Archive for the Misc Travel Category

Trip to Mars: Pennsylvania Weekend Trip, feat. an Olds Toronado & a Modified Legend

Posted in Legend, Misc Travel, Reader's Ride on July 9, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  561,596

Trip Distance:  2,050 Miles by Air

There really is life on (in) Mars.  About 1,700 people, in fact, call this little town in Pennsylvania home.  And I met a few of them this past weekend.  In fact, I had a native Martian who was walking by graciously take my photo while I leaned up against a silver flying saucer in the town square.

Today’s travel journal brings you something a little different.  You could even say that it’s out of this world.  Not because I went to Mars, but because I got on an airplane for a change instead of driving the wheels off an old Acura!  I had an appointment on Friday in Wexford, Pennsylvania which is just north of Pittsburgh.

Getting there was a bit of a chore – thanks to Southwest, my 4-hour flight turned into about a 12-hour day of travel:  I arrived at the airport early in typical fashion, only to discover we were two hours delayed for a mechanical issue.  Then two more hours delayed for a crew change.  And then had to wait while we were re-routed for weather conditions.  What an ordeal.  Eventually, I was grateful to be on the ground in PA and rented a white Chevy Impala Premier for my short commute to my hotel.  The Bose stereo was my favorite part!

On Friday evening, I indulged in some of Pittsburgh’s sights and sounds thanks to my local friend Drew who was a gracious host.  We dined at “The Church” Brew Works on Liberty Avenue.  Built in 1903, the Roman Catholic cathedral is now home to a restaurant.  I highly recommend the buffalo meatloaf – made from bison and accompanied with a side of broccoli.  All of the drinks are named appropriately for being served inside a religious institution, including the Celestial Gold Pilsner and the Heavenly Hefeweizen.

Following dinner, Drew and I climbed to the top of nearby Mount Washington which offered up a spectacular evening view of the Pittsburgh city skyline.  Our vehicle of choice was his 111,000-mile 1981 Oldsmobile Toronado with burgundy velour interior.

The hood ornament far ahead of us pointed the way and the V8 motor rumbled with a satisfying burble as it put power to the ground through a 3-speed automatic transmission.  I especially liked the steering wheel, narrow in diameter with such sensitive input required that Drew could spin the wheel with just a single finger.  Things like that reminded me of my first car, an A-Body 1986 Chevy Celebrity.

Saturday’s car-adventure gave me a completely different driving experience.  Over the years I’ve interacted with hundreds of “car people,” primarily those who are part of the Honda & Acura enthusiast communities.  None of those people are quite like my friend Lou.  A long-time member of the Acura Legend forums and Facebook groups, Lou is one of the most active and known.  I’d met him a couple of times prior, but never given the chance to drive his car.  That all changed on Saturday morning at his home about 3 miles from my hotel in Mars.

Lou’s Legend started out life as a 1992 L sedan automatic.  But that’s where the familiarity ends and the wildness begins.  Every nut, bolt, and mechanical component of his Legend has been drastically modified to squeeze every ounce of power and performance out of the powertrain.  And he has succeeded to put it lightly.

I pride myself in the fact that I didn’t stall the car when getting a feel for its clutch, which reaches its friction point near the top of the pedal and has very little “forgiveness” when it comes to a transition between off and on.

The ‘power factor’ is where Lou’s Legend sets itself far apart from any other Legend I’ve ever driven.  It will willingly lay down rubber in gears 1, 2, 3, and 4.  I didn’t dare give it wide open throttle in 5th because it would probably have done it there, too.  The turbo let off a “psssshhh” whistle each time I released the accelerator and I needed both hands firmly planted on the wheel when I gave it some heavy throttle getting on Highway 19.

Lou’s complete build sheet is shown at the bottom of this post.  It’s a great deal of content to list out, but it will give you a glimpse of the extreme attention to detail that he has demonstrated with this unique performance Legend.

Thanks, Drew and Lou for the great hospitality and for helping me incorporate some tourism and horsepower into my trip!

Drew’s Olds, & Views from Mount Washington

Lou’s Legend Test-Drive

When you have a 4-hour flight, you get bored & start reading safety materials.  This group of people on an emergency life raft looked like they were having a fun summer.

Grilled cheese at my first stop on the trip, a “Eat N Park” diner in Cranberry on Perry Highway.  It’s kind of like a Denny’s since it’s open 24-7.  G

I enjoyed cruising the scenic backroads in my Impala.

