Archive for the RL Category

May 2020 Updates: Car Projects, House Projects, New YouTube Vids, & Upcoming Travels

Posted in Detailing, Integra, Legend, RL, TLX, Vigor on May 11, 2020 by tysonhugie

Can we talk about how cool this little LED sign is?  Found this baby on some random Facebook sponsored vendor’s ad.  Imagine me getting ads for Acura related merchandise.  How dare they think they know my life!

I’m wrapping up about 8 weeks in quarantine as I type this, and if it weren’t for the occasional socially-distant excursion like a couple of weeks ago at my friend’s pool nearby, I might have lost my insanity altogether.  Say hello to Midge the pup there in the lower left.

Car updates have been on the checklist as usual, and I’m pretty satisfied to say that I’ve accomplished pretty darn near everything I wanted to do when I set out to make my isolation time as productive as it could possibly be.  The 1992 Integra got a fresh coat of VHT wrinkle black paint on the valve cover.  It’s something I’d been meaning to do on the engine bay for a very long time.  Check it out!

The RL got a new under-hood insulation pad to replace the one that was ripped before.

The Vigor got some suspension bushings and brake pads at Hon-Man.

The laundry room (aka showroom entry) got a new LED lamp like the one I installed in the garage itself.  Here’s the before & after.

Here’s a video of those updates.

The SLX is getting a brake master cylinder as we speak.  And then I think I’m seriously done for a bit.  Famous last words, right?  Okay so that gets the chore updates out of the way for the most part.

Take a peek at this cool article from a 2001 issue of a magazine called “Velocity.”  It was an Acura/Honda enthusiast mag, and it talked about a guy named Leszek who put 500k on his 1992 Legend sedan by using it as a taxi.

Fast forward a couple of decades.  Leszek got rid of his Legend at 530k and then went into an RL that got 450k.  Then he moved to Lexus, and now he’s with Mercedes.  I found his website – aptly named “Legendary Private Car” – and emailed him.  See his email response below.

In fitting timing, a friend needed airport transport last week so I decided to dress the part and pick him up in appropriate fashion, name tag and all.

This is what happens when you’ve been in quarantine 8 weeks and take things way too seriously.

Check out this cool little info blurb I got from a friend about the original concept for the 1987 Legend coupe.  They almost named it the Legend Climax.

YouTube is still a major source of entertainment for me as I’ve spent quite a bit of time creating videos.

Here are the latest two productions:  A tour of the garage, and then an intro to the assembly of a display rack where I’m showcasing my (100+) brochures in the garage now.

Garage Tour

Display Build

I won’t see much of you all for the next few weeks.  Work is still busy, but going through a state of change as the hospital system I’m with transitions through the different phases of the coronavirus pandemic.  I’ll be taking a mandatory two-week furlough the first two weeks of June.

But guess what – I’m about to make lemonade out of lemons.  I’ve just arranged to get a long-term loan in a 2020 Acura TLX PMC Edition starting May 29th.  I’ll be taking that car on a 6-state, 2,000+ mile adventure.  You’ll read about it here sometime in June.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a little bit of Q&A.  A couple of weeks ago, I was corresponding with Patricia who bought my 1994 Legend coupe when it was new.  I had a few questions for her that I emailed in a Word document.

You might get a kick out of her answers – especially the last one.

1 – I understand you were the original owner of the (now nearly 600,000 mile) 1994 Legend. What did you drive before buying that car?

Honda Prelude

2 – What about the Legend coupe particularly caught your eye or interest when it was new?

Loved the styling and the feel of luxury – it was my first aspirational car purchase.  The color was not my first choice – I wanted the dark green but there were no more of that color in stock in California

3 – What was it like to be in the market for a Legend back then? Was the trim, color, and configuration that you wanted difficult to come by, or was the car already in inventory and readily available?

