Archive for the SLX Category

Looking Forward While Looking Back: Future Classic Car Show 2019 – Scottsdale, Arizona

Posted in Car Show, Integra, SLX on January 14, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Integra GS-R):  250,590

I saw a meme on Instagram the other day that said something like, “I called out for Alexa when I meant to summon Siri.  I can’t believe I’m living in an era when I get my robot servants mixed up.”  If you’re my friend Rob, it gets even more complicated.  He has a Rumba that he named Steve, who works on Thursdays.  I wonder if Steve gets along with his fellow e-housemates.

Truth is, we are living in the future.  The year 2019 just seems so far out there, it’s still tough to comprehend.  And things really start to sink in when you realize that by some of the cars from your high school era are now becoming classics.  Yikes.  Thankfully, there are events like Future Classic Car Show that give us a chance to reminisce a little on those oft-forgotten rides from 1975 onward.  These are cars that are positioned to be (or are already becoming) collector vehicles.

My 1992 Integra made its live news debut two days prior to the event on Phoenix’s Fox 10 Studios at a 5-minute preview for the show.  The video is posted here.  It was a fun experience to gush about my car for 45 seconds on TV.  My moment in the spotlight starts at about 1:40 in.

Now in its fourth year, the ClassicCars.com “FCCS” was held on Sunday, January 13th on the upper levels of the Scottsdale Quarter parking garage – a venue vast enough to accommodate nearly 100 “official” show cars as well as many, many other spectator vehicles that were equally worthy of recognition.  The panoramic view of Phoenix’s surrounding mountain ranges made it a nice venue for the scenery aside from just having great cars to look at.

The show itself served up a vast array of cars – domestics and imports, stock and modified – each with a proud owner by its side and a cool story to tell.  I especially enjoyed bumping into a few friends from the local automotive community as well as making new friends.  My car happened to be parked a few vehicles away from an exceptionally clean 1986 Accord LX-i hatchback and I had a good time chatting with its owner.

The crew from ClassicCars.com, including Carter & Nick, were making the rounds to meet & greet the cars & the drivers.  You can see Nick starring in the “Driven” series on the company’s YouTube channel.

Visiting me for the event were two of my friends from Las Vegas:  Brandon and Dane.  They showed up in a couple of exceptionally cool cars – Brandon’s new TL Type-S and Dane’s Dodge Stealth.  I got the chance to drive both over the course of the weekend.

We all made a quick visit to Zinburger for a bite during the afternoon and then returned to the show for another lap and the awards ceremony.  Sponsors and stakeholders did a great job of recognizing the cars and participants who stood out.  Until next year, enjoy a few more photos of the phestivities!

Not-so-candid camera

Loved the button-mania on this 1980s Trans Am – notice, only 8,000 miles!

Recognize this one?  You’ll see a blog post soon about a NEW Supra (which has very big shoes to fill)

Lineup – you can see the variety here

Love a clean yellow Mazda RX-7

There’s something special about these Toyota pickups.  And if you look closely, you’ll see my friend Trent’s black 1992 NSX way in the background.

My Teg was sandwiched between a Cadillac Seville (diesel!) and an Audi sedan

Is that S2000 wing wild enough for ya?  And a rare 5-speed Lexus SC300 too.

Whoa, how many “Black Ice” tree air fresheners did this guy need?

Last couple small unrelated updates:  Anybody want this little Integra?  Seattle, Washington.  1992 GS 5-speed with 130,000 miles, being sold by my friend Stephen.  It’s super clean.  Contact me if you’re in the market!

I’ve done a few small updates to my new-to-me Acura SLX, including hunt around for parts at the local junkyard.  I saw a few things I wanted off this late-1990s Trooper but it had 2 vehicles stacked precariously on top of it and I didn’t dare get too rowdy.

Not bad looking for an old box.

Engine detail – before

After.  It’s subtle.

Finally:  I have to close out this blog entry with something a little different.  Some of you know or have at least seen photos of my friend James De La O, who joined me and a few others inside the showroom at Pikes Peak Acura last July at NALM 2018.  He was proudly displaying his red first generation Legend sedan that day.

He’s at front left here in our group photo.

We lost James over the weekend at age 34.  The impact hits our Legend community especially hard because his wife, Kiley (in the photo behind James, at top left) is also a longstanding member of the family that this group of people have become.  I felt like taking a short drive this morning in James’ honor because years ago I remembered seeing a street in north Scottsdale with James’ same last name.

James was a great guy and I am honored to have gotten to know him over the last 10 years.

Life is way too short.  Glad to have great people to spend it with.  As my mom likes to say, “Carpe diem.”  Thanks for reading!

I’m Officially Insane: Acquiring a (Cheap) 1997 Acura SLX – the “Acuruzu”

Posted in SLX on January 1, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (NSX):  113,832

Odometer (SLX):  178,359

Oh no I didn’t.  Oh, yes I did.  Roll those eyes!