The address provided by Google for the flying saucer did not take me to it.  But I got on aerial maps and found it just a little further down the street ahead of me.  My location at left, saucer at right, circled.

I liked this old Ace Hardware in Mars.

Great rates available here!

“May Peace Prevail On Earth.”

Supermarket mural.

I sampled the “S’Mars” ice cream at Peach Tree.

Rolling around with Drew in his Toronado.  That burgundy interior is to die for!

That suspension soaked up cobblestone streets like nobody’s business.

View from Mount Washington.

The heart of Lou’s machine.

Checking out another Legend coupe he has in the backyard, soon to be parted out.

Lunch spot at Firebirds.

Detail from Lou on his Legend:

This is a 1992 Acura Legend L model sedan originally was a 3.2 (Type 1) with a 4-speed automatic. I’ve since converted the car to a 3.5 with 3.2 (Type II heads) and a 6-speed manual with a custom intake manifold and turbo kit.  In short, the only bolts and parts not changed on this car are the ABS system and brake hard lines; every other parts, nut, bolt, and wire has been touched.


Ksport 36way coilovers
Addco front sway bar
Addco rear sway bar (with poly bushings)
Custom bolts for rear sway bar
Telion rear upper strut bar (rare)
FUT rear lower short tie bar (adjustable)
FUT rear lower long tie bar
90a poly front control arm mounts (1 of 1 set)
Solid front motor mounts (custom made)
Poly filled (60a) transmission mount
SPC balljoints
Mini BBK using RL caliper brackets
300mm slotted brembo rotors (front)
Slotted brembo rear rotors
New type 2 calipers all four corners (2 pistons up front 1 piston rear) all powder coated candy apple red
Goodridge stainless brake lines
Hawk HPS pads
New oem master cylinder
New rear lower control arms
New front lower control arms
SPC front upper adjustable balljoints (3 degrees)
New moog lower balljoints
18×7.5 +45 Akuza Intimidator wheels
Falken tires (rear)
Continential DWS tires (front)
Electronic power steering from a RHD S2000


The engine was built by Laskey Racing in California C35A block (completely stripped and redone using all OEM gaskets and seals)
C32A type 2 heads
C32A type 2 cams
Chevy comp cam valve springs
CP pistons 9:1 compression
Pauter Ibeam rods
ACL bearings
ARP bolts throughout
Clutch masters 850 series twin disc (1 of 1)
Clutch masters Aluminum flywheel (1 of 1)
6-Speed from a 93 coupe (rebuilt to OEM specs/best gearing)
Hondaman23 Built 7 spring LSD
raxles OEM rebuilt axles
200 amp Bosch high output alternator
DrDave remained oem starter
Oem clutch slave cylinder
Oem clutch master cylinder
Braided clutch pedal line
Labrat aluminum pullies
Telion aluminum crank pulley
Modified Legend oil pan
Chevy LS Truck OEM coils
Magnacore plug wires (converted from coil on plug)
NGK 7 plugs
PCV system uses 10an vents in the valve covers
Custom all aluminum radiator 2.5″ thick core
SPAL slim line 1500 cfm 12″ fans with shroud
Rangerjoe short shifter
Custom intake manifold with 90mm q45 throttle body
1/2″ custom fuel rails
1400cc Fuel injector development injectors
Stant rad cap
Engine bay wiring was tucked
8an feed line (earls ultrapro e85 black teflon hose)
6an return line (earls ultrapro e85 black teflon hose)
Magnafuel 4303 (or 4301) fuel pump

Turbo System/Exhaust

Everything was fabbed at Chuck Beaverton Automotive. Schedule 40 stainless for the manifolds and cross pipe, aluminum for the intercooler pipe, 3″ stainless for turbo back, all piping and hot parts are ceramic coated bright silver inside and out.
Precision 6466 (gen 2) Fual ballbearing, billet wheel
2 tial 38mm wastegates
1 tial 50mm BOV (candy apple red)
Bell intercooler core, custom end tanks and piping
1 Wiggins clamp
3″ turbo back exhaust with “high flow cat”
Varex mufler (has a cutout inside he muffler, wireless control for quiet and loud)


JDM headlights retrofitted with fxr bixenon projectors
Theretrofitsource d2s bulbs
Theretrofitsource hid ballasts
Carbon fiber pillar garnishes
Carbon fiber jdm explodz wing (ultra rare)
JDM tail lights
95 GS bumper update
Rain visors (not installed)
3rd brake light (lights up the word LEGEND)


The car used to be Type F interior (tan) but now it’s been converted to Type A (black) and then dyed using SEM products to give a modern-day black interior look with black suede headliner.