I answered this question above – the Legend was marketed by Acura as their sporty luxury brand

4 – One particularly cool aspect of your car history is that you seem to prefer a stick shift, since the BMW 530i that you replaced the Legend with was also a manual transmission. What do you drive today, and does it also let you row your own gears?

The last car I drove was an automatic Lexus 250 – I wanted to continue to drive a manual but was later convinced an automatic was better for resale.  I just read a recent article that most automotive companies are no longer offering manual transmissions.

5 – Your ownership of the Legend lasted about 9 years and 90,000 miles, which is longer than many people keep a car. What were some of the road trips or experiences that stand out as highlights during that time?

Difficult to remember but, living in Northern California provides anyone who loves to drive so many opportunities for open roads and beautiful vistas.

6 – When you sold the Legend, did you ever think you’d be interviewed for a questionnaire about it 18 years later?

No – I was surprised when I received your phone call, identifying yourself as the new owner, and wanting to connect.

7 – On a scale of 1 to 10, how crazy do think Tyson is?

Off the charts 10+

Take care and stay safe, everyone!

1999 GS-R & 2000 RL Walkarounds, TBT Home Videos, & Garage Signage

Posted in Legend, NALM, Milestones, Throwback, Prelude, Integra, House, RL on April 23, 2020 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend coupe):  573,000

That took me long enough.  The Legend coupe was at 572,XXX ever since getting back from Florida last October.  I was getting sick of that 2 staring me in the face.  I’ve been plugging away over here in my director chair coming up with content for YouTube.

Except, I don’t just occupy a director chair.  For a total of 9 episodes now, I’ve taken each car in the collection and cleaned it, prepared supporting documentation, filmed it, edited the footage, and uploaded it.  I’ve scheduled releases through the beginning of June, each Saturday.  That was a lot of work but it’s also been super rewarding.

The Legend video has made it into 2 news articles (Motor1 and Carscoops) and even an article in Germany.  As I type this on Wednesday April 22nd, the view count has surpassed 120,000 in just the 3 weeks it’s been live.

Here are two more uploads exclusive to the blog since they won’t be public on the channel for a while.

Integra SSBP GS-R Video

RL Video

I also took a little bit of time to put together a summary video of the 15-year history of the National Acura Legend Meet.  This 5-minute piece captures select highlights from each year of the event starting in 2005.

The other day, I was rummaging through my case of printed car pics.  Back in the day, I used to have all my media printed up at Walmart.  I have hundreds of photos in plastic organizers, split out with dividers according to model, month, and year.  This shouldn’t surprise any of you.  But I came across a couple of photos from 2004 of my 1989 Prelude Si – the first Honda that really got me hooked – and it prompted me to do a little more digging.

These pictures show my friend Branson holding a camcorder and recording the scene.  We were looking at my then-wrecked (former) Prelude at a salvage yard in St. George, Utah.  We just happened across the car coincidentally.  I’d sold it about four years prior, and the new owner was rear-ended which ultimately was the demise of the car.  To this day I still have the rear “H” emblem off the trunk lid in my display case at home.

Anyway, I was determined to find the footage that Branson filmed that day.  And I did.  Below is a video showing the scene.  It opens up to October 30, 2004 when he and I were swapping wheels on a newly-purchased $700 project car, a 1991 Legend L coupe 5-speed, that I’d purchased from my friend Mike to use as a “winter beater” while I was going to school at Utah State University in Logan, Utah.

The video then cuts to Branson’s footage of the Prelude.  Next it takes you through some other things like me attempting to start detailing that $700 pile of junk.  Some things never change.

Below is another video from the same “Hi8” cassette tape that I found interesting.  It contains test drives of my 1986 Chevy Celebrity with 194,000 miles (displayed as 94,000) when I bought the car back for a brief moment of time in spring 2005.  It also has a clip of driving the Legend coupe.  It had about 165,000 miles on it at the time and as you’ll notice, it had the “TCS” (Traction Control System) light in the gauge cluster illuminated.  I remember that being because of a faulty TCS Control Unit, which was fixed later in September of that year.

