Archive for the Reader’s Ride Category

Reader’s Rides: Greg’s Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) Car Collection

Posted in Reader's Ride on July 11, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Integra GS):  72,038

I’ve been driving for 20 years.  That’s how long it took until I finally spiced things up and landed myself in the driver seat of a stick-shift, right-hand-drive vehicle.  And not even two weeks after “learning” to drive a RHD car on my friend Scott’s 1991 Honda Beat, I got to drive a few this past weekend more thanks to my friend Greg who has an incredible collection of ‘micro-cars’ from Japan.  Whoa, I could get used to this kind of fun & games!

Kicking things off was my time with the red 1985 Honda City “R” – a 5-speed, 4-seat, 3-cylinder compact that was produced in its first generation from 1981 through 1986.  While certainly no drag racer, this car gave more grins per mile than I ever imagined.  Following Greg who was in a black 1990 Honda Today, we stopped at a gas station in the southeast part of town and turned a few heads as we fueled up our square boxy econo-cars.

I made the mistake multiple times throughout the evening of approaching the left side of the car as opposed to the right.  Fair enough – that’s what I get for 20 years of being trained to drive a certain way!  The coolest thing about the City was that it could be equipped with an accompanying (and matching) 50cc scooter called a Motocompo.  Greg’s City is of course complete with a Motocompo, and I had a blast tooling around the parking lot on it.

Continuing the game of musical cars, I got to try my hand at all sorts of rarities, including the Today (recently sold at auction), a Suzuki Alto Works, an Autozam AZ-1 (with gullwing doors!), and a Toyota Aristo (which we saw in the states as the Lexus GS300).  The Toyota was definitely the big boy of the right-hand-drivers, boasting a straight-6 3-liter powertrain that growled so heartily it sounded almost like a muscle car.

A new addition to the collection is a 1989 Legend coupe 5-speed, not yet pictured, but soon to be.  I took it for a spin, and it ran & drove just as it should!

At the grand finale of our photoshoot, Greg and I decided to ditch the non-Hondas in the lineup and add the white left-hand-drive Hondas:  a 1991 CRX Si, and a 1989 Prelude Si 4WS.  The Prelude tugged at my heart strings particularly aggressively, since it took me back to my roots of 20 years ago when I bought my first Honda at age 17.  Greg’s runs and drives even better than mine did back then.  My “newest” Prelude had 132,000 miles on it.  His only has 33,000.  That comes out to only a little over 1,000 miles per year over its nearly 30-year lifespan.  Sheesh.

The night was capped off after sundown with a ride in a domestic car for a change of pace:  an uber-rare 1987 turbocharged Buick GNX (production #70) with only 22,000 miles on the odometer.  Greg demonstrated its tendency to kick the back end out even just under moderate acceleration.  And finally I got to spend a few minutes behind the wheel of a 14,000-mile 1993 Mazda RX7 which is a beast in its own way.  It demonstrated some NSX-like characteristics but had a feeling all its own.  You’ll see it up for auction on Bring a Trailer in the coming weeks.

Many thanks to Greg for his hospitality in opening up his “adult toy box” for me to play with!

The City and Today

CRX & Prelude

Prelude showcasing its four-wheel-steering capability here

JDM RHD lineup

Posh interior of the Aristo

Check out those 13″ alloy wheels on snow tires

Note the single windshield wiper on the Today

Total of 14 engine cylinders present in the below photo:  4, 3, 3, 4

The GNX generates more horespower than probably everything else in the collection combined.

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.

Suspension/Brakes/Wheels/Steering

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

Engine/Drivetrain

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)

Body

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)

ECU/Electronics/Interior

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)

Performance

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.

Independence Day Trip to Payson, Arizona & Introduction to Jeff’s 1990 Accord EX

Posted in Arizona, Integra, Reader's Ride, Road Trip on July 7, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Integra GS-R):  249,324

Trip Distance:  180 Miles

Sometimes it’s nice to just get out of town for a couple of hours – to be independent from the urban grid, listening to Sugar Ray or Chicago, checking out some new terrain.  That’s why on Independence Day, my friend Jack and I hopped into our Acura hatchbacks and headed for the hills.  The small town of Payson is only about 90 minutes away, yet it affords temperatures around 20 degrees cooler than the Phoenix metro area.

