Mountains, Beaches, & Cheers: MA, NH, & ME Three-State Weekend Adventure

Posted in Misc Travel on July 28, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (S2000):  44,444

Trip Distance:  500 Miles

This past weekend, I got my Rocky Mountain High!  Err, I mean Appalachian Mountain High.  I guess I need to re-write a version of John Denver’s 1975 catchy song to apply more appropriately to region that I visited.  Either way.  In a matter of a short 48-hour summer vacation, I checked off a lot of boxes:  Three new states, some roadside destinations, a spirited cruise in a Honda S2000, a quick dip into the Atlantic Ocean, and a crash course in U.S. history at one of the most iconic cities in the nation.  I’d say it was a success.

The trip was all made possible to my friend Conor, who recently bought a beautiful home in Boston’s “South End,” just minutes away from all sorts of attractions and entertainment.  I traveled via American Airlines – both ways at 5 hours each in a middle seat, mind you – but still got to spend some time behind the wheel during a 500-mile tour of New England in Conor’s beautiful Silverstone Honda S2000 6-speed.

Our main destination for Saturday was New Hampshire’s famous “Mount Washington Auto Road,” a 7.6-mile, 11% graded, mostly-paved two-laner that snakes its way up to a summit at 6,145 feet in elevation.

The S2000 wagged its energetic tail at the opportunity to exercise VTEC and completed a 44,444 mile odometer reading as we approached the Toll House via New Hampshire’s Highway 93 as well as the Kancamagus Route 112.  Conor let me take the wheel for the ascent, and I gripped the wheel tightly – much like during the Pikes Peak drive at NALM in Colorado last July.  Pikes, by the way, was 14,000 feet.  The Rockies don’t mess around.

While locals lamented the apparent heat wave, I was enjoying the temperatures and they got even better once we reached the summit, a full 20 degrees cooler than at the base of the road.  We got the chance to wander around and admire the view.  Oddly, when I signed in to the guest book, the entry just before mine was that of a tourist visiting from my hometown in Utah.  The world is way too small.

After a quick fill-up in Conway, we took to the backroads and car-swapped with other friends who had joined for the ride.  I got to row the gears of a BMW 340i xDrive for about 70 miles as we made our way toward the small southern Maine town of Ogunquit.  It’s a seaside destination popular for summer homes and weekenders who come up from the big city for a bit of fresh air.  We dined at Rose Cove right in the heart of town, then walked down Beach Street to catch the view of the Atlantic right at sunset.  Fittingly, we went to a little bar called “Maine Street” to cap off the night.

Sunday I got my dose of U.S. history as Conor introduced me to sights like Boston Common, Faneuil Hall, Fenway Park, and the Old State House (built in 1713, and still standing today although it’s dwarfed by skyscrapers on all sides).  But perhaps the most exciting destination for me was the set location for the filming of the TV series “Cheers” which starred Ted Danson and Kirstie Alley and ran from 1982 through 1993.  Cheers had over 200 episodes and became one of America’s favorite TV series.

The location where was filmed, in Beacon Hill, was formerly known as a bar called Bull & Finch.  Today, it’s renamed Cheers Bar and has two different attractions:  The downstairs bar which served as the set for most exterior shots, and the upstairs bar which was the interior set.  I passed on ordering a “Norm’s Pilsner,” but enjoyed wandering through the gift shop and pulling up images from the TV show to try and figure out if I could place their modern-day settings.

All-too quickly, it was time to make my way to the airport for the long haul back across the country.  I’m pleased to report that I aced the crossword puzzle in one of the back pages of the American Way Magazine while aboard the Airbus 321 that brought me home.  Maybe I’m ready for a run at being a Jeopardy contestant after all.

Here are a short video and a few more pics from the adventure.

Arrival at Boston airport on Friday night

Getting one of Conor’s babies out of storage.

Conor’s parents have great taste in automobiles.  I can see where he gets it.  The TL pictured here has over 270,000 miles on it.

Approaching the Toll House at Mount Washington.