Diamond d9 7″ components up front
Alpine h701 sound processor
Alpine c701 controller
Alpine dva-9860 headunit
7″ screen inside JDM navi trim in dash
Converted to LS climate control
JDM navi climate control (installed where radio would be ( 1 of 1 install using USDM console)
Suede wrapped headliner
Leather wrapped a/b/c pillars
Hyundai Tiburon leather front seats (super comfy)
Working cup holder!
TL shift knob and boot
Real carbon fiber switch covers
SMD led throughout the car
LED window switches
DEI alarm and remote start with DEI sensors for auto windows etc
Relocated battery to trunk
Knukonceptz kolossas 0ga wiring throughout the car 12 ga for speakers
Sundown 2500w sub amp
Eclipse (2 channel forget the model number) amp for front stage (old school and real watts!)
ProEFI 128 ecu with custom harness
ProEFI flexfuel kit
ProEFI can display (screen)
ProEFI Fuel pressure sensor
ProEFI Oil pressure sensor
ProEFI Coolant temp sensor
ProEFI Air intake temp sensor
Black dash no cracks!
Suede dash mat
Fiberoptic stereo wiring
Black carpet (no rips or tears)
OEM rubber floor mats
Red LED needles installed in gauges
JDM door sills
New OEM vehicle speed sensor
3-4 layers of second skin sound deadener (SUPER quiet inside)


Car on 8psi pump 93 makes 360whp/399wtq.  On e85, it was making 510whp/598wtq on 16psi with some breakup (ran out of Dyno time).  It was turned up on some street driving the night before you drove it.  It’s on 19 psi with unknown power levels, but probably 550whp and 640wtq judging by the proefi gauge.

Sunday Brunch at the 1929 Wrigley Mansion, More Visitors in Phoenix

Posted in Arizona, Integra, Legend, Milestones, Misc Travel on January 30, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  558,659

Odometer (Integra):  246,106

Imagine being wealthy enough in the late 1920s to own several mansions across the United States:  Chicago, Philadelphia, and other cities — the smallest of which, in Phoenix, at 16,000 square feet.

William Wrigley Jr. was an entrepreneur from a young age, starting his own business selling soap and baking powder at age 29.  At that time, he would give his customers 2 packages of chewing gum as an incentive with each can of baking powder they purchased.  Wrigley’s chewing gum soon became more popular than any of his other products, and the rest was history.  Wrigley went on to hold a controlling interest in several other companies, own the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, and build 5 residences.  Next time you’re chomping on a stick of Big Red, think of him.

Wrigley’s mansion in Phoenix (photo above from 1949), is set atop a 100-foot-tall knoll with views of the Biltmore and the community below.  Construction was completed in 1931, only a year before Wrigley died at age 70.  The mansion went on to be owned by another big wig in the food industry: Geordie Hormel, known for creating Spam (he also claimed to have invented the corn dog).  Hormel bought the Wrigley mansion as a $2.6 million 50th wedding anniversary for his wife, and restored it to his former glory.   He passed away in 2006 but the facility lives on as a private club for Sunday brunch, fancy weddings, and other special events.

On Sunday, January 28th, 86 years and 2 days after William Wrigley passed away, I rolled up the steep driveway from Telawa Trail Road with my dad & stepmom and valet parked my Legend sedan for a brunch reservation I’d made online about 6 weeks prior.  The view of the city was spectacular and the weather couldn’t have been better.

We had about 15 minutes to wander around the facility before being seated at our table, so we went upstairs to see a few of the 24 bedrooms and 2 of the 12 bathrooms.  All of the finishes, materials, and fixtures retain their original appearance but have been well preserved or restored.

Hearty buffet provisions were available in 3 separate rooms:  The first, with fruits, bagels, and salad items for lighter fare.  The second had the main brunch courses:  beef, prime rib, shrimp, lobster, potatoes, and an omelet station.  And the last was up a few stairs in what appeared to be a library, stocked with all sorts of cupcakes and other sugary goodness.  Each time one of us would get up from our seat to make another pass at the buffet, the servers would come around while we were gone and roll up our napkins again.  There was a lot of fine attention to detail.