Jack’s 2006 RSX took the lead for most of the drive, and I followed him in the Integra GS-R.  We went “non-chain” with our dining selection and seated ourselves at the bar at Pinon Cafe, which has called Payson home for the last 45 years.  It was a little early to be ordering from the lunch menu, so I grabbed a green chili & cheese omelet, with potatoes and wheat toast on the side.  Everything hit the spot.

Payson was bustling with residents preparing for their 4th of July festivities.  We stopped by a nearby park on Main Street and they were setting up for the fireworks launch later in the evening.  Would have been nice to stick around and check out the display, but we hit the road and headed back home.

Every once in a while I get to share with you some exceptional cars.  Here’s one I think you’ll enjoy seeing.  In a recent blog post, I talked about a burgundy (Mulberry, actually) 1990 Honda Accord EX that my friend Jeff was entertaining the idea of selling.  Jeff has decided to keep the car for the time being, but needs a place to store it, so it will be residing in my garage.  He brought the car over earlier in the week.

This car is something truly special:  The first model year for the fourth-generation “CB7” chassis Accord, this 1990 EX was purchased new by Jeff’s mother on September 5, 1990 with 18 miles on it from Scottsdale Honda for around $19,000 out the door.  Over the next 28 years, she cared for it to an incredible extent – literally, spending over $28,000 maintaining it on spare-no-expense dealership services.

Let’s put that into context:  My 2013 ILX turned over 200,000 miles a little over a year ago.  Total spent on maintenance from new to 200,000?  $7,169.  So this Accord has had 4 times that amount spent on it, and still has 64,000 miles to go until the same mileage.

Spreadsheet excerpt including totals at the bottom.  It’s had 8 batteries and 3 timing belts.

Unfortunately, Jeff’s mother passed away earlier this year.  Her pride and joy Accord has just over 136,000 miles on it.  And that’s where we are today, and why Jeff has chosen to allow me to display it on loan in my modest collection for the time being, though it’s deserving of far more.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a car preserved to this extent – even many high end exotic supercars don’t enjoy the pampering this car had.  $1,800 alone was spent on periodic details to keep the paint and finishes looking fresh.  The car has a dash mat, car cover, steering wheel cover, anything that could possibly be used to preserve its appearance.  Enjoy the walkaround video below!

Reader’s Ride: “Clarion Builds” 1994 Acura Legend LS 6-Speed Coupe

Posted in Legend, Reader's Ride on November 24, 2017 by tysonhugie

It’s crazy how sometimes things come full circle:  How one day you can be standing in a dealership in Nevada looking at a used car, and then after that car travels through 13 years, 51,585 miles, 6 owners, 3 U.S. states and a Canadian province, the same exact car turns up in front of your face at a show 400 miles from your house.  That’s exactly what happened with a specific car that’s been on the show circuit lately with Clarion Builds, and I’ve had some close contact with the team responsible for it.

I’m a firm believer that every vehicle out there has a story to tell.  It’s one of the reasons I’m fascinated with visiting salvage yards and poking through the relics to try and piece together the life that each one lived.  Today, I’ll share a history lesson on this one in particular.

The vehicle wearing VIN JH4KA8174RC001646 is a special car.  For one thing, it’s one of only 37 Taffeta White on Ivory Acura Legend LS coupe 6-speeds produced for the 1994 model year.  But beyond that rarity, it’s special because of its notoriety in the Legend community as one of the best-kept in existence.

On June 7, 2004, this very Legend was 10 years old and had only 6,533 miles on the odometer.  The story, as I knew it, was that the car was held for that decade as property of Honda – stashed away in a warehouse somewhere in Torrance until finally brought to light.  How the Acura dealership on Sahara Avenue in Las Vegas got ahold of it is a mystery to me, but my friend Louie who was – and still is – in Sales at that facility was happy to pull it out of the showroom for my friend Jeff and me to slobber over in the daylight.

