Archive for the Vigor Category

Taco Tuesday in the Vigor, Literature Highlight, Gearbox Magazine Podcast Feature

Posted in Arizona, Restaurants, Vigor on June 24, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Vigor): 111,196

Odometer (Million Mile Lexus):  975,453

I know, only 25,000 miles to go on Matt Farah’s old 1996 LS400!  Some of you may remember when I put a couple thousand miles on that car back in October 2015 when it only had 922,000 on the odometer.  My friend Adam ran into the car (well, not literally) in Colorado this weekend at a rally event.  I told him to check and see if my log book entry was still present in the glove compartment, and it was!  I wonder when and where the big event will take place.  Thanks for the update, Adam!

I’m a sucker for Mexican food.  Breakfast burrito in the morning, quesadilla at lunch, and tacos for dinner.  I could do that.  So every Taco Tuesday is a bit of a special day for me.  And check out these beauties I found:

Sometimes we get so focused on traveling beyond home that we forget to appreciate the destinations that are within arm’s reach.  I was just talking the other day with a friend about wanting to do a “staycation” sometime in the near future for those reasons.  For now, I satisfied my literal and figurative cravings for something new by trying a restaurant that opened last year in the lobby of the historic 1928 Hotel San Carlos in downtown Phoenix.

Now dwarfed by modern skyscrapers on all sides, the elaborate San Carlos was once one of Phoenix’s most elaborate and high class destinations for the elites who visited the area.  Some say it’s haunted – and for good reason.  An actress plunged to her death from the rooftop not long after the hotel first opened, and to this day it’s said that her spirit inhabits the premises.  I didn’t go in search of any ghost-hunting.  I went for the tacos – and they were worth it!

I parked my 1994 Vigor about a block east of San Carlos along Monroe & 1st Street for $4 (photo above taken at the top level of the garage) and wandered around the downtown district a little.  “Centrico” is accessed from street level and has a small bar inside along with a few tables.  I seated myself at the bar – as the only person there – and ordered up a set of 4 chicken tinga tacos for $10.  They most definitely hit the spot.

Here are some other updates for the week:  Recently, I was featured by Brian Driggs of Gearbox Magazine on an hour-long Podcast discussing this and that about how he and I got into the automotive hobby and what we are doing with it.  If you want to check out the ramblings, here’s the link!  Thanks Brian for the opportunity.

The Integra GS got some lovin’, including replacement of this discolored passenger sideview mirror with a replacement unit which I got from a friend (off a junkyard car) and had repainted at Fix Auto Phoenix for $96 in the correct Torino Red paint.

This car is looking mighty fine!  From a dinner outing last Friday evening:

Here’s the latest on it from my YouTube channel:

I took the other Integra, my GS-R, up to Flagstaff, Arizona yesterday afternoon to beat the heat.  In just a 2-hour drive, the temperature drops about 20 or more degrees.  The car did great for the 300 or so mile round trip.  I’m at around 248,700 on that one and anxious to see it crest 250,000.

The new 2019 RDX selection was on sale at the local dealer when I stopped by as well.

You all know I’m crazy about car literature.  I can get lost going through my boxes and boxes of car magazines from the 1980s and 1990s.  Below is a pic of envelopes with just a handful of the items.  In all I have 57 pieces of literature or brochures specific to just the Acura Legend.  I also have 151 items of ‘generic’ Acura interest, in about 6 boxes in my laundry room.  Yes it’s all categorized in an Excel spreadsheet too.  Shocker.

I came across a few cool pieces, including an article from February 1992’s Road & Track where six sedans were tested against each other:  Acura Legend LS, Audi 100, Mazda 929, Acura Vigor GS, Lexus ES300, and Mistubishi Diamante LS.  I loved a few phrases in particular about the Legend.

This is the instrument by which the other sedans in this category have been setting their watches… Still the dictionary definition of smooth, refined, and reliable, the new Legend LS remains the benchmark.  Consider a zero-to-60-mph time where the next best competitor is more than a full second slower.  The others begin to close the gap at the quarter-mile mark, but by that time, the big Acura’s powerplant has established itself as the powerhouse of record, without a hint of strain.

Love that!  From a 1994 “New Cars” magazine issue:

Did you know that across the entire model lineup, there were 22 colors offered in 1994?

And I thought this was kind of interesting.  On January 6, 1998 – just a little over 20 years ago – I pulled a Kelley Blue Book valuation of my mom’s then 1993 Legend L sedan with 64,000 miles on it.  Suggested retail was $21,200.

That’s it for the archive preview today.  Few more shots from my Vigor / taco outing:

Hope you’ve had a great weekend!

