave us a free order of bacon-wrapped sweet potatoes for our appetizer.  It tasted better than it sounds.

By Sunday morning, it was time to make the trek back home, so my friend and I headed out southbound on Highway 89 under a bright blue sky.  We stopped just once in Utah – for fuel in Kanab – but decided to lollygag a little at the Arizona/Utah state line in Page.  We happened to arrive at the Glen Canyon Dam at Lake Powell just in time for a 10:30 a.m. tour (and it would only cost us $5 each).  Score!  I’ve always wanted to take a dam tour.  It was a dam good time.

For 45 minutes, we were part of a group of 15 people listening to a tour guide teach us about the dam and its history.  We got to ride in two elevators, down a total of over 700 feet to the base of the canyon where the Colorado River runs below.  The dam was completed in 1966 but the lake behind it, Lake Powell, took 16 years to fill up!  Today there are 8 turbines capable of generating 1.32 gigawatts of power.  When I read that on one of the signs, it made me think of Doc Brown’s quote in Back to the Future about needing “1.21 gigawatts.”  Great Scott!

My favorite part of the tour was learning that for 1 year only, traffic did flow over the dam itself.  I asked our tour guide about it because I could see the the faded remnants of a double-yellow line on top of the concrete.  She told us that for just 1 year (1978) traffic was directed across the dam, because construction was taking place on the adjacent bypass bridge.

For lunch, we hit up Fiesta Mexicana in Page, then worked our way to Flagstaff on Highway 89 and connected with Interstate 17 for the final 2 hours of downhill slide into the Phoenix Valley.  If only we could have brought some of the cooler temperatures back home with us!  The oven has been preheated and we are ready to bake here until October or so.  Gotta love it!

Thanks for coming along!

Glen Canyon Dam Tour

Here’s something new for the blog.  I have 3 readers who are selling cars and who contacted me about listing them here.  Does anyone have interest in these?  Let me know and I’ll put you in touch with the sellers.

Brandon’s 1990 Legend L coupe for sale

  • Automatic
  • 155,000 Miles
  • San Diego, CA
  • $ Make Offer

Matt’s 2003 CL-S for sale

  • 6-Speed Manual
  • 255,000 Miles
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • $4,300

Srikanth’s 1991 Legend L sedan for sale

  • Automatic
  • 151,000 Miles
  • Providence, RI
  • $ Make Offer

More trip pics – snow along Highway 148, in June

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Pond near the starting (and finish) line of the 50K race

Hanging with mom at the finish line

Sandy’s Audi Q5 got dirty while my Legend stayed clean back at the motel

Small town talk:  I had to ask someone what “chicken lights” are.

Blue Pine Motel parking

Hanging at Glen Canyon Dam.  Watch your step!

View looking toward the bridge over the Colorado River

That’s a lot of concrete

The dam’s 8 turbines

Not an elevator button you get to see every day

Have a dam good day!

Time Flies! My Legend GS 6-Speed 10-Year Anniversary – May 23, 2018

Posted in Legend on May 24, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend sedan):  158,148

There I was, minding my own business, southbound on Main Street in Logan, Utah.  It was the fall of 2004.  I was 22 years old, an active and busy Business major at Utah State University (go Aggies!).  I don’t know where I was driving to at the time – maybe to grab a bite to eat at grandma’s house south of town.  But I caught a glimpse of a car parked alongside the road that nearly made me clamp down on the brakes.  It was a Desert Mist Metallic Legend GS.

Well, that called for a detour.  I took the next right hand turn and circled around the block with determination and a higher heart rate than normal.  I parked my (then 146,000-mile) Legend coupe right behind the GS, stationed in front of the Coppermill Restaurant – about where the black Honda Pilot is sitting in this July 2017 Google Street View image.

My heart skipped a beat even more aggressively when I peeked inside the passenger front window and saw a stick shift lever.  What were the chances!  I questioned whether to leave a note, or to go into the restaurant and ask around.  But just then, the owner of the car came outside.  I introduced myself awkwardly.  “Uhh, hi, I’m Tyson.  I drive the Legend parked behind yours.  And if you everrrrrrrr want to sell, here’s my number.”  And I got his contact information.

It took me four years until he sold it to me.  It was May 2008.  By then I’d graduated MBA school, moved twice, and was working full time 800 miles away in a different state.  But I made an offer way beyond “book” value ($7,500) to see if I could finally get him motivated to sell.  And that did the trick.  That initial purchase price was just a small fraction of what I subsequently dumped into the car both mechanically and cosmetically.