I was 22 years old at the time, and the proud fresh owner of my own Legend – albeit far more worn in at over 100,000 miles.  I drove the 90 minutes /100 miles from St. George, Utah to Las Vegas for the preview – even though I was nowhere near being able to pay the $25,000 asking price.  Check out that odometer!

These were a few more of the photos I took at the time when Louie pulled the car out and we parked it nose-to-nose with my own coupe (and its flashy 18″ Mille Miglia chrome wheels at the time).  Remember, I was 22.

I’ve been able to piece together a rough timeline on this Legend’s lifespan from 2004-onward.

  • May 27, 2004:  Sold at Desert Southwest Region Auction as manufacturer vehicle with 6,502 miles for $23,750.  For reference, this was a year after I had bought my 1994 LS coupe with 95,000 miles for $9,500.
  • June 7, 2004:  For sale at Falconi’s Acura in Las Vegas, Nevada 6,533 Miles
  • July 2, 2004:  Located in Mountain View, California
  • July 13, 2004:  Mountain View, California at 7,622 Miles
  • July 31, 2006:  Still in California at 12,708 Miles
  • Jan 23, 2007:  Left California per forum member Raxmaxwell moved to Dayton, Ohio
  • January 24, 2008:  Rasmaxwell listed it for sale on Acura-Legend.org with 16,000 Miles
  • September 20, 2009:  Purchased by Mitch in Indiana at 19,952 Miles
  • November 26, 2009:  Sold to Frank of North Reading, Massachusetts
  • December 7, 2009:  Passed safety inspection in Massachusetts with 20,551 Miles
  • February 7, 2012:  Still in Massachusetts with 40,666 Miles
  • Unknown:  Owned by Alaeldeen in Alberta
  • Unknown:  Owned by Jay in British Columbia
  • December 8, 2015:  Listed online, posted on Bring a Trailer for $12,500 with 56,000 Miles
  • January 26, 2016:  Back in California with 56,944 Miles
  • September 23, 2017:  Shown at Japanese Classic Car Show in Long Beach, California with 58,118 Miles
  • December 2, 2017:  Scheduled to be shown at Radwood, a car show in Anaheim CA focusing on 1980s-1990s cars.  I’ll be there, and I’m bound to see it again!

Today, the car shows just as well as it did the first day in 2004 when I saw it.  The build that it has undergone under Clarion’s ownership has been comprehensive but the car remains mostly stock.  Michael Farino from Clarion Public Relations shared some details about what has been involved.  Here is what he relayed to me:

  • Engine and transmission fully serviced by AutoWave
  • Paint and body completely reconditioned and repainted in factory white by Diamond Hills Collision
  • Suspension refreshed with OE springs and KYB shocks by Niguel Motors
  • Wheels replaced with refurbished OE 5-spoke wheels
  • Tires provided by Michelin
  • Seats reupholstered in Italian leather in OE matching Ivory color scheme by Westminster Upholstery
  • Stereo system supplied by Clarion:  NX807 source unit with Clarion speakers, installed by Beach Auto Sound

To those of us in the Acura classic car collector community (Should I call that the ACCCC?), it is great to see this car getting so much love and attention.  Having a pristine Legend being shown at venues like JCCS brings light and attention to a genre of cars that is often overlooked:  the up and coming 1980s-1990s segment.  Plus it helps people learn and appreciate more about the rich history and heritage in the Acura brand now that it’s 32 years old.

Many thanks to the folks at Clarion for sharing some information about this car.  I think they deserve some recognition for the hard work and diligence in restoring, preserving, and promoting it.

Here are some other photos from the Japanese Classic Car Show last month.

And a few great photos from Larry Chen, provided to me by the Clarion team.

 

Reader’s Ride: Vlad’s 2015 Honda Legend

Posted in Integra, Legend, Reader's Ride on July 5, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Integra):  239,459

The one and only Honda Pro Jason (“HPJ”) has a network of Honda and Acura enthusiasts that puts mine to shame.  (85,000 YouTube subscribers, 128,000 Facebook followers, and 82,000 Instagram followers).  He’s kind of a big deal in the community but he’s still humble about it!