Best Hits of the 80s & 90s – Round 2: “Radwood” Car Show in Sonoma, California

Posted in California, Car Show, Legend, Road Trip, Vigor on March 26, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Vigor):  110,907

Trip Distance:  1,542 Miles

The front desk clerk at the Motel 6 in Sylmar, California raised his eyebrow and gave me a perplexed look.  “So it has no plate?” he asked as he was reading the paper I’d filled out to get a parking permit.  “No – that is the plate.  Five-C-Y-L.”  “Oh,” he said.  “And it’s an Acura Rigor?”  I had to correct him.  “No, it’s a Vigor.  They stopped making them in 1994.”  “Ahh,” he said, “I used to have a 1994 Civic.”  In my mind I rolled my eyes and felt like saying, “just give me the room key.”

I got another dose of the magnificent 1980s and 1990s this past weekend on my trip to a car show that suits precisely those model years.  This was thus the third time I’ve driven between Phoenix and the San Francisco Bay Area in 3 weeks.  I’m getting to know that Interstate 5 corridor like the back of my hand!  This time, the purpose of the trip was not to buy or transport a purchased car, but rather to meet up with some friends at a celebration of all things “rad,” at Radwood 2018.

Sonoma Raceway has been around for 50 years and is nestled in the southern Sonoma Mountains at a landform called Sears Point.  It has a 2.5 mile long course and capacity for 47,000 spectators.  This weekend, the facility played host to a wide array of cars from the decades of yesteryear – complete with the wardrobe and music that go along with that era.   Here’s a link to my post about the prior Radwood show, held in Anaheim last December.

This marked the longest trip I’ve taken in my Vigor in the nearly three years I’ve owned it, save the initial drive home to Phoenix from Denver when I bought it in July 2015.  I’m happy to report that the car did remarkably well.  I departed Phoenix on Thursday afternoon and had rainy weather throughout the westward trek to the Los Angeles area.  Then I headed north on Interstate 5 to the 580, the 680, the 780, and on to my final destination for the evening in Vallejo, only about 15 miles east of the Sonoma racetrack.

My drive took me across the Benicia – Martinez toll bridge across the Carquinez Strait.  There are a lot of waterways in the area — something I’m not very accustomed to since I live in the desert.

In Vallejo, I met up with my friend Jay who’d flown in from San Diego for the occasion.  He rented a 2005 Honda S2000 on Turo which we took to dinner along the waterfront at an Italian restaurant.  I did a quick parking-lot wipe-down of the Vigor before bed and it ended up getting rained on again overnight anyway.

Saturday morning, Jay brought over some thrift store apparel finds:  A vivid multi-color Wrangler button-down and a “California Lovin” blue hoodie.  If you’re going to attend a vintage car show, you have to look the part.  He also loaned me some pretty tubular Ray Ban sunglasses.  My friend Jason took his wardrobe to a whole new level, complete with a copper wig.

We timed our arrival at Sonoma just right in order to roll in with my friend Chris from San Francisco who brought his black 1994 Legend GS 6-speed.  The car show was broken up into a few different parking areas, with “Radwood Royalty” being a paved lot and everyone else staged on a grassy hill next to it.  Things were a little muddy thanks to the prior night’s rain but luckily the clouds held out and things stayed dry all day.  The wind, however, got chilly and I was extremely grateful to Jay for giving me that hoodie.

As was to be expected, there was a very vast array of automobiles from two to three decades ago.  I would say the German brands dominated the field, with a lot of very clean “E30” 3-series BMWs including my friend Aaron’s exceedingly rare “IX” all-wheel-drive model.  I saw a car called a Bitter for the first time, and I kind of chuckled that it had the same interior color as my Vigor – and even called it the same thing (“Cognac”).  My preferred picks of course were some of the Honda products, including two very clean third-generation Preludes (this one showing off its four-wheel-steering feature).

It was great to reconnect with friends again and catch up over taco truck food and classic music.  There were a lot of accolades for the Vigor and its quirky powertrain combination.  I made sure to display the window sticker and sales brochure, and I popped the hood to showcase that 176-horsepower, 5-cylinder powerplant proudly.

Coming locally from the SF Bay area was my buddy Shervin, in his 1984 Mercedes-Benz 300SD.  It had 205,000 miles on the odometer and a massive binder full of receipts.  Shervin dressed the part of a successful 1980s professional in a business suit, and he accessorized his car with some period-correct items like cassette tapes and some Avery business card templates.  He sure knows how to show up to a board meeting in style.

Radwood was the only car show I’ve ever attended that had giveaways allocated by way of thumb wars and rock-paper-scissors.  The “Best Japanese” award ended up going to a very clean Nissan Pulsar Sportbak.

I sadly gave back the borrowed Ray Bans and hit the highway southbound, going as far as Buttonwillow, California that evening (only about 4 hours away).  The Vigor proved itself as a pretty good road tripper with comfortable revs and a surprisingly quiet cabin considering it has frameless door windows.

