Legend Feature: Curbside Classics Website

Posted in Blog, Legend on April 12, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  529,145


Odometer (ILX):  73,760


“Every Car Has A Story”

Ain’t that the truth!  Curbside Classic is one must-see website where cars’ stories are told in great detail.  I recently submitted a guest write-up to Managing Editor Perry Shoar and invited him to use it on the site.  It was published on Wednesday as a “COAL” – Car of a Lifetime – and has garnered over 90 comments since.  It seems there are skeptics in the crowd who raise eyebrows at the thought of an original clutch that’s traveled nearly 530,000 miles.  Ha!


Here’s a direct link to the article for any who wish to read it.  Therein, I chronicled the story of my half-million miles of travels from long before I even owned my long-lived Acura Legend coupe.  Those of you who have followed me for any length of time will probably find certain aspects of the story a re-run, but  I hope you’ll enjoy it nonetheless.


Swing on by CC and take a peek.  They’ve got some great features.  As it turns out, the Legend model has been featured previously, too.  Editor Brendan Saur posted this write-up last June.  Thanks to Perry and the rest of the CC Team for seeing fit to publish my contribution!  Have a great weekend, all.

Mustang Mania: MAA & Marti Auto Works

Posted in Arizona on April 10, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (NSX):  97,756


Odometer (ILX):  73,721


Any classic Ford lovers out there?  The Ford Mustang is turning the big 5-0 this year, and that’s a pretty big deal.  America’s favorite pony car has sold over 8 million units since its debut in 1964.  Chances are, most of us have ridden in one or even owned one at some point.

Phoenix local Sam Haymart has been involved with a commemorative drive to celebrate the Mustang’s anniversaries every 5 years since the 30th anniversary event took place in 1994.  His program is called Mustangs Across America (MAA).  This year, the event has surpassed any prior registration count:  518 vehicles.  Most of the participants are taking on the full enchilada:  A 2,400-mile drive from Los Angeles, California to Charlotte, North Carolina.  Man, I wanna join in!


The end point, Charlotte, is home to a Motor Speedway where a big Mustang birthday bash is being held, sponsored of course by Ford Motor Company.  Tonight, they’re in the Phoenix area so I met up with the group at a western-themed place called Rawhide on the south end of town, not far from Interstate 10.  Tomorrow night, they’ll be in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and from there, they’ll continue the eastward journey stopping in the cities identified on the map above.  If they’ll be in your area, it’ll be worth your while to rendezvous with the group and take part!

This made me excited for the 10th Annual National Acura Legend Meet (NALM) coming up in late July.

Check out the photos below from my visit tonight to the designated meeting point.


Rawhide welcomes visitors from over 90 countries each year.  The site is a replica of an 1880′s town.


Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ – RAWHIDE!  I know you’re singing it with me now.


Here’s a peek inside Rawhide. There’s food, entertainment, and – of course – a mechanical bull you can ride if you’re over 48 inches tall.


Giddy on up.  Let’s take a look at some of these cars.  “Wicked Pony” on the plate.  Yeah, pretty sweet.


Believe it or not, I’m a fan of this green color.


Here’s a glimpse of what the rest of the parking lot looked like this evening.


Mustangs of all years are welcome at the event.  Most are later-model cars, but a few die-hards had brought out their classics to put on some serious miles.  There were license plates from all around the country represented.


This participant had his or her map and clipboard ready to go on the dashboard.


“You Have to Understand:  It’s All About the Car.”  I need that plate frame!


More from around the parking lot.


Windshield banner on this one.


Racing stripes only look good on a Mustang.


Steakhouse food looked pretty dang tasty, too.


Here’s founder Sam Haymart’s personal car that’s been vinyl-wrapped as the event’s pace car.  It’s a 1994 5-speed that’s been fully restored to mechanical perfection in preparation for the drive.


I wish all the MAA participants a safe and enjoyable drive to North Carolina!

Shifting gears a bit, I wanted to share a related story from earlier this week.  As part of the Phoenix Automotive Press Association (PAPA), I get to see some pretty neat stuff.

Arizona native Kevin Marti has always had a passion for Ford.  His company, Marti Auto Works, has built its name for the last 30 years as one of the world leaders in reproduction Ford parts for model years 1955 through 1989.  The PAPA organization got an exclusive tour last week of his service center which has been painstakingly set up to look like a 1970 dealership.

