2017 Annual Mileage Summary & Kai’s 1989 Honda Accord SE-i Coupe

Posted in Arizona, Blog, Milestones on January 7, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  557,697

Odometer (Accord):  42,757

Put on your thinking caps and pay attention, class.  It’s that time once again:  Let’s take a quick glance at how the mileage numbers played out for 2017.  Year over year, overall miles were down by a long shot:  43,000 this year compared to 58,000 in 2016.  Keep in mind, though, that 9,000 of those miles in 2016 were attributed to the Alaska trip.

The most expensive car to keep on the road was the Integra at $0.30 per mile.  Looking back at my maintenance records, the work done was extensive:  radiator, A/C repair, tires, windshield, and other items brought the tally to over $2,000 spent to go about 7,400 miles.  Hopefully though (crossing fingers here) I’ve now addressed most of the big-ticket items and the car will be trouble free with lower operating costs going forward.

The TL, of course, is now sold but I included its mileage here since I did log about 5,000 miles on it during my 6 months of ownership.  So there you have it.  Microsoft Excel is a beautiful invention.  Oh, and yesterday I put a few miles on my Honda lawnmower.  Here in Phoenix, we get our Fall season in January.

The rest of today’s updates won’t have a lot of rhyme nor reason but will rather be a collection of pictures from recent events.  It was a pretty low key holiday season for me.  A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of having Hagerty’s Aaron McKenzie and his wife in my home.  My guest book is now on page 18, filled with noteworthy people who have paid me a visit.  Maybe some of you readers will sign in this year?

I played transporter for a couple of friends who needed a ride to Tucson from Phoenix the week before Christmas.  They were big guys – and we were in the Integra!  I would have selected a different car, had I known!

It seemed like my coworker Jack and I were the only ones at the office in the days leading up to that holiday weekend. If you squint your eyes and look very closely, you’ll see his RSX and my Integra tucked into a corner of the parking garage at work.

I headed out toward Utah on Friday afternoon, December 22nd and traffic was luckily pretty light.

Someone was feeling mischievous and reorganized the letters on the marquee sign at the Mobil gas station in Kingman.  It used to say “DOG PARK.”

Speaking of signs, this classic at Larsen’s Frostop in my hometown of St. George, Utah has been a local landmark for many decades.

Checking out a pretty posh piece of property near my brother’s new place.

Family dinner and gift-giving activities at my brother’s place on 12/23.

Admiring some of the clever work of the Arizona Department of Transportation along Interstate 15 southbound.

My roommate James road-tested a Honda Civic Type-R for 7 days.

We took it over to the Scottsdale Pavilions car show and it drew a lot of attention.  It was a truly engaging performance machine – abundant power, great gearbox, tight handling.  Its demeanor makes for a perfect canyon cruiser or weekend toy, but it’s not something I could see myself driving on a daily basis.  The styling is a bit of a turnoff except for the interior.  It had the most amazing red bucket seats.

I celebrated my 36th birthday.  It’s always fun to look back at old pics, like this one from my 5th.  Stripes for days!

Here’s one taken with my dad.  Was that a steering wheel in front of me?  Perhaps!

Friends really spoiled me.  There were plenty of references to my favorite things, like movies from the 1980s.

My niece and nephews put together a banner for me.

And I had a night out with friends.

I’ve had 2 Legendary visitors in recent weeks, including Sanjay in a 1993 Legend L.

And Mirel in a 1993 Legend LS.

My cousin Chad and his wife Miranda visited and borrowed the Vigor for 4 days to get around.

I got to drop them off at the Scottsdale airport in class & style.

This was the whole family flying out on my uncle’s company’s private jet.

It wasn’t a HondaJet, but I still thought it was pretty cool.  For $13 million though.  Yikes.

And the last feature of the day:  This is my friend Kai who came home to Arizona for the holidays and found himself a project car.

That car is this 1989 Honda Accord, which doesn’t look like anything too special, but does have a very unique story.  It was purchased new in Hawaii in May 1989 and lived there for 7 years before coming to Arizona.  It has only about 42,800 miles on it and was owned by only one person before Kai picked it up from a craigslist ad in Tucson.

Here’s a short and very amateur walkaround video showing how nice of shape it’s in for being nearly 30 years old.