For $59 a plate, the Wrigley champagne brunch is definitely not a McDonald’s McMuffin value menu, but for a rare treat with special guests, I thought it was well worth it for a way to spend a classy Sunday and get a panoramic view of the city skyline on a crystal blue January day.  We returned to the valeted Legend feeling full and satisfied.  “You’re going to have to roll me to the car,” Tanya said.  No wonder we weren’t hungry again until much later that evening.

The revolving door at Hotel Hugie hasn’t had a break yet — the month of January I ran at nearly 100% occupancy and loved it.  Last week, Dad & Tanya drove 1,421 miles in fewer than 48 hours from Seattle to Phoenix for a trade show called Oasis.  Each January, it draws more than 3,000 buyers to the Phoenix convention center to see and order knick-knacks and souvenirs for their gift shops and visitor centers.  Dad and Tanya hand-craft wooden items like antler-adorned walking sticks, keychains, magnets, and money clips for their company, Yellowstone River Trading.

It was an action-packed few days with the family visiting, with lots of things to do outside the 9-5 trade show grind.  We dined at some new restaurants, visited an escape room, and took care of a few home improvement projects.  I also spent a bit of time at the local junkyard, harvesting a piece of a quarter panel to repair some damage to the left rear corner of my Legend sedan.  It was my first time using a heavy-duty angle grinder and I am pleased with the results!  Thanks to my friend Mirel for the tools and the expertise.

New and old pieces of quarter panel.  Updates to come!

Below are a few more photos from recent events.  I received a visit from Redline Reviews’ Editor-in-Chief, Sofyan Bey.

Here’s a 5-minute video filmed just before dropping Sofyan off at the Sky Harbor airport.

Earlier in the week, I dropped off Kevin from Duluth, GA.  I’ve been to the airport a lot lately!

Kevin recently sold his 1994 Legend L sedan.  He had owned the car for 18 years, 11 months, and 26 days.  Fortunately, he still has a 1994 LS coupe, his “Polar Bear.”

I got my front bumper plugs installed on the Vigor – paint matched & all!

Integra parked streetside just west of Chase Field, where the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team plays.

Visiting the Oasis gift convention.

Dinner at ‘Camp Social’ restaurant on 7th Street in Phoenix – we ate in a little trailer like that!

Pretty cool old-school Ace Hardware sign.

Dinner on the patio at Hula’s Modern Tiki, with special guest Jake the poodle.

Home Depot on a Saturday in the coupe.

Junkyard find:  1989 Honda Accord LX 5-speed

It had 349,271 miles on it!

Escape room group in Tempe, Arizona

Legend sedan parked at Wrigley’s valet area

Upstairs hallway at Wrigley Mansion

View from our dining table

Buffet room #1

I spotted my car valet parked below

Tanya & dad

Headed back to real civilization after a few minutes living the high life.

Organizing my new Kobalt tool chest!

Fits right in in the garage.

Have a great week!

Family Visit from Utah: OdySea Aquarium & Butterfly World Exhibit in Scottsdale, AZ

Posted in Arizona, Hikes, Misc Travel on March 27, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  552,002

Over the weekend, I gained a greater appreciation for two things:  moms and minivans.  When you’re entertaining 3 kids under the age of 6 years old, you start to realize just how much of a challenge it can become to make sure everyone’s fed, happy, and playing fair.  You also look for any way possible to ease the burden of travel logistics.  My brother Payton and his family visited for 4 days from southern Utah, and their 2013 Honda Odyssey EX-L was just the right ride for their family on such a 14-hour round-trip journey to Phoenix.

And we drove that Odyssey to OdySea.  This Scottsdale aquarium opened last July and is home to 500 species of sea life, living in over 2 million gallons of water.  I guess if our desert ever runs out of irrigation water, we can always drain the fish tanks!

Our favorite feature of the aquarium campus, though, was housed next door in a place called “Butterfly World.”  A 3-D movie educated us on the butterfly life cycle, and then we were permitted to enter a greenhouse-like atrium which is home to over 3,000 butterflies of various colors and sizes.

My niece Vivienne was thrilled that two butterflies perched on her colorful clothing.  Her younger brother Rex didn’t have any such luck and was peeved that they weren’t attracted to him.  And the youngest, Locke, must not have received the memo about “don’t step on the butterflies.”  He’s only 1 year old, and his primal instinct is to step on any insect within leg’s reach.  And, he did.  When we left Butterfly World, it was home to 2,999 butterflies instead of 3,000.

