National Acura Legend Meet has folks driving across the country in their ‘vintage’ vehicles
It takes a special kind of bravery, and a little bit of craziness, to hop into a 566,000-mile, 25-year-old car and begin a 5,000-mile journey. But as a neo-classic car enthusiast and avid road tripper for my entire driving life, it didn’t seem right to take any other vehicle to the 15th annual National Acura Legend Meet in Daytona Beach, Florida than my tried and true 1994 LS coupe 6-speed.
What started as a simple brainstorming session on daily mileage, nightly stops, and people to see along the way snowballed into the creation of a 13-day, 7-state adventure that took me as far as the Southernmost Point of the Continental United States in Key West, Florida.
Four days after leaving my workplace in central Phoenix, Arizona, I was standing at the “Southernmost” marker for the first time – a little tired and stir-crazy from so much time in the car, but also thrilled that I’d finally crossed off one of the major “bucket list” drives of my life.
I rewarded myself by relaxing the following day, hitting the pool and taking part in a dinner cruise excursion with some friends also visiting the area. I even let the Legend’s engine cool down for a day before firing it back up and heading north again along Florida’s East Coast.
The 2019 national meet was headquartered in an oceanfront resort in Ormond Beach and became the home base for about 20 other Acura Legend owners and enthusiasts. Some had driven distances similar to mine. One, Ben, brought his 1992 LS coupe all the way from the San Francisco Bay Area.
A dedicated young fan, Avery, flew from British Columbia to take part on the festivities.
The love for the Legend lives on in modern day despite the fact that the model was discontinued in the United States after 1995. Today’s Legend community feels more like a family than a car club.
The weekend wasn’t without its mishaps – and owning a classic car comes with its share of unexpected surprises. A 1994 coupe needed an emergency alternator replacement the first night of the event. A 1993 coupe broke down from a tired fuel pump on Day 3. In both cases, other members had spare parts available and were eager (and knowledgeable) enough to assist immediately.
My own car, well beyond half a million miles, wasn’t the only long-haul survivor: A 1994 coupe and a 1995 sedan are running well at 300,000 plus.
Needless to say, the Legend model was aptly named, and perhaps that’s why a Facebook-based enthusiast group specifically dedicated to restoration, modification, and preservation of the Legend has over 6,000 active members.
Over the years, those members have attended NALM events as far west as Sacramento, as far south as Houston, and as far north as Milwaukee. Each year, the host city and its supporting ground team offer a unique experience. This year we were invited to a tour of Daytona International Speedway. We also got to drive on the beach – a $20 excursion worth every penny for someone like me who never thought he’d be able to legally park his car in the sand next to crashing waves.
Festivities were capped off by a beachside pizza party and awards ceremony. “Best of Show” went to Mirel, a dedicated member from Phoenix, Arizona, who has bought and restored a number of Legends over the years and who currently has a pristine pearl white LS coupe. He and his wife Alma beamed with pride when they were presented the large trophy.
Admittedly, to think about any vehicle from the 1990s being “classic,” makes many of us feel a bit old. But I’m happy to report that my tried and trusty Legend made the trip while only requiring periodic checks of power steering fluid, an oil change, and a new taillamp bulb.
That kind of reliability will keep me coming back year after year, wherever this event and similar programs celebrating 1990s classics take me.