Like so many of us, Tyson Hugie dreamed of one day owning a very specific car collection. Classic 4x4s? European sports cars? Nah, man—early 90’s Acuras. It doesn’t sound too intrinsically exciting, but looking at this fleet. I think he might actually be on to something here.
Hugie reached out after seeing that I’d covered his friend’s 500,000 mile Acura TSX and written a love letter to my own 200,000 mile Acura TL. As he explained over email, “It was my goal to own an NSX by the time I was 30. I achieved that with 2 weeks to spare. Then it was my goal to own all the other cars in the fleet by the time I was 35. I’ve achieved that 2 months early.”
His “fleet” will look pretty mundane to the uninitiated, but if you look close I hope everyone can appreciate how awesome these cars actually are.
I mean, teal! That’s about to be cool again, right?
When we heard from Hugie a few months ago, he had the NSX (106,150 miles), a Legend coupe (548,712 miles[!]), a Legend sedan (150,668 miles), a Vigor (106,293 miles) an early Integra GS-R (237,380 miles) and an ILX “daily driver” (183,721 miles).
All get driven, and all of them have manual transmissions.
But Hugie’s early birthday present to himself was an even deeper level of commitment to the Acura obsession—designing his garage to look an Acura dealership from the 1990’s to match the cars inside.
The whole demolition, construction and car-staging process is documented in great detail on his blog DriveToFive. But the basic breakdown is that Hugie finally had the chance to own a house with this massive garage, convinced his whole family to help him knock down its dividing wall and refinish it, topped it off with some period-correct Acura artwork and accessories, and proceeded to bask in the glory of what enthusiasts will generally call this mass-market automaker’s heyday.
All six cars cram into the space pretty much perfectly, though it looks like the ILX gets booted outside so the NSX can post up in the middle with the swagger it deserves.
As a late ‘80s baby myself, just getting into cars when these were the new hotness, and a decade before people would start saying things like “the new hotness,” having to recognize the simple lines and teal paint jobs of these old Acuras as classic is a little freaky.
For some reason I find it hard to break out of the mindset that the ‘90s are not far behind us, and anything made after 2005 is spanking new. If you have that same problem, this miniature museum might help you put the actual automotive timeline in perspective.
All the Acuras in this garage, save for the NSX, would have been pretty basic middle-management people-movers when they first came out. Their mundanity makes them unlikely candidates for collecting, but when you think about it these cars represent some of the best qualities you can hope for on four wheels—high practical utility with genuine driver engagement.
I haven’t driven any Acuras newer than my own ’05 sedan, so I don’t really want to wade into the clichéd rhetoric that is company “was so much better” when they made cars like the ones in this garage. But as a manual transmission enthusiast and an appreciator of simplicity, I can’t deny I’m more drawn to Hugie’s collection than Acura’s current lineup.
As a car fan in general, I’ve got tremendous respect for Hugie’s dedication and obviously attentive upkeep on five cars that might not be fetching millions of dollars on an auction block any time soon, but are definitely a great slice of automotive history.