My maintenance receipts since then add up to $7,790:

Add to that about $3k in paint work, a $500 wood & leather steering wheel, a full size spare, factory fog lights, lip spoiler, and tint.  I’m into this car $13,000 PLUS its original purchase price, so about $20k.  Yeah, I don’t think I’ll make my money back any time soon.  But that’s okay.  It’s been an excellent journey and every mile has been worth it.

Today, most of the 26,000 miles that the car has been driven in the last decade were for leisure travel:  3 National Legend Meets in California and Texas, some recreational weekend trips, and visits to see family and friends.  It’s been a great ride.  My friend Alex even drove the car to Portland.  Let’s see where the next 10 years take us!

Oh, and by the way, my 1992 Integra LS sedan sold today to a lucky buyer who’s flying from Colorado this weekend to pick it up!  Thanks to all who watched and commented during the auction and throughout my ownership!

First video I ever took of the Legend GS, in June 2008 when I flew up to northern Utah to drive it home.

Anniversary video, recorded yesterday, May 23, 2018.

A few years pre-purchase, paying a visit in Logan, Utah.

The “actual” test drive before I bought the car, April 2008.

Paired up with my friend Branson’s (at the time) 1994 Legend LS coupe.

Driving home to Arizona via Highway 89A through Vermillion Cliffs.

First ‘glamour’ shots thanks to my friend Dax

Reproduction window sticker thanks to my friend Chris

Readers’ Rides: Trevor, Shaun, and Dave – Acura Meet in Utah & TL-S Update

Posted in Legend, TL, Utah on April 16, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  560,191

Odometer (Branson’s Legend coupe):  182,633

Big Bear Park in Sandy, Utah was the site of quite the parade on Sunday morning:  Six Acuras rolled in and parked at a 45-degree angle looking as photogenic as possible.  Four of the six belonged to family members of the Kinzer family – surely one of the most devoutly loyal Acura-owning families I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting.

What started as the purchase of a 1979 Honda Prelude, and later a 1985 Honda Accord, has snowballed into Trevor and his wife Michelle owning not one, not two, but a total of 11 different Acura products, spanning a 1992 Legend sedan to a 2008 TL.  If you know what you like, why branch out?  And that’s exactly what’s kept this family’s driveway looking a bit like a broken record over the years – and I mean that in the very best possible way.

Capping off an exceptionally busy weekend of making family & friend visits in northern Utah, I set aside a few hours to devote to “car stuff,” as I always do.  And this time I had the real treat of meeting several great people including Trevor and his family.  We overtook Trevor’s front yard & driveway initially, but decided to head to the city park nearby for a little more wiggle room for photo opportunities.

Along the way came Shaun, in his immaculate Desert Mist Metallic 1994 Legend LS sedan, and Sunny, who rode along with me in a (borrowed) 1995 LS coupe.  I wasn’t about to show up to an Acura meet in my rental Nissan Versa; I’d be shunned.

In attendance were the following:

  • 2006 TL
  • 2008 TL x 2
  • 2006 MDX
  • 1994 Legend sedan
  • 1995 Legend coupe

Shaun’s car is a story of dedication in itself:  Starting with a relatively rough, 200,000+ mile sedan in the Seattle area, Shaun made the drive home to Utah about a year ago (“running on 4 or 5 cylinders,” he says) and then began what was to become an extensive teardown of the Legend mechanicals to get everything updated – and I mean, everything.  The motor received an overhaul with new head gaskets, belts, hoses, just about anything he could get his hands on.  And it shows.  I took the car for a spin later in the day and it runs, drives, brakes, and handles like a car with one-tenth of the miles.

The Acura meet-up, meanwhile, wouldn’t be complete without the presence of “Kyng” – the friendliest pup around.  He thinks the MDX is his, but Michelle would say otherwise.  Thanks to the Kinzer family and to Shaun & Sunny for being a part of a pretty exciting Sunday morning Acura-entourage.  Here’s a short video from our meet-up.

All aboard Southwest Airlines, with a great view of the Rocky Mountains from seat 13F.

My wheels for a day in Logan, Utah – dad’s truck.

Lunch with grandma

Being from Arizona, seeing this in my rental car was a bit of a shock.