Claim to fame from atop the summit:  A 231-mph wind reading.  Which I guess is the highest ever recorded, if you don’t count hurricanes?  I’m not sure where the logic is here but I’ll take it.

Group shot from atop Mount Washington.

Despite multiple warnings about brake temperatures, the Volkswagen Atlas driver ahead of us was roasting his brakes because we could smell them the whole way down.

Hehe, this Legend didn’t really go to MW, but it can pretend.

First time in Maine!

Night life in Ogunquit at Front Porch Piano Bar.

The light fixtures were inverted microphones.

Conor’s street in Boston, with, you guessed it.  A TSX.

Sunday brunch spot.  The “hash” was amazing.

Tyson, Patrick, Brendan, and Conor

Boston skyline

The Old State House has been around for over 300 years.  It was the site of the Boston Massacre.  Today, you can enter the subway from its basement.

Outside Cheers bar

Heading down the the stairs to Cheers

Tyson, Corey, Conor

Quick Retreat: Exploring Southern California with Vigor [Featuring the Honda Museum!]

Posted in California, Road Trip, SLX, Vigor on July 17, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Vigor):  114,000

Trip Distance:  856 Miles

I was pulling up to the emissions check station for the 2-year smog check in the 1994 Vigor this morning when the odometer turned exactly 114,000.0 miles.  Small miracles like that have a way of making my day.

Then I extended my arm to rest my elbow on the window sill while waiting for my turn.  I’m pretty sure I got a second-degree burn from the temperature of the surface.  This Phoenix heat doesn’t mess around:  It’s like opening up the clothes dryer, crawling inside, and setting the timer for 40 minutes of permanent press.  But that’s OK.  We have the refuge of various refreshing beaches within a half-day’s drive.

My friend Dillon was paying us a visit from the east coast, all the way from North Carolina.  Dillon is a long-time friend and fellow automotive enthusiast, so he was a great road-trip companion for the roughly 900-mile weekend trip to Southern California.

Our trip took us first to the exclusive and private Honda Collection Hall, located just a block from the American Honda corporate office in Torrance.  I’d heard that it would be open for an informal open house / reception, and since Dillon and our other accompanying friend Joseph had never been inside, we decided to check it out.

My favorite artifact in the museum was the Laurel Blue Metallic 1990 Accord LX on display with over 1 million miles on it.  That’s right – we were in the presence of high-mileage royalty:  “Million Mile Joe’s” car, which made it that distance on its original engine and transmission.  Joe was recognized with a parade and a free car, but unfortunately has since passed away.  His Accord lives on under the caretaking hands of the curators of the museum.

Here is a video on the MMJ Accord.

No trip to CA is complete without its share of traffic, and we were dealt a hefty serving of it.  It took us about 4 hours to go the < 200 miles from Los Angeles to San Diego where we’d be spending the remainder of our weekend.  But the company was enjoyable and the cooler temps made for a prime opportunity to put the windows down and enjoy the scenery as we rolled southbound, with occasional views of the Pacific Ocean from Interstate 5.

We met up with another Vigor owner, Ryan, for lunch on Saturday as well as Mike with a Mustang and Jason with a Civic.  It was a rare sight to see the 3 Acura Vigors in one parking lot together, and in fact, during some photos at the stadium next door after lunch, we even (unintentionally) parked them in proper order, from model years 1992, 1993, and 1994.

All said and done, the trip was just what the doctor ordered to cool us down a bit.  Here is a 9-minute video celebrating the 4 years I’ve owned my Vigor (since 4th of July, 2015) as well as highlights fro the California adventure with Dillon and others.  And below are some other news updates from in and around the garage.

In other car updates, the RL got a wax job and is looking great for 210,000 miles.

Recent visit from a few friends.

Supporting my friend Ethan from Hello Road with a T-shirt.  Give his channel a look!

I loved this del Sol ad that I found on Facebook.

Cruising the ‘Sol with my buddy Kurt.

Musical cars.

RL at a housing development called “The New Legend.”  Fitting.