I checked in at the Motel 6 around 9:00 p.m. – my third night in my third M6 of the trip.  If there were such a thing as a Diamond Platinum Preferred Motel 6 member, I’d be top dawg.  But when’s the last time you saw a window-mounted climate control unit that looked like this?  I guess the motel was last remodeled about when Radwood-era cars were new.

The final stretch to Phoenix was on Sunday, with just one more stop in Palm Desert for a bean & cheese burrito and an energy drink to fuel me up.  It was a whirlwind trip, but what Drive to Five adventure isn’t?  Thanks for coming along and enjoying some of the great 80s and 90s with me!

Traditional stop in Desert Center.  I go there with all my cars!

Fueling up in Palm Desert at Chevron.

Taco Bell for lunch in Buttonwillow.  Does it look familiar?

It should.  Because I was just there with the Integra sedan six days prior.

Northbound on Interstate 5 at the split with I-580.  I took this same route last year when I went to Sacramento for NALM 2017.

Westbound on I-580 toward Dublin.

Met up with my friend Brian at his office.

Jay’s rental S2000 that we took to dinner.  It was a fun little ride for 13 years and 133,000 miles old!

Waterfront view from dinner.

Having some fettuccine alfredo with Jay.

Arrival at Sonoma with Chris and his friend Alfred in my sideview mirror.

Pretty good shine on these old rides.

Remember the Mitsubishi 3000 GT Spyder?

And better yet, remember the 1980s Chevy Nova?  Someone actually restored one of these and I love it!

View overlooking the venue.

My friend Chris who flew up from LA for the occasion.

Driving home through some misty fog on I-5 southbound.

The Last Puzzle Piece, Part 1: Purchasing My 1992 Acura Integra LS Sedan 5-Speed

Posted in Integra, Legend, NSX, Vigor on March 20, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend Coupe):  559,191

Odometer (Legend Sedan):  157,914

Odometer (NSX):  109,834

Odometer (Vigor):  109,341

Odometer (Integra Hatchback):  247,112

Odometer (Integra Sedan):  117,318

Trip Distance:  1,514 Miles

If you put on your fancy pin-striped suit and walked into your local Acura dealership about 25 years ago in 1993, you might hear “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by UB40 played over the radio in the showroom.  If you had the means at that time, you could say to a salesperson, “I’ll take one of everything,” and then you’d proceed to drop about $210,000 MSRP ($365,000 equivalent in 2018) on the six different models that Acura sold at the time.

acura_dealer

Today, cars of that era are cheap.  So cheap, in fact, that two of mine were bought on credit cards.  Just like that.  As if you’re picking up a candy bar at the local CVS Pharmacy, but instead you just bought yourself an entire automobile.

A lot of people have collections.  A friend of mine collects Pyrex cookware.  My sister-in-law collects vintage luggage.  And I just happen to collect Acuras.  This past weekend I successfully closed the loop on a matching “set” that I’d been striving 20 years for, since about age 16.  Do I deserve a recognition award or rehab therapy?  I’ll let you decide.  Jalopnik thinks I’m a little nuts, but that’s okay.

Here’s how the timing worked out and where I got each of my six now-classic Acuras from:

  • 2003:  1994 Legend LS coupe 6-speed in San Jose, California
  • 2008:  1994 Legend GS sedan 6-speed in Logan, Utah
  • 2011:  1992 NSX 5-speed in San Jose, California
  • 2015:  1994 Vigor GS 5-speed in Denver, Colorado
  • 2016:  1992 Integra GS-R 5-speed in Seattle, Washington

And now #6:  The newest adoptee into my family of early 1990s Acuras is a “Torino Red Metallic” 1992 Integra LS sedan.  Here are the many reasons why I had to have it:

  • All original paint and interior (Flint Black was my first choice, but Torino Red was second)
  • Completely rust-free body and undercarriage
  • Unmodified / stock configuration in every way
  • Low miles, 116,562 as of the sale date (that’s 4,400 per year)
  • Only two owners, the second having owned it since 1996 and then donating it to charity
  • Functional everything (A/C, electronics, clutch / brakes / engine / trans)
  • 5-speed manual transmission (I would not even consider an automatic)
  • 1992-93 model year “refresh” design styling to front and rear, super rare to find on the Integra sedan “DB1” chassis
  • Clean title
  • Recent timing belt maintenance history
  • LS trim deletes the ABS (anti-lock braking system) which is often times problematic (as is the case on my 1992 GS-R model)
  • Accessory OEM wing spoiler with LED brake lamp
  • My family’s first Acura was a red, second-generation Integra sedan in 1996.  It’s like going back to my roots.