My mom’s old 2000 Acura RL, now being driven by my cousin and with around 190,000 miles.  I picked up this car in the San Francisco Bay area in 2005 with 22,000 miles on it from the original owner.

Branson’s coupe (and my loaner for a day)

 

Photoshoot at ‘Legends Boxing’ – this seemed fitting.

Thanks Shaun for the test-drive!

Since this post is heavy on 3G TL content, it’s worth mentioning an update now on my formerly-owned Kinetic Blue Pearl TL Type-S.  Dave in St. Louis has now owned the car for about the same length of time I owned it (roughly 6 months), but he’s been putting on the miles at a much faster pace than I did.  The car today has over 113,000 miles on it (I sold it at 102,500 or so last November).  These are some photographs he took on his 1,500+ mile drive home from Phoenix.

Keep on rolling, Dave!

Easter Weekend 2018 in Utah; Integra Sedan Update Video; IMSA Race Event Invitation

Posted in Integra, Legend, Milestones, Road Trip, Utah on April 7, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  560,138

Odometer (ILX):  204,370 – Slowly still creeping!

Odometer (Integra Sedan):  117,545

Trip Distance:  832 Miles

I’m exhausted.  I drove over 4,800 miles over the last 4 weekends in 4 different 24+ year old cars with > 100,000 miles on them – not counting any of the weekday miles that I accumulated on Mondays through Thursdays.  It’s time for a break, for me and for my cars.  The good news is that all of those miles were achieved with little or no drama.  And the other good news is that I’m actually recovering and taking it easy today.

For the Easter holiday weekend, I took the Legend coupe to southern Utah.  On Saturday I had a reservation at the best breakfast restaurant in town:  Grandma’s House.  The menu consisted of crepes with fruit toppings and whipped cream, with a side of sausage and a glass of milk to wash it all down.  It hit the spot.

I attended an annual car show in the city of Hurricane (pronounced hurri-cun if you’re a local) and spent a couple of hours decorating eggs with the nieces and nephews.  A grand ol’ time indeed.  My brother Payton took me for a spin in his customized 2002 Lexus IS300 — a car that I’ve featured here before but that seems to get more and more extreme each time I see it.  Currently its motor produces in excess of 700 horsepower.  Here’s a quick video.

I’ve been progressing little by little with the 1992 Integra LS.  Hon-Man and his talented repair crew dug in wholeheartedly this week and started tackling some of the car’s key needs.  First and foremost, they attended to some of the routine maintenance needs (fluids, primarily).  Without having any records on the car, I’m really just driving blindly here – and because of that, I wanted a careful eye to inspect the key mechanical components to make sure it’s roadworthy.

New (aftermarket) floor mats make the interior a little more cozy.

The electrical issues appear like they could be related at least in part to a faulty fuse box, and for that we’ve sourced a part which will arrive next week.  Everything else is taken care of:  We replaced a few hoses in the engine bay that were extremely soft and old, replaced both axles, and got some of the bulbs working again.  Marker lights, license plate lights, cruise control, and power antenna are all now working again, which is awesome.  The two front tires were directionally facing backwards, so those are fixed now too.  It’s all about those little details.

Yesterday, I took the car to the Arizona emissions station to have the exhaust gases evaluated.  The car passed, and then I went ahead and got registration taken care of, including special “Historic Vehicle” tags (made available to any vehicle > 25 years old).  Finally.  It’s been a long road getting that car purchased, transported, maintained, and formally relocated to its new home.  In the coming weeks we’ll finish up the mechanicals and probably have windows tinted & some dings removed.

Blog buddy Jason Pawela of Driven for Drives came out to Phoenix to visit this weekend and we took the Integra siblings out for a little drive this morning to Dreamy Draw Park off Northern Avenue.

Here is an 8-minute video capturing some of the latest happenings in the progress with the Integra LS, followed by some other photos of recent events and sightings.  Scroll to the bottom for one more feature – an invitation and offer for some free race tickets!  Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

I’ve always liked these Lexus SC coupes.  This 1999 SC300 was in my mom’s neighborhood.

Scenery in Washington, Utah

My friend Ryan who has the Jurassic Park Explorer (see Radwood 2017) will appreciate this.

Sunday morning quick photo at Pioneer Park on the Red Hill in St. George

Two 2013 models:  Dad’s MDX and my ILX

Easter egg hunting with nephew Locke.  That egg was easy to find.