Tail end of Joe’s car

A couple great cars in the museum

Beach time near Belmont Park

Dropping off Dillon at Sky Harbor on Monday night

The ‘new’ (red) SLX is coming along.  I’m getting mixed reactions from followers who have kept up with the progress so far.  A few have said that the vehicle would be better suited as fire kindling in the backyard given its condition.

Others are 100% supportive of continuing with restoration efforts to see what I can make of it.  I don’t intend to go all-in with effort & expense.  At this point the objective is just to ensure roadworthiness and make it look decent enough for a Radwood car show.  I’m pretty much there.  I showed it for its first time two Saturdays ago, at the Scottsdale Pavilions show on July 6.

Dining out while at the show.

Here are 2 more episodes from my YouTube if you haven’t seen them already.

Engine detail

Nice results!

New wheels

12+ new hoses thanks to Hon-Man

Should I have gone this direction with the rebuild?

For Sale: Arshaad’s 1995 Legend LS Coupe 6-Speed Cayman White Pearl

Posted in Legend on July 11, 2019 by tysonhugie

Every once in a while, I’ll help a friend sell a special car.  This one is worth a post.

I’m about to load up my car (which car, you’ll find out later) and head to San Diego tomorrow for the weekend.

In the meantime, here is a car you might want to buy:

Arshaad’s 1995 Acura Legend LS Coupe 6-Speed

  • VIN JH4KA8170SC001147
  • 3.2 Liter Type II 230 HP
  • Cayman White Pearl on Type F Ivory Interior
  • 167,000 Miles
  • Long Island, New York
  • $10,000

He has a Google Drive with about 40 pictures, a copy of the Carfax, and the maintenance log.

In the last 2,000 miles alone it’s had over $7k spent in cosmetic & mechanical restoration, shown below.

Contact:  arshaad.yar@gmail.com

Recent Service History
 

Date

Description

Mileage

Cost

6/1/2014

Front Seat Refresh

164,305

$850.00

5/23/2015

Mechanical Overhaul – Timing belt, water pump, thermostat, tensioner, drive belts, front & rear brake rotors & pads, caliper rebuilds, alignment, A/C compressor rebuild, power steering switch

164,532

$4,280.91

6/1/2016

Full Fluid Change

166,312

$390.00

3/22/2018

Clutch Slave Cylinder

166,503

$280.00

6/15/2019

New Tire Set

166,630

$540.89

7/10/2019

ABS Module + Suspension

166,895

$967.90

TOTAL

$7,309.70

Known issues:

– Radio display does not fully illuminate
– Acura CD Changer not working
– OEM Rear deck speakers need to be refurbished
– Power Antenna does not go up and down
– Windshield washer pump has low output power
– Wood Grain on Shift Console Cracking

 

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

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

Odometer (RL) – 2005:  23,077

Odometer (RL) – 2019:  210,000

Trip Distance:  722 Miles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Initial odometer reading on June 25, 2019

Interior still looks good!

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

Fuel up in Nephi, Utah

2000 RL + 2016 RLX

Home safe and sound!

Before / After of headlight restoration!

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

Platinum White Pearlescence: 2019 Acura ILX A-Spec Review

Posted in Del Sol, ILX, Integra, Vehicle Reviews on June 26, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (2013 ILX Premium):  215,114

Odometer (2019 ILX Premium A-Spec):  5,329

It’s about time I got to try out the latest ILX!

Since its mid-2012 debut as a 2013 first-year model, the gateway model to the Acura brand has undergone two separate ‘refresh’ exercises – the first in 2016, and now again in 2019.  Quality has improved, tech has advanced, styling has evolved, and yet the pricetag has stayed constant and even gone down throughout the way.  At $32,545 as-tested for the A-Spec variant that I put a few hundred miles on over the past week, I consider it a very strong bang for the buck.

It’s no mystery that the elimination of the manual transmission option that took place in 2016 was a dagger to my heart and soul, but the new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission is not that bad.  In fact, I sort of enjoyed more of a kick-back driving style over the last few days.  It must be old age settling in because I’ll be turning 38 later this year.  Yikes.