Kai left the car with me to take care of it since he had to fly home to Michigan.  I took it out for a quick cruise on Saturday morning.

Really nice interior.

Pop-up headlights all around!

I created a display document to go on my wheelstand.

Kai even has a copy of the check written for $19,000 when the car was new.

That brings us up to speed!  I hope everyone had a great weekend!


NSX Performance Driving Event at Honda Proving Ground – Cantil, California

Posted in California, Integra, NSX, Racing, Road Trip on January 1, 2018 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend coupe):  557,630

Odometer (Integra):  245,708

Odometer (ILX):  203,182

Odometer (Legend sedan):  156,131

Odometer (NSX):  109,664

Odometer (Vigor):  108,672

Trip Distance:  874 Miles

Happy New Year!

I haven’t been to a theme park since 1994.  This is a picture of 12-year-old me (in socks & sandles — that fashion was OK back then, I think) with my brother Bentley trying out the mini golf course at Disneyland in California.  We got our fill of roller coaster rides, cotton candy, and entertainment.  Fast forward 13 years and I think I found an “adult” Disneyland.  It’s a 45,000-acre playground in the middle of nowhere in the California desert, and it’s called the Honda Proving Center.  I got a behind the scenes look at this magical place on Saturday, December 9th.  It may just be the happiest place on Earth.

It’s not every day you’re sitting in the driver seat of a $180,000, 573-horsepower supercar with a professional coach in your passenger seat.  Doing 118 miles per hour on cruise control on a 7-mile-long high-speed oval track.  And getting to the straightaway and having the coach say, “Ok, put the gas to the floor and hold it there.”  My eyes got as big as pie plates.  “What?!”  “Punch it.”  I obeyed, and we shot to 155 miles per hour – a personal land speed record for me – in a matter of a few seconds.  By the time I’d completed two laps and we exited the track, 80 miles per hour felt like idling through a school zone.  My sense of speed was completely out of whack.

My track time was part of an “NSX Drive Experience,” made possible by special invitation by some of my friends at Acura.  It catered largely to folks who are long time brand advocates or potential NSX shoppers.

My track experience credentials prior to this event were pretty pathetic.

  • I did a 105-mph open-road race in 2007 & 2008 (Bonneville 100 in northern Nevada)
  • I did an SCCA autocross course in 2009 (NALM – Branson, Missouri)
  • I drove on a road course in 2010 (Miller Motorsports Park – Salt Lake City, Utah)
  • I 1/4-mile drag raced my car in 2016 (Atlanta Dragway – Atlanta, Georgia)

Needless to say, I’m still very much a novice when it comes to putting on a race helmet and getting out on a racetrack.  That changed to a small degree this weekend when I took advantage of the opportunity to experience 2 hours in the seat of a Nouvelle Blue Pearl 2017 Acura NSX.  And my coach – professional driver Ken Hill – actually said my skills were pretty impressive.  “Quick hands,” he told me.  I’ll take it!

I drove out to California City late Friday night in the Integra, whirring at 4,500 RPM all the way to the Riverside area, then on up the Cajon Pass to Victorville on I-15, then taking two-laners the remaining 80 or so miles to my hotel, the Best Western.  Roads were lonely and it was a clear night for the 7-hour drive.  The following morning, I made my way north to the entrance to Honda’s facility in Cantil – a nondescript turnoff after miles and miles of nothing but telephone poles, where a white sign and HONDA in red block lettering guided me in.

Honda has owned the property since 1990 and it was used by the company’s Research & Development team for its first 20 or so years.  It went through a $28 million renovation in 2015 as part of a conversion from “durability” testing to “dynamic” testing as its focus.  Today it’s a closed course that allows test engineers to put prototype vehicles through their paces.  I saw a couple of vehicles in camouflage while behind closed gates, but any photography was of course strictly prohibited.

The session kicked off with Acura Senior Manager John Watts and pro driver Ken Hill giving us the lay of the land – some NSX model-specific background, the story on the facility, and some safety briefings along with a description of what we were about to experience.  Our “class” of 8 or so people was able to see inside the building’s operations center, with its wall full of TV screens capturing surveillance of every jackrabbit or tortoise that moves on the property – along with each and every vehicle, of course.

