Here we are, the beginning of a new month and another TSX Story. I personally am really enjoying reading these stories and getting to know the other TSX owners out there. We all know why we love our TSX’s, but reading about how we came upon them & how we grew to love them is the interesting part. This month we meet a very lucky guy that shares not only a love for the TSX with me, but also of the famed Gran Turismo series on the Play Station. I would play that game until I couldn’t stay awake anymore.
“I’ve always been a car guy, as far back as I can remember. On my third birthday, my cousin gifted me with a large plastic toy car and from that instant, I was hooked. From the thousands of Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars to the hundreds of Car & Driver magazines, the obsession grew and grew. As a kid, I remember reveling at the 4th Generation Honda Accord in all its simplistic glory. I promised myself that someday, I would own one.
When I turned 12 years old, my parents bought me a Sony PlayStation game console along with Gran Turismo A-Spec. I played that game until my fingers ached, building credits and clinching first. That video game holds a special place in my heart because it was where one of the biggest obsessions in my life began: Acura. My main goal in the game was to build enough credits so I could buy a Satin Silver Metallic 2001 Acura 3.2 CL Type-S. From that day, I’ve been hooked.
As adolescence kicked in, the anticipation of getting my license grew. I started working the day I turned 15 (legal age in my native Massachusetts) so I could save money and buy myself an Acura. Unfortunately, minimum wage at the local grocery store as a produce clerk didn’t afford enough money to buy such a luxury. I reserved to taking over my father’s ’95 Mazda Millennia S with a blown supercharger as he was looking to get a new car, hoping someday I could save enough money to buy a used CL Type-S. I remember the day that Acura announced they would be ending production; it was like someone had taken the wind out of my sails. I wrote up a “strongly” worded letter, shoved it in an envelope and mailed it off to the Acura corporate office. I guess they never got my letter because production ceased… must have gotten lost in the mail.
About a year later on a Saturday afternoon, my parents picked me up from my shift at the grocery store and steered the family Jeep Grand Cherokee towards home. They told me we had to run a quick errand and next thing I knew, we were pulling into the parking lot at Acura of Peabody. Imagine a kid on Christmas morning at a Carnival amped up on bags of sugar and you get the idea of how excited I was. My parents told me they had made some financial changes and would be able to buy me my Acura. Fortunate is an understatement and grateful an even bigger one.
We parked the car and I damn near skipped my way into the showroom. We met a salesman, by the name of Cameron Hale, shook hands and he began talking to my father, whom he presumed the car would be for. When he told Cameron the car would be for me, Cameron pressed the issue of how lucky I was to have such giving parents. My mother wanted safety, my father wanted a low price. At the time, the RSX was still in production while the TSX was in its first year. Mom nixed the RSX because she was afraid it was “too small,” Dad nixed a used CL/TL Type-S because it had too much power for a new driver and the plaguing transmission issues so Cameron suggested we take a look at the TSX. He drove around a Powder White Pearl with Parchment interior TSX equipped with navigation and my eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. We climbed in and off we went. I was hooked, I had to have it. The nimble feeling, the comfort, the sporty suspension, the look and that ultra-cool navigation system! (Dad nixed that: too much of a distraction for a 16 year old…)
When we returned to the lot, Cameron took us out back to take a look at all of the different colors and there she was, having been delivered just two days prior: a Satin Silver Metallic with Ebony interior, stock number 9241. If there is such a thing as love at first sight, this was it. My Dad pressed me to get the 6-speed manual but I wanted no part of that being the stubborn teenager that I was. That was it, I wanted it. We went back inside, I forked up the $600 (essentially my life savings…) to add the OEM spoiler and that was that, she was mine. I would pick her up that following Thursday.
That week, I don’t think I slept a wink, quite literally. As Thursday neared, I couldn’t concentrate in school. September 30th, a day that will live in my personal infamy arrived and at 6PM, we pulled into the parking lot of the Acura dealership. There she was, parked out front, sparkling like a new diamond, waiting for me to climb behind the wheel. We went inside, signed some more papers and Cameron handed me, a 16 year old kid the keys to a brand new 2004 Acura TSX. I have goosebumps just thinking about that moment. Cameron showed me some of the features, shook my hand, told me to take good care of it and off we went.
The next day, I arrived at high school to a crowd of 25 friends standing, waiting to meet my new ride. With the music blasting out of the sunroof on that cool October morning, I never felt more proud. My friends marveled at its beauty, congratulated me and wished me good luck. From that day forward, the love for that little TSX grew and grew. I washed it multiple times a week, pulled out the shop vac for even the smallest spec of dirt and drove around aimlessly for hours on end. My father even fell in love with it and went back to the Acura dealer a month later to buy a 2005 TL, of which he still has to this day with 205,000 trouble free miles.