Milestone on the way home to Phoenix on Sunday!

For reals:  Look at the size comparo between a Dodge Challenger and a G1 NSX.

Beauty shots of the siblings this morning at Dreamy Draw Park

Special Feature Opportunity:  Invitation to IMSA (International Motor Sports Association) Races.

OH, NY, CA, GA Acura owners:  I’m posting this invitation from Acura Motorsports that I received. Free race tickets and the chance to show your car:

Acura owners are invited to attend a weekend at the racetrack with Acura Motorsports. At four IMSA race weekends this year, Acura will be hosting an Acura Car Corral, where owners and enthusiasts can display their ride and enjoy the on-track action. Acura will be providing complimentary parking passes for the corral along with weekend passes to the race for the owner and a guest. Space is limited, so passes will be distributed by RSVP date. Acura Car Corral will be present at these four IMSA races:

1. Mid-Ohio Sports Car Showdown; May 5-6, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
2. Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, June 30-July 1, Watkins Glen
3. Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix, September 8-9, Monterey
4. Motul Petit Le Mans, October 12-13, Road Atlanta

To RSVP for one of these events, e-mail Kyle Ginty at kginty@chargegf.com with the following information:

– Name and name of guest
– Event you wish to attend
– Vehicle model/year
– Mailing Address
– Phone Number

 

Legend Coupe 15-Year Ownership Anniversary Video, News from NYIAS

Posted in Legend on March 29, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  559,218

Looky here.  Someone’s creeping up on a 560,000-mile milestone, and it will happen this weekend on an upcoming trip to Utah for the Easter holiday weekend.

This past Monday 3/26/2018 was the 15th anniversary of the day I flew from Las Vegas, Nevada to San Jose, California to buy the Legend coupe.  I was 21 years old, studying for my Associates Degree at Dixie State College in St. George, Utah and working part time at SkyWest Airlines.  Those were simpler times.  It’s hard to believe a decade and a half have passed.

Here’s an 8-minute video I put together, celebrating in the only way I could on a Monday morning:  driving the car to work.  After the workday to-and-fro commute, I sorted through a few pieces of old paperwork to reminisce a little.  Enjoy!

The red Integra is on day 2 at the mechanic and the jury is still out on what kind of maintenance it will be getting.  Meanwhile, I tried placing an order for some remanufactured alloy wheels to replace the current hubcaps & steelies, only to have the vendor cancel my transaction because “They’re on back order.”  Just like everything else with these 20+ year old cars, everything is out of stock or discontinued.  It’s a long road ahead.

I missed out on “most” of this week’s New York International Auto Show festivities, but I was able to tune in on Wednesday morning for a live feed from the Acura press conference.   Article on CNET here.  And, it looks like my friends were having fun without me.  HondaPro Jason and my friend Conor sent me this pic from the show floor.

Senior Vice President Henio Arcangeli took the stage to announce the debut of the MDX “A-Spec” model, as well as the all-new-for-2019 RDX (which itself will be available with an A-Spec variant).  Adding to the aggressive nature are a pair of nice chrome-finished exhaust outlets at the rear.  The panoramic sunroof looks like a nice touch too.

The MDX and RDX are two very important vehicles for the brand from a sales perspective, and it appears these updates will keep them at the front of the pack in their respective segments.  Just to give context to the volume of people who are buying these SUVs:  In February 2018, the MDX sold 3,337 units and the RDX sold 3,766.  Do you know how many the RLX sedan sold?  151.  It’s no wonder there is so much focus on the SUV lineup.

I’ll forever hope for another sports coupe (at least something sub-NSX-pricing) in the lineup, but for now I am glad to see the direction to a more performance-minded culture with all this A-Spec talk.  It takes us back to the Precision Crafted Performance days of yesteryear, where the brand got its start over 30 years ago.

Have a great holiday weekend.

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

Posted in California, Car Show, Legend, Road Trip, Vigor on March 26, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Vigor):  110,907

Trip Distance:  1,542 Miles

The front desk clerk at the Motel 6 in Sylmar, California raised his eyebrow and gave me a perplexed look.  “So it has no plate?” he asked as he was reading the paper I’d filled out to get a parking permit.  “No – that is the plate.  Five-C-Y-L.”  “Oh,” he said.  “And it’s an Acura Rigor?”  I had to correct him.  “No, it’s a Vigor.  They stopped making them in 1994.”  “Ahh,” he said, “I used to have a 1994 Civic.”  In my mind I rolled my eyes and felt like saying, “just give me the room key.”

