Archive for the Milestones Category

The Legend Rolls 550,000 Miles on a Christmas Trip to Utah

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Legend, Milestones, Road Trip, Utah on December 26, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  550,085


It took me 5 years to go from 500,000 to 550,000, but I finally got there last night.  I made a Christmas 800-mile round-trip to southern Utah this weekend and celebrated the milestone on my way home, along Highway 93 just north of Wickenburg, Arizona.


Mechanically, it was smooth sailing aside from adding a little power steering fluid and getting a check-engine light.  As a matter of fact, somehow I achieved 29.7 miles per gallon on the way up Friday night.  I guess that’s partly thanks to the fact that my speeds were usually between 65 and 70 miles per hour.  They still haven’t paved an interstate between Phoenix and Las Vegas so it’s mostly back roads for that 4.5-hour stretch.


Fittingly, my return trip took me through “Santa Claus, Arizona” – a now-abandoned tourist trap that in the 1930s was a gas station, gift shop, and restaurant.  Vandals have destroyed what’s left of it, but the map still clearly confirms its existence and I stopped for a few pictures at Saint Nick’s run-down residence.


The place can be yours, if the price is right!


Snow-capped peaks in the background – it was chilly out there, for Arizona standards anyway.


Here’s the roll-over video and a few scenes from Santa Claus.

A few other photos from recent events.  Allie from Acura mailed me a “Nouvelle Blue Pearl” 2017 NSX model car.  I told her it’ll go nicely in my garage!


Fueling up in Wickenburg on Friday afternoon


Sunset when rolling through Las Vegas, Nevada


Visiting mom, and also a visit from our friend Jack


Re-creation of a 20-year old photo (top) taken in 1997 with mom’s Legend.


My brother’s 1993 Legend LS 6-speed (139,000 mi) next to mine.


The ILX getting snowed on in Holden, Utah.  Jack – from a few pics above – borrowed the car this weekend and put it to good use.


My uncle Dande picked up a 2013 ILX too.  “Polished Metal Metallic” automatic.


Family photo of mom’s side of the family.


A few other videos for your viewing pleasure today.

ILX in snow – thanks Jack for the clip:

Link to Xtreme Coupe YouTube channel – my brother’s page.  Watch his Lexus IS300 project updates:

Link to interesting video on the evolution of automotive design:

Link to Hagerty Engine Rebuild Video of a Chrysler motor.  Pretty fascinating stuff:

Have a great week!

Tribute to Million Mile Joe, Home Improvements, & Car Updates

Posted in Arizona, Blog, ILX, Integra, Legend, Milestones on August 6, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  544,118


Odometer (Vigor):  105,807


Only in Arizona could a church use this as an advertising ploy!  I’m tempted to convert.


First, a tribute to a man who inspired many.  “Million Mile” Joe LoCicero of Maine became a hero of mine when he and his 1990 Accord reached a million miles back in the fall of 2011. Coincidentally, that was right around the same timeframe when my Legend reached half that distance.  Unfortunately, Joe recently passed away but he will be missed.  As Jason of Driven for Drives put it, “That was a good run.”  Joe, we salute you!


I was able to track down the VIN to Joe’s Accord, and (nerd that I am) I couldn’t resist running a Carfax report just to see what it looks like when a car’s 6-digit odometer effectively resets itself to zero.


As expected, the title history shows ‘branded’ since the odometer mechanically can’t even show a 7th digit.  (Reminds me of my 1986 Celebrity which only had FIVE digits on the odo).


The Accord was in for service in April 2011 at Berlin Honda in Portland, Maine at 970,333 miles.  The next time we saw an odometer reading, it was almost two years later, at Auburn Motor Sales when the readout was 2,707 miles.  Mileage Inconsistency, says Carfax.  Well, duh!


The most recent Carfax entry on Joe’s old Accord was in December of last year, at 3,341 miles, when the car was purchased by someone in Jefferson, South Carolina.  I’m not sure where the car is today nor who’s driving it, but I hope it’s still getting some time on the open road and not mothballed to a museum where it will dry up and deteriorate.

