1987 Acura Legend Coupe Body

The body design of the Acura Legend Coupe satisfies specific structural, aerodynamic and style criteria. It had to have a streamlined, sporty look while maintaining low weight and high rigidity; it had to be aerodynamically efficient yet spacious inside; and it had to incorporate the distinctive Legend design theme.

To achieve these goals an entirely new unit body was designed; the Coupe shares only the structural underbody panels around the engine bay with the Sedan. Its surface sheet metal, platform and all the components from the A-pillar back are new.

The Coupe has a large glass area and a "hardtop" look that was made possible by using sashless doors-that is, doors without upper window frames-and a thin, almost invisible from the outside, B-pillar. Though it is smaller in cross-section, it has the same strength and rigidity as a conventional pillar because of an innovative design that incorporates two stiffeners that are bonded within the pillar. Box section members also surround the passenger compartment.

To maximize overall rigidity, the lower rear side sills between the door and rear wheel opening are strengthened with additional box sections. And the rear suspension housings, including the area around the wheelhouse, are reinforced with stiffeners that connect the damper base to the floorpan.

Drive components are isolated by mounting them on a sub-frame which is connected to the body at eight points. To further dampen vibration, the engine is cradled on a pair of hydraulic mounts. The automatic transmission has one extra mount to further minimize vibration.

The Legend Coupe's profile is aerodynamically shaped with a low hoodline, high rear deck and flush surface glass area. Its aerodynamic specifications are:

  • Cd: 0.30
  • CI: 0.18
  • Cd x A: 0.59 (6.36)

Frontal area: 1.97 square meters (21.20 square feet)

Air flow interruption is substantially reduced by the following:

  • Flush-mounted, low profile (100mm) halogen headlights.
  • Body-faired bumper and air dam.
  • Concealed windshield wipers.
  • Aerodynamically shaped outside mirrors.
  • Flush door handles.
  • Trimless, flush taillights.
  • All glass areas are nearly flush with the body.
  • Smooth underbody for improved air flow beneath the car.
  • Aerodynamically flared fenders.
  • Sharply angled backlight.
  • High rear deck.

Months of testing were required to achieve the Acura Legend Coupe's low 0.30 coefficient of drag. Once initial design drawings were completed, 1/5-scale models were built and tested in the Honda R&D wind tunnel. These versions were used to create the most efficient front and rear glass angle; hood height and slope; deck length; and overall shape. Then, full-scale mockups were built for further wind tunnel refinement.

Compared to the Legend Sedan, the Coupe has a smaller frontal area; lower profile headlights; its rear window rake is increased from 22 to 26 degrees; its body design is somewhat more rounded; and it has a front chin spoiler which curves down at the corners to direct air around the leading edge of the tires.

The Legend Coupe also uses fenders which are flared around the wheel openings. In addition to their aggressive appearance, testing showed that this configuration was aerodynamically very efficient.

The Acura Legend Coupe's aerodynamic design contributes significantly to reducing wind noise, increasing performance, aiding stability at highway speeds, and improving fuel efficiency.

The Acura Legend Coupe makes extensive use of electrolytic zinc-coated steel, hot-dip galvanized steel and zinc pre-coated steel for improved corrosion resistance. Also, wax coating is applied under the hood and deck lid; around the engine compartment; within the lower sills and rear quarter panels; along the door edges; and inside the front fenders.

The finishing procedure for the Legend Coupe involves 23 steps beginning with degreasing the assembled body and ending with wax injection along inner panels and beneath the floor. The Coupe passes through five wash and rinse cycles and receives coats of zinc phosphate, sealant, chip resistant lower-body primer, and PVC undercoat.

The final primer and paint coats are each slow baked to assure a durable, hard finish with a high luster. This special painting method was developed for the Legend 4-Door Sedan. It is a 4- coat, 4-bake process which cures each successive layer of paint at a relatively low temperature for a longer period of time. Ordinarily, paint is baked at 180C? (356°F) for 20 minutes; with the new technique, it's 140C? (284°F) for 40 minutes. This results in a smoother, flatter surface. On metallic colors, the last coat is clear for a high luster finish.

Quality is a top priority consideration that began during the Legend Coupe's initial design phase. As the car neared production, design engineers worked with manufacturing engineers to assure proper assembly. Fit and finish were audited on each part during the trial phase of production and parts were often redesigned based on experience gained on the factory floor to assure proper final assembly and fit.

Several new techniques were developed to enhance quality. For example, to assure correct window fit and operation, the doors are removed from the body after painting for window installation. They are held fast in a special jig, making it easier for workers to install the glass and window mechanisms with greater precision than if the doors were left on the car.

During production, each car goes through a car wash shower test. Also, the potential for wind leakage is regularly checked on the line by special instruments which measure the deflection of the rubber seals around the windows.

With its low beltline and large glass area the Acura Legend Coupe provides an airy and open interior environment for its occupants. Its thin pillar design and low angled hood make for excellent driver visibility. The Coupe can accommodate five people. There are three-point seat belts in all the outboard seating positions and a two-point belt for the middle rear seat passenger.

The interior design was developed around the driver with the goal of increasing efficiency and minimizing stress by providing a logically designed command environment. The instruments and controls are all located within easy view and reach. All the buttons, levers and switches are designed for positive feedback so that there's no doubt when they are actuated.

Standard comfort and convenience features include cruise control; power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering; bronze tinted glass; power operated glass sunroof with sliding sunshade; power door locks and windows; air conditioning; AM/FM cassette stereo with driver remote control; and illuminated entry system.

The front seats in all Legend Coupe versions have fore-and-aft and seat back angle adjustments. The headrests tilt and the driver's seat has adjustable thigh and lumbar support as well. The driver's seat of Land LS Coupes has electric fore-and-aft and back-angle adjustment. The seats are upholstered with cold molded, ergonomically shaped, variable density urethane foam cushions with the proper degree of firmness to provide support and comfort on long trips.