Jason put me in touch with one of his followers who’s taken an Acura RLX (successor to the Legend & RL, which debuted for the 2014 model year) and completed a badging conversion to Honda Legend.  Overseas, the RLX continues to be called the Legend.  Here are a few words from my new friend Vlad from Seattle, Washington:

I had about 16 Hondas in my life and currently have 5.  I bought my Acura RLX back in 2015.  It is the Advance model.  I went on my first trip with my wife in August 2015 to Scottsdale; I really love that place.  Right now, I only have 13,900 miles on it, and I just completed my Honda Legend conversion.  I found a guy on eBay who shipped me all Honda parts to me.

However, I still want to find and somehow get the airbag from Honda Legend with the “H” emblem on it and floor mats with”LEGEND” on them.  I can only get those from the Philippines since they have left-hand-drive Honda Legends there and those floor mats will fit.  I have only had this conversion for one week and already have many compliments.  So many people stop by and look at it and are surprised that this car originally is Honda Legend.

Below are some photos that Vlad shared with me.  Hope you enjoy!  Such a clean ride.

I escaped the heat over the long holiday weekend to head 45 minutes up the hill from Phoenix where it was 20 degrees cooler.

Car of choice for the day was the 1992 Integra.

Since everyone got such a kick out of the 1982 Chevy Citation in the last post, how about another fine piece of 1980s General Motors metal?  This is my friend Spencer’s 1989 Pontiac Grand Prix SE.  It’s seriously one of the cleanest I’ve seen in decades and it only has 82,000 miles on the clock.

It’s a lot like my mom’s of the same year when I was a kid.  Except, mom’s was a 5-speed manual!

I sought out a spacecraft yesterday.  Back in February, an artist thought of a clever way to repurpose a concrete truck tank.  He painted it up like a space capsule that had parachuted out of the atmosphere.

Unfortunately, the shiny speck in the distance here was about as close as I could get, thanks to it being right along the busy I-10 freeway and set back from the road behind a fence and a good distance away.

Fireworks last night from my friend Greg’s 16th-floor condo balcony!  Not a shabby way to close out of the holiday.

Hope everybody had a great one!

Reader’s Ride: Steve’s 1992 Honda Prelude Si

Posted in Prelude, Reader's Ride on March 2, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  550,564

550564

My buddy Steve Lynch has popped up on my blog a few times.  I met him originally through the Phoenix Automotive Press Association (PAPA) and he’s a published author many times over.  Over the years, Steve and I have gotten together for car talk and a couple of drives, including our feature on The Truth About Cars with “orphaned Hondas.”  Steve was delighted to share with me the story of his latest automotive acquisition:  a very well-kept, original 1992 Honda Prelude Si.

prelude_tyson

To Steve, this Prelude is more than just A-to-B transportation.  It represents a life-sized souvenir from the days when he worked for Honda at its main office in Torrance, California.  And to him and many others, it represents an icon of an era 25 years ago when cars were simple, fun to drive, and a little more interesting than the sea of cookie-cutter midsized sedans out on the roadways today.

front

Any great car purchase story begins with a long-awaited “first drive” home.  It just so happened that Steve’s first drive in his new Prelude was over 2,000 miles in distance since he’d flown to Florida to pick it up.  Along the return trip, he turned over 100,000 miles on the Prelude’s odometer and visited some interesting roadside destinations like the “Florabama” beach bar, located at the Florida-Alabama state line.  I only wish I’d been able to tag along to enjoy the miles and the scenery!

gauges

The 1992 model year marked the first year for the Prelude’s fourth generation.  Body lines became much more rounded off as Honda departed from the boxy, pop-up-headlight-equipped 1988-1991 model year design that I’ve owned a few of.  That futuristic layout continued on into the interior, where the instrument panel stretches across the entire width of the car with gauges housed in a narrow opening.

front_right

The most beautiful thing about the Prelude, though, is something you can’t readily see.  It’s that 5-speed transmission, so slick shifting you can flick it with a pinkie finger through all the gears.  Honda’s engineering excellence really shines through when you get the Prelude out onto an onramp, just like I did when entering Highway 51 southbound.  The audible and tangible feelings as the car revs to its 6,500 RPM redline are exactly why the Prelude was (and forever will be) a favorite of tuners.

