Coming Full Circle

2012 Acura TL SH-AWD 27

Do you still remember the best automobile you ever owned?

I remember the day I took delivery of a 1991 Acura Integra RS coupe. It was dusk on a Thursday in November of 1990. I arrived with a cashier's check at Marin Acura in Corte Madera, California ready to take my brand new baby home. The vehicle in question just finished with detailing after the air conditioning unit was installed into my Concord Blue Metallic hatchback.

The car was not equipped with all the luxuries we come to expect from an Acura today. But, I did not care. I wanted something pure with fine handling and enough agility to possibly take it to a track – namely Sears Point (now called Infineon). All I needed to add to my new Integra was an audio system that matched my taste. I took it across the highway to an electronics retailer for the aftermarket installation. The rest is history.

The experience lasted two-and-a-half years. I miss it a lot – even today. There are plenty of regrets – I never took it on a track, ever. The Integra did make it to my brother's wedding a month after I took delivery of it. Also, it went on a few dates with my first boyfriend, and delivered me to my undergraduate commencement at California State University, East Bay in June of 1993.

There is a void that has lasted 19 years since I parted ways with my Integra. Is there a way to close this gap so I could get over my lament over my prized Concord Blue Metallic 1991 Acura Integra RS coupe? Is there something wearing the dual caliper badge of Acura that is worthy of the spirit of that my old car?

Perhaps I need to find its spiritual successor. Maybe there is some ascendant out there with the spirit and the magic of my old hatchback coupe. Sadly, Acura does not sell a three-door hatchback coupe anymore. Not since they cancelled the RSX in 2006. The lowest model in their lineup is the rebranded version of the Honda Accord Euro – the smaller version of the Accord sold in various parts of this planet – called the TSX. This coming fall, a new smaller Acura will debut in the USA – the ILX.

Still, the quandary persists. Maybe the approach to find the right Acura should take in consideration an old Integra owner who has grown up, but remains loyal to the brand. It would have to be the right vehicle for an owner, whose priorities have changed along with their economic status and social standing in the community. Yet, there is still the want to quench the right foot's need for hitting the limiter – to simply feel what Acura can still do to an enthusiast.

Chicago 2012: Plenty of Catching Up To Do…

Consider how large the Chicago Auto Show's exhibition space is. That is 1.2 million square feet of space that has everything and anything you will need to navigate through the automotive world. Couple that with in-show experiences – ride-alongs, an area celebrating the United States Army, fun areas for the kids, vendors, and so forth – then you understand why one would come to McCormick Place in mid-February.

Between the two auto shows I attend annually, Chicago offers more bang for the buck. The First Look for Charity is considered one of the top events to do for the socially mobile in the Chicagoland Area. The show attracts an entire region to McCormick Place with new vehicles that are currently on sale or coming soon to a dealer near you.

As a member of the working automotive media corps, if I was unable not attend the shows in Los Angeles, Detroit, New York, Houston, Washington, or anyplace we are welcome, Chicago is a great place to catch up on what I missed throughout the calendar.

Let’s do some catching up, shall we?

Detroit 2012: Quandaries from Afar

It was tough picking just nine from a plethora of debuts from the North American International Auto Show. Detroit yielded plenty of excitement, tempered with some criticism. I, for one, had my share of concerns and quandaries.

It was also tough to stay balanced here.

Detroit 2012: The View from Afar

No, I was not there this year.

If you read my Twitter, you'd probably wondered if I were to show up at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Unfortunately, the stars did not align properly. Yet, I was asked by fellow journalists, media relations people and other industry support people whether I would make the trek to the Motor City for this very important exhibition of the automobile. Not this year. I will someday.

Because of the speed of information available online and the ability to see video and images from the show readily, I was able to ascertain the big debuts and the most curious appearances at Cobo Hall. This helped in my coverage last year from my home in the Twin Cities.

Of course, there's nothing like being there. You get to see and touch these new products ahead of consumer sale. You get to see whether you'd feel comfortable behind the wheel of one. That’s why we go to auto shows, right?

Without further ado, here are my picks from NAIAS…

Historiography: Twenty-Five Years of Acura – One Small Tale To Tell

It came in the 1980's, when the nation was divided between Yuppiedom and everyone else on the other side of the Reaganomics fence. On the better side of the fence came a litmus test for an established group of automobile manufacturers. The Japanese proved they could build quality at an affordable price. While the domestic automobile industry struggled with its own quality issues, the Japanese established their own manufacturing base on North American soil.