Stepping through the front door into the bright blue building, even the smell exudes a feeling of nostalgia.  Over the past few decades, Kevin and his wife Shelly have collected hundreds of period-correct items with which to equip their shop.  True to how a dealership would have looked some 40 years ago, there’s a parts counter, “new car” area, and a service lift with all the correct tools that would have been used in that era.

I’ve collected so much Acura stuff from the 1990′s that someday I could see myself doing something similar to this.  Ha!  Hope you enjoy seeing some pictures below from our tour.  Thanks to our PAPA founding president, Larry Edsall, for coordinating this opportunity.


Let’s take a look inside.  And a step back in time.


Meet Kevin, the man behind the operation.


Kevin told us a story about this “The Man’s Car” banner that was used in Mercury Cougar advertising.  A year later, after Mercury had sold far more units to women than to men, that slogan was understandably retired.


Here are a couple of neat items:  A data plate machine and a broadcast sheet printer.


Vehicle lifts.


Lots of neat photography including an assembly line shot of the 1966 Mustang.


Parked in the showroom:  1967 Mercury Cougar, 1968 Ford Mustang.  Behind the Cougar (which, by the way, is a stick-shift that I’d love to test-drive!) is a stand with factory literature and brochures for these and for many other classic Fords, all in original condition.


Kevin told us about how he got started in the business.


Here’s the parts counter.


Grab a Coke!  I’m not sure if the machine worked, but if it did, I’m sure all the Cokes therein would have been flat.


I thought the “6,000 Mile Motor Oil” was an interesting concept.  I think this was probably long before synthetic oils came into play.  These days, I’m driving my Acura ILX upwards of 8,000 miles on a single oil change.


Touch-up paint.


Philco was a battery, radio, and TV company back in the day.  From 1961 to 1974, Philco was owned by Ford.  Part of Kevin’s collection of memorabilia includes these television sets and a refrigerator.


Check out that vintage alignment machine!


On a fun last note, I took a coworker’s Porsche for a spin at lunch on Tuesday.  This is a “Speed Yellow” 2007 Porsche Cayman.


It’s equipped with a 2.7 liter flat 6 motor and a 5-speed manual transmission.  Power is 245 horsepower which is adequate for a car of that size.


Impressions?  Fun.  Loved the engine note and the eye-catching looks.  Gearshift was precise and handling predictable.  I didn’t much care for the climate controls, the ignition location (left of steering wheel), and the overall seating position.



Still, a sweet ride!  And I thank my coworker Tim for letting me give it a whirl!

Foglight surgery on the ILX tonight – I finally got around to replacing that broken passenger side housing.


We made it to Friday!  See you again soon.

Cars & Coffee / Supercar Saturday Pictures

Posted in Arizona, Car Show on April 8, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  529,140


Odometer (ILX):  73,452


Car culture in the Phoenix, Arizona area is alive and well year-round.  On any given weekend, you’re bound to see a fair share of classic and collectible cars.  One of the events that I attend regularly is called Cars & Coffee.  An entire parking lot fills to the brim every first Saturday of the month, and I took my 1992 Acura NSX out this past weekend.


Here are a few of the other vehicles in attendance.


This one really puts a size differential into play.  A Nissan GT-R dwarfs my friend Neil’s Berlina Black NSX.


It’s easy to see that “anything goes.”  The diversity of vehicles in attendance at C&C was evident.


Nice rides all around.


This event is one of things worth getting up early on a Saturday for.


Oh, and did I mention a Bugatti Veyron was in attendance.  We’re looking at a couple million dollars right here.


Makes my NSX and this Porsche seem so humble in comparison.


My friend Chase showed up in his 26,000 mile beautiful NSX, too.  In the background you’ll notice a Volvo much like the one that Irv Gordon drove to 3,000,000 miles not long ago.


Another red NSX.  They were scattered throughout the show!  This was a 1996 with 40,000 miles and a bunch of performance goodies.


Of all the cars in attendance, this one intrigued me the most.  This is called a Facel Vega.  It was produced from 1962 through 1964 in France and powered by a Chrysler engine.