This was not an easy car to find.  Oh no, not by any means.  I’d been on the hunt for literally years, scouring SearchTempest to collect craigslist postings from nationwide on a nearly daily basis.  I had at least a half-dozen friends on high alert, too.  I almost settled a few times.  One car that surfaced in Salt Lake City was everything I wanted but with extreme rust and a fraction of the price.  I was willing to make concessions but that wasn’t one that I wanted to deal with.  It seemed that for every 10 second generation Integra hatchbacks, there was only 1 sedan.  Rare, rare, rare.

Then Friday, March 9th came along.  In my typical fashion, I revved up my Internet browser in between meetings at work and did my customary “1992 Integra” keyword title search on the craigslist aggregation site.  I saw a posting 3 lines down in SF Bay.  “1992 Acura Integra – for auction – $700.”  Without knowing any of the other details, I clicked the ad and my eyes got as big as those hearts on the heart-eye emoji.  Sedan, check.  Manual, check.  Original, check.  It was too good to be true though, because it was 12 hours away and available via live auction only.  A phone call to the selling dealer was disappointing, as they would not deal with any offers remotely.  “You have to be here to bid,” the representative told me.  Damn.

The wheels in my head got spinning.  A last-minute flight from PHX to SFO would run me $360 and put me on the ground a little after midnight, so I’d need a hotel.  And then what if the car was junk and I didn’t buy it?  I’d be spending that same amount to fly right back home.  Could I risk dropping $800+ just for the chance to buy?

Then a crazy thought came to mind.  I was already planning on going to Los Angeles the following day to meet up with friends for a cars & coffee event.  What if I drove out earlier, took a massive side trip north to Redwood City, attended the auction, and then back-tracked to LA for my scheduled events?  Could I?

On 9:00 p.m. on Friday night, I departed from my friend Kyle’s birthday party in central Phoenix behind the wheel of my garage queen 1994 Legend GS 6-speed sedan – a car that had only been driven about 1,000 miles in the prior 9 months.  I’ve owned it for a decade and I know that it’s up to date on maintenance, but most people would still agree it was a little gutsy to get into a 24-year-old car with 156,000 miles on it and plan to drive nearly 800 miles, alone, in the middle of the night.

The I-10 corridor is no unfamiliar place for me.  In the dozen years I’ve lived in Phoenix, I’ve driven the interstate to LA probably a hundred times.  So I set the cruise control, fueled up on a Monster “Mean Bean” energy drinks, and watched the miles go by while listening to some hits on my 80-gig iPod classic with a cassette tape adapter (for that true period-correct experience, of course).

By midnight local time, I was near Palm Springs.  Around 1:00 a.m, I was in LA.  And by 3:00 a.m., I was already northbound on Interstate 5 with my sights set on the San Francisco Bay.  The Legend hummed onward in 6th gear with little effort, delivering a remarkable 27 miles per gallon on one of my fillups.

Daylight started peeking out over the eastern horizon a little after 6:00 a.m., and by that time, I could already see the finish line.  I was northbound on Highway 101 crossing through San Jose – oddly enough, the same place where I’d purchased my NSX and my Legend coupe years ago.  Clearly it’s a good place to find quality cars.  I arrived at the auction house in Redwood City well before it opened, so I had a $15 omelet at Squeeze In about 3 miles away and collected my composure for a busy day ahead.  I think I had 3 bites of food.  My stomach was in absolute knots.  But I liked the sound of this omelet for obvious reasons.

I’ve been to plenty of auctions before.  Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale has been an annual tradition for me lately.  But I’ve never bid or even been serious about buying before.  And for that reason, my anxiety was through the roof.  Because the minute I walked into the warehouse and saw the Integra, I got this feeling like I knew I would be buying it.  Parked between a Ford utility truck and a Volkswagen Golf, it was the oldest of the 21 different vehicles up for charity auction that day.

Auction City allows prospective buyers to check out the inventory before the bidding starts at 10:30 a.m.  So, I did just that.  I cranked up the car, checked the electronics, and gave the clutch a few kicks.  The engine bay looked remarkably clean, and my heart skipped a beat when I saw a yellow sticker:  The timing belt change record.  April 2012 at 111,000 miles.  Score.

At this point it was “game on.”  I found myself getting protective every time someone else got in or around the car to take a look at it, slam the hood, lean up against it, or rev the motor.  I tried not to get my hopes too far up, and I also tried to keep my head on straight.  The combination of racing thoughts and complete lack of sleep left me feeling lightheaded a couple of times.

An old man next to me leaned over and commented on the Integra, “Needs a lot of work,” he said.  “I ran the Carfax and the timing belt hasn’t been done yet.”  I knew he was wrong, but I didn’t say it.  Keep your bids off my car, man.  A sheet of paper on the dashboard said “Suggested Retail $1,925.”  What would it go for?

At registration, I had been given bidder #37 so I got my card ready as soon as I saw the Integra was almost up.  I stood near the car and tried to understand the mumbo-jumbo coming out of the auctioneer’s mouth in the echoey building.  Luckily the numbers were understandable if nothing else was.