I got another dose of the magnificent 1980s and 1990s this past weekend on my trip to a car show that suits precisely those model years.  This was thus the third time I’ve driven between Phoenix and the San Francisco Bay Area in 3 weeks.  I’m getting to know that Interstate 5 corridor like the back of my hand!  This time, the purpose of the trip was not to buy or transport a purchased car, but rather to meet up with some friends at a celebration of all things “rad,” at Radwood 2018.

Sonoma Raceway has been around for 50 years and is nestled in the southern Sonoma Mountains at a landform called Sears Point.  It has a 2.5 mile long course and capacity for 47,000 spectators.  This weekend, the facility played host to a wide array of cars from the decades of yesteryear – complete with the wardrobe and music that go along with that era.   Here’s a link to my post about the prior Radwood show, held in Anaheim last December.

This marked the longest trip I’ve taken in my Vigor in the nearly three years I’ve owned it, save the initial drive home to Phoenix from Denver when I bought it in July 2015.  I’m happy to report that the car did remarkably well.  I departed Phoenix on Thursday afternoon and had rainy weather throughout the westward trek to the Los Angeles area.  Then I headed north on Interstate 5 to the 580, the 680, the 780, and on to my final destination for the evening in Vallejo, only about 15 miles east of the Sonoma racetrack.

My drive took me across the Benicia – Martinez toll bridge across the Carquinez Strait.  There are a lot of waterways in the area — something I’m not very accustomed to since I live in the desert.

In Vallejo, I met up with my friend Jay who’d flown in from San Diego for the occasion.  He rented a 2005 Honda S2000 on Turo which we took to dinner along the waterfront at an Italian restaurant.  I did a quick parking-lot wipe-down of the Vigor before bed and it ended up getting rained on again overnight anyway.

Saturday morning, Jay brought over some thrift store apparel finds:  A vivid multi-color Wrangler button-down and a “California Lovin” blue hoodie.  If you’re going to attend a vintage car show, you have to look the part.  He also loaned me some pretty tubular Ray Ban sunglasses.  My friend Jason took his wardrobe to a whole new level, complete with a copper wig.

We timed our arrival at Sonoma just right in order to roll in with my friend Chris from San Francisco who brought his black 1994 Legend GS 6-speed.  The car show was broken up into a few different parking areas, with “Radwood Royalty” being a paved lot and everyone else staged on a grassy hill next to it.  Things were a little muddy thanks to the prior night’s rain but luckily the clouds held out and things stayed dry all day.  The wind, however, got chilly and I was extremely grateful to Jay for giving me that hoodie.

As was to be expected, there was a very vast array of automobiles from two to three decades ago.  I would say the German brands dominated the field, with a lot of very clean “E30” 3-series BMWs including my friend Aaron’s exceedingly rare “IX” all-wheel-drive model.  I saw a car called a Bitter for the first time, and I kind of chuckled that it had the same interior color as my Vigor – and even called it the same thing (“Cognac”).  My preferred picks of course were some of the Honda products, including two very clean third-generation Preludes (this one showing off its four-wheel-steering feature).

It was great to reconnect with friends again and catch up over taco truck food and classic music.  There were a lot of accolades for the Vigor and its quirky powertrain combination.  I made sure to display the window sticker and sales brochure, and I popped the hood to showcase that 176-horsepower, 5-cylinder powerplant proudly.

Coming locally from the SF Bay area was my buddy Shervin, in his 1984 Mercedes-Benz 300SD.  It had 205,000 miles on the odometer and a massive binder full of receipts.  Shervin dressed the part of a successful 1980s professional in a business suit, and he accessorized his car with some period-correct items like cassette tapes and some Avery business card templates.  He sure knows how to show up to a board meeting in style.

Radwood was the only car show I’ve ever attended that had giveaways allocated by way of thumb wars and rock-paper-scissors.  The “Best Japanese” award ended up going to a very clean Nissan Pulsar Sportbak.

I sadly gave back the borrowed Ray Bans and hit the highway southbound, going as far as Buttonwillow, California that evening (only about 4 hours away).  The Vigor proved itself as a pretty good road tripper with comfortable revs and a surprisingly quiet cabin considering it has frameless door windows.