My first of four track experiences was the oval, followed by a demonstration of a zero-to-100-mph-to-zero acceleration and braking exercise.  Ken showed me how to activate the NSX’s “Track / Launch” mode by holding the selector knob to the right for 5 seconds.  The power and grip that this unleashed was unreal.  From a dead stop, 60 miles per hour came up in only 2.7 seconds, my helmet deeply planted against the headrest.  We rocketed to 100 miles per hour, then clamped down on the brakes.  The carbon ceramic brake equipment brought us to a sudden and controlled stop.  Nausea anyone?  It’s a good thing I wasn’t doing this on an empty stomach.

We made our way to a small autocross track where I tried my hand at keeping an NSX inside some painted white lines while dodging cones, and finally went to the Winding Road course which is a true simulation of what a curvy mountain road might look and feel like.  The road itself has a few tricks up its sleeve, like a steep hill that makes you feel like you’re going to launch the car, and a decreasing-radius turn that catches a lot of people by surprise.  Ken and I took several laps and with each one, I became more and more comfortable with the car.  This picture is not me!

My heart raced and my palms were sweaty but I gained confidence and continued to be blown away by the NSX and its capability.  My skills were so good, in fact (patting myself on the back here), that I caught up to the car in front of me and we had to pull off the track to wait for them to get more of a head start.  After this segment, we went to a reception where lunch was served and iPads were available for surveys and NSX Build Configurator access.  All participants were provided a poster and goody bag for their participation which was a nice souvenir to take home.  Organizers even offered to top off my fuel tank prior to departing, but my Integra was already sitting at full capacity.

It was a dose of reality to get back into my 4-cylinder, 160-horsepower, 244,000 mile Integra to start heading home but my nerves needed a break anyway after so many thrills.  I had just one more sight to see on my drive home, so I made a special point to visit the “Musical Road” off Highway 14 on Avenue G in Lancaster, California.  It’s a road paved with grooves in it that when driven across, plays a song.  I tried it at 60, 45, and 75 miles per hour.  Check out the video below for what that ended up sounding like!

Many thanks to the folks at Acura for such an awesome event.  More to come in the next couple of weeks as I play catch-up on current events and get 2018 off to a timely start!

Late night arrival into California City

Chilly day the following morning!  The Integra took an extra crank to start.

Departing my Best Western

Long and lonely road to get to the proving ground

Made it!

Parked next to a “Still Night Pearl” 2018 TLX A-Spec.  I knew I was in the right place.

With my friend Curtis from Acura’s agency

Pre-drive briefing in the lobby

VIP status!

Photo on display from Mr. Honda’s visit to the facility in the early 1990s

2018 RLX out front

Detail on the different driving experiences available at the track

Heading out in the afternoon!

Arrival at the Musical Road in Lancaster

Visiting my friend Jerry in Palmdale who has a 1993 Integra GS sedan

I thought this spot on the top of a pass on Highway 138 was pretty cool.  Mountain Top Cafe.  It’s been there since 1940.

Descending toward my junction with Interstate 15.

“Mormon Rocks” along the San Bernardino National Forest.

Swag that I brought home!  Nice shirt + some reading material.

I sent a text message to Ted Klaus, project leader for the NSX, and thanked him for building such a magical machine.  He had a nice reply!

It made me appreciate my generation 1 NSX even more.

I liked this image showing the NSX, Vigor, and Integras.  Missing Legends!

A couple of weeks ago there was a ‘twin’ to my Legend coupe (one VIN apart, in fact, #833 and mine is #832) for around $2,900.  I was tempted to grab it and keep for eventual restoration.  Or spare parts!

Speaking of blue NSXs, I wanted to share this sweet one that ScienceofSpeed in Chandler, Arizona built for this year’s SEMA show in Las Vegas.  Shout out to my friend Erik for sharing the pics.

When was the last time you saw a 1989 Honda Accord SE-i coupe?  This beauty has only 42,300 miles on it, and was recently acquired by my friend Kai who is doing some mechanical restoration work on it.

The local Arizona NSX Club of America chapter members got together last month for a holiday dinner at ScienceofSpeed.  I got to park my 1992 indoors next to our dining tables.

It was nice to reconnect with the 20 or so members who came out.

That Audi R8 on the lift was a little out of place!

Talk soon!

