Eighteen years ago in 2005, my friend Lee had the idea of organizing a centrally-located meet-up for Acura Legend owners and enthusiasts. At the time, the Legend model (original flagship of the Acura division lineup) had already been out of production for about a decade – the last Legend rolled off the showroom floor in late 1995 to be replaced by the more sedate 3.5RL. Lee’s inaugural event, dubbed the National Acura Legend Meet (NALM) went off without a hitch, attracting about 25 Legends and their owners to Dallas, Texas, for a multi-day program.
With exception of 2020, the event has now taken place every year since, spanning destinations from Morristown, New Jersey, to Daytona Beach, Florida, to Los Angeles, California, and many places in between. I’ve written about NALM for The Journal in the past. Last year, we went to Wichita, and in 2021, I was able to host the event in my hometown of Phoenix. This year’s festivities took us to the state of Kentucky: Lexington. I made a 4,171-mile round-trip trek in my high-mileage 1994 LS coupe which I’ve now owned for over 20 years. The car has seen almost 40 states, so the opportunity for another cross-country adventure was welcomed.
My route started in Arizona and took me through New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Kentucky. Thankfully, the trusty Legend took me safely to and from the event, and I even hit up the famous “Tail of the Dragon” twisty road (otherwise known as Highway 129) which straddles the Tennessee – North Carolina state lines. The Tail is a legendary road in itself, reputed to have 318 curves in an 11-mile stretch.
Included in this year’s NALM schedule of events was a tour of Toyota’s largest manufacturing facility in the United States, otherwise known as TMMK or Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Kentucky, located in Georgetown. This facility cranks out thousands of cars per day and was welcoming to the 30 of us who attended a private tour. Other event highlights included a scenic drive through Paris (Kentucky, that is), a visit to Bourbon House Distillery, a tour of the Kentucky state capitol, a reception at the Courtesy Acura dealership (along with a promotional TV spot!), and of course, plenty of delicious local cuisine like a cheesesteak sandwich from Red State BBQ.
Event Director Eric Edson, local Lexington resident, had his work cut out for him accommodating attendees from 14 different states, many of whom drove great distances to attend. Two, in fact, came from California, several from Florida, and a couple ventured from Vermont. Legend people are clearly not afraid to rack up the miles. “Best of Show” during the awards ceremony deservedly went to Chad Hawkins of Florida who brought out his pristine Vineyard Gray Metallic 1992 Legend LS sedan with only 33,000 miles on the odometer.
The most rewarding part of any classic car ownership experience is being part of the community. As evidence to that, some folks who attend NALM don’t even own a Legend, and some choose to fly in just for the experience if their schedule doesn’t allow them to drive cross-country like I did.
The Legend will truly live on among this dedicated group of enthusiasts, and there are already rumors about where the 2024 meet will land. Look for us in your neck of the woods next summer!
Stay up to date on community events like NALM on the ClassicCars.com Journal.