On Saturday, we spent our energy on a short hike at Papago Park near the Phoenix-Scottsdale border.  The place was bustling with hundreds of other families taking advantage of the perfect weather, but we made our way to the summit at “Hole in the Rock” and enjoyed the view.  The afternoon was spent at the Clarendon Hotel, a boutique hotel in central Phoenix that has a great pool facility.  We called dibs on a cabana and soaked ourselves in the long hot tub while listening to relaxing music.  My brother had a celebrity encounter too: He recognized Geoff Rowley, famous skateboarder, enjoying the hot tub with us and struck up a conversation.  Geoff was in town for the PHXAM event.

I had to make sure everyone was well-fed, so our dining destinations were carefully selected.  I introduced my brother and his family to Los Dos Molinos on Camelback Road for Mexican food on Friday night, we ordered Spinato’s Pizza on Saturday, and I took them to Zookz for breakfast sandwiches on Sunday morning before the Odyssey started its return trip to Utah.

Thanks to Payton and Kali for bringing the kids down to spend a few days with me!  I’ll be finding miniature toy frogs in the couch cushions and closets for a few months yet.

Here is a 10-minute video introduction to my garage that my brother put together for his YouTube audience.

(Forgive my error on stating the GS 6-speed sedan was offered in 1993-94.  You all know it’s 1994-95!)

And 4 minutes’ worth of random scenes from throughout the weekend on my own channel.

Locke ‘riding’ a little motorcycle

Viv enjoying the backyard swing

Rex standing next to an orange tree in the backyard

Ready for our 3-D movie at Butterfly World

In the courtyard at OdySea just before grabbing lunch

Shark exhibit

Dinner at Los Dos Molinos Uptown

Breakfast at Zookz

Hiking at Papago Park

Locke, Vivienne, and Rex playing in the backyard

Couple other random pics from recent weeks.  My friends Todd and Josh have two Teslas!

My friend Kevin picked me up a “Chiriaco Summit” bumper sticker.  More on that soon!

And my ILX trip to Willcox was featured in Arizona Driver Magazine‘s March-April 2017 issue!

Have a great week!

New York City

Posted in Misc Travel on June 23, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  529,846


Odometer (ILX):  84,912


I stumbled with droopy eyes off a United Airlines flight at Terminal C in Newark, New Jersey at 6:14 a.m. on Saturday morning.  It felt like 3:14 a.m. to me on Arizona time, but my exhaustion was quickly put to rest when my friend Conor pulled up to the passenger pick-up area in his beautiful Satin Silver Metallic 2004 Acura TSX to provide the finest in luxury transport services.

Our destination was none other than the Big Apple:  Conor and my other friend Brad rolled out the red carpet for me on a two-day trip to New York City this weekend.  My last trip to Manhattan had been nearly 3 years ago.  I tried to convince Brad and Conor that I knew my way around but I would have been truly lost without them.

All it took was one step out of Brad’s place at 95th Street & 2nd Avenue after catching a quick power nap, and I said, “This weather is amazing!”  I hope each and every one of New York City’s 8 million residents had been enjoying it as much as I was.  By the way, that’s double the population of Los Angeles.  Saturday was an action-packed day of sightseeing and exploration, with key visits to Central Park, Grand Central Station, and Times Square.

Here are a few photos from our adventure.

The ILX took a chill pill in the East Economy lot at Phoenix Sky Harbor.


Awaiting my redeye flight from PHX-EWR:  A full two hours early and wondering how I’ll ever be able to sleep on the plane.


Early morning Saturday arrival in Newark.


In a sea of yellow cabs, one car stood out:  it was Conor’s silver 2004 TSX.


Driving through the Holland Tunnel which opened in 1927 and connects Manhattan with Jersey City, New Jersey.  It’s located underneath the Hudson River.


Arrival at Brad’s place on 95th Street after our tour through town.


A full 30-40 degrees cooler than home!  I enjoyed every second of this weather.



This is how you get around in NYC.


For some reason this subway map is so much more overwhelming to me than a road map!  Stop here, transition here to another train, be mindful of special hourly constraints, so much to keep in mind.  Just give me some car keys.


Tyson, Brad, Conor before brunch at a neat place called “Trend” located on the Upper East Side.