On the subject of Carfax, I was glad to see that my recent Integra’s emissions pass now shows up, so it’s no longer tarnished by that failure when I brought the car to Arizona earlier this year.


My apologies for sporadic blog posts in recent weeks as I’m still underwater with home and career activities.  It seems the road tripping has taken a back burner.  My home in Scottsdale, Arizona is on the market and I’ve taught myself how to do some basic repairs.

ABC--FILE PHOTO--HOME IMPROVEMENT-- Starring in the ABC Televison Network's hit comedy series, HOME IMPROVEMENT, are (top to bottom) Tim Allen, Patricia Richardson, Zachary Ty Bryan, Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Taran Smith.

I was quite proud of some drywall repair results, and I spent an entire evening doing a repaint on my guest bedroom which turned out pretty flawlessly.  Here a friend captured me attempting some bathroom updates whilst multi-tasking with my work laptop.


I ended up with more paint on my hands and shorts than on the wall, I’m pretty sure.


It’s yet TBD if I’ll be getting the “dream house” I have my sights set on, but I’m crossing fingers and hoping so.  It would be great news from a car-parking perspective as it has lots of garage space.


I had an electrician at my home correcting a few small things on Friday afternoon.  I was in the kitchen and he was in the other room working on a light switch.  “All those cars outside yours?” he asked.  “Yeah, I have six cars.”  He responded, “What’s that, you fix cars?”  “Uhh, yeah, that’s right,” I said.  Sometimes I’d just rather not explain the car-collecting craziness.

This week I visited my friend Mirel at his new shop where he’s started a used car dealership.  On site were 3 Legend coupes and a 1992 Dodge Stealth (I’ve always liked those).


Cool plate!


All these Legends are 6-speed manuals.  Mirel has the right idea!


My friend Chris in Maryland has a “twin” car to my Legend sedan.  Awhile back we both decided to go out for a special treat in our own way.  Though separated by 2,009 miles, I enjoyed my iced caramel macchiato and Chris enjoyed his strawberry shake.  My photo on top, his on the bottom.  It’s interesting how the lighting conditions can change the color so much.  In person, they’re identical “Desert Mist Metallic” paint codes.


I extend THANKS to a couple of my friends and readers!  Jason recently had this awesome canvas print made up from my photo at the Arctic Circle back in May.


And Tim mailed me these sweet posters from a Honda museum in Ohio capturing the race team.  Looks like I have plenty of art to adorn my garage now!


The Legend is getting ready for its trip to Atlanta this September.  I’ll be gone for a full week.


And the ILX is in the hands of a couple of friends this weekend in Boise, Idaho.


Green with envy.  These ones want a road trip, too.


The NSX is still in southern Utah and my brother had his friend Grant from Renu Auto do a full detail on it.  The paint is finished off with an “Optimum Gloss Coat” paint coating.  Results speak for themselves!


Looking forward to bringing this one back to AZ later this fall.


Lastly, you all know I have my “Spy Shot Roundup” posts on a regular basis.  In all my years of collecting spy shots from people, I’ve had the same car submitted by multiple people before.  Like twice.  But in recent weeks, FOUR DIFFERENT SPIES have sent me this 1992 Legend L sedan wearing Wisconsin plates!  The owner has to be wondering by now why she’s being followed by such a skilled group of paparazzi!

From Beau, July 16th, 2016


From Jack, July 20th, 2016


From Matt, July 21st, 2016


From Kyle, August 1, 2016


Unreal!  I’m bound to run into this one eventually!

Check out our wacky late-summer “monsoon” weather.  This 17-second video shows a courtyard at my office on Friday.  First, getting torrential rains, and later – within a couple of hours – with blue skies and sunshine.  Make up your mind, Mother Nature!

Josh Clymer Update: 500,000 Mile Acura TSX Achievement!

Posted in Milestones on June 26, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Integra):  235,869


Ladies and gentlemen:  He’s made it.  Join me in welcoming Mr. Josh Clymer to the Half-Million-Mile Club (HMMC) and extending heartfelt congratulations on this impressive achievement.