NALM 2018 Bidding Open, & Throwback Thursday: 2005 Meet Video

Posted in NALM, Throwback on December 7, 2017 by tysonhugie

It’s already time to kick off bidding for next year’s nerdy Legend extravaganza, otherwise known as NALM (the National Acura Legend Meet).  The event has taken place for 13 consecutive years now, spanning the country from California to New Jersey and many places in between.  I haven’t missed one yet.  Here’s a website I’ve been managing the has a few highlights and photos/videos from each of the events.

National Acura Legend Meet WordPress

Here’s the link for the announcement and instructions on how to bid to host the event:

AcuraLegend.org Forum NALM 2018 Announcement

And to get us in the spirit of things, here’s a blast from the past:  A 7-minute video capturing scenes from the event’s first program from May 27-29, 2005 in Dallas, Texas.  Special features include a car wash activity, close-ups of some special “custom” Legends, autocrossing action shots, the banquet dinner, and a night out on the town.  Check out event organizer Lee Horton getting sideways in his G1 coupe at around 5:30.  My coupe had around 171,000 miles on the odometer.

I also happened to come across this video of destruction of a G2 sedan while browsing the ‘Tubes.  Watch at your own discretion; it’s a little graphic!

And finally, on a brighter note, check out this video my friend Pat put together of his absolutely stunning 1994 Legend GS 6-speed sedan.  Drool-worthy for sure.

Happy Thursday, enjoy the rest of your week, and keep on driving.

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

Posted in California, Car Show, Legend, Road Trip on December 3, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  557,148

Trip Distance:  356 Miles

Let’s take a moment to appreciate my fashion sense in this photo from circa 1990.  I’m pictured at left here with my two brothers.  Rolled up jean shorts?  Check.

Popped collars, fanny packs, and porn-staches greeted me upon arrival to “The Phoenix Club” yesterday morning just a few miles from Disneyland in Anaheim, California.  It was almost as if I’d gotten stuck in a time warp and traveled back in history 20 years.  When I saw this Delorean a few minutes later with license plate “BKNTYME,” my suspicions were confirmed.

Yesterday’s event was the most brilliantly-executed and exciting car show I have attended in years.  It was something different, and something very “me.”

Radwood” was a contrast to go from the white-collar LA Auto Show media days which I attended earlier this week, with its forever growing ego-contest and snooty “the coffee at our booth is better than yours” attitude, to a venue where cutoff jeans are appropriate, Bud Lights are readily available, and Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me” is blasting on the loudspeaker.  I loved every minute of it.  I only wish I’d invested in a slap bracelet, Hypercolor T-shirt, or some stone washed jeans ahead of time so I could better dress the part.  One smart attendee was even taking pictures with a disposable camera!  You know, the kind that you “click,” then have to manually advance the film.

This event was born as a small show in 2016 in the Bay Area catering specifically to the era of vehicles produced from 1980 through 1999.  Now in only its second year, the event shifted venues to a place with far more capacity and still sold out well in advance.  Thanks in part to clever partnership with Jalopnik, Clarion, Japanese Nostalgic Car, Bring a Trailer, and many other sponsors, the word was spread far and wide.

Attendees traveled from all around the country to attend.  One attendee – Peter Monshizadeh – drove all the way from Overland Park, Kansas, and entered three vehicles in the show:  His Dodge pickup truck, which was towing a trailer with his Nissan 300ZX and a period correct motorcycle.  That’s dedication.

And who could forget automotive journalist extraordinaire Jason Cammisa running around in booty shorts that would make Richard Simmons jealous.  This was a sight to behold.  Jason’s immaculate BMW E30 station wagon, among many other “feature cars” including my friend Chris Hoffman’s CRX, was on display in the main tent area near the stage.  Jason ended up taking home an award – a 1985 Nintendo game cartridge glued to a plaque, of course – for his Bimmer, and it was well deserved.  His enthusiasm added to the fun and atmosphere of the program.

I was in good company in the Honda/Acura family.  My friend Rob Pia proudly showed his immaculate, 130,000-mile 1994 Legend sedan in glistening Cashmere Silver Metallic, and next to him my friend Chris Green parked his award-winning 1986 Honda Prelude with only 50,000 miles on the odometer.