While the “H23” 2.3-liter powerplant puts out only 160 horsepower, it doesn’t matter.  The car’s perfect sense of balance makes it an engaging driver, no matter the speed.  From the moment I got behind the wheel, the car just felt “right.”  Perhaps it’s because the car hails from an era that I’m so acutely familiar with (Honda and Acura products of the 1990s), but it took almost zero time to get comfortable in that supportive bucket seat and to get an understanding of how the controls and features operated.  That’s something I definitely miss in new cars today:  The simplicity of an engine, a transmission, and an open road without a dozen computers deciding how I need to drive or even taking over control for me.

I thank Steve for his hospitality in allowing me a few minutes behind the wheel of his new ride!

front2

right_rear

back

Integra is getting a new radiator this week, and I happened to park nose-to-nose with a Civic CX at the mechanic.

Aztec Green!

aztec

Reader’s Ride: Wayne’s 1994 Legend GS 6-Speed

Posted in Legend, Reader's Ride on June 29, 2015 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  533,874

533874

Odometer (ILX):  132,548

132548

Odometer (NSX):  100,769

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It was January 2007.  I had just finished up graduate school of Thunderbird School of Global Management and I wanted to reward myself with something special.  Posted on craigslist, I found a cream puff of a car in southern California that fit the bill perfectly:  a Sirius White Pearl 1994 Acura Legend GS sedan 6-speed.  Having owned my Legend coupe for about 4 years, I felt ready to expand the fleet a little.  Now, I’d already owned a couple of other Legends in the past but this one was special because of its ownership history & condition.

The below pictures from the online listing stole my heart.  The seller, Simon, had even installed the car’s original “Hoehn Acura” license plates for the pictures.  He informed me that his mother Lorraine, the original owner, had named the car Bodecia.  She had traveled frequently between Carlsbad, California and her cabin in Oregon and thus the car had over 200,000 miles on it at the time of listing but didn’t look even a year old.

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On January 15th, I flew from Phoenix to Orange County airport and took delivery of the Legend at 207,100 miles from Simon.  He gave me every single stitch of paperwork on the car – one of the most complete records I’ve ever seen.

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Notice he’d even given me a CD with the maintenance records digitized.  This guy was over the top, and I loved it.

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Icing on the cake was getting ahold of the original window sticker AND a couple of pictures from when the car was brand new.

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Starting odometer reading when I took delivery.

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Back in Phoenix and meeting its coupe sibling for the first time.

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It was at this same time that I got my first “real” job.  I was working at the US Airways main office in Tempe, Arizona on the Domestic Pricing team.  I was the guy who you either loved or hated when you got online to check airfares.

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I exchanged several emails around that time with the original owner Lorraine.  She was a sweet lady.  Here’s her message dated May 14, 2007.

Tyson,

It makes me want to cry to see how beautiful Bodecia looks. Thank you for the pictures.  Here’s the story how I chose her.  I had, at that time, a white 1980 Mazda RX 7.  She had a Weber carburetor, air horns, a straight through exhaust and a D-bar and a racing clutch because I blew the original clutch.  You could hear her half a block away.  I loved that car.  Skip Gorman, Simon’s mentor, had worked on my car with all the add-ons and as Simon grew older, Simon put them on for me.

So, one day, an old Legend gave me a run for my money on the on/off ramp from 52 on to 805. I was intrigued  and followed this car till I found out what it was. I needed a sedan as my Nissan Maxima of 10 years was past its prime. So, I test drove the 1994 Legend. I loved it. Loved the 6 forward gears, I was trained to use gears to slow down not the brakes. I wanted white and they had to search for her.  Bodecia was one of 5 white models in the USA at that time. She was loaded on a semi and shipped down to Carlsbad from Los Angeles, especially for me.   So, she may be the only white pearl GS left of the 1994 GS models in USA.  This was the first car I had paid for and chose for myself after my divorce and she meant the world to me.  Simon called her OJC (old Japanese car) and that hurt and it hurt to see her at his house.  I still think I love her better than my new car which is an automatic for when I really am a little old lady.