I checked in at the Motel 6 around 9:00 p.m. – my third night in my third M6 of the trip.  If there were such a thing as a Diamond Platinum Preferred Motel 6 member, I’d be top dawg.  But when’s the last time you saw a window-mounted climate control unit that looked like this?  I guess the motel was last remodeled about when Radwood-era cars were new.

The final stretch to Phoenix was on Sunday, with just one more stop in Palm Desert for a bean & cheese burrito and an energy drink to fuel me up.  It was a whirlwind trip, but what Drive to Five adventure isn’t?  Thanks for coming along and enjoying some of the great 80s and 90s with me!

Traditional stop in Desert Center.  I go there with all my cars!

Fueling up in Palm Desert at Chevron.

Taco Bell for lunch in Buttonwillow.  Does it look familiar?

It should.  Because I was just there with the Integra sedan six days prior.

Northbound on Interstate 5 at the split with I-580.  I took this same route last year when I went to Sacramento for NALM 2017.

Westbound on I-580 toward Dublin.

Met up with my friend Brian at his office.

Jay’s rental S2000 that we took to dinner.  It was a fun little ride for 13 years and 133,000 miles old!

Waterfront view from dinner.

Having some fettuccine alfredo with Jay.

Arrival at Sonoma with Chris and his friend Alfred in my sideview mirror.

Pretty good shine on these old rides.

Remember the Mitsubishi 3000 GT Spyder?

And better yet, remember the 1980s Chevy Nova?  Someone actually restored one of these and I love it!

View overlooking the venue.

My friend Chris who flew up from LA for the occasion.

Driving home through some misty fog on I-5 southbound.

The Last Puzzle Piece, Part 1: Purchasing My 1992 Acura Integra LS Sedan 5-Speed

Posted in Integra, Legend, NSX, Vigor on March 20, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend Coupe):  559,191

Odometer (Legend Sedan):  157,914

Odometer (NSX):  109,834

Odometer (Vigor):  109,341

Odometer (Integra Hatchback):  247,112

Odometer (Integra Sedan):  117,318

Trip Distance:  1,514 Miles

If you put on your fancy pin-striped suit and walked into your local Acura dealership about 25 years ago in 1993, you might hear “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by UB40 played over the radio in the showroom.  If you had the means at that time, you could say to a salesperson, “I’ll take one of everything,” and then you’d proceed to drop about $210,000 MSRP ($365,000 equivalent in 2018) on the six different models that Acura sold at the time.

acura_dealer

Today, cars of that era are cheap.  So cheap, in fact, that two of mine were bought on credit cards.  Just like that.  As if you’re picking up a candy bar at the local CVS Pharmacy, but instead you just bought yourself an entire automobile.

A lot of people have collections.  A friend of mine collects Pyrex cookware.  My sister-in-law collects vintage luggage.  And I just happen to collect Acuras.  This past weekend I successfully closed the loop on a matching “set” that I’d been striving 20 years for, since about age 16.  Do I deserve a recognition award or rehab therapy?  I’ll let you decide.  Jalopnik thinks I’m a little nuts, but that’s okay.

Here’s how the timing worked out and where I got each of my six now-classic Acuras from:

  • 2003:  1994 Legend LS coupe 6-speed in San Jose, California
  • 2008:  1994 Legend GS sedan 6-speed in Logan, Utah
  • 2011:  1992 NSX 5-speed in San Jose, California
  • 2015:  1994 Vigor GS 5-speed in Denver, Colorado
  • 2016:  1992 Integra GS-R 5-speed in Seattle, Washington

And now #6:  The newest adoptee into my family of early 1990s Acuras is a “Torino Red Metallic” 1992 Integra LS sedan.  Here are the many reasons why I had to have it:

  • All original paint and interior (Flint Black was my first choice, but Torino Red was second)
  • Completely rust-free body and undercarriage
  • Unmodified / stock configuration in every way
  • Low miles, 116,562 as of the sale date (that’s 4,400 per year)
  • Only two owners, the second having owned it since 1996 and then donating it to charity
  • Functional everything (A/C, electronics, clutch / brakes / engine / trans)
  • 5-speed manual transmission (I would not even consider an automatic)
  • 1992-93 model year “refresh” design styling to front and rear, super rare to find on the Integra sedan “DB1” chassis
  • Clean title
  • Recent timing belt maintenance history
  • LS trim deletes the ABS (anti-lock braking system) which is often times problematic (as is the case on my 1992 GS-R model)
  • Accessory OEM wing spoiler with LED brake lamp
  • My family’s first Acura was a red, second-generation Integra sedan in 1996.  It’s like going back to my roots.