I raised my hand repeatedly like the nerd in the front row of the class who knows the answer to every stupid question.  I had a max bid amount in mind, and I was going to keep my hand in the air as long as I could until that number was reached.  At least 3 other people were fighting me for that car.

Two minutes later, it was SOLD for $2,700, the auctioneer exclaimed.  I won it.  Giddy.  Amazed.  How the heck did that just happen?  I was on cloud 9.

Immediately I started looking into logistics.  Within 30 minutes, I had pre-paid for a Montway transport truck so the logistics were taken care of (or so I thought – more on that later).  After all 21 vehicles in the hall had been sold, I met with a representative to handle payment & paperwork (he of course asked why I’d felt compelled to bid to the point that I did).  By the way, the Integra was the only car of the 21 to sell for a price point above its posted “Retail” price.  Yeah, so what.  I was prepared to go even higher.

With that, I knew the deal was sealed and my nerves calmed back down.  But my weekend adventure wasn’t over yet.  For the next 6 hours, I fought heavy rain almost all the way back to the Los Angeles area, including a horrendous construction zone on the north end of the city with poorly marked lane lines and heavy traffic.  By the time I rolled into my Super 8 in Torrance, I’d white-knuckled so long my hands were permanently gripping the Legend’s steering wheel.

For the first time since Thursday, I finally settled in and took a minute to breathe.  The next day came early, as I picked up a long-time friend named Kazuhiro from his hotel nearby and we went to Cars & Coffee South Bay in Gardena.  Kazuhiro was on vacation from Japan for a week.  Back home, he has a 1995 Legend GS sedan that looks exactly like mine.  It was great to finally meet him, as well as reconnect with other friends from southern California despite the drizzly weather.

I headed back home to Phoenix at the conclusion of lunch at Eatalian Deli and enjoyed the next 6 hours of solitude and success after having achieved all of my trip’s goals.  After unpacking the car, I made the most long awaited reunion of all:  My flannel pillow.  What a weekend.  Now I just had to figure out a way to get the car home.  Come back to the next post to see how that went!

So that’s the story of how after a 20-year quest, I ended up with a fleet of every vehicle configuration that Acura sold in the early 1990s.  And I only paid about $53,000 for all six, so I guess you could say I got 75% off.  And that’s a bargain deal I can live with.  Check out the 19-minute video including scenes from the auction itself.

Welcomed to Redwood City bright & early after an all-night drive

Arrival at Auction City on Saturday morning

That engine bay – clean!

Paperwork showing the “suggested retail” price of $1,925

Left rear quarter.  Those exhaust tips are not OEM!  (But that will change)

Front left quarter.  The car needs some TLC but it’s a strong start.

These were the makes, models, and final prices for all 21 cars auctioned.

These are the 14″ GS trim wheels I’ll be getting when I ditch those hubcaps.

That spoiler!  Shot from the accessories brochure.

Picking up Kazuu in Torrance on Sunday morning

My friend Ryu at cars & coffee (and a Honda Beat in the background)

With Kazuu and Fred

Kazuu’s car, back home in Japan

Raul, Rob, Kazuu, Tyson, Jay, Brett, after breakfast

Headed back home to AZ

My roommate had a Toyota C-HR on test last week.  Aztec Green anyone?

And my friend Sunny visited – was great to see him!

Come back soon for the adventure that getting the car home involved!

Mom’s Visit, Half-Marathon, Vigor Bumper Refinish, Future Classic Car Show & Special Guests

Posted in Arizona, Car Show, Legend, Running, Vigor on January 21, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  558,577

Odometer (Integra):  245,989

My guest room is fully booked this month — if it seems I’m light on travels, it’s because I’m hosting all sorts of company.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way!  Now if only I offered free breakfast & a fitness center.

Mom flew down from southern Utah for an annual tradition:  The Rock & Roll Half Marathon which starts & ends in Tempe, near Arizona State University.  We have the whole routine down to a science:  Where to have brunch the day prior, what to wear, where to park the car, and even where to meet at the conclusion of the race.  Because – let’s face it – we already knew that mom was going to beat me to the finish line by a solid half-hour or more.  And she did.

I missed out on the North American International Auto Show this past week.  In case you missed it too, there were some big announcements from Acura with the debut of the all-new 2019 RDX sport utility vehicle.  AND – drumroll please – the Type-S name is coming back!

That same day, I had “Ultimate Finish” – a mobile bumper repair/repaint operation – come over to the house and re-shoot both bumpers on my 1994 Vigor GS.  I must say, for having been a driveway job and completed from start to finish in a matter of 6 hours, it turned out phenomenally.  They charged me $300 per bumper.