I loved those subtle tailfins with integrated brake lamps.


Rallying the troops for the next event:  Supercar Saturday.  About once every six months, a Scottsdale-based company called Supercar Specialists hosts a road rally of sorts that I’ve attended on a few occasions.


Here, a hundred or so cars got together for a cruise to the mountains.


Even an Enzo Ferrari made came out to play.


Meeting & mingling with other car owners before heading to the hills.


Gotta love that color.


Yet another Formula Red NSX.


And Chase’s car again.


After distributing maps to the day’s destination, everyone got in their cars and rolled out in a giant caravan.


Start your engines.


There’s a sexy black Lambo.


I followed my friends Kelvin and Neil as we made our way toward the Interstate 17 northbound onramp.


A couple more taken by others.



Hope you enjoyed the pics!


Reader’s Ride: Daniel’s 2012 Acura TL

Posted in Reader's Ride on April 6, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  529,120


Odometer (ILX):  73,359



The ultimate in Touring Luxury, this is one TL that’s dressed to impress.

Having previously owned a Honda Accord coupe, Daniel knew he wanted to step things up a notch and get into the Acura game.  That’s why when he landed a promotion at work, the next logical step was to reward himself with a handsome new car.  Enter the Crystal Black Pearl 2012 TL.


Daniel’s TL was one of perhaps only a handful that were originally outfitted in “SHIELD” attire as part of a promotional campaign with the Avengers movie.  SHIELD = Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement Logistics Division.


Initially branded with a SHIELD sticker on the front doors, Daniel removed that but left the unique accessory wheels and OEM body kit.


With just 41,000 miles on the odometer, his car still looks and smells now.  The lip spoiler on the back window is a nice subtle upgrade.


Daniel and I took the TL to lunch and I must say, it was one smooth ride.  I especially enjoyed the ventilated seats.


The neighbors stopped by in their new Dodge Durango and asked if they could be part of the photoshoot.  Sorry, guys!


Here’s what the SHIELD TLs looked like in show form.

Thanks, Daniel, for sharing your passion for Acura!  Let’s get together again soon.

Hey, check out this awesome cross-country road trip in a BMW 5 series.  The thread is 7 pages long but if you’re like me, you’ll be addicted.  Thanks to my friend Lou for the link.

Around the Country in 80 Days


Friday Photo Challenge – Cast Your Vote!

Posted in Blog, Reader's Ride, Utah on April 4, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  529,106


Odometer (ILX):  72,982


Of course it rained the day after I washed the Grand Canyon dirt off my ILX.  Oh well.


I love photo scavenger hunts, so I created one.  On February 7, 2009, I went for a scenic cruise in northern Utah’s Cache Valley on a brisk sunny day.  My 1994 Acura Legend had 364,980 miles on it at the time.  I stopped to take this series of pictures.  The location didn’t really have any significance.  I probably just felt like pulling over to document the scenic mountain range in the background.  The intersection was 1950 North, 200 West, in Logan, Utah.





The idea struck me.  How closely could my friend Ryan duplicate the photo with the street signs, 5 years later?

I sent it to him, to my mom, and to my friend Tyler.  Let’s see how they did.



Ryan’s Audi


Mom’s Lexus


Tyler’s Honda


Who gets the prize?

I guess I should decide what the prize is, too.

Have a great weekend, all.

Brad’s Visit Part 2: Grand Canyon Skywalk, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip on April 1, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  529,096


Odometer (ILX):  72,767


Trip Distance:  354 Miles


111 years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt said:

“The Grand Canyon fills me with awe. It is beyond comparison—beyond description; absolutely unparalleled throughout the wide world… Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is. Do nothing to mar its grandeur, sublimity and loveliness. You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is to keep it for your children, your children’s children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see.”

Sixteen years later in 1919, the Grand Canyon was officially named as a national park.  I echo President Roosevelt’s sentiments and encourage any of you who’ve not yet seen the Grand Canyon to plan a trip there soon.

A little background on today’s destination:  The “Skywalk” attraction didn’t come around until about 7 years ago.  It’s a horseshoe-shaped glass platform 70 feet in length that extends from the canyon wall.  Anyone who’s afraid of heights should steer clear, but for me it posed a unique opportunity and I was thrilled to finally get the chance to experience it.  The $31 million structure is said to be able to withstand a magnitude 8 earthquake and is engineered to hold the weight of 822 people @ 200 pounds each.  Max capacity is set at 120 people, though.