I’ve followed Josh for some time now – a few years, in fact, since I first stumbled across his then-300-something-thousand mile Acura TSX on Acura’s Facebook page.  Over the years I’ve watched him dutifully log miles during his work commute and post updates from time to time.  His blog is at  I’ve also seen him total his car – twice – and rebuild it at great expense to keep it alive.  I’ve seen him surpass now both the 400,000 and 500,000 mile marks.  And this car doesn’t seem like it’s stopping any time soon.

It was Saturday, June 25th around 4:00 in the afternoon when we departed Josh’s home in Kuna, Idaho with 499,998 miles on the odometer to fulfill his long-awaited Big Five milestone.  I’d just arrived moments earlier in my newly-acquired 1992 Acura Integra GS-R but we left it parked – I wanted to ride shotgun for Josh’s special moment.  More, later, on that Integra.  The destination for our 500,000 mile ride was none other than Kuna’s top-rated Mexican restaurant, called Enrique’s.  I treated Josh to dinner and presented him with a glass plaque that Jason of Driven for Drives and I had made up.

So here you go:  Join the event in the below 6-minute video.  I apologize in advance if I blow your eardrums at around 4:30 on the timer because I sort of screamed in the video.  Guess you had to be there.

Heading out for the big moment


Southbound Linder Rd just before the roll-over


There’s the spot!  Boise Street, I think.  Westbound after we’d made a corner.


Let’s get a close-up of that excitement!


Josh told me I couldn’t post this one.  I’m going to anyway, ha!  But I want to mention here that Josh has TWO blue Acura hats.  One tried and true example that he retired, and a brand new one that he donned after his milestone.


Celebratory dinner spot


Chicken fajita burrito.  I could eat only half of it.  The other half went to Josh’s dog, Abby.


Presentation of the glass plaque.


And the victorious TSX looking proud.


Congrats, my friend!

Magic Number Five, High Mileage Stories, & 2017 MDX Teaser

Posted in ILX, Legend, MDX, Milestones on February 24, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  542,130


Odometer (ILX):  155,679


Ever have a weird moment when something happens and it’s too perfect to be coincidental?  You might be driving down the road and a song comes on that talks about a specific landmark you’re passing.  Or, as happened to me recently, a song came on that had a tempo absolutely identical to the pace of my ILX’s windshield wipers.  For the entire 3 minute & 33-second duration of Rascal Flatts’ “I Like the Sound of That,” my wipers were rocking out to the exact pace of that song.

But just now as I was uploading the below picture of my 55,555 and 155,555 mile odometer shots in the ILX, my eye caught the bottom of the text box I was editing here in WordPress and I saw this:


What in the world?  I had to screen shot it because the timing couldn’t have been better.


So there you have it:

  • 55,555 Miles on October 7, 2013 en route to St. George Utah
  • 155,555 Miles on February 22, 2016 on my way home from work

And both, mind you, striving for exactly 55 miles per hour but falling just a tad short.

Oh, and one more thing.  Dad turned 55 years old the next day.  BOOM.  My Instagram post:


I guess this blog really became named Drive to Five for a reason.

I had a newcomer in the garage for one night as my friend Hy entrusted me with his pride and joy 2004 Acura TSX.  With just 61,000 miles on the odometer, this beautiful little 6-speed looks like it’s fresh off the showroom floor.  I especially like the body kit and chrome wheels.



“Fastidious” is the best way to describe Hy’s care for this automobile.  Two layers of floor mats, towels on the seats, and a clear bra on the front end that keeps rock chips at bay.  It’s no wonder the car looks, smells, and drives like it’s brand new (not 12 years old).


Meanwhile the Legend got to see some daylight for a bit.  It’s developed a nagging power steering leak which is becoming quite aggressive.  That comes as a disappointment since the entire rack & pinion was replaced just 12,000 miles ago for $800 with a remanufactured unit.  How did my original power steering system last 530,000 miles before it developed a leak, and my remanufactured one lasted only 12,000?