I attended the third annual Future Classics Car Show on the upper parking deck of the Scottsdale Quarter shopping center.  It was quite the grab-bag of vehicles, but that’s what makes the show interesting.  James took his 1999 Isuzu VehiCROSS, Kyle his 2005 Pontiac GTO, and Scott his 2012 Mini Cooper.  I was in the 1992 Integra GS-R.  None of us went home with any awards but we enjoyed hanging out with fellow gearheads for the evening.

The following evening, I had a couple of special guests arrive.

Peter Cunningham, President of the NSX Club of America (NSXCA), and Donald Osborne, auto appraiser extraordinaire, came over for a VIP visit to my humble car collection.  We went to dinner nearby at a Casa Añejo.  Meanwhile, my roommate picked up my friend Chris from the Phoenix airport.  A few years ago, we started the tradition of Chris visiting Arizona each January for a several-day visit which centers around attending the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction.  I’ll have more on that in a dedicated next post!

Chris put a few miles on my cars while I was at work the next couple of days, including taking an 800+ mile drive to southern Utah and back in a single day.  He’s a little nuts, but I guess that’s why we get along so well.  Destination #1 was Monument Valley, one of my favorite places.  He also hit up Four Corners and spent a little bit of time in Colorado and New Mexico.  As in, probably a footstep’s worth of time in each!  My car was dirty so I spent a good chunk of the afternoon today getting it cleaned up.  I decided to film a walkaround video since a few had asked for a current one.  Ask and ye shall receive.

Below are a few more photos of the last few weeks’ activities.  Have a great evening!

Picking up mom at the airport

Pasta prep

Dinner crowd at my place

Saturday morning in downtown at the marathon expo

View from the patio at our brunch spot:  FEZ

Tyson, Kevin, Adam, Jon, Tia, Rob, Julio at brunch

Doing a little yard sale-ing with mom (she’s in the sideview mirror proudly holding up a new red dress she purchased for $5)

Mile 10 of the marathon on Sunday morning, with the clock already showing just under 2 hours elapsed.

Finished!  And headed home.

Departure back to Utah, dropping off mom at the airport

Peter Cunningham signing my guest book at the house

Donald Osborne, Chris, me

Airport run in the Legend sedan to pick up Kevin from Georgia

Tyson, Kevin, Chris

Chris’ post to the 5,000-member “ALOE” group on Facebook.  It stands for Acura Legend Owners & Enthusiasts.

Breakfast at Zookz on Camelback

Chris heading out to Carefree to see the world’s largest sundial.

Chris and Kevin enjoying a relaxing evening in my backyard.

More to come, soon!

San Diego, California Trip & A Petrolicious Article

Posted in California, Road Trip, Vigor on July 18, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Vigor):  107,599

Trip Distance:  710 Miles

The Center of the World, as it turns out, can be anywhere you want it to be.

The (three) residents of the small town of Felicity, California think they’re the lucky ones who can claim such a title.  Passers-by on Interstate 8 between Yuma, Arizona, and San Diego California may look to the north of the highway and see a spiral staircase seemingly leading to nowhere.  It’s a 25-foot-tall set of stairs that were brought over from the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Also among the oddities on this site are a pyramid (it’s the desert, after all) and a small church set atop a man-made hill.  When my friends and I travel to southern California, Felicity is one of my favorite pit stops, and it was just one of the highlights a short & sweet trip to San Diego and back this past weekend.

For a change of pace, I pulled the 1994 Vigor out of the garage and put it to work.  After all, it had only been driven about 2,400 miles in two years and it hadn’t left the state since July of 2015 since I first brought it to Phoenix from Denver.  Luckily, the old Arcadia Green 5-cylinder was up to the task and made the trip flawlessly and in the comfort of nice cold air conditioning.  In all, there were 7 of us making the westward trek to escape the summer’s heat so a couple of friends drove separately.

San Diego’s weather forecast is among the country’s most predictable and comfortable.  The highest monthly average high temperature (in August) is 76 degrees and the lowest (in December) is 48 degrees.  To those of us who’ve been hitting triple-digit temperatures since the first week of May, it’s a perfect escape at only 5.5 hours away.  Plus, Yuma, at the halfway point, has a Panda Express.  Sign me up for that roadside destination.

James secured us a sweet 1910 era home on Myrtle Avenue via AirBNB which suited our needs perfectly and was located within a few blocks from the social activities which we wanted to attend.  It was located in the Hillcrest part of town, just north of Balboa Park and conveniently located not far from the I-8 freeway that we had come into town on.  I was able to stash the Vigor streetside for a couple of days and not have to worry too much about parking.  On Saturday I enjoyed the opportunity to throw a beach towel on the front yard under a shade tree and enjoy the cool breeze.  That afternoon, a few of us attended a pool party.