Perhaps most interesting from this video though is that it has a brief walkaround of the 2000 Acura 3.5 RL, which I ended up buying back earlier this year after it had been passed around the family for 14 years.  The RL at the time of the video clip had only 23,880 miles on it.

Today, it has about 212,000.  Thankfully, it looks about the same cosmetically with the exception of now having the factory 16″ wheels on it instead of those awful aftermarket chrome 17’s.  You’ll also get introduced to our family cat, Gizmo, who is long gone.

Video quality has come a very long time over the last 15 years, hasn’t it?

I’ve crossed a few more home-improvement projects off the list in the last couple of weeks, including something I’d been meaning to do for a while.  Below you’ll see the last addition to the garage:  A sign for my (pretend) dealership.  The lettering is made from 3D foam from a company in LA called Front Signs.  I told them the design I had in mind, supplied the artwork, and they mailed me a box with everything I needed including the template to get everything installed in proper alignment.

The letters came in plain black so they needed to be primed, painted, and clear coated.  The whole process took a couple of weeks because I ordered all the supplies online as opposed to breaking my quarantine and going to the hardware store.  Additionally, the lamp you see there was ordered on Amazon and I had to run the power cord through the garage cabinet in order to get it wired up and working.

Here’s how it played out in a 1-minute video.

The next garage to get more work will be the ‘west’ garage which is begging for some custom flooring and paint.  All in due time.

A friend tipped me off on an article that showed up in the February 2020 Japanese magazine called Honda Style.  The magazine reads “backwards,” in other words, the pages flip from left to right instead of right to left.  The SH-AWD 1997 SLX that was part of last year’s RADwood build made a 3-page article!  I ordered 2 copies of the mag and sent one of them to the Public Relations team at Acura.

Lastly, a friend in Seattle hooked me up with an ‘actual’ 1992 GS-R window sticker, although it’s missing a chunk.  This helps as a point of reference either way, especially when coupled with the replica that Jason helped me with a couple of years ago.

Hope everyone is having a safe and enjoyable week out there.  Take care.

Weekend Update: Jason & Jandi’s Visits, Working from Home, Automotive Stuff

Posted in Arizona, Brochures, Integra, Legend, Model Cars, RL, SLX on March 21, 2020 by tysonhugie

Odometer (RL):  211,776

How is everyone doing?  I saw a meme the other day:  “What a year this week has been.”  Yeah, sounds about right.  I’m going to spare you from having one more place to read about the current state of the world around us, because I know your TV and your social media feeds are absolutely saturated with it.  Over here in Arizona, my travels have dialed back to just the occasional trip to the grocery store or drive-thru – in fact, those are the only 2 trips I took all week.  And as much as I love being on the go, I have actually kind of enjoyed being homebound.  Shocker.

For one thing, I spent about 2 hours in the yard this morning with a complete cosmetic revamp.  Mow, trim, weed killer, and sweep.  It was satisfying and refreshing, especially in this gorgeous spring weather.  I have projects underway with the house, with the cars, and with work, not to mention writing / YouTubing / organizing / planning / journaling.  I spent an hour this afternoon on the phone with grandparents catching up.

Sometimes having a chance to slow the pace of life down a little isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  And even though my travel calendar has been wiped clean for at least the next couple of months, I’m confident I’ll stay busy and productive.

I had a couple of visitors in town earlier this month including my friend Jason and my cousin Jandi.  Jason drove in from Las Cruces in his Contour so we could go meet with Kevin Marti of Marti Auto Works, who has a specialty Ford facility on the western outskirts of Phoenix.

Kevin is a licensee to Ford’s complete production database – in other words, he can authenticate and give detailed background on just about any FoMoCo vehicle.  His “Marti Reports” are the renowned source of truth when it comes to production numbers rarity.  I last visited his place in 2014.

My cousin from Idaho also visited and we had a nice time enjoying the weather and company.  I’ll let the photos and video below tell the rest of the story because it’s a wide variety of automotive updates I can share with you all.