I have a couple of high-mileage stories for you to kill time with today.


This one is apparently old news, but for some reason I’m just now learning about it.  There’s a guy named Habib who delivers medical supplies in his 2006 Honda Civic all across Kentucky.  This 51-page thread on the Civic enthusiast forums chronicles his progress as he racks up the miles.  In 2012, he was featured on Jalopnik at 750,000 miles, and as of latest update on his forum post (this month) the car is still running and driveable but sidelined at 1,100,000 due to a bad head gasket.  He plans on fixing it and continuing to drive.

I’m also introducing “Russell” from Connecticut to my blog audience.  He reached out to me this week to report that his 2001 Acura MDX has over 495,000 miles on it.  Russell bought the MDX brand new in April 2001 and has spent the last 15 years driving it on average 33,000 miles per year.  He’s on his second transmission but otherwise has had very few unexpected maintenance needs.  Most interesting of all:  his choice in fuel.  Russell has run only 87 octane for most of the MDX’s life.  “Premium Fuel Required”?  Maybe not.


Speaking of MDX news, get a glimpse below of the soon-to-be-revealed 2017 MDX in the below image from a press release that came out today.  The real deal will be unveiled in a press conference at the New York Auto Show on March 23rd.


One more little quirky mileage find:  This 1993 Acura Vigor automatic with 355,781 miles on it was found on a craiglist posting here in the Phoenix area.  How in world did that little 2.5 liter 5-cylinder get so far?  I’m tempted to call the seller/owner just to ask and find out.


My dad & stepmom are flying in from northern Utah tomorrow so we’ll have a few adventures to share with you on the flipside.

Have a great rest of the week!

A 150,000 Milestone, Barrett-Jackson Auction, and Papago Park Meet

Posted in Arizona, Legend, Milestones on February 1, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  541,020


Odometer (ILX):  154,063


Get comfy on your office chair / easy chair / toilet.  (I know some of you *cough* Chris *cough* read my blog from there).  It’s time to recap the last four days’ worth of activities here in Arizona.  I had friends visiting from the east coast for a few days and our schedule was packed with activities, most of which revolved around automotive stuff.  Are you surprised?  I doubt it.

Among the highlights were a big milestone for one of my Legends, a day at one of the world’s premier collector car auctions (and VIP access while watching a $1.2 million car find its new owner), a scenic desert drive in the Superstition Mountains, a Sunday morning hike near Arizona State University, and a 12-car meet-up in Papago Park with some Acura fanatics.  Let’s get this party started.  Inline with these stories are four YouTube videos for your viewing pleasure.  If you’re so inclined, subscribe to my channel!  I need just one more YouTube subscriber to put me at 500, and you know how much I love hitting milestones.  Channel Link

Chris was one of my guests.  He’s the guy with a ‘twin’ Legend to mine who drove to last year’s Houston Nat’l Acura Legend Meet (NALM) to meet up with me there.  I reserved for him the opportunity to roll 150,000 in my car when he flew in for his visit from Baltimore.  His request specifically was a “sunset” rollover, so that’s what we had.  Around 5:30 p.m. on southbound Galvin Parkway in Phoenix, he hit the 150,000 milestone in my car and Thursday evening we got a few pictures (duh!) to commemorate the occasion.  That car has only been driven 18,000 miles in the nearly 8 years I’ve owned it.



After rolling into Papago Park for a more appropriate photoshoot.




And the video:


On Friday, Chris and I spent the entire day at the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction in Scottsdale.  This place was a candy store for any automotive enthusiast.  Just one drawback:  These were some very expensive sweets.  I saw cars routinely crossing the auction block for 6-figure pricetags, and each time a vehicle met that amount, the spectating crowd would cheer and clap in excited support.  When Chris and I weren’t watching the auctions, we were browsing the automobilia, tire-kicking the classics inside & out, chowing on footlong sausages from the food trucks, and PEOPLE-WATCHING.  If I had a dime for every guy I saw with a mullet and a “Camaro SS” cutoff T-shirt, I could have probably bought a Camaro SS!