On August 18, 2017, I got an email – as I often do – from someone who heard of me through the Jalopnik article on my crazy obsessed garage / collection.  This one came from a guy named Wyatt in southern California who had a 1997 SLX.  It reads as follows:

Pretty sweet.  Well, cutting to the chase, Wyatt only kept that SLX for 16 months and put about 2,000 miles on it, and now it’s mine.  Funny how things work out sometimes.  It’s no mystery I’ve kind of had a hankering for one of these quirky vehicles for a while.  I first wrote an article about it back in March 2014 where I introduced my blog audience to this creation of badge engineering.

You see, this isn’t an Acura at all.  Or a Honda, for that matter.  It’s an Isuzu, and in light of the surging demand for SUVs in America in the late 1990s, Acura’s new MDX wouldn’t be ready for 5 more years, so they slapped an “A” emblem on a Trooper and went with it.  The vehicle only sold about 6,500 units in its 4-year lifespan, making it even more rare production-wise than the generation 1 (1991-05) NSX.  The shaded center section here reflects annual sales between 1996 (at bottom) and 2001, totaling 6,590.

Wyatt’s SLX was a bit of a rarity – a 1997 base model in Fir Green Pearl over Light Silver Metallic two-tone paint.  The base trim level meant it had no alloy wheels, no heated seats, no leather (though someone had later added it, aftermarket), and no fog lamps.  Still, its original MSRP was somewhere in the mid $30’s.  It was originally sold via a dealership called Acura 101 West, in Calabasas, California.

Its first owner was named Jeff and he kept it for an impressive 18 years after his purchase in September of 1997, always registering it in the southern California region where it was kept free of inclement weather and probably rarely driven off pavement.

But the off-pavement potential is specifically what attracts me to having an SUV, especially a cheapo one that I don’t mind beating up from time to time.  In all my car comings and goings, I’ve never owned a 4×4, despite the fact that sometimes I drive my poor front-wheel-drive cars like they’re rally machines.  So the fact that I could have a large, high-clearance vehicle on standby for the occasional camping trip is pretty appealing.  And, the price was (very) right.  So I bit.

Due to an intermittent slipping transmission issue in 4th gear, we decided it would be best to have the vehicle transported as opposed to driving it the 400-someodd miles from Los Angeles to Phoenix.  I later asked my mechanic about the transmission, and he said, “This vehicle has the 4L30-E transmission, which is perhaps the most problematic trans ever built.  It’ll be $2,800 to rebuild.”  That’s encouraging, haha.  It took about a week for the SLX to arrive via transport carrier.  Wyatt sent this pic while it was being loaded.

Here’s a pic while it was being unloaded at my house.

My first dose of reality came when I took it to the Honda dealership down the street to have the oil changed since it was 2+ years old.  “Your belts need changing, but we can’t get parts,” the service advisor told me.  “Same a few other things. About all I can do for you is get you new tires and change your fluids.”  So this is what it’s like owning a vehicle based on a chassis from a manufacturer that’s been out of business for 10 years.  In fact, almost exactly 10 years.  Isuzu pulled the plug on all U.S. market operations on January 31, 2009.

A couple of friends correctly guessed which vehicle I’d acquired based on some of my prior mentions of wanting an SLX.  Jason solved the puzzle after seeing a comment I made on Facebook just a couple of days after getting it.

Woody was thrilled that I finally followed through on this February 4, 2011 Facebook post saying that “one day” I’d get one.

We’ll see where I go with this one!  It’ll be like no Acura I’ve ever experienced before, I am certain of that.  Here’s a 7-minute video introduction.  I’ll keep you posted.  Thanks for reading and watching as always, and Happy New Year!

First day!

A YouTube viewer also suggested I need an Acura SUV.

Ready to unload from the transport truck.

This is what they call the “safari sunroof.”  It’s massive!  And still works – most of the time!

Paperwork and manuals.  This SLX was sold with a lot of “Total Luxury Care” (TLC) materials.  That was Acura’s roadside assistance program back in the day.

Detail work has started but is not yet fully underway.  I did clean up the chrome center caps to the wheels with some Mother’s mag & aluminum polish.  Here is the before:

And here is the after!

First fuel up.

A great deal of maintenance was done on this vehicle (per Carfax, anyway) at a place call H&H Motors in Van Nuys, California.  I was able to look them up and about to reach out to inquire about getting service records, but then I saw that Yelp says the place has closed.

Chillin’ in the backyard while waiting for the new garage floor.

A few photos from an evening at Dreamy Draw Park off the 51 freeway & Northern Avenue in Phoenix.

Not bad!

Comparison with 2019 Acura MDX A-Spec.  Vehicle design has come a long way in 22 years.

Wyatt was happy to hear that I’m enjoying the vehicle.  He posted this to his Instagram story.

Initial detail underway – console before.

Console after.

Wax job in the garage.

Stay tuned!

Closing note here:  I’d like to put in a plug for my friend Rick who has been a garage inspiration of mine for many, many years.  Rick has a channel on YouTube called RAD Garage (which, incidentally, just surpassed 3,000 subscribers yesterday – congrats, Rick!).

His content centers around his incredible garage – the tools, the decor, the supplies, and vehicles that inhabit it.  Rick’s attention to detail – and I mean, the most fastidious attention you’ll ever see – is a total inspiration to anyone who’s ever obsessed over his or her vehicle’s cleanliness.  Thanks Rick for featuring my garage on your blog.  Here’s the link so my readers can check it out.