I was originally scheduled to volunteer as a driver during the Mecum collector car auction a week ago.  I had my credential and everything.  But then I pulled out given current state of the public situation.  But I’m on the list for next year and I will get to drive some cool stuff like this (while I awkwardly sit in the driver’s seat and let people bid on “me.”).   Coverage from my visit to Mecum last year is here.

My home office is set up and I moved my desk in my bedroom so that it looks out the front window.  Now, I just need a better monitor setup.  Stat!

I juiced a couple dozen oranges that I got from a friend’s tree. Citrus trees are in season right now here!

I had the Legend coupe out last week to visit friends in Gilbert with a huge new home.  The ceilings inside it are 16 feet tall.

My neighbor Chuck got a couple cool cars from a relative in Texas.  One of them is this 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner.

The other is this 1930 Model A.  Both were temporarily stored in my backyard for a time.

The Legend sedan saw some daylight last week.

And the RL.

And the NSX was my ride of choice for a last minute grocery store run.  For Diet Coke – only the essentials.

I received a recall in the mail today for the 2000 RL’s airbag.  I was sort of surprised Acura is having to recall 20-year-old cars.  But the letter basically stated that parts for the repair aren’t even yet available.

One of my YouTube subscribers asked me to give an update on the rooftop model cars, so I did that in the video too.

An ‘Instagram friend’ sent me some stickers – check out this one in the shape of a G2 Integra.

I took the opportunity last weekend to check in with some good friends who have helped me a lot over the years with automotive projects and other things.  Hy and Linda, thank you!

After that, I met up briefly with my friend Ken who has a 2006 ‘Suzuka Blue’ Honda S2000.

One of the projects I’m keeping myself busy with now is a categorization of about 50 pieces of literature related to the Acura Legend.  Over the last 20 years I’ve collected (what I believe to be) every piece of print media that had the Legend in it.  I’m in the process now of sorting them all out so I can copy & PDF to share with others.

This dealership even offered a “beeper service” to page you when your car was ready.  Whoa.

Here’s a glimpse of what we’re talking about.

The last bit of news is about the SLX, which hasn’t moved for about 10 days and is leaking a puddle of various fluids on my nice garage floor right now, haha.

A friend (again from Instagram) connected me with a resource that was able to decode the VIN plate in the engine bay.  I now know exactly what each of those ‘options’ listed at the bottom are.  The summary is below in Excel.

My former SLX, the one that Acura rebuilt as a “resto-mod” with RDX drivetrain, is sitting on display right now at the Honda headquarters in Torrance, California.  Acura Public Relations representative Andrew sent me this picture.

I also found a couple article on the SLX, which I’m adding to my archive.

That’s it for now!  Everyone stay safe out there, and I’ll talk to you soon.

NALM 2020 Location Announcement, Visitors, and Integra/RL Updates

Posted in Blog, Integra, Maintenance, NALM, RL on February 7, 2020 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  572,466

Hear ye, hear ye.  This just in:

After 15 years of driving all around the country for the National Acura Legend Meet, to 13 different states, my trip to the 2020 annual event will require me driving…  guess how far?  Just 25 miles from my house to the host hotel!  That’s because NALM is finally coming to my own backyard, and I’ll be co-hosting the event here in Phoenix, Arizona along with a few other volunteers.

The dates will be October 7-11, and without getting into too many details – I’ll save those announcements for some future blog posts – there will be some great venues and some great times for all to enjoy.  Here is the announcement post on the forums.