I’ll spare the details of the dozens of cars that caught my eye as we made the rounds, but I did really enjoy a few things, like this old Cadillac.


This pearl white Dodge Stealth only had 55,000 miles on it.


A 2000 Bentley Arnage with <50,000 miles, sold for $30,000.  You’d look like a millionaire for $30k!


There were, of course, plenty of tailfins in attendance, like the ones on this 1958 Buick.


The front ends of those cars are equally shiny.


This one was for Kevin – a rare 1963 Chevy Corvette split-window coupe.


But the real draw was Lot #3007:  a 2017 Acura NSX, VIN 001, scheduled for auction at 7:30 in the evening.


So, Chris and I made our way to Skybox #15 which I’d been given tickets to.  The Skybox was a flight of stairs up, and overlooking the left side of the stage.  Senior leaders from Honda & Acura started filing in by around 6:00 p.m. in anticipation of the big event.  Jay Leno’s Ford F-150 pickup truck went for something like $200,000, and a Chevy Camaro “COPO” Edition went for over $300k, so I felt like Acura would be well positioned to get a good price for its new NSX.  What I didn’t expect, though, was just how crazily the bids would climb.

Moments before the “athletic red” NSX made its way up onto the stage, all the Acura folks were ushered out to accompany it.  Chris and I were about the only people left in the booth to watch from that area.  A short video introduction played on the screens flanking the auction stage.  All proceeds for the new NSX were to benefit two charities, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and Camp Southern Ground.

At the blink of an eye, the bids were already at $600,000.  Then a million.  More perks were thrown in – special ride-alongs at the Indy 500, backstage passes to a concert, yada yada.  Slowly the price crept one more time to $1,200,000 and then it capped off.  The auctioneer’s gavel hit the podium and the car was SOLD to Rick Hendrick, founder of Hendrick Automotive group.  Hendrick has been known to buy similar cars for similar prices.  Apparently he paid $1M for a Z06 2015 Corvette not long ago.  At least he spends his money on fun things!

Hendrick will be customizing his future NSX  in the coming weeks and months.  After all the one driven across the auction block was in fact a pre-production car and not destined for sale to the public anyway.


With Chris, showing our Skybox view


NSX Project Leader Ted Klaus, and Honda Vice President John Mendel


RealTime Race Team Driver Peter Cunningham


The NSX making its way to the auction block


Up on the stage it goes


Celebrating with VP Sales, Jon Ikeda, after the auction


Text from Ted Klaus showing the SOLD sign with $1.2M written in sharpie across it.


Video of the auction.

That brings us to Saturday, when we finished working on some maintenance on my 1993 Acura Legend L sedan. By this time, my friend Jake had flown in from Virginia so he lent us a hand installing some hydraulic hood struts.  Soon afterward, we hit the road in the 1994 Legend GS and the 1992 NSX for a 100-mile round-trip drive to Tortilla Flat, one of my favorite destinations in the region.  Slow-moving traffic and less-than-optimal road conditions kept us from really pushing the limits of the cars too far, but we had a great time enjoying the perfect weather and soaking up the scenery.  Saguaro cacti dotted the landscape – something my east-coast friends don’t get to see much.

We dined at the saloon-style restaurant and then made our way back to the Scottsdale area.  Here are the pics from that day.


Original intake installed – I threw away the aftermarket Ebay setup that the car came to me with.


Jake taking the wheel of the Legend GS.  As a BMW guy, he appreciates a car with nice handling!


Just after lunch in Tortilla flat, with John Wayne and walls covered in thousands of $1 bills


Chris enjoying the sunshine so he could take a tan back to Maryland with him


Just before heading back to civilization


Video of Chris at the wheel of the Legend sedan

Sunday morning, I had a brunch spot in mind so we took the Legend coupe to downtown historic Tempe, Arizona.  It turned 541,000 miles on the way there, and Jake captured this picture from the backseat, of me capturing the milestone.  Documentation of documentation!