I had the privilege of meeting a couple of ‘new’ Legend owners, too, and had some friends stop by who live in the area.  Cars from all regions were accepted and recognized.  Even the 1991 Pontiac Bonneville parked in our row with nearly an entire keyboard of buttons on its steering wheel attracted lots of attention.  Another guy named Tyson who drives a beautiful black 1997 BMW M3 introduced himself and his car to me – complete with a period correct cassette tape sitting on the center console.

But how about this?

Perhaps one of my favorite vehicles was Ryan Glass’ 1992 Ford Explorer, which started life as a pretty ho-hum Eddie Bauer edition but has been extensively and painstakingly converted into a Jurassic Park movie icon.  “Spared no expense,” were the words that came to mind as he described to me the custom wrap, brochures in the back seat, bumper and taillight protector guards, and even a pair of velociraptor-spotting goggles on the passenger seat.

As the day carried on, I reflected on how much I appreciated the laid-back and friendly vibe at Radwood.  I hope the event continues its great momentum and carries on for years to come.  I’m already starting to brainstorm ideas for next year’s trip, and it might have to be in the Vigor since I didn’t see one this year.  Now if I could just get ahold of some Reebok Pump footwear.  Below are some more pictures and a short video!

I knew the day started off right when I saw this pay phone outside my motel in Orange, California.

I put my custom wheelstand to use that my brother hand-built for me out of aluminum.

Roll-in shot, thanks to Chris in the 1986 Prelude.

Photo with Rob in ‘vintage’ motif.

Ran into my friend Grant with his beautiful Mercedes SL.  Check that fanny pack, too.

One of two super clean generation 1 Legend coupes on display.

And another.  Becki was awesome!  How much Aqua Net did she need for her hair?

Visit from Penny.

Shooting the breeze with Jalopnik’s Andrew Collins.

A visit from Fred and checking out the Clarion Legend coupe.

The aforementioned 1991 Bonneville!  With a “LeBra” on the front, of course.

Love me a big-body Benz 560 SEC.

Original owner 1990 Honda Civic 4-speed manual with over 300,000 original miles.

Just $6,635 MSRP for this thing.  I think he got his money’s worth!

My friends Felix and Matt

Love the 1990s Mitsubishi Eclipses.  What happened to Mitsubishi?

Good NSX representation, too.

Sweet CRX, but look what’s on the roof.

That’s right:  Boombox and some cassettes!

Reconnecting with the man himself:  Matt Farah and his now-969,000-mile 1996 Lexus LS400.  I drove this car a couple of years ago and blogged about it.  It’s on a quest to hit a million miles.

Oooh, love this old 5-series BMW.

2G Integras with a super clean 3G Prelude.

My friend Derek, repping a Mazda 929 sedan.

Late night drive home to Phoenix!

2017 “AutoMobility” & Los Angeles International Auto Show

Posted in California, Car Show, Legend, Road Trip, Vehicle Reviews on December 1, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  556,770

Trip Distance:  379 Miles

Greetings!  I’m jotting down a few words here from the Media Center at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  LACC is now pretty familiar turf for me, as I’ve had the opportunity to attend a number of times.  Here are write-ups from my prior LA Auto Show visits:

I had to miss 2016 due to work engagements, but I still made it to some of the social eventsRedline Reviews‘ Editor-in-Chief Sofyan Bey was kind enough to extend an invitation to me so I could be a part of the festivities this year.

After two full days about about 10 miles walked between the South Hall and the West Hall to see all the latest and greatest, I can tell you there is a lot of change brewing in the automotive industry as a whole.  Personal mobility is taking on a whole new dynamic, as technology speedily moves toward an increased focus on autonomy.  As cars become faster, safer, and more efficient, similar strides are being made in self-driving technology.  It’s no mystery, though, that I’m a driver.  Is “automobility” something I should dread or embrace?

My trek to LA started on Tuesday afternoon from Phoenix in the Legend coupe.  It’s a tried and true road warrior, and certainly a more comfortable cruiser than the 1992 Integra I drove to Utah last weekend for Thanksgiving.  The closer I got to the epicenter of the 13-million-resident LA metro area, the more congested my beautiful open roads became.  I was delayed about 35 minutes on I-10 nearing Riverside thanks to a combination of accident + commuter traffic.  Gotta love it.  In all, the 379-mile one-way trip took me close to 7 hours.