Prior event locations are here:

Year City State
2005 Dallas Texas
2006 Tulsa Oklahoma
2007 Las Vegas Nevada
2008 Chattanooga Tennessee
2009 Branson Missouri
2010 Salt Lake City Utah
2011 Morristown New Jersey
2012 Milwaukee Wisconsin
2013 Asheville North Carolina
2014 Los Angeles California
2015 Houston Texas
2016 Atlanta Georgia
2017 Sacramento California
2018 Colorado Springs Colorado
2019 Daytona Beach Florida

I’ve created a NALM account on Instagram called @nationalacuralegendmeet where you can follow along for regular updates as we unveil some of the exciting aspects of the itinerary.  Maybe I’ll bring out a different car from the garage for each NALM day.  And one of the events – of course – is a behind the scenes visit at my house.  I might be crazy for opening my doors to an anticipated 25 cars and 50 people, but I’ve said it before:  These people are like family to me and I look forward to hosting them as best I can.

Speaking of hosting:  Occupancy rates at the house have been running high so far in 2020.  Ever since the festivities for Barrett-Jackson, I’ve had company every weekend and enjoyed playing host.  My friends Derek, Jay, Nick, and Chris all stopped by.  Here they are in that order.

Derek, before I took him to his brother’s place.

Jay, passing through town with his gorgeous new Sherwood Green Legend LS 6-speed.

Nick, at right, here from Key West for a weekend in the desert.

And Chris, visiting from CA and about to take the NSX for a spin with his buddy Tony.

I also managed to squeeze in a few automotive updates in video form, so if you get time, tune in for the recent videos on my YouTube channel.  The 1999 Integra is at Hon-Man in Tempe for a laundry list of issues, but I’ve replaced the front emblem, shift knob, license plate bumper plugs, and owner’s manual.  I also got those nasty exhaust tips shined up thanks to a product from Mother’s called Mag & Aluminum Polish.

Check that before & after!

And another before & after!  All about the details.

The RL received some paintless dent removal, new tint, a new windshield, and some touch-up paint.

I finally got my library of car maintenance binders in order, thanks to some new cabinets my dad and stepmom installed in my laundry room recently.

The two biggest blue binders are BOTH for the Legend coupe.  Volumes 1 & 2.

We also installed a flat screen TV in the garage that is looping 148 Acura commercials from 1986 through 1999.  It’s 1 hour 47 minutes of runtime.  Seriously.  I turn it on when guests are visiting.

I’m writing weekly now for ClassicCars.com in the “Pick of the Day” section.  Basically, every Thursday I have an article about a vehicle of my choosing that is selected from the 40,000+ listed for sale on the site.  The write-ups are short and sweet, but maybe you’ll be interested in taking a look to see if any of the cars I spotlight interest you.

Some of my recent articles are these:

Thanks for coming along!

Company from CA, SLX + NSX Pics, Legend Matching Odometers, & Other Car Updates

Posted in Arizona, Integra, Legend, NALM, RL, SLX, TLX, Vigor on October 28, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  219,230

How was everyone’s weekend?  It’s been busy around here as I’ve been getting back to my routine.  Just two days after returning from the mega Florida trip, I had company in town from San Diego and San Francisco for a few days.  My guest book is spilling over onto page 41 since I bought my house in September of 2016.  Let me know when you want to book your reservation (rental cars are available).

I’ll let the photos tell the story below because there’s really not much else to elaborate on.

Ryan and I took the ‘homeless’ white Legend that I’ve been storing for about a year to brunch.

He has his sights set on the Vigor.  At 6-foot-6, he barely fits in that thing.

We also took the 1992 Integras out for a spin.

I’d like to introduce my friend Michael’s new 1996 Prelude Si.  It’s beautiful!

Ben and Smiley arrived on their way back to the Bay Area from Florida on Saturday evening.

Ryan’s Accord 6-speed was looking extra juicy.

I took the Legend for its emissions test last Wednesday.  It passed the test without any challenges.

Here are the recordings for pollutants since I first registered the car in Arizona about 12 years ago.  In some cases the numbers are questionable or inconsistent.  Actually – the numbers this time were better than they were 2 years ago, for all 3 measures.  Go fig.

I needed to juggle some cars around so I parked the 2 ‘reds’ in the driveway for a few pictures on Sunday.  You’ll see more of the SLX in the coming months as it’s involved in a special project.