The ILX I tested has essentially the same motor as my 2013:  a 2.4-liter, 201-horsepower, straight-four with iVTEC.  So it goes without saying that long-term maintenance should be a breeze (I’m well into the 200k+ range with mine).  Where the new ILX sets itself apart from mine is in terms of the technology.  Navi with voice recognition, touch-screen display, ELS Studio premium 10-speaker audio, and a host of safety features are all things that are “new” to me.

Beyond that, the aesthetic treatment is handsome, with the A-Spec package bringing in 18″ wheels, sport red leather seats with suede inserts, a contrasting decklid spoiler, and exclusive badging.  I have to admit I considered for a moment whether Acura would notice if I swapped the interior of the 2019 into my 2013, but it’s probably best that I not find out.

It was fitting that along with the new ILX came a 2018 Kelley Blue Book “5-Year Cost to Own” trophy that Acura representatives gave me for my display case.  I can’t think of any other individual who can attest with 100% certainty of that.  The car has cost me $7,600 to maintain over the course of 215,000 miles.  That includes 29 oil changes, 8 air filters, 2 sets of rear brake pads, 2 transmission fluid changes, and 4 sets of tires.

I found the newest ILX to deliver all that I’ve come to know and enjoy from my 2013 – sans the clutch pedal – and even a bit more.  I think the 2019 would make a great, efficient, reliable daily driver for someone that gives exclusivity and value at the same time.  Consider the fact that Acura sold only 1,351 ILX models nationwide in the month of May 2019.  To put that in perspective, that same month the company sold 5,415 RDX models and Honda sold 32,800 Civics.  Personally I love driving something that not everyone else drives.

Dig It:

  • Large back-up cam screen
  • Audio system +++
  • Blind spot monitoring tech
  • Appearance – exterior, especially rear
  • Nimble, fun-to-drive dynamics
  • Improvements to details like the key fob quality
  • Subtle features like a “Start” button that changes color
  • Bang for the buck – so much content for the price

Meh:

  • Aux + cig lighter hook-ups are in the center console under a lid
  • Rear cross-traffic alert overly sensitive – beeps when cars are passing by even far away
  • Front turn signals are LED, rear are halogen – should be uniform
  • Multiple people commented on the obnoxiously large “A” emblem up front
  • I don’t know if I’ll ever be a fan of black wheels
  • Some LED license plate lighting would be an inexpensive way to class up the rear

Here’s a video I put together, and below are some pics from my week with this sweet little ride.

KBB awards on display!

The subtle yet effective aesthetics are evident here

From this perspective the cars are 100% similar

The LED taillights are perhaps my favorite feature of all

Head to head

The bottom line

Keys – old, new.  The new is more durable and feels heavier / higher quality.

Check out the comparison of “A” badges

Short vid and pics from over the weekend, including a jaunt to “Horny Toad” in Cave Creek for lunch, and a meet-up with friends in east Mesa.

The Captiva Blue 1993 del Sol Si belongs to fellow YouTuber Chris Sadowski.

Mirel came out in his Legend

Mirel, Chris, Tyson, Corey, Nick, Jonathan, Greg, John, Ken

Two of the cars in attendance were extremely rare Turbo Grand Prixs, produced in partnership with McLaren for the 1989 and 1990 model years.

Quick Trip to LA for Honda’s 60th Anniversary in the United States

Posted in Legend, Road Trip, SLX on June 22, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  566,392

Trip Distance:  764 Miles

Sixty years is quite a while.  When American Honda first launched in the United States in 1959, the company only sold two-wheeled vehicles.  At the time, Honda was operating out of a small storefront on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles.

As part of some anniversary festivities, the American Honda main office in Torrance celebrated with an employee/retiree car show.  I was given the opportunity to participate as well, and I picked the car that most “needed” a road trip because it hadn’t seen one in a while:  The Legend coupe.

I’m pleased to report that the car performed flawlessly for the 800-mile round trip trek.  Among the ‘celebrity’ encounters were Acura General Manager Jon Ikeda and renowned vintage Honda restorer Tim “Merciless” Mings.  Tim played the lead role in the comprehensive restoration efforts for “Serial One” – the first vehicle that Honda sold in America.

Here is the video about the restoration of Serial One.