This was not an easy car to find.  Oh no, not by any means.  I’d been on the hunt for literally years, scouring SearchTempest to collect craigslist postings from nationwide on a nearly daily basis.  I had at least a half-dozen friends on high alert, too.  I almost settled a few times.  One car that surfaced in Salt Lake City was everything I wanted but with extreme rust and a fraction of the price.  I was willing to make concessions but that wasn’t one that I wanted to deal with.  It seemed that for every 10 second generation Integra hatchbacks, there was only 1 sedan.  Rare, rare, rare.

Then Friday, March 9th came along.  In my typical fashion, I revved up my Internet browser in between meetings at work and did my customary “1992 Integra” keyword title search on the craigslist aggregation site.  I saw a posting 3 lines down in SF Bay.  “1992 Acura Integra – for auction – $700.”  Without knowing any of the other details, I clicked the ad and my eyes got as big as those hearts on the heart-eye emoji.  Sedan, check.  Manual, check.  Original, check.  It was too good to be true though, because it was 12 hours away and available via live auction only.  A phone call to the selling dealer was disappointing, as they would not deal with any offers remotely.  “You have to be here to bid,” the representative told me.  Damn.

The wheels in my head got spinning.  A last-minute flight from PHX to SFO would run me $360 and put me on the ground a little after midnight, so I’d need a hotel.  And then what if the car was junk and I didn’t buy it?  I’d be spending that same amount to fly right back home.  Could I risk dropping $800+ just for the chance to buy?

Then a crazy thought came to mind.  I was already planning on going to Los Angeles the following day to meet up with friends for a cars & coffee event.  What if I drove out earlier, took a massive side trip north to Redwood City, attended the auction, and then back-tracked to LA for my scheduled events?  Could I?

On 9:00 p.m. on Friday night, I departed from my friend Kyle’s birthday party in central Phoenix behind the wheel of my garage queen 1994 Legend GS 6-speed sedan – a car that had only been driven about 1,000 miles in the prior 9 months.  I’ve owned it for a decade and I know that it’s up to date on maintenance, but most people would still agree it was a little gutsy to get into a 24-year-old car with 156,000 miles on it and plan to drive nearly 800 miles, alone, in the middle of the night.

The I-10 corridor is no unfamiliar place for me.  In the dozen years I’ve lived in Phoenix, I’ve driven the interstate to LA probably a hundred times.  So I set the cruise control, fueled up on a Monster “Mean Bean” energy drinks, and watched the miles go by while listening to some hits on my 80-gig iPod classic with a cassette tape adapter (for that true period-correct experience, of course).

By midnight local time, I was near Palm Springs.  Around 1:00 a.m, I was in LA.  And by 3:00 a.m., I was already northbound on Interstate 5 with my sights set on the San Francisco Bay.  The Legend hummed onward in 6th gear with little effort, delivering a remarkable 27 miles per gallon on one of my fillups.

Daylight started peeking out over the eastern horizon a little after 6:00 a.m., and by that time, I could already see the finish line.  I was northbound on Highway 101 crossing through San Jose – oddly enough, the same place where I’d purchased my NSX and my Legend coupe years ago.  Clearly it’s a good place to find quality cars.  I arrived at the auction house in Redwood City well before it opened, so I had a $15 omelet at Squeeze In about 3 miles away and collected my composure for a busy day ahead.  I think I had 3 bites of food.  My stomach was in absolute knots.  But I liked the sound of this omelet for obvious reasons.

I’ve been to plenty of auctions before.  Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale has been an annual tradition for me lately.  But I’ve never bid or even been serious about buying before.  And for that reason, my anxiety was through the roof.  Because the minute I walked into the warehouse and saw the Integra, I got this feeling like I knew I would be buying it.  Parked between a Ford utility truck and a Volkswagen Golf, it was the oldest of the 21 different vehicles up for charity auction that day.

Auction City allows prospective buyers to check out the inventory before the bidding starts at 10:30 a.m.  So, I did just that.  I cranked up the car, checked the electronics, and gave the clutch a few kicks.  The engine bay looked remarkably clean, and my heart skipped a beat when I saw a yellow sticker:  The timing belt change record.  April 2012 at 111,000 miles.  Score.