We burned off a few of our breakfast calories by hiking up ASU’s “Hayden Butte” to get a nice view of the cloudless winter day.


That afternoon, it was Legend-mania as we made our way to a Phoenix area meet at Papago Park.  The guys helped me clean up the cars so they were ready for action.  Peter came as well so he could assist with transport.


Shot taken by Jake as he was following Peter (NSX) and me (1993 sedan) to the meet venue.


Jake with the high-miler.


Here’s the lineup!




Can we just talk about Jimmy’s seats for a second?  These have lived underneath sheepskin seat covers since new!


Group shot – missing a couple folks who came later in the afternoon.


My 1994 LS coupe


Phil’s 1992 LS coupe


Jimmy’s 1994 LS coupe


Jimmy’s 1994 GS sedan


Tyson’s 1992 NSX


Mirel’s 1994 LS coupe


Mirel’s 1993 LS coupe


Tyson’s 1994 GS sedan


Tyson’s 1993 L sedan


Walter showed up with the famous “Acura Legend Concept” which has been featured previously on the blog.


And Chuck brought his 1988 Legend ragtop (custom)!



Chris got a taste of Vigor-ous driving today.


I sent him to the hills near Superior and Miami off US Highway 60, but snowy weather proved treacherous!


What a whirlwind weekend of car craziness.  Huge thanks to my friends near and far for taking part in it with me, whether here in person or via the blog.  Adios for now.

Edit: Almost forgot to share – here’s the final (extended) version of that Super Bowl Commercial teaser I showed you last time!

ILX 150,000 Milestone, Utah Trip, and a 30-Something Birthday

Posted in ILX, Legend, Milestones, Utah on December 29, 2015 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  540,467


Odometer (ILX):  151,120


I have quite the potpourri of news updates for you all today!  I was on my way home from work last week when my 2013 ILX hit its 150,000-mile mark.


Timeline of major milestones:

  • 16 Miles at Delivery:  June 12, 2012
  • 50,000 Miles:  August 15, 2013
  • 100,000 Miles:  October 16, 2014
  • 150,000 Miles:  December 21, 2015

Maintenance history since new:




The Legend coupe had to get a new starter last week from Hon-Man in Tempe, Arizona after the original one lasted 540,428 miles.  About a week ago, I had needed to move the car out of the garage to get access to the attic opening, and it would click but not turn over.  The starter had been acting up for some time so I finally had it taken care of.  Hon-Man’s parking lot was full of other Honda products, but I parked next to a 1993 Legend sedan when I dropped the car off for its service.


Service was $599 parts/labor and included replacement of an inner CV boot that was torn on the driver side axle.  Back on the road now.

My friend Daniel stalked me on Christmas Eve on Loop 202.

For about 10 years now, I’ve been attending an annual Christmas party hosted by my friend Chuck in Phoenix.  This year, he gave me a glass “moose mug” like the style used in the classic film “Christmas Vacation.”


My friend James gave me a very fitting license plate!


I made my way north to my hometown in Utah (~400 mi) in the ILX on Christmas morning.  Weather conditions on my end were vastly different from the ones my stepmom and dad were experiencing.  Here’s a text conversation excerpt:


I stopped for a quick visit at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway at the north end of Las Vegas.  It was only 50 degrees, but looked much warmer!


Virgin River Gorge on Interstate 15 northbound:


“Castle” Christmas light display at a home in St. George.  This won a $50,000 contest!


With my niece Vivienne.


Lunch with mom.


Taking my brother’s 1968 Chevy II Nova SS 6-speed for a cruise on the day after Christmas:


I drove it about 100 miles, round trip, to & around Mesquite, Nevada


Great sunset lighting overlooking the peaks around Mesquite.  You’ll soon see this car in a feature story in Hemmings Muscle Machines.


Mom even rolled around in it for a bit:

We received a visit from a few friends on Sunday prior to the return drive to Phoenix:  Tyson, Tia, Chandler, Jack


Jack, Chandler, Tyson, Branson


Jack took my brother’s M3 6-speed for a little ride


Branson rode 400 miles back with me from St. George to Scottsdale to take delivery of this 1994 Legend coupe from a prior post.