(photo credit – Hualapai Indian Reservation)

From our hotel in Kingman, Brad and I headed out in the ILX on an overcast Sunday morning and drove up US Highway 93 to the eastbound turnoff toward to the Skywalk, taking us through the trailer town of Dolan Springs.  The attraction is located on the Hualapai Indian Reservation, and thus a part of our entry fee went toward a surcharge for entering the Indian land.  Guess they’ve gotta make that $31M back somehow!  The last 9 miles of our drive on Diamond Bar Road were graded dirt/gravel, but that didn’t deter us.  You’ve all seen me off-road the ILX before.



The ILX felt right at home in the desert environment.


The Skywalk experience far exceeded expectations for me.  After parking the car, we checked in and picked up a map of the area. Included in the fare was a full meal as well as a shuttle ride to 3 different destinations and thousands of photo opportunities.  The first was called Hualapai Ranch.  It was an attempt at re-creating an old Western town, complete with a saloon and some stables.  We had our lunches there, and the portions & quality were great.  I went with the baked chicken.


The second stop, Eagle Point, was where action revved up.  The tour bus stopped and Brad and I raced off among a stampede of foreign-language-speaking tourists.  The canyon in all its splendor was there for the viewing.  It was unnerving to stand at the cliff’s edge and be buffeted by strong wind gusts.  We were ushered through a metal detector and got busted for attempting to take our cell phones onto the Skywalk – d’oh!  You see, no “personal effects” whatsoever are allowed.  No cameras and no phones.  Into a locker those items went.  We put disposable booties over our tennis shoes and took a step outside on the 4-pane glass with our eyes affixed on the canyon floor some 4,000 feet beneath us.  It was unreal.


There were actually gaps between the panes in the glass floor wide enough to stick a finger through.  I knelt down to show that to Brad and to poke my finger through the opening, and the lady standing next to me nearly passed out while watching me.  She was clutching onto the hand railing so hard her knuckles were white.  Ha!  An employed photographer was on-site to take our pictures – for a fee, of course.

The final stop of the Skywalk shuttle bus was to Guano Point, so named for a mining operation that took place there in the 1930′s where bat guano (dung) was extracted from the area.  The view surrounded us as we made our way to the end of the point.  Brad and I met people from all over the world as we offered to take pictures for others.



Fulfilled in our mission, we headed back toward the Phoenix area via Stockton Hill Road to Kingman.  A Las Vegas tour bus stirred up a huge cloud of dust ahead of me on the 9-mile dirt road that surely left my ILX needing its nostrils (air filter) needing to be cleaned or replaced once more, but it was well worth it.  Drive to Five attraction rating:  5 stars.

Here are a few of the pics from our trip, as well as a very short video.

Pierce Ferry Road, eastbound from US 93.


About 21 miles from the West Rim, we confronted this sign.


Made it!  Parking lot was paved despite the road being unpaved.


Lunch at Hualapai Ranch, after being greeted by these two cowboys.


Not bad!


The gift shop also had homemade fudge.  We tried a few samples.  Okay, a bunch of samples.


Eagle Point – a windy day but with great visibility.


Magnificent views all around.


Skywalk pictured here at left.  Future plans for the area are a high-end restaurant, a museum, and other amenities.


The Skywalk gets two thumbs up from Brad.  Check out those stylish booties.


This was my favorite perspective – just sitting down and looking through the glass.


Our photographer encouraged us to take this one.


More admiring the views from Eagle Point.


Warning sign from the mining equipment at Guano Point.



Back on the road again, stirring up a cloud of dust.  I had to laugh at the people who were taking their convertible Mustangs on the road with the tops down.  Hope they hit the car wash before returning those rentals.


Quick roadside photo op on the unpaved portion of Diamond Bar Road.


Who needs asphalt anyway?


Brad and I pit stopped for a few minutes to admire the Joshua Tree forest.


The colors of the desert were so vivid.


Dirty dirty.


Finally back at the house, and taking the old NSX out for a bite to eat.  Nice GQ pose, Brad.  Hey, follow this guy under “@bm89″ on Instagram.  He’s meant to be famous! 