Central Park was bustling with activities, including a wedding and a couple of festivals.


We wandered up to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.


Times Square with thousands of tourists.  The woman to my right was not amused by being in my picture.


Grand Central Station, which receives 21.6 million annual visitors.


Bryant Park


ILX sighting!  I ended up seeing a few of these around.  In all our wanderings, though, we only saw two Legends:  A blue 1991 coupe and a gray 1987 coupe — both in Brooklyn, and both within a block of each other!


Dinner at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in Chelsea.  Highly recommended.  But take note:  It’s cash-only!


Sunday morning, a trip to Conor’s place in Brooklyn Heights, complete with some important reading material.


… and a look at the “shrine” of Acura memorabilia in his living room.


Brooklyn Heights Promenade — the best view of NYC in my opinion.


Awakening Vanessa the TSX from her slumber for my shuttle ride back to EWR airport.


Bon voyage!


Last view. Vanessa, incidentally, turned over 128,000 miles en route that afternoon.


I had a blast this weekend and I extend my thanks to my great friends for their hospitality!

History Lesson: National Maximum Speed Limit

Posted in Misc Travel on March 4, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  528,802


Odometer (ILX):  69,050


I saw the below picture shared on Instagram recently.  It’s a high-mileage odometer shot from an older Honda Civic “Wagovan,” so naturally I was quite interested and I immediately liked the photo.  But, what caught me off-guard was one of the comments from this person’s followers.


“What’s the marker at 55 for?”  Oh, these young ones need to be educated!

What we’re talking about here is the National Maximum Speed Limit Law.  Enacted in 1974 in the United States, it prohibited highway speeds above 55 miles per hour.  The hope of legislators (Richard Nixon signed the provision) was that the gas savings would be substantial.  This was a time when gas shortages were at high tide.

As an emergency response to the 1973 oil crisis, on November 26, 1973, President Richard Nixon proposed a national 50 mph (80 km/h) speed limit for passenger vehicles and a 55 mph speed limit for trucks and buses. That, combined with a ban on ornamental lighting, no gasoline sales on Sunday, and a 15% cut in gasoline production, were proposed to reduce total gas consumption by 200,000 barrels a day, representing a 2.2% drop from annualized 1973 gasoline consumption levels.  Nixon partly based this on a belief that cars achieve maximum efficiency between 40 and 50 mph and that trucks and buses were most efficient at 55 mph.

Man, I’m sure glad I wasn’t of driving age in the 1970s and 1980s to experience this! Did you also know that between 1979 and 1981, federal legislation required that speedometers could only go up to 85 mph?

The National Maximum Speed Limit law saw some changes in the late 1980s, and in 1995 it was overturned entirely, giving speed-limit-setting power to the individual states.  Today, speed limits vary widely.  Rural stretches of Interstate 15 in my home state of Utah are now 80 miles per hour, and there’s a 41-mile stretch of toll road in Texas with an 85 mile per hour limit.  That’s quick!


Now you know 🙂

Tonight, my friend Justin and I attended the Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Clippers basketball game at a Kia-sponsored event.  The view of the court was pretty sweet from our suite.


Though the game’s 104-to-96 Clippers win outcome was disappointing for us Suns fans, the company was great.  The other event invitees were fellow automotive journalists based in the Phoenix area.


I also had the privilege of meeting Orth Hedrick, Vice President of Product Planning at Kia.


Thanks to the folks at Kia for the invite!

NHRDA World Finals: Diesel Racing in Ennis, Texas

Posted in Misc Travel on September 29, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  527,050


Odometer (ILX):  54,797


Consider these times that it takes a stock-equipment car to go from a standing stop to the finish line of a 1/4 mile dragstrip:

  • 1994 Acura Legend coupe:  15.7 seconds
  • 1992 Acura NSX:  13.9 seconds
  • 2013 Nissan GT-R:  10.8 seconds

This weekend, my brother raced a 1995 Ford Lightning pickup truck that achieved a 9.0 second run!  That’s enough to blow the doors off just about everything I’ve ever had the pleasure of driving.  I can’t imagine what those G-forces must feel like.


I’ve just returned from a trip to the Lone Star State where I attended the 2013 National Hot Rod Diesel Association (NHRDA) “World Finals.”  This long-awaited event was an opportunity for my brother Bentley to showcase the race truck that his company, H&S Performance, put together over the last several months.  H&S specializes in diesel powertrains and is at the cutting edge of development on ways to squeeze every last ounce of power out of diesel vehicles.  The H&S team ended up bringing home 3rd place at the event, and they’re motivated to bring home the gold next year.