Moquette upholstery is used in the standard Legend Coupe; leather seating surfaces and trim are standard equipment on Land LS versions.

The Land LS versions of the Legend Coupe are equipped with a security system designed to protect against common types of break-in and theft: forcing a door lock or ignition.

There is no special activating procedure; the system is armed 15 seconds after locking the door and a dash-mounted LED is activated to inform the driver that the system is functioning.

Opening the hood, doors or trunk without the proper key triggers the alarm; the horn sounds and the headlights flash intermittently for two minutes, and the ignition circuit is disabled. There are three horns in separate locations, making it impossible to silence the alarm by cutting a single horn wire. The system is deactivated by unlocking a door or turning the ignition key beyond the accessory position. The trunk can be opened with a key, but the system still remains activated.

The L and LS versions of the Legend Coupe have a computerized Information Center which is located in clear view above the central console. It has a large fluorescent dot matrix display for information readouts.

The system performs three basic functions: providing maintenance interval information; fluid level information; and trip information. Normally, the clock function is displayed. Information displays can be called up by pushing the SYSTEM CHECK and TRIP FUNCTION switches which flank the display screen. These switches flip up to reveal buttons used to calibrate and reset the system.

The operating information presented includes:

  • NEXT SERVICE DUE (shown in descending mileage from 7500, the recommended interval)
  • CHANGE OIL FILTER (which may be preset in intervals up to 7500 miles) ENGINE OIL LEVEL

When the interval displays reach 500 miles to go, an amber warning light goes on. When the levels are correct, the displays read OK and a green warning light is shown; when they're below the proper level, the OK is replaced by an amber warning light and the appropriate display appears.

The trip information presented includes:

  • DISTANCE TO EMPTY (shown in miles remaining) The display changes to FUEL REMAINING (in gallons) when fuel drops to 2.5 gallons and to FUEL EMPTY at less than one gallon. An amber warning light comes on at 2.5 gallons remaining.
  • TRIP (which displays the time and trip miles)

Oil and coolant information are based on a static check and are not available when the engine is running. A warning light indicates when oil or coolant fall below recommended levels.

If any of the monitored levels are not as they should be, the system emits a short audible signal when the ignition is switched on to bring the condition to the driver's attention.

In addition to the air conditioning system standard on all Legend Coupes, the L and LS versions have a computerized Automatic Climate Control system. It can be preset to keep the temperature at a constant level regardless of outside temperature fluctuation.

The system uses five sensors to monitor inside air temperature, ambient air temperature, the intensity of sunlight, engine coolant temperature, and the air conditioner evaporator temperature. This information is analyzed by an Electronic Control Unit (ECU) which adjusts cold air or heater output, and the variable speed fan, to maintain the preset temperature. The system can also be operated manually; this allows the vent levels to be set as desired, the air conditioning to be turned on or off, and the fan to be run at low, medium or high speed.

The system also diagnoses itself for malfunctions. If a failure occurs, pushing the OFF and AUTO buttons simultaneously will display a code that pinpoints the location of the problem on the manual operation control panel.

The ventilation system of the Legend Coupe includes a Y-shaped duct which delivers air to rear seat passengers and exhaust vents on the rear panel which draw air out through ducts located near the rear bumper; these are low pressure areas which use the car's motion to pull air through the cabin; their remote location and flush surface reduce wind noise.

The Legend Coupe is equipped with an AM stereo/FM stereo radio with cassette deck which delivers superior sound through a 20 watt per channel 4 channel amplifier and programmable seven band graphic equalizer. It has dual-function, push-button controls; easy-to-read digital display; and four speakers.

All Legend Coupes have an FM diversity antenna system. The reception of the rear window-laminated and rear fender-mounted diversity antenas is constantly monitored and the only receiving the better FM signal is automatically selected. The Legend Coupe also has remote controls for volume, preset station selection, and cassette play selection on the instrument pod to minimize driver distraction.

The Legend LS Coupe is equipped with a specially designed BOSE audio system. It's based on psychoacoustic principles formulated by Dr. Amar G. Bose, an MIT professor well known for his revolutionary speakers and high fidelity products. Dr. Bose's approach is to design technologically advanced, reliable audio systems for a specific environment; the goal is to achieve sound reproduction approaching the realism of a live performance.

Studies were done by BOSE engineers to determine the Legend Coupe's acoustic characteristics; this data was supplemented by tests using life-size mannequins fitted with instrumentation that simulates human hearing. With the mannequins in the front seats it was possible to precisely locate and aim the speakers to achieve a desired frequency response over a broad volume range.

Four full range speakers are used, two in specially designed enclosures in the front corners of the doors, and two behind the rear seats. Each speaker is fitted with an individual amplifier and electronic equalizer.

The front speakers are 4.5-inches in diameter and are sealed in enclosures shaped to make the best use of the available acoustic volume within the doors. They include a tuned bass: reflex port which increases the lower frequency range. The rear speakers measure 6x9-inches and are mounted at the proper angle to reflect sound off the rear window. Ideal left/right balance is built into the system, making a separate balance control unnecessary.

 The AM/FM stereo tuner with cassette deck, Dolby noise reduction, and Dynamic Noise Reduction (DNR) has been simplified for easier use. In addition to the basic controls for tuning and tape deck operation, one-knob controls operate the front/rear fader, bass and treble levels.

The Land LS versions of the Legend Coupe are equipped with a drivers' side pivoting arm that swings up to place the seat belt buckle within easy reach of the driver. This occurs automatically when the driver shuts the door. When the belt is unlatched, and the door is opened, the arm retracts and lies flat against the floor easing entry to the rear seats.