Similar gauge layout, vastly different driving experiences.

Do you prefer Formula Red or Radiant Red?

My buddy Chris from Maryland, who has the twin to my Legend GS sedan, knew that his recent trip to Florida would cause his car to surpass mine in mileage.  So we figured out a way to commemorate the milestone.  I took my car to Wendy’s and recorded the odometer after I parked it back in the garage.

The reading was 161,440 at the time.

So Chris, similarly, took his Legend to Wendy’s.

And he captured a picture at 161,440.  At this point, Chris’ car is likely to stay ahead of mine for the foreseeable future.

I took a scenic drive on Sunday in the RL out to Saguaro Lake in the Tonto National Forest.  I was scouting drive & lunch locations for a potential bid to host the 2020 NALM event here in Phoenix next fall.

More to come on that, but here’s a 3-minute preview video to the scenery & venues for consideration.

Have you been following any updates on the special Acura TLX PMC Edition?  It’s a TLX built at the NSX factory in Marysville, Ohio, and they’re only making 360 units.  The first one I saw in person was #026, on 7/26/2019 at Acura North Scottsdale.

And since that one was behind velvet ropes, the first one I actually sat in was #146 on 9/26/2019 at Acura of Tempe.

I’ve yet to get behind the wheel but it’s a pretty cool car because it blends Advance and A-Spec packages which historically have been mutually exclusive.  Have a good week!

Beating the Heat: Mogollon Rim Campout + SLX & RL Updates

Posted in Arizona, ILX, RL, Road Trip, SLX on September 2, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  218,415

Trip Distance:  250 Miles

I’ve left town every weekend for the last 6 weeks.  Exhausted doesn’t begin to describe how I feel.  But when it comes to making the most out of my summer, I live by a motto my mom emphasizes:  Carpe diem!  For this past weekend’s excursion, I ventured to the Sitgreaves National Forest in the mountain ranges about 2.5 hours northeast of Phoenix.  It’s a spot where temperatures typically range about 20 or more degrees cooler than the Phoenix valley.

Four friends and I found a great campsite just off Young Road, a couple of miles down a narrow dirt road that overlooked the Mogollon Rim and offered fantastic views to the south.  We set up camp and stoked the fire, then cooked burgers & brats over the flames.  Nobody had any particularly good ghost stories to tell as dusk fell, but we spent a good chunk of time proposing potential names for my friend Adam’s soon-to-be new dog.  More to come on what he ended up deciding.

We managed to avoid any run-ins with local wildlife, and the overnight low dipped to a pleasant 60 degrees.  Woody whipped up some delicious breakfast burritos with ham, bacon, and green salsa for breakfast the following morning.  All too soon, it was time to pack up the site and head back down to civilization.  The ILX fared well on the dirt road, though high grass in the median occasionally tickled the undercarriage due to ground clearance issues.

Thanks for coming along!

Camp all set up

Evening sunset looking south across the Mogollon Rim

Breakfast is served!

A relaxed Saturday morning

Soaking in the view

Headed out toward Payson, then Phoenix

Turning 218,000 miles

The vehicle I probably should have taken on this trip is the 1996 SLX.  I’m still getting comfortable with it – trying to gain a little more confidence in its roadworthiness.  I actually took a 350-mile road trip with it on Saturday, including a stop in a little mining town called Superior about 70 miles east of Phoenix.  It did great!

I like this old dealership.  Maybe a good investment as a place to store / display cars for someone?

I rolled 140,000 miles on the way home.

I also spent some time this weekend working on the RL.  Here’s an update video I filmed today, illustrating current condition and recent maintenance.  The engine bay got a detailing!

Hope the holiday weekend treated you well!

Re-Purchased 14 Years Later! Mom’s Old 2000 3.5 RL Comes Back for Round Two

Posted in RL, RLX, Road Trip, Utah on June 30, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (RL) – 2005:  23,077

Odometer (RL) – 2019:  210,000

Trip Distance:  722 Miles

This isn’t the first time I’ve done it.