Below are some pics, and here is my video on the Honda 60th.

Nicely set up G1 TSX at the show in Torrance

With Acura GM Jon Ikeda and the newly-restored 1961 Chevrolet pickup

Rare Honda City Cabriolet

There’s the “Dream Project” G2 NSX that ScienceofSpeed built for 2017 SEMA

Activities throughout the week

Clean original G1 Integra

With Andrew Quillin from Acura Public Relations

I thought it was fitting that a map of the Honda campus had a ‘Legend’

With Curtis Millward from Acura’s agency, Mullen-Lowe, and Scott King who used to work for Honda

Ryu Asada from Mattel / Hot Wheels, arriving in his G1 Formula Red NSX

Coupe interior

I parked next to Scott’s NSX

Display on the Legend

Following Scott at the conclusion of the show

A friend sent me home with lots of literature & swag, including some original magazines from the 1980s and 1990s

I got a kick out of this flyer inside the magazine.  Anybody want a Louver Kit for their Integra?

Look at these other etched glass blocks commemorating special events in the company’s history

The library is looking more and more complete!

I’ve been enjoying the green Skittle from time to time.

Dug up a couple more 20-year-old vintage pics of my 1989 Prelude just for kicks recently.

Cabin trip on a muddy road in 1999 with friends from high school.

Also, huge thanks to my buddy Sean in Austin TX who sent me some swag related to the Hill Country Rallye, a Porsche road rally each year that brings out some of the best of the best in the community!

Have a great weekend.

ILX 7-Year Anniversary: PAPA Visit to Apex Motor Club – Maricopa, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, Milestones, PAPA, Racing on June 16, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  215,000

About 45 minutes from my house is an automotive playground called Apex Motor Club.  Designed with the idea of becoming the “premier motorsports club of the southwest,” Apex was co-founded by entrepreneur and automotive enthusiast Matt Williams.  Matt graciously invited a handful of members of the Phoenix Automotive Press Association (PAPA) to attend a media program on Wednesday morning, June 12, designed to give journalists a glimpse of exactly what the facility currently offers – and will offer in the future.

The heart of Apex is its 2.2-mile track, part of “phase 1” of three phases of expansion that the facility will undergo in the coming years.  The track itself offers something for pretty much any skill level.  I experienced it from a beginner’s perspective in a series of parade laps that got my blood pumping.  If a “parade lap” can do that, imagine what kind of full-on competitive racing could do.  Matt and his team welcomed us with an introduction to the history and the infrastructure.  Apex is located in Maricopa, Arizona, a small community on the outskirts of the greater Phoenix area.

Today, the amenities are relatively scarce aside from a shade pavilion and some portable toilets.  But there are plans in the works to build a clubhouse, restaurant/bar, pro shop, and private garages on the property.  Considering the entire project just broke ground less than a year ago, there has already been some impressive momentum.  Over 100 memberships have already been sold.

The highlight of my trip was when journalists were invites to experience the track firsthand.  I was sandwiched between a Corvette and a Porsche, and we followed a Camaro pilot car.  My little ILX felt understandably a little out of place.  But for each of the 5 successive laps, I got a little more confident in not only the layout of the track but in how to best control my vehicle.  For a “parade” lap it was a pretty spirited experience, and I can confidently say I left plenty of tire tread – and probably a good deal of my brake rotor lifespan – out on the track.  I definitely had a grin on my face when it was all said and done.

In a fitting conclusion to the trip, my 2013 ILX rolled 215,000 miles on the way back to Phoenix – perfect timing since that day was the 7-year anniversary of the day I first took ownership in 2012.

Entry to Apex in Maricopa

Some of the Apex-branded vehicles on-site

Staging area for vehicles

Getting our introduction to the lay of the land

Brittany from Apex, and Matt Ferguson from Barrett-Jackson

Some of the Apex team including co-founder Matt Williams (second from left)

Track tour in a Ford Raptor pickup

Entry to the 2.2-mile course in the ILX

This wasn’t my ILX’s first time on a track.  In 2012 I drove it on the high speed oval at Nissan’s proving ground.