Wednesday was a jam-packed day of press conferences, kicking off with a BMW presentation around 8:30 and a stampede of journalists migrating from one booth to the next throughout the day.  Some of the big news this year?  Oh just a few highlights that stuck out to me:  Lexus coming out with a 3-row RX SUV.  BMW launching a convertible i8 and new M5.  Mercedes has a new CLS.  Mazda’s next-generation 6 sedan is out.  Subaru has launched its biggest SUV yet, a 3-rower called the Ascent.  Nissan’s “Kicks” replaces the Juke, and Hyundai has its own new cute-ute called the Kona.

600 horsepower, all-wheel-drive BMW?  Hotness.  Not to mention that color.

Jeep’s Wrangler comes back again looking about the same but with a completely new chassis and lots more tech.  Kia debuts its new Sorento, Infiniti shows the QX50, and Lincoln ditches its alphanumeric naming conventions for traditional names like its new Nautilus (replacing the MKX).  That’s a step in the right direction, don’t you all agree?  It was a slow-ish show for Honda & Acura, with no formal press conferences but still plenty to look at inside the respective booths.  I can’t begin to squeeze two full days of automotive news into a few paragraphs here, but check out Redline’s YouTube playlist on the auto show for a glimpse at some of the sights and sounds we enjoyed.

The vehicles on display at LAAS are only part of the appeal of the event.  It attracts some of the world’s renowned auto journalists.  Our team ended up seated in the Media Center right behind most of the Jalopnik staff, including Andrew Collins who I can thank for this awesome piece he put together about a year ago.

The after-hours activities this year were just as entertaining, with a Hyundai-sponsored party the first evening at Novo night club, and a social event in West Hollywood the following night at Doheny Room where I connected with a few fellow journalists.  All too soon, it was time to again part ways with those colleagues.  The Redline team flew out Friday morning and I made my way (90 minutes to drive 38 miles – thanks again, LA!) toward Anaheim for a car show to be held Saturday morning.  More on that to come in a future post!

Acura booth with the redesigned 2018 RLX on display

Don’t mind if I do hang out here!

I admired some of Honda’s hardware while in the booth.  These dozen or more awards are just from this year’s LA Auto Show alone!  There are boxes and boxes of things like this sitting at the corporate office in Torrance.

Fellow car geeks Brian and Chris

Some of you may recognize this ‘other’ Brian – none other than the famous Brian Cooley from CNET.

Quick shot with the Redline team (Sofyan, Peace, Rob) and Honda’s Davis Adams.

Street parking the coupe in West Hollywood!

This might just be the best motel parking space I’ve ever had.  Huge.

Bonus:  A few pics from last weekend’s Thanksgiving trip to Utah

Brother’s redoing his living room and said I could park in it.  Why not?

My nephew Locke

Cruising around some of my old stomping grounds

HUGE shout-out to blog reader Eric who had this custom embroidered Polo shirt made up for me, with the date of my 555 milestone from back in October!  Thanks, Eric!

Over and out!




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Road Trippage: Silver City, New Mexico & Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

Posted in Hikes, Integra, National Parks, New Mexico, Road Trip on November 19, 2017 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Integra):  242,335

Trip Distance:  716 Miles

Imagine how simple life must have been 700 years ago.  Yesterday, I walked in the literal footsteps of the Mogollon (pronounced moga-yon) people – a band of indigenous tribes who lived off the land through subsistence farming during that era, and who left behind a glimpse of what their lives consisted of.  Being without cell signal for 5 hours gave me but a very small taste of what it would have been like to be more in tune with nature.  And I liked it.

The southwestern United States is home to some of the best-preserved historic ruins thanks to predictable weather patterns and remote geography.  Almost exactly 110 years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt set aside about 530 acres in southwestern New Mexico as part of a national monument that today resides about 40 miles north of the town of Silver City.  For us Arizonans, that makes it a pretty accessible overnight road trip destination.  And this weekend, per suggestion of (and in partnership with) Driven for Drives‘ Jason Pawela, I checked it off my list.