Though my Acura ILX and Acura Legend got a break this weekend, I still had plenty of fun playing with cars & trucks.  The ILX spent a few days at The Parking Spot, an off-airport parking complex near Phoenix Sky Harbor.  I spotted an old Vineyard Gray Metallic Legend on the way in.


And I said adios to my silver chariot as my shuttle bus took me away.  Flight 551 awaited me from Phoenix to the Dallas-Ft Worth Int’l Airport.


My dad flew down from Utah and connected with me in the terminal to join for the Dallas leg.


Rental ride:  Red 2013 Kia Rio with 29,400 miles on the odometer.  It screamed “economy” loudly, but it did have satellite radio and power windows.  Notably missing from the option list?  Cruise control.  Ouch.


We were also missing an engine temperature gauge.


For $11 a day, I we couldn’t complain.  MPG averages were in the 35-36 range, so that was a welcome feature!  Right away, we met up with my friend Brad at Mi Cocina in Irving for some fine Mexican cuisine.  Brad’s local to the area and told us the best ways to get around in the construction-mania that abounds in the Dallas “Metroplex.”


Friday morning, we met up with the H&S crew who were headed to the Texas Motorplex racetrack.  Here, my youngest brother Payton was enjoying the view from atop the trailer that hauls the race truck around.


While the race team was making preparations for some qualifying runs, my dad and I took a couple of hours to explore Dallas.  The skyline ahead of us on I-35E included the “Reunion Tower.”  See the tower in the center of the frame with the round ball on top?  It stands 561 feet tall and has a restaurant inside that opened in 2009.  At night, the ball is illuminated by 259 LEDs and it’s quite a sight!  This fall, an observation deck will be opened.


We made our way back to the speedway and started feeling more and more puny in our Kia Rio.  Truck after truck came into the parking area to compete in the drag races.


Determination?  Just being cheesy here.


We got to work unloading the race truck.


Low clearance made this a challenging operation, but the truck came out unscathed.


Left to right:  Tyson, Payton (brother), Craig (dad), and Bentley (brother).  Motor oil runs through our veins.  We all love cars.


And perhaps the most important introduction of all:  This beast of a truck.


It started out as a white 1995 Ford Lightning, but morphed into a matte black meteor.  To name a few upgrades:

  • 4500 lbs Race Weight
  • 6.7-Liter Cummins Diesel Engine
  • Triple Turbos (capable of producing up to 130 PSI boost pressure)
  • 4R100 Transmission
  • Dynamite Diesel Performance (DDP) Injectors
  • Nitrous Oxide
  • Air Dog Lift Pump
  • H&S Motorsports Stroker Pump
  • Dual CP3 Injection Pumps
  • Mini Maxx Tuner custom tuned with MCC software

The truck pulls 1.8 – 1.9G on launch, does 0-60 in under 2 seconds, and is the quickest 6.7L Cummins powered vehicle in the world.  Here, Payton (who’s the designated race driver) rolled up to the staging lanes as a member of the “Pro Street” class.  The blue golf cart following the truck, though decently fast, was not competing in the event.


With each run, we had to quickly identify opportunities for improvement or solve problems as they arose.


Every race was logged on a computer with various data points.  Payton spent a great deal of time reviewing the results and identifying red flags so that the race team could make adjustments to the truck accordingly.


The fastest run that I got to see the Lightning make was a 9.188 second finish at 151.68 miles per hour.


Just seconds later, ominous looking storm clouds let loose and the track closed down for the remainder of the day.


Dad, Payton, and Bentley took a powwow and discussed next steps.


A race team from Thailand came over to admire the H&S truck.  These guys had air-freighted an Isuzu diesel pickup all the way from around the world to compete in the World Finals!  Their truck was powered by a 4-cylinder but ran the fastest time in the entire event – an unbelievable 8 seconds.


Sharing tech tips and stories, via an English-Thai interpreter.


We had to huddle inside the trailer or underneath the canopy while the rain continued coming down.


Dad somehow ended up barefoot after his shoes & socks got soaked.


Though the event was rained out that day, race finals were pushed to the following day.  Unfortunately, my dad and I were scheduled to fly out so we missed it.  Payton ended up in 3rd place at the event, with his 9.003 at 146 mph.


