The car is only three years old. Acura celebrated its first birthday in March of 1986, almost to the day that Mike Hale celebrated the grand opening of