For some classic car enthusiasts, the notion of racking up miles is a no-no. For others, every turn of the mechanical odometer is a welcome reward for the hard work of keeping an old car on the road.
That group includes some of the 60 people who gathered recently in Phoenix for the 16th annual National Acura Legend Meet (NALM) – including a few who drove from distances a far away as Florida.
Alan Jackson and his wife, Nancy, NALM attendees since 2009, rolled the odo in their 1993 Legend LS coupe 6-speed to 180,000 miles on the journey to and from Arizona. Kevin Amoth and his wife, Wendy, put their 340,000-mile 1994 Legend through a Pikes Peak climb in Colorado on the way to the event. Eric Weiss from Houston rolled 200,000 miles on his trip. To such folks, mileage, like age, is “just a number.”
The recent gathering in Arizona surpassed the turnout achieved in any prior NALM event, drawing 40 vehicles from 21 states and provinces, including a few that were rentals.
NALM introduced these folks to Arizona’s signature landscapes and hospitable venues, including a scenic 90-mile drive through the Tonto National Forest and lunch at Saguaro Lake. Local performance shop Science of Speed in Chandler welcomed the group for an evening tour.
For a 10-year span, beginning when the Acura brand launched in 1986, the Legend was the flagship, and was eventually replaced by the more sedate 3.5RL in 1996. Unit sales totaled over 440,000 during that decade, and even today, the Legend enthusiast community remains strong. A Facebook group dedicated to the model has more than 7,000 members and offers resources for restoration, mechanical upgrades, and a marketplace.
It’s safe to say that despite the Legend name being retired in the United States over a quarter-century ago, some Legends never die.
NALM concluded with Acura of Tempe rolling out the red carpet and opening its showroom doors to be completely overtaken by Legends, almost as if the clock was turned back 25 years. Four cars were featured in the showroom, including a European-market, second-generation, right-hand-drive sedan, as well as a custom 1988 Legend convertible, and two second-generation coupes.
Awards were presented and were based on closed scrutiny – Legends were even graded based upon cleanliness offtheir engine bays and fuel filler areas. Best of Show went to Brian Nguyen from California for his immaculate, 26,000-mile 1991 Legend L sedan in rare Golden Glow Pearl.
For folks like Nguyen, NALM is a prime opportunity to network with fellow Acura fanatics and also enjoy the open road. A bidding process will kick off later this year to collect proposals for the 2022 event, and rumor has it that several Legend owners are eager to host the event in their hometowns.
Whether it ends up being an easy drive around the corner or in the far reaches of Fairbanks, Alaska, a handful of dedicated Legend fans are sure to make the trip.