Congrats to Bentley, Payton, and the rest of the H&S crew on a great run! Here is a short video capturing some of the moments on film.  I’ll post a link to a much more professional/official clip as soon as it’s released.

Edit:  Here’s a better video by H&S.

Finally, here are the last few pictures I took over the course of the weekend.  I enjoyed seeing this blue Acura TSX parked next to me at the track.


And enjoyed a great evening with my local Dallas friends Scott and Lance.


Lance drives a 2014 Hyundai Equus that’s the ultimate ride.  He invited me to fire it up.  The instrument cluster screen came to life, and the car lifted up on its air suspension.


This was one classy ride!


It was great to get home to Phoenix this morning and have a chance to unwind.


… and also a relief to see that we’ve dipped below 3-digit temperatures for the first time since May.


Reunited with my ILX.


It sure felt nice rowing through my own gears after having that Kia for several days.


Thanks for coming along on the trip!



Posted in Misc Travel on February 14, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  507,401

Here’s an oldie from February, 2004.  The coupe had 125,000 miles on it.  The picture was taken at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, Calfornia, after a 28-Legend “West Coast Meet.”  At the time, I had my 18″ x 8″ Mille Miglia wheels installed.

Had a bit of service performed on the old Legend this past week – just an oil change and some manual transmission fluid replacement.  In the meantime, though, I was able t0 cruise around in this fresh looking 2012 Acura TL with only about 1,500 miles on the odometer from Acura of Tempe.  I stopped by the best hole-in-the-wall Mexican food place in Scottsdale:  Fiesta Burrito.  The rolled tacos & guac are pretty divine.

Not a bad looking car from this profile.

This past weekend I flew to Salt Lake City to spend a bit of time with some friends.  Due to the short timeline, I opted for a flight rather than driving up the trusty old Legend.  I did, however, still get to roll around with a familiar car thanks to my friend Branson who let me take his Cayman White Pearl 1995 LS coupe out on the town for a couple of days as my “rental” car.  The amenities in this car beat an Enterprise compact any day!

Soaking up a few minutes of sunshine while doing shopping in Salt Lake City with my mom as well as my friends Jeff and Matt.

On Sunday night after flying back to Phoenix, I  took a drive to LA for work.  It’s about a 400-mile, 6-hour journey.  The view on I-10 westbound was awesome…

… until I ran into one of the worst construction-induced traffic jams of my entire life between Palm Springs and Banning, California.  The 4 lanes of freeway went down to 1.  I was alerted to this fact about 30 miles ahead of time by a sign on the side of the road, but thought it could in no way be that bad.  It was bad.  Horrible, in fact.

Even after a small “win” of having found a small frontage road that paralleled the interstate and moved at twice the speed, I later regretted having tried to divert from the freeway when I had to re-enter it and inched forward at a snail’s pace along with hundreds of other cars trying to merge.  I think I put 100,000 more miles on my poor car’s clutch just enduring this massive delay (along with about 3,500 people).  I later learned that the entire fiasco stretched over 20 miles and was due to late concrete arrival during some pothole fixes.  Nice work, Caltrans!  Aside from this, the trip to LA was an easy ride in the old Acura.

One of my sources for mileage inspiration many years ago was a man by the name of Lloyd Laycook of Kanab, Utah – not far from my hometown in St. George.  Lloyd became a bit of a celebrity in the longevity world when he took his 1990 Lexus LS400 to 555,000 miles.  The car was subsequently purchased by one of the Utah dealership and to this day remains on display there.  When I first heard Lloyd’s story, I actually sought him out and gave him a call to talk about his travels and success story.  Just shows you that with meticulous care, there are lots of cars out there that are capable of hitting miles in the 5’s.

I have to give a quick shout-out to my friend Wes at Highline Import Auto.  Wes has been there when I’ve needed him for jobs in the past on all of my Honda and Acura cars.  This past week I had an emergency alternator replacement in the Legend at 506,970 miles and Wes handled it on short notice.  This is now the third alternator that coupe has had, including its first.  The last one was an Autozone “Duralast” model that got me down the road for about 106,000 miles.  Huge thanks to Wes and his team for taking such good care of me in a pinch.

Finally another lesson in proper parking since I’m a fanatic.  End space, pulled far to the edge!

Back home to PHX tonight!