Here’s one heck of a chair.  Or a scene from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

Our evening took us deeper into downtown San Diego, to the “Little Italy” part of town.  It was originally an Italian fishing neighborhood and today is home to some of the best Italian dining in southern California.  From our table at a restaurant on India Street called Civico 1845, I could see the harbor just a few blocks away and the open air dining was a nice refreshing break.  Not to mention – the food was phenomenal (albeit $22 for my entree).  At the end of the meal, our wait staff delivered a plate of tiramisu so James in recognition for his 31st birthday the day prior.  He graciously shared with the rest of us, and we burned off a few calories by walking down to the waterfront afterward.

For our return trip to Phoenix on Sunday morning, Rob took the passenger seat of the Vigor and we sampled its audio system while relaxing to Enya’s “Caribbean Blue” on CD.  The car’s motor whirred at 3,100 RPM.  One of my favorite stretches of interstate in the country is the piece of I-8 between In-Ko-Pah Road and Ocotillo, California, which descends sharply from 4,000 feet to seat level.  You can see old segments of US Highway 80 in certain areas, long since bypassed when the interstate took its place in the 1960s.

Thanks for coming along for the trip!

Fuel stop in Alpine, CA as we began our descent into San Diego

Brunch spot for Saturday morning

Rob, Tyson, James, Kyle, Jack

This wasn’t brunch; it was lunch.  But it was amazing!  From Luna Grill on University.

Departure time and loading up the car.

Saying farewell to our temporary home.

Stopping at the Center of the World in Felicity, California.

The Vigor, James‘ tester Genesis G80, and Jack’s RSX.

Here is some reading material for those of you who might not yet have seen it.  Petrolicious editor Alex Sobran asked me to put together a guest editorial for the site.  I was honored at the opportunity.  Petrolicious is one of my favorite automotive websites.  One day I’d like to collaborate on a video production with them.  Here is the article I put together.

Finally, a friend showed me a cool old TV commercial for the 1994 Legend coupe.  I thought it was great how the car is shown in a setting of such opulence and class.  I think you might have to have Facebook to view it, and can’t figure out how to embed the video here so see if the link works for you.

Have a great week!

500k Milestone Five-Year Anniversary & Shapshots: An Acura a Day for 7 Workdays

Posted in ILX, Integra, Legend, MDX, NSX, Vigor on November 4, 2016 by tysonhugie

Because why not?  Space #1 B1-346 always looks nice at my office.

  • Thursday, October 27 – 2017 Acura MDX

mdx

  • Friday, October 28 – 1994 Acura Legend Coupe

coupe

  • Monday, October 31 – 2013 Acura ILX

ilx

  • Tuesday, November 1 – 1994 Acura Legend Sedan

gs

  • Wednesday, November 2 – 1992 Acura NSX

nsx

  • Thursday, November 3 – 1992 Acura Integra GS-R

integra

  • Friday, November 4 – 1994 Acura Vigor GS

vigor

Hard to believe it’s been 5 years since the day I drove to Acura’s headquarters in Torrance, California and rolled onto the red carpet with 500,000.1 miles on the odometer in my 1994 Legend coupe.  I’m now 48,850 more miles down the highway in that car and don’t plan on retiring it any time soon.  Many thanks to those of you who have been along for the ride from the beginning, as well as those who came onboard more recently!

I’m catching a flight this afternoon to Orlando, Florida for this year’s NSXPO event.  More to come on that soon.

Have a great weekend!

 

Extreme Garage Makeover: My 1990’s Acura Showroom

Posted in House, ILX, Integra, Legend, NSX, Vigor on October 12, 2016 by tysonhugie

Descending order!

Odometer (Legend Coupe):  548,712

548712

Odometer (Integra):  237,380

237380

Odometer (ILX):  183,721

183721

Odometer (Legend Sedan):  150,668

150668

Odometer (Vigor):  106,293

106293

Odometer (NSX):  106,150

106150

Total Miles:  1,332,924.  1.3 million miles!

Time-travel back with me about a quarter-century to those glorious early 1990s.  I was only about 10 but I still remember them fondly.  You turn on your FM radio and it’s Ace of Base “The Sign.”  Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump, and Toy Story are big hits at the box office.  And if you stroll down to your local Acura dealership, you might see vehicles like this:

pano

final

integra

The Acura brand, at the time only about 5 years old, was having a heyday.  The NSX debuted as a world-class supercar with uncanny reliability.  The second-generation Legend was selling like crazy – some 65,000 units in the 1991 model year alone.  The Vigor was a brand new model with the touring comfort of its larger Legend sibling but with nimble handling.  And the Integra GS-R boasted a 1.7 liter VTEC motor with more horsepower-per-liter than any other motor in the world.  Life was good.

Oh, and all those cars in the picture?  They’re stick shifts.  Did you know that there is no new Acura sold today that has a clutch pedal?  That in itself is one more reason why I hang onto the past like this.