Love this sexy ride.


Hope you enjoyed the trip!

Sometime this weekend I get to install a $120 replacement foglamp assembly and a burned out bulb on the ILX.  My driver’s side foglight bulb lasted 71,400 miles before burning out, and the passenger side has had a crack in it for several thousand miles.  Time to get that front end fixed back up.


Brad’s Visit Part 1: Phoenix – Flagstaff – Kingman, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip on March 31, 2014 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  529,074


Odometer (ILX):  72,728


Trip Distance:  306 Miles


How would you like to walk out on a glass platform and look at the ground nearly 4,000 feet below?  Would that give you a little bit of vertigo?  (photo credit:  Hualapai Indian Reservation)


This weekend’s adventure was a visit to a hole in the ground that’s neither the deepest nor the widest in the world, but is nevertheless famous due to its size and colorful landscape:  The Grand Canyon.  My friend Brad flew in from New York to enjoy the view at one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Despite the fact that I live in the Grand Canyon state, I sure haven’t spent much time there lately.  I’ve only been a few times that I recall.  One was was eight years ago, in March 2006 when my Legend had 211,000 miles on it.


Keen Acura fans’ eyeballs will notice those 2004-2006 Acura TL 17″ wheels I was sporting at the time.


Another trip to the Grand Canyon was a railroad trip to the south rim in May 2011.  To a lot of people (both Arizonans and otherwise), the G.C. is a “see it once, never go back” type destination.  What they don’t realize is that the canyon offers a vastly different perspective depending on each of the various viewpoints available.

After enjoying brunch on Saturday morning in Tempe, Brad and I quickly hiked to the summit of Arizona State University’s “A” Mountain.  A gigantic yellow A, there since 1955, proudly communicates Tempe’s school spirit.


Later that afternoon, we headed northbound on Interstate 17 in the ILX toward Flagstaff, Arizona.  Along with the elevation gain from 1,100 feet to 7,000 feet, the temperature dipped accordingly.  87 degrees became 67 degrees by the time we arrived at historic San Francisco Street in Flagstaff.

We wandered around for a few minutes and stumbled across the community’s oldest pizza place – Alpine Pizzeria which first opened 41 years ago.  Dessert was served up at the Galaxy Diner, a Route 66 relic that I visited on my Twin Arrows drive back in September 2012.  The hot fudge sundae was every bit as tasty as I remembered it being.  After indulging, we hit the road once more and tuned in to XM channel 74 – we’d had enough pop music for the day.  Instead, our playlist was opera.  Brad’s a big-time opera fan and a frequent flyer of the Metropolitan Opera in New York.   I’m making an effort to diversify my musical interests, so I enjoyed a sampling of some of his favorite pieces.

It took us about two hours of driving westbound on I-40 across the pitch black night to arrive at our nightly destination in Kingman, exhausted but satisfied from a successful day.  The next morning, we would be wowed by one of Mother Nature’s most amazing features in scenic panorama view.

For that, check in tomorrow.  It’ll be worth your while.

Here are a few pictures from Saturday’s fun.

Brunch at NCOUNTER in Tempe.  I recommend the “loaded” omelet.


The 1918 Hayden flour Mill has served as an area landmark for nearly a century.  Tempe’s main street is named “Mill Avenue” for it.


Admiring the view of Tempe from the hike on “A” Mountain.


At the summit – only around 1,400 feet but it was a stair-stepping experience and still left me a bit winded!


Flagstaff, Arizona.  Home of the Northern Arizona University Lumberjacks.


So, Brad accidentally dumped an entire shaker of peppers onto his slice of cheese pizza at Alpine.  And then he STILL ATE IT.


Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church on Cherry Street – love the architecture here.


Galaxy Diner, a great spot for food since the 1950′s.


Our waittress’ response when I ordered a hot fudge sundae:  “We’re out of ice cream.”  My disappointment reached epic levels.  She must’ve seen it in my face, because soon she cracked a grin and said she was kidding.  Sundaes for all!


Giving this XM channel a whirl for a change.  I didn’t even know it existed.  Look at me being all cultured.


Come back tomorrow!  The fun’s just getting started.


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