To know me is to know that I am an Acura enthusiast. How could I not be? I am the happy and extremely proud owner of the 2003 Acura CL Type-S covered in a recent Car of the Week article (in case you missed it, read about it here). That CL is now sporting 257,000 miles and continues to be a strong cruiser and daily driver.
When I look at how I got to acquiring the CL in the first place, I find that I justified it both by staying true to my price range and by trying to satisfy my lasting desire to own one of its predecessors (part of me still wants a late model Legend in a slick 6-speed). With all of this being said, this week’s Car of the Week pays tribute to the car that started it all for the CL, and more importantly for Acura:
1986 Acura Legend
The 1986 Acura Legend was the flagship model for the newly debuted Acura brand. This Legend gave birth to the Japanese luxury car industry and started pushing the luxury car envelope about four years before Toyota and Nissan introduced their answers with Lexus and Infiniti respectively. Their response was so slow it appeared that they didn’t hit the drawing board until this Legend was released.
The ’86 Legend declared a war against German and American luxury automakers that were producing less inspired, lower quality cars (of course this war continues today). It satisfied emerging consumer requirements for reliability, styling and quality that couldn’t be met by German or American offerings.
The ’86 Legend gave car buyers and enthusiasts a taste of what Honda had been cooking up in the kitchen. We saw many Honda firsts with this car, most notably the introduction of a V6 and four wheel double-wishbone suspension. This made for a ride that was quick (at the time) and handling that was tight and predictable. Coupled with Honda’s well known track record, this was a competent, long lasting daily driver and family hauler for a new breed of buyers. Many first generation Legends are still driving around to this day.
About the Car
The 1986 Acura Legend was offered with one engine, a 2.5 L V6, good for 151 hp. In ’86 that was more powerful than the BMW 528 and the Audi 5000 non-turbo, and comparable to the Audi 5000 turbo. The ’86 Legend was available with only one option choice: manual or automatic transmission. Limited options was, and continues to be, the way Acura builds and sells their vehicles, which likely helps them keep costs under better control compared to the competition.
The 1986 Acura Legend set a new standard for what we could expect from a luxury car. It is truly Legend-ary.
Wikipedia: Acura Legend (to be taken with a grain of salt, of course)
Hemmings Blog “Class of ’86″ feature on the Integra and Legend
Chuck can be followed on Twitter @ChuckWhatTheF where he tweets about cars and other things important to the average “dudebro.”
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