On the morning of 12/28, we pulled it out of the garage and he went on his way!


Desert Mist twins before Branson’s departure.


It was my 34th birthday yesterday, so I went and pulled the NSX out of the garage for a celebratory cruise.


I received a ton of well-wishes from friends & family.  My email inbox overflowed with about 700 Facebook notifications.  Here is a short video capturing some of the day’s highlights.

And, I think that pretty much brings you up to speed!  Hope everyone’s New Year festivities treat them well this weekend.

2015 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada: Ludacris Legend, Galpin ILX, & World Record Volvo

Posted in ILX, Legend, Milestones, Nevada, Road Trip, SEMA on November 5, 2015 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  540,089


Odometer (Ludacris’ Legend):  246,080


Odometer (ILX):


Trip Distance:  616 Miles



Viva Las Vegas!  Or was it “Lo$t Wages”?

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) has been around since 1963 and is a huge trade group centered around the automotive aftermarket industry.  It’s grown to a colossal size with over 6,300 member companies.  Its largest trade show, held every year at the Las Vegas Convention Center, occupies more than a half-million square feet of space.

SEMA week puts every “car geek” into a candy store.  Its full week of activities bring every participant the sights, sounds, and yes – even smells, of the automotive industry.  I’m talking about these scented Little Trees, and they’ve been around since 1952 when this first version on display was created.  What’s your favorite scent?


This wasn’t my first SEMA rodeo.  Here are write-ups from years prior:

This year’s show included some special components which I was excited to see:  The Acura display booth contained the now-fully-restored 1993 Acura Legend sedan that belongs to 20-million-fan music artist Ludacris, as well as a highly modified 2016 Acura ILX in vivid Sunburst Yellow with a host of performance and cosmetic upgrades.  Legends and ILXs?  It’s like they structured show content around exactly the type of content that would interest me!


My friend Chris described the SEMA experience as “It’s like being at the mall on Black Friday.”  It’s overwhelming to be among the crowds, with all the suppliers clamoring for your business with “Look at me!” signage and fanfare.  Another friend, Nina, calculated that if you walked the entire floorplan of the 4 gigantic convention rooms plus the outside areas and the adjoining hallways, it would be the equivalent of completing a marathon.  I’ll have to throw on a GPS watch someday and validate that claim.  My legs believe it.


I arrived in Las Vegas on Monday night after an uneventful 4.5 hour drive from the Phoenix area in my Legend.  I met up with long-time friend Tommy who’d made a similar distance from LA that same afternoon.  Later in the the evening, famed HondaPro Jason (pictured with me above) made his arrival into the McCarran Airport from a Chicago flight.  Jason has made a name for himself as “THE” Honda guy over the past few years since his YouTube channel launched in 2012.  Today, he has 32,000 subscribers and 27,000 followers on his Facebook page.  Jason’s flight arrived around midnight, so I played Shuttle Driver for him as well as for Jeff of Temple of VTEC.


Tuesday’s two key events for me were two Honda press conferences:  The first was at 9:30 a.m. to showcase Honda’s latest news in off-road / Baja racing with an all-new Honda Ridgeline pickup truck, scheduled for its first race in less than two weeks.  The second was a 20-minute presentation at 1:00 p.m. by Acura Senior Vice President Jon Ikeda as well as Creative Director Dave Marek.  Jon and Dave introduced two exciting vehicles to the crowd of media and industry personnel who were assembled there.


The first car was Ludacris‘ 1993 Legend, newly reborn since a June 2015 accident left it damaged on the right rear quarter panel.  I had some Q&A time with Dave after the conference and received some insights into the specifics of the build.  His intent was to bring the car back to its former glory as well as add a few touches to make it even better.  He succeeded in every aspect.