I bought back my 1986 Chevy Celebrity 5 years after I’d sold it.

I bought back my 1991 Prelude Si 4WS 4 years after I’d sold it.

And now I’ve bought back an Acura RL 12 years after my mom sold it.

Let me introduce you to my library of car maintenance binders.

Automotive archaeology – sometimes people call it “Car-chaeology” – is pretty much my favorite thing ever.  Each of my vehicles has a painstakingly-created 3-ring binder about its history and the road that it’s driven.

Here are a few examples of things you’ll find in my history books:

  • Receipts or other paperwork / artifacts discovered inside the vehicle
  • Prior owners’ information – even articles written about those individuals if available
  • Printouts from Zillow of the home(s) where the vehicle has lived
  • Google street view of the dealership where it was sold originally
  • Carfax report, AutoCheck report
  • Maintenance records
  • Copies of the former owner’s title
  • An original or a replica window sticker
  • Printouts of email correspondence with the seller
  • Screen shots of any ads or listings it was included in, individual ad as well as search results
  • Color printouts of photographs – most importantly, a key handoff (usually on the cover page)

Each time I buy a car, I think of the original owner in this context:  “How cool must XX individual have felt to be buying this brand new in such-and-such year?  Why did they option the car this way?  Was it his or her dream car?”  And whenever possible, if I can get ahold of that person’s name, I’ll actually seek them out and ask those questions.  It’s worked almost every time.

In fact, I was even able to reach the original owner of my Acura NSX from three prior owners ago.  Call it stalking, call it insane, call it whatever you want.  That one was worth the investigative effort.  After snail-mailing an envelope in 2012 with current pictures of the car to the name and address of the individual on a receipt from 20 years earlier, several weeks went by, and I got an email which read:

That is indeed my NSX.  I was really interested in owning one from the time they came out….  I drove it on weekends and sometimes on Friday to work.  I was racing formula cars at Laguna Seca at the time, so I drove it to Monterey once a month and parked it with the Ferraris, Porsches, and the occasional Lambo that the other racers would bring.

William went on to talk about how he missed the car.

The point is, there is so much cool history to be uncovered about each and every vehicle in our driveways.  I remember that my mom’s original 1993 Legend L sedan had spent a fair amount of time in Maui, Hawaii before coming back to the lower 48.  I always thought to myself, “Man, if this car could talk.”

Which brings me to my latest chapter of had-to-have-it vehicles purchases (in recent weeks, followers will acknowledge, there have been several – see del Sol and SLX).  I have to start at the beginning of the story for it to make any sense at all.

It was April 2005 when I was helping my mom find a daily driver to replace her 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited.  I was 23 years old and eager to facilitate, so I was all over the classifieds.  I’d found a super clean 2000 black on black 3.5 RL in the Bay Area, but mom wasn’t keen on the black leather interior.  I ended up flying to Santa Ana airport in Los Angeles on April 30th to buy one with a tan interior.  Except, I showed up at the dealership and the exterior color was not black; it was dark gray.  And the car smelled like smoke.  I was deflated and angrily left the dealership in a taxi cab with a Korean driver without any plan in motion.

Then I remembered the black car a few hours north in SF, so I reached out to the owner to see if he still wanted to work anything out.  He did, we settled on an $18,500 sales price, and I booked another flight out of Santa Ana.  Given the last-minute nature of the decision, there were no financial arrangements in place.  The seller, Terry, picked me up at the airport and we went to his home.