At this point it was “game on.”  I found myself getting protective every time someone else got in or around the car to take a look at it, slam the hood, lean up against it, or rev the motor.  I tried not to get my hopes too far up, and I also tried to keep my head on straight.  The combination of racing thoughts and complete lack of sleep left me feeling lightheaded a couple of times.

An old man next to me leaned over and commented on the Integra, “Needs a lot of work,” he said.  “I ran the Carfax and the timing belt hasn’t been done yet.”  I knew he was wrong, but I didn’t say it.  Keep your bids off my car, man.  A sheet of paper on the dashboard said “Suggested Retail $1,925.”  What would it go for?

At registration, I had been given bidder #37 so I got my card ready as soon as I saw the Integra was almost up.  I stood near the car and tried to understand the mumbo-jumbo coming out of the auctioneer’s mouth in the echoey building.  Luckily the numbers were understandable if nothing else was.

I raised my hand repeatedly like the nerd in the front row of the class who knows the answer to every stupid question.  I had a max bid amount in mind, and I was going to keep my hand in the air as long as I could until that number was reached.  At least 3 other people were fighting me for that car.

Two minutes later, it was SOLD for $2,700, the auctioneer exclaimed.  I won it.  Giddy.  Amazed.  How the heck did that just happen?  I was on cloud 9.

Immediately I started looking into logistics.  Within 30 minutes, I had pre-paid for a Montway transport truck so the logistics were taken care of (or so I thought – more on that later).  After all 21 vehicles in the hall had been sold, I met with a representative to handle payment & paperwork (he of course asked why I’d felt compelled to bid to the point that I did).  By the way, the Integra was the only car of the 21 to sell for a price point above its posted “Retail” price.  Yeah, so what.  I was prepared to go even higher.

With that, I knew the deal was sealed and my nerves calmed back down.  But my weekend adventure wasn’t over yet.  For the next 6 hours, I fought heavy rain almost all the way back to the Los Angeles area, including a horrendous construction zone on the north end of the city with poorly marked lane lines and heavy traffic.  By the time I rolled into my Super 8 in Torrance, I’d white-knuckled so long my hands were permanently gripping the Legend’s steering wheel.

For the first time since Thursday, I finally settled in and took a minute to breathe.  The next day came early, as I picked up a long-time friend named Kazuhiro from his hotel nearby and we went to Cars & Coffee South Bay in Gardena.  Kazuhiro was on vacation from Japan for a week.  Back home, he has a 1995 Legend GS sedan that looks exactly like mine.  It was great to finally meet him, as well as reconnect with other friends from southern California despite the drizzly weather.

I headed back home to Phoenix at the conclusion of lunch at Eatalian Deli and enjoyed the next 6 hours of solitude and success after having achieved all of my trip’s goals.  After unpacking the car, I made the most long awaited reunion of all:  My flannel pillow.  What a weekend.  Now I just had to figure out a way to get the car home.  Come back to the next post to see how that went!

So that’s the story of how after a 20-year quest, I ended up with a fleet of every vehicle configuration that Acura sold in the early 1990s.  And I only paid about $53,000 for all six, so I guess you could say I got 75% off.  And that’s a bargain deal I can live with.  Check out the 19-minute video including scenes from the auction itself.

Welcomed to Redwood City bright & early after an all-night drive

Arrival at Auction City on Saturday morning

That engine bay – clean!

Paperwork showing the “suggested retail” price of $1,925

Left rear quarter.  Those exhaust tips are not OEM!  (But that will change)

Front left quarter.  The car needs some TLC but it’s a strong start.

These were the makes, models, and final prices for all 21 cars auctioned.

These are the 14″ GS trim wheels I’ll be getting when I ditch those hubcaps.

That spoiler!  Shot from the accessories brochure.

Picking up Kazuu in Torrance on Sunday morning

My friend Ryu at cars & coffee (and a Honda Beat in the background)

With Kazuu and Fred

Kazuu’s car, back home in Japan

Raul, Rob, Kazuu, Tyson, Jay, Brett, after breakfast

Headed back home to AZ

My roommate had a Toyota C-HR on test last week.  Aztec Green anyone?

And my friend Sunny visited – was great to see him!

Come back soon for the adventure that getting the car home involved!