Among improvements to the Legend are the following:

  • H&R Springs
  • Eibach Camber Kit
  • 18 Inch Rays Wheels on Bridgestone Potenza Tires
  • Wilwood 6-Piston Front / 4-Caliper Rear Brakes
  • Fresh Paint and Leather
  • Pioneer AVIC 8 / ONEX Head Unit with Apple CarPlay
  • Alpine Subwoofer

The second car was a vivid orange 2016 ILX, outfitted with a body kit, an aggressively modified suspension and custom wheels – as one would expect at SEMA.  The details extended to the interior where the stitching on the seats and steering wheel was matched in the same orange color.  The ILX, which was customized by Galpin Auto Sports,  will be given away as part of a charity event for the Ludacris Foundation which since 2001 has provided tens of thousands of hours into service projects and youth development activities.


I had to stop and catch my breath for about 20 minutes while I charged my phone and scarfed down a $13 piece of pepperoni pizza in the food court.  Then it was back to battle where I wandered around to see a few more sights and meet up with friends.  By 4:30, Jason and I departed from the hustle and bustle to prepare for an exclusive evening activity with the Honda and Acura executives.  We were able to participate at an intimate dinner at MGM Grand’s “Hakkasan” Nightclub with a dozen or more of the company’s highest-ranking leaders.  They were incredibly approachable and I enjoyed the dialogue and the food!  Honda threw a big “soiree” later that evening out on the dance floor, and hundreds of people came out to party.



On Day 2, I woke up to rare rain in Las Vegas and made my way to the AAPEX Show, similar to SEMA and containing a lot of the same content, but located at the Sands Convention Center several blocks away.  The main reason I needed to drop in was that I’d learned Irv Gordon was in attendance.  Irv achieved fame by logging over 3,000,000 miles on his red 1966 Volvo P1800.  That feat was enough to put him in the Guinness Book of World Records.  In fact, he’s been the world record holder since 1998 when his car had only 1.69 million miles on it.  I wish I’d met Irv, but sadly the Castrol booth only featured his car.


My last stop before skipping out of town was next door to Castrol at the Car-Freshner display where I got a whiff of the new 2016 scents.  The product specialist on duty invited me into a phone booth of sorts, where I pressed a button and the smells activated.  My favorite was definitely “Copper Canyon.”  Now, if only they invited “scratch & sniff” computer monitors so you could all be smelling it with me!


My Legend rolled 540,000 miles on the way home to Phoenix.  Fitting, since it was also November 4th of exactly 4 years ago when the car rolled 500,000 at Acura’s red-carpet party.  Thanks for joining for this year’s SEMA trip.  Enjoy my photos and a short video below!

Here’s a pit stop on Highway 93 where I stopped between Kingman, AZ and Hoover Dam.  Irv’s picture on top, mine on bottom!


With Acura Public Relations Manager, Jessica Fini


Having a seat in Ludacris’ Legend!


Creative Director Dave Marek, myself, and Public Relations’ Allie Mayer


Dave explains the ins & outs of the Legend build with some Legend fans


I presented this note to the Acura team and asked them to leave it inside the car somewhere for Ludacris.


Close-up on those beefy front brakes


Galpin ILX rear 3/4 view.  I dig that spoiler!


The 2017 NSX in “Nouvelle Blue Pearl.”  Stunning!


Other sights from SEMA:  This “Car Capsule.”  Who else desperately wants one of these as much as I do?


Very clean Toyota Supra


Monster truck outside


Meeting up with my buddy Joey from the Atlanta area


Acura VP Jon Ikeda


RealTime Racing’s Peter Cunningham, and my friend (fellow Legend owner) Tommy


This was my first time seeing the newly-launched 10th-generation Honda Civic sedan.  Nice!


Pretty wild custom Honda HRV


Cruising down the Vegas Strip.  4.1 miles long, with 62,000 hotel rooms!


Walking over to the nighttime event at MGM Grand


Romeo and Lou, fellow Legend fans


Rainy morning at my motel on Wednesday in Las Vegas


Getting up close & personal with Irv Gordon’s 3-million-mile Volvo


And lastly, that awesome Car-Freshner booth!