Tragedy struck, however on June 4, 2006. After I dropped off a friend following a graduation party, I attempted to merge onto Interstate 93 in a blinding rain storm with dreadfully bald Michelin Pilot Sport tires. As I drove over an expansion joint, rain water got underneath the tires; I hydroplaned, did a 180 degree spin and slid across three lanes of traffic, now staring at headlights coming straight at me in the passing lane. The passenger side of the car sustained all of the cosmetic damage, though the airbags didn’t deploy. I spun back around and settled smack dab in the middle of the passing lane, the stereo still playing “Born in the USA” from Oldies 103.3 FM. Tears streaming down my face, I turned the car off and cranked the engine back to life. Without even looking at the damage, I knew I had to get out of harm’s way. I limped the car 7 miles off the highway with the rear bumper smacking the body of the car the whole way as I attempted to drive it to the body shop. Both passenger side tires went flat about a half mile from the body shop and I had to stop in the parking lot of a playground I used to frequent as a child. I called my parents and they showed up, along with the police and a tow truck. Watching the tow truck driver pull it onto the back of a flatbed was torture. There she was, my beloved Acura wrecked in a blinding rainstorm.
Days later, the insurance adjustor called and told me that much to my delight, she wasn’t a goner, she could be fixed back to OEM specifications and told me he was astonished at the overall excellent condition of the car beyond the damage, much to my delight. I visited the auto body every single day for the entire 5 weeks that it was there, checking in on its progress. The workers knew me by name and I think would cringe when they would see me pull into the parking lot to inspect their progress. The day I got her back was second only to the day I picked her up at the dealership.
Now, nearly 10 years later, I haven’t had a single mechanical issue with the car. It still drives, looks, and feels like new with 140k miles on the clock. And, as Acura aficionado himself, Tyson Hugie taught me, I have every single maintenance record in a binder with an Excel spreadsheet outlining everything from wiper blades to recall items. My TSX got me through high school, college and is now accompanying me on my professional journey thru young adult life in New York City. I still grin ear-to-ear when I see her sitting there in the garage like a puppy wagging its tail, dying to shuttle me wherever I want to go. Through the years, I’ve been lucky to drive some fantastic cars; Mercedes, Audi’s, BMW’s, Maserati’s, Porsche’s… but at the end of every drive, when I climb back into my TSX, I still feel more satisfied. It’s certainly not the fastest nor the flashiest. But it does everything JUST right. And for that, I will never be able to part with it.
This past January, after a year and a half of searching, I settled that the TSX needed a sibling and I found a one owner Silverstone Gray Metallic 2005 Honda S2000 in West Virginia. I bought the car sight unseen with 31K miles on it; I sent a truck down to pick it up and hauled it to the Northeast. It’s everything and more than I expected. Fast, sporty, gorgeous and conservatively flashy. Dropping that top and cranking the snippy gear box on a twisty backroad is unmatched by much else. But at the end of the day, if anyone asked me which I would prefer, it’s the TSX. It still does everything I ask of it, when I ask it better than anything else. I feel at ease when I’m in it, and it knows me; we’ve shared countless memories together, both good and bad. When I need a mental health day, I get in it and it erases all the pain. Folks may laugh when they hear that I’d prefer an 11 year old sedan over a true sports car but it’s the truth; the TSX truly is a timeless car.
As for modifications under the hood, she’s exactly the way it came from the factory: Bone Stock. I did, however, have the 3M Clear Bra applied after its accident to protect the front end from rock chips. It’s no secret that Honda/Acura paints are some of the thinnest in the industry and I wanted to take no chances of letting a rogue rock on the highway blemish my beauty. I also had an Acura switchblade key milled and programmed. I equipped her with some beefier slotted rotors and ceramic brake pads back in 2009. The OEM rotors and pads were atrocious and would warp every 15K miles. Now, nearly 80K miles later, they are still at 75%, a marvel and tremendous cost savings.
My TSX has shuttled me far and wide. From as far north as Maine to as far south as Annapolis, Maryland. While my heavy foot doesn’t do many favors for the gas mileage, it has never left me stranded or unsatisfied. One of the most memorable drives was hurling her around the twisty roads climbing Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Chasing my friend in his turbo Audi A4, the K24 engine in the TSX kept pace like a champ, the suspension hanging onto every corner and the grin glued to my face. Again, it’s not the fastest but it does everything I ask of it and then some.
Life is filled with ups and downs. Friends come and go, jobs change, and tastes evolve. But one thing that will never change is my affliction for my TSX; the Acura brand has gone through a major evolution, some for the good, much for the worse. I hope the days of fun, sporty, value oriented cars like the TSX will return. Right now, there’s nothing in the lineup that gets my blood pumping… perhaps that will change in September when the NSX hits the streets. Time will tell… “
I want to thank Conor for taking the time to write up his story for all of us to enjoy! The TSX & S2000 look great together! A lucky man indeed. Thanks for following my blog Conor & contributing. I’m looking forward to the next 44,000 miles!
As always, thanks for stopping by and checking out whats been going on! I may be reaching out to you for a chance to feature your very own story on TsxTravels.
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Be safe out there & see you again soon!