Bodecia just has an air about her.  She was a Legend so I picked the name Bodecia who was a British legend.  She fought the Romans after her husband was killed in battle. Rallied her people  but unfortunately they lost.  You may see her on some of the old English coins, chariot, spear shield.  So, you can imagine how happy I am to see Bodecia is getting the care she deserves.  Congratulations on your Masters Degree. Quite a feat. Well done.  I would love to meet you next time you are in California. Let me know.  I am retired but babysit for my daughter in Yorba Linda and am a Senior Patrol Volunteer for the Encinitas Sheriff Department. I will definitely make time for you.  Will mail off the window sticker tomorrow.  Yes, I spell funny. I was born in Australia.

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I owned the white Legend GS for fewer than 10 months, but in that one short span of ownership, I had so much fun with the car, some of which I’ve already shared on the blog.

Here are a few other pictures of memorable occasions.

February 2007 – Sirius White Pearl block party at Chuck’s house, with his 1993 LS coupe and 1993 LS sedan.

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Neighbors were rolling their eyes I’m sure!

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May 2007 – Legend 6-speed photoshoot near the home I was renting in Tempe, Arizona.

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August 2007 – The sedan had become my daily driver while the coupe was being repaired from a couple of deer collisions.  I took advantage of an amazing sunset one evening in the parking lot of the Arizona State University football stadium in Tempe.

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On October 1, I was ready to sell the car.  The coupe was coming back from the body shop, I had picked up a 3rd car (1991 Honda Prelude 4WS) that was sucking a lot of my attention away — plus I had limited parking space at my rental home.  So, with great hesitance I posted the ad for the car with 216,000 miles for $5,990 on craigslist.  My advertisement was several pages long and had at least a dozen detailed pictures.

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I also included a screen shot of the maintenance records Excel file.

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On October 26th, long-time friend of mine Wayne flew from Houston to take delivery of the car.  We took the opportunity to rally another Legend lover, Chuck, for dinner in central Phoenix at Hard Rock Cafe when Wayne and his friend Terrell were in town.

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Group photo at the restaurant

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Key handoff to Wayne

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Tyson, Wayne, Chuck, in the parking garage before heading out.

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Wayne and Terrell made the 1,176-mile drive home to Houston the following morning.  Not long afterward, Wayne sent me this picture of the car wearing its newly-issued Texas license plates.

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For many years (nearly 8, in fact) Wayne lovingly cared for the Legend with regular maintenance.  Then tragedy struck in May 2015.  The Houston area was pummeled with rain and most of the city went underwater, including the garage where Wayne had his Legend stored.  Despite efforts to bring it back to life, the car was pronounced a total loss as the water had become too deep.  Sterling McCall Acura technicians delivered the somber news.

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These are photos from the car as it sat while drying out in the service bay.

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And this was the news I received from Wayne regarding the insurance company’s decision.

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At 220,439 miles, this Legend was merely broken in and still had a lot of life to live.  Post your condolences for Wayne in the comments box, and let’s hope he can find another replacement car soon.  Thanks, Wayne, for letting me share your story!

EDIT:  July 2, 2015

Wayne has already found a worthy replacement for his Legend.  He is the proud owner of a 2003 Acura CL Type-S 6-Speed manual. As most of you Acura fans will know, the CL 6MT is an extremely rare find.  His is an Aegean Blue Pearl model, one of only 230 ever produced.  2003 was the only model year to offer a stick shift in the 2nd gen Acura CL.

Congratulations, Wayne!

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I have just 4 quick pics from this past weekend:

The ILX enduring a desert sandstorm just moments after I’d finished washing it.

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The Legend sedan getting an oil change on Saturday and parked next to a 2016 ILX.

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A congrats to my friend Jimmy on picking up a Legend.  He got this 1994 GS 6-Speed with 166,048 miles on it recently.  I took a test drive.

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And a shot from a Sunday drive in the NSX.  Even at 8:00 a.m. the heat was unbearable.  I need to get the A/C fixed in that car.

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Oh, and that’s the 62-foot-long “America’s Largest Sundial” in Carefree, AZ that I’ve blogged about before.

Have a great week!