1991_dealership

Last weekend, I called upon the expert services of the most efficient, hard-working construction crew I’ve ever known:  My family.  Between my dad and my brother, there is no home or car repair task that can’t be completed (in record time).  When I bought my new Phoenix home in late August, the main selling factor was the fact that it had two garages.

For the last 5 years, I’d been renting storage units in different parts of town to accommodate all of my vehicles, so when the opportunity arose to pick up a home that could fit them all, I worked quickly and made it happen.  (For reference, back in March at an NSX meet I had been lusting after a local club member’s place which similarly had gargantuan parking possibilities).

There was still just one hurdle:  The largest garage was split into two separate 2-car units with a garage door at each end.  This was fine for the previous owner, Charlie, who used half the garage for his woodworking & welding, and the other half for his two vehicles.  But I had other plans for the space:  I wanted to knock out the separating wall and create one gigantic Acura automotive storage mecca.  And that I did!  Or rather, my dad, brother, and stepmom did.

prep

Here’s a look at the progression taken from the south entrance in just 4 photos.

1 – Prior owner’s stuff:

before4

2 – Space cleared out, wall still there:

before2

3 – Wall removed, finish work underway:

ready

4 – Garage completed, vehicles staged:

garage_after

The Friday morning after a 12-hour drive from northern Utah, my garage makeover crew set to work on the task ahead.  Due to limited time-off at my new job, I had to go into the office.  After settling in to check emails, I decided to walk across the street to Starbucks.  At 7:32 a.m., my brother sent me 2 photos.  He and dad had already torn down the wall!  There were dangling wires and a few boards, but I couldn’t believe how much larger the space looked.  It made my day.

wires

Friday afternoon I joined the work crew and assisted with masking and taping off so that my dad could spray the paint on (a much more efficient way to tackle a large surface area than using rollers).  The garage turned into a cloud of misty white air as dad applied two coats.  Smartly we shut the garage doors so that the cars in the backyard didn’t end up with overspray.

paint_prep

We installed 3 matching ceiling fans and hung up two banks of cabinets in the southeast corner for my detailing supplies and tools.  The final step was general clean-up and the hanging of a few banners and signs.  Dad sprayed the garage out with the hose to get rid of the dust and debris, and then we did a quick wipe-down of each of the 5 cars that would be going into the showroom.  Even my 4-year-old nephew Beckam gave us a hand for that chore.

beckam

I’d had months to think about how best to position the vehicles within the space, and I wanted to keep things symmetrical.  We ended up putting the two sedans at the north end, the two coupes at the south end, and the NSX centered in the middle at a 45-degree angle.  I even finally had a use for the aluminum display stand that my other brother, Payton, had built for me earlier this year.

nsx

I couldn’t be happier with the results.  When the 7 fluorescent light tubes kick on and gleam against our bright white ceiling & wall paint, it’s shocking.  Next on the list (but a ways down the road) will be a floor coating, which means I really ought to get some leaks addressed on the cars before I do that.  The Vigor is dropping oil, and the Legend coupe leaves a trail of power steering fluid virtually everywhere it goes.

My family members and I finished out the weekend by planting a couple of citrus trees in my backyard.  For 10 years I’ve been living in Arizona and my dad has been wanting to harvest oranges and grapefruits, so we are finally making it happen.  Below are the rest of the pics!

 

Edit 10/15/16:  Just confirmed for kicks that I can get 6 cars in the main garage pretty comfortably.  Sweet.

1

2

3

trees

Taking a look at the plans

plans

Before – south garage (prior owner)

before3

Before – north garage (prior owner)

before

Before wall removal – north garage

before1

Cars parked in the backyard awaiting their new home

cars_outside

Wall coming down

garage

Dad working on wall removal

wall

Getting ready for paint

dad

Visit from friends Kyle and Matt

hangin

Out on the town with my brother Bentley, Lance, and Rob

friends

Cars got rained on while they were ALL outside!

rainy

Nephew Beckam gives us a hand with weed removal

front_yard

Cars parked in the back – with Beckam’s Power Wheels pickup

backyard_cars

Taking a break

relaxing

Getting closer!

me

Posters ready to go

signs

Family dinner at Switch Restaurant on Central Ave

switch

Final spray down of the floor

sprayed_out

Posters getting put up

hanging_pics

Vigor wash

washing_vigor

Legend sedan wash

washing_gs

Tucked away

three

Dad and Beckam with the finished product

dad2

sides2

sedans2

sedans

sides1

Artwork is ready to install, like this framed Legend coupe poster:

art

New NSX interior!  I don’t think I’d shown this yet.  Fresh leather.

nsx_interior

And a bath for the ILX so it doesn’t feel forgotten in its separate garage.

ilx_washed