Thursday Trivia

Thirsday Trivia
Welcome to Thursday Trivia where we offer up a historical automotive trivia question and you try and solve it before seeing the answer after the jump. It’s like a history test, with cars!
This week’s question: What notable achievement did the Acura Legend realize upon its U.S. debut?
If you think you know the answer, make the jump and see how accurate you are.
1st-Acura-LegendWhen Honda introduced their upper-scale brand, Acura in the U.S. in 1986 they required all of the new dealer locations to not only not share space with the lesser Honda brand, but that they be miles away to further demonstrate the difference. Acura was Japan’s first attempt at a luxury brand here in the U.S., and in fact was the first American-market expansion brand from any of  Japan’s top-three automotive exporters.
Acura filled its shiny new dealerships with two models, the entry-level Integra, and pretentiously named Legend. That executive class car was part of a joint venture between Honda and Britain’s Rover Group, and it debuted here with a notable attribute.
From Ate Up With Motor (emphasis added):

The Legend’s starting price with manual transmission and destination charge was $2 shy of the $20,000 mark, making the Legend the most expensive Japanese car ever offered in the U.S.. As was Honda’s U.S. practice, there were no factory options; even Legends with automatic transmission were listed as separate models.

Keep in mind that back then an Accord, or America’s best selling car at the time, the Ford Taurus, would each top out at around thirteen grand, a little more than half the Legend’s asking. What was 1986’s second most expensive Japanese car in the U.S.? That would have been the Mazda RX7 Turbo.
Image: Wikipedia

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  1. Ate Up With Motor Avatar
    Ate Up With Motor

    I was going to answer that and then realized I already did …
    I suppose the other answer is that it was also the first time a Japanese automaker had opened a second sales network in the U.S. (I'm discounting Nissan/Datsun in this case because Nissan changed their sales channel's name rather than opening a new one). A lot of Japanese manufacturers had had multiple JDM dealer networks for quite a while — Toyota started the '80s with six!

  2. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
    PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

    And then the 1987 Toyota Supra Turbo came along for $23,595. And with the proper options, couldn't a 300ZX crest $20k from 1984-on?

    1. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
      PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

      <img src="; width=500>
      Actually, the 1984 Nissan 300ZX 50th Anniversary Turbo went for $26,194 according to sources I could find.

      1. Naengmyeon Avatar

        Came here to say this. The 300ZX Anniversion was shockingly expensive in 1984. The base Turbo listed at $18,699 (per C&D in 1984). Black gold ain't cheap.

        1. Ate Up With Motor Avatar
          Ate Up With Motor

          I couldn't find list prices for the 300ZX Anniversary Edition, but the regular 1985 300ZX Turbo (which is the top model on most price lists) had an MSRP of $19,699, which was a whopping $299 cheaper than the Legend.

      2. Robert Emslie Avatar
        Robert Emslie

        Yes, but the starting point for a 300ZX was far below that. The Acura, when introduced, had the highest entry price of any Japanese car. I probably should have made that distinction, oh wait, I just did!

        1. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
          PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

          So its cheapest trim package was the most expensive of all of the base models from other Japanese companies? Okay.

          1. Ate Up With Motor Avatar
            Ate Up With Motor

            In 1986, the U.S. Legend didn't have separate trim levels: There was just the Legend five-speed and the Legend automatic. The L and LS trim levels didn't arrive here until 1987, with prices starting comfortably (?) above $20K. The coupe also arrived mid-87 and listed for more than $27K in LS automatic form.

  3. Lokki Avatar

    I actually bought an Acura Integra in 1986…. And got an excellent deal on it. Acura's new separate dealerships were a problem for them in those very early days. They opened the dealerships before they started their big advertising campaign. Unless people were Road & Track readers no one knew what what an Acura was. Hyundai was new on the market as well, and apparently people were confusing the two. I remember a lady asking if my new Integra was Korean, and my response that it was to Honda as a Buick was to her Chevrolet (Little did I know then how right time would show me to be).
    Anyhow, the poor salesman were starving. I even managed to buy my car without the dealer-option-install Alpine stereo, and no mop n' glow- nuthin but car. A few days later I went to the Dealer Parts Department and bought the factory unit for $300 less than the option price. I was rocking tunes less than an hour later, thanks to the excellent installation instructions included.
    I really loved that car. It's only fault was that the engine was a bit too small, forcing me to wind it to the 7,000 rpm redline every time I shifted. Sigh, I loved doing that,

    1. craigsu Avatar

      I also bought an '86 Integra new and also got an excellent deal due to the lack of brand recognition early on for Acura. 5-door liftback RS model with the 5-speed manual. Promptly removed the DOHC stickers from the rear doors and traded the parts manager I had befriended a piece of stereo equipment for the much nicer LS alloy wheels. It was my DD for 11 years when I traded it in on a new '97 Saab 900 SE.