Link to Rick’s YouTube.

Forgotten Acura SUV: The SLX

Posted in SLX, Throwback on March 18, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  529,013

529013

Odometer (ILX):  70,563

70563

Congrats, Dad, on hitting 111,111 miles today in your 2010 Hyundai Sonata!  You’ve taught me well.  Err, vice versa.

dad_odometer

Those of you who follow automotive industry news have already learned about some strategic business & operational changes at Acura headquarters these days. A new business unit, headed by Erik Berkman from Honda R&D, was formed with the intent of focusing on making improvements to the sedan lineup.  Then just a week or so ago, Acura’s Sales & Marketing efforts were further differentiated from the parent Honda company with Mike Accavitti at the helm of the Acura side.

The company’s SUV lineup – 3-row MDX (new for 2014 model year) and 2-row RDX (new for 2013 model year) have been undisputed home runs from a sales perspective.  In fact, SUV sales now account for greater than 60% of the Acuras that are making their way into buyers’ garages.

It wasn’t always that way.  Back in the mid-1990’s, Acura was first and foremost a sedan automaker.  But SUV market was picking up speed, and fast.  Acura made a bold move and did something that would get them into that market with urgency:  It rebadged an already-existing SUV as one of its own.  The Isuzu Trooper was a long-time favorite of outdoors enthusiasts, so Acura made its own version.

Have you ever even heard of the Acura SLX?  Probably not.  In 1996, Acura sold 108,008 vehicles.  Only 2,565 of those were SLX models.  Isn’t it interesting how the tables have turned in the last 18 years and the Acura SUV lineup has overtaken the sedans as the breadwinners?  I present to you, the Fall/Winter 1995 cover of Acura Driver magazine:

fall_winter_1995_acura_driver_magazine

SLX was touted as “The Most Civilized Way to Leave Civilization.”

slx_ad

And how about these taglines?

“Designed for Drivers with a Well-Developed Sense of Adventure – And an Equally Well-Developed Sense of Taste.”

“Tough Enough to Go from Paris to Dakar.  Elegant Enough for Those Who’d Prefer Simply to Stay in Paris.”

SLX was far from a star performer on the sales floor, but it got Acura’s foot into the SUV door and paved the way for today’s MDX crossover.  Despite getting a slight cosmetic refresh in 1998, SLX sales declined all the way until the MDX came onto the scene in 2000.  That first 1996 SLX was powered by a 190-horsepower, 3.2 liter DOHC V6 engine.  The automatic transmission featured a winter mode that would start in 3rd gear to lessen wheelspin on slippery surfaces.  Shift-on-the-fly 4-wheel-drive was an innovative feature for its time.

The SLX wasn’t the only child of the Honda-Isuzu relationship.  You might also remember the Isuzu Passport / Honda Rodeo twins.  In all, the SLX shared its truck-like platform with a total of 8 other vehicles in that first generation:

  • Acura SLX
  • Chevrolet Trooper
  • Isuzu Bighorn
  • Holden Jackaroo
  • Holden Monterey
  • Honda Horizon
  • Opel Monterey
  • Subaru Bighorn
  • Vauxhall Monterey

Unlike the Trooper, though, the SLX only came with an automatic transmission and only came with one engine choice — the 3.2 liter from 1996-1997, and the 3.5 liter from 1998-1999.  The SLX was branded as “Not Acceptable” by Consumer Reports for its first two model years due to a high rollover tendency.

I recently snagged some original factory literature on the SLX and I was amused at some of the advertising for this vehicle.

SAFARI-SIZED MOONROOF:  Whether you’re appreciating the towering skyscrapers of Manhattan or the spectacular granite faces of Yosemite, the expansive, power-operated moonroof of the SLX affords both front and rear passengers a breathtaking panoramic view of the great outdoors.

slx_towing_boat

Plush interior.

interior

Also, here in 1996 was when we first saw Acura shifting from the named models (Legend, Vigor) to an alphanumeric nomenclature (RL, TL).  This snippet from that same Fall / Winter 1995 Acura Driver magazine talks about the transition.

acura_new_names

Perhaps my favorite option on the SLX was this one:

multi_meter

Whether you’re heading to the sweltering wastes of Death Valley or exploring the tundra of the Arctic Circle, the SLX can be fully equipped to help you handle any navigational or climactic challenge.  A new electronic multi-meter combines a compass, altimeter, thermometer, and barometer into a single, easy-to-read, liquid-crystal display.

Nowadays those types of gizmos come standard on a Corolla.  Check out those 70/30 split rear doors.

70_30_rear_doors

Only 4 exterior colors to choose from here.  And none of them were particularly exciting.

slx_colors_1996

But the bottom line is:  I want one!  It would be a fun conversation piece if nothing else.  And I want a circular driveway like this to park it in.

ilx_at_steves_driveway

Hope you enjoyed the history lesson!

I got some service reminder coupons in the mail this week.  Every time Acura sends these out, I get 3.

Feeling the love for sure.

IMG_2969