The first-generation Acura Legend, introduced in Japan on Oct. 22, 1985, becomes the first production Honda Motor Co. vehicle with a V-6 engine.
Acura sales were launched in the U.S. and Canada in 1986, making Honda the first Japanese automaker to market a luxury brand.
The original Acura lineup consisted of the midsize Legend sedan and the Integra 3-door and 5-door compact. The Legend coupe followed in spring 1987.
The Legend was a result of a joint venture with Britain's Austin Rover Group launched in November 1981 with the signing of a letter of intent to replace the Rover SD1 and to provide a luxury vehicle for Honda. The project was codenamed HX and targeted the U.S. luxury market.
The Legend's 2.5-liter, 24-valve V-6 produced 151 hp.
The HX program also spawned the Sterling 800 series, introduced for the 1987 model year, with the Honda V-6 engine, a chassis shared with the Acura Legend and an interior equipped with British leather and wood.
The 1986 Legend started at $19,543, including shipping, with a manual transmission and cloth seats. The price was more than twice that of the Accord. The V-6 in the Legend won rave reviews for its smoothness and power.
"The front-wheel-drive Legend was the vehicle that Honda used to teach American manufacturers a thing or two about building and selling automobiles in the luxury segment that Detroit once thought was bulletproof," The New York Times said in June 1991.
The success of the Legend inspired Honda rivals Toyota and Nissan to launch their own luxury brands, Lexus and Infiniti.
The Legend name was dropped for the 1996 model year and replaced by the RL sedan, and later the RLX.