I broke free from the Phoenix urban grid a little after 3:00 p.m. on Friday to make my eastward trip toward the New Mexico state line.  As was to be expected, I had to fight my way out on I-10 in commuter traffic but eventually was able to set the cruise on my Integra at 75 miles per hour.  I made just one stop, at Love’s in Benson, for fuel and a stretch of the legs.  The final 50 or so miles from I-10 at Lordsburg into Silver City were lonely and even a little creepy.  My ‘Christmas tree’ of dash lights (ABS, check engine, high beams, and cruise) were the only lights I saw aside from vivid constellations under the night sky – highly visible thanks to the area’s lack of light pollution.

Saturday morning brought us crisp 45 degree temperatures and blue skies.  I met up with Jason, James L, and James Z for a hearty Comfort Inn breakfast (complete with green chili on the side – total New Mexico thing!) and then we rallied our participants for this weekend’s drive:  2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio, 2004 Mazda 6, and 1992 Acura Integra.  It took only a few minutes to lose cell service as we headed north on twisty Highway 15.  For only a 2-liter motor, the Alfa’s 280-horsepower 4-cylinder motor develops oodles of power and James was right on my tail.  I swapped keys with Jason for a few miles and was impressed at how smoothly his (‘new‘) Mazda 6 handles given its 180k+ miles.

It’s a good thing I was a driver, because I wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes as a passenger with these curves.  For about half that stretch, the road was narrow, with blind corners and no painted center line.  NM DOT basically says “Good luck!” and to allow for plenty of travel time (they said 2 hours) between Silver City and the ruins.

After a brief intro at the Visitor Center which probably looks today about the same as it did in the 1960s, we headed to a parking lot & trailhead 2 miles up the road.  The dwellings in the area were believed to have been occupied around the year 1275 and are still remarkably well preserved.  The Gila River running nearby was the Mogollon peoples’ source of life.  By 1874 when explorer Henry Weatherbee Henshaw discovered and wrote about the ruins, some parts of them had been damaged.  But ever since President Roosevelt’s decision to make it a national monument, the preservation has been vigilant – we weren’t even allowed to take liquids other than water on the hike, and we were asked not to touch any of the walls with our hands.

To access them, we had to hike a one mile loop which crosses several footbridges.  There was a small brook running underneath them and the sound of waterfalls made it a therapeutic experience.  A steep incline further down the trail took us up the cliffside and then we walked through a series of 5 different “rooms,” each one laid out with a unique floor plan. What struck me was the savvy use of space and the distinct feeling of temperature and brightness in each room.  The south-facing openings were optimal because they would allow some summer sunshine to enter and heat up the rooms in the winter time, but kept them shaded during the summer when the sun was higher in the sky.

Much of the Mogollon peoples’ lives remains a mystery, and part of our tour consisted of a Q&A session with ranger Connie.  Connie took the time to point out a few key features and asked us what we thought they were.  They included a grinding stone, pictograph images painted on the walls, and architectural features of the caves.  Today, there are wooden step ladders leaning to the various rooms but some of the original infrastructure – including rooftops over some of the rooms – are now gone.  It took us about an hour to hike the circle.

The return trip to Silver City was once again ‘spirited’ in nature, and we made good time thanks to being a little familiar with the terrain by now.  Lunch was at Nancy’s Silver Cafe right in historic downtown, where the 3-taco plate was just what the doctor ordered to satisfy those hunger cravings.  We parted ways by mid afternoon and I sailed off into the sunset – literally, squinting at it the whole way – returning to Phoenix.  I did make just one stop along the way, in a town called Dragoon, perhaps in hopes I’d see a fire-breathing dragon.  But I did not.  I just saw a sign about some rattlesnakes and some run-down buildings.

Here are the rest of my pics from this trip, as well as a short video.  Thanks for coming along!

Getting ready to roll on out.

Welcome to the Trail of the Mountain Scenic Byway

Whoever picked purple for the lettering on this sign probably made the wrong choice.

We missed fall colors by just a few weeks…

… but in a few areas they are still very vivid.  New Mexico does get 3-4 inches of snow per winter at this elevation, according to Ranger Connie.

Visitor Center.  Entry fee is $5 per person for the hike to the ruins.

Making our way toward the dwellings.

The round hole here is where a wooden pole (supporting a roof) once would have been.

Climbing down the ladder from the largest room.

Some of the blackened ceilings in the caves are due to fires / smoke.

There’s lunch, for you foodies!

Headed home with a stop in Dragoon.