The timing challenges (this was a Saturday afternoon just after closing time) meant I was not able to pay for the car right away.  I ended up spending the night at Terry’s house.  It was among the most awkward car-buying experiences I’ve ever had.  This was well before the days of Uber, and I was too young to rent a car, so I was effectively ‘stranded’ at Terry’s until we could get him paid.  I hand-wrote in my journal:

This has been the longest day of my life.  Made it to SFO and Terry picked me up.  He lived in England 30 years and I love the accent.  He was in his 209k mile Mazda 929.  The Bay Bridge was way backed up, so it took a while to get to his house in El Sobrante.  Nice neighborhood!  The RL was cozy in the garage.  It is MINT.  Holy cow is it ever.  23,043 miles and it looks like new…  Terry said I could stay at his place.  He and his daughter are out to dinner and I’m home alone!

Mom and dad rushed to a banking branch that was open the following morning, a Sunday, in Las Vegas 90 minutes away from them and wired the funds.  Then I was finally set free by late morning to drive the 11 hours home in mom’s new black RL.  I had written these driving directions in my journal.  Remember, this is way before Siri could tell you where to go.

Mom drove that RL for two years and rolled the odometer to right around 50,000 miles.

Then she passed it along to my uncle Brett in 2007 who used it as his daily commuter in northern Utah.  I saw the car in passing a few times at family functions, and he kept it up nicely.  He later passed it along to his son (my cousin) Chad who took it over as a newlywed in the Provo area and continued to put on some miles.  The car was faithfully maintained but required a transmission overhaul at around 125,000 miles.  Time marched on.

Chad sent me a text on June 13, 2019:  “You ready to add another car to your fleet?”  I was on my way at the time to Los Angeles for the Honda 60th Anniversary event and I had a lot on my mind, so I didn’t say yes right away.  In fact, my first thought was, “This is the worst timing ever.”  As you’ll recall, my current garage is already beyond full with recent del Sol and SLX acquisitions.  But Chad sent some picture of the RL, now with about 209,000 miles on it, and I took the chance to sleep on it and think it over.

In the end, I decided it was too cool of a chance to pass up.  The car and I have both aged, but with a little elbow grease and a little luck, it’ll still be reliable for a few years to come.  What I’ll do with it I’m entirely unsure.  As a car collector, does it even matter?  For me it’s an artifact of my early 20’s and a reminder of my younger years.  Its model year is the same year that I graduated from high school.  Buying it is almost like some sort of long term automotive dream finally happening almost 20 years later, even though I’ve already gone on to own or drive plenty of far superior / more desirable cars over the years.

Chad picked me up at the Salt Lake International Airport on the morning of Tuesday, June 25th.  I had premeditated the sequence of events a few times in my head:  Dropping him off at his office, and proceeding to southern Utah to have lunch with mom and re-introduce her to the car that she hadn’t seen for well over a decade.  And that’s pretty much exactly as it played out!

I caught a 6:45 a.m. flight out of Phoenix that put me in Salt Lake at 9:15 local time.  Chad scooped me up in my “new” car, and took care of business.  The drive home – all 700+ miles of it – was uneventful, and that’s just the way I like them!  I had forgotten what a smooth ride the first generation 3.5 RL is – the car took everything sporty about its Legend predecessor and numbed it down.  That means it makes for a great long-haul highway cruiser.  Even the armrest on driver door panel is soft and cushy.

Mom enjoyed the reunion as well!  I made sure to catch her reaction on camera.  Check out the 5-minute video below!

And by the way, those headlights cleaned up nicely with some polishing from a 2-step kit from Meguiar’s.  Crystal clear now.  Thanks for hearing me out on my latest Acura-quisition.  Now let’s see how much fun I can have with it.

Window sticker that has somehow gotten lost over the last 14 years

The first odo when I got the car was 23,043, but I didn’t take a picture until 23,058

Back at home in St. George (with Legend in the background) in 2005.

Initial odometer reading on June 25, 2019

Interior still looks good!

A friend’s entertaining reaction to my continued automotive purchasing madness

Fuel up in Nephi, Utah

2000 RL + 2016 RLX

Home safe and sound!

Before / After of headlight restoration!

Visit from friends Davis & Baron this weekend! They just departed on a cross-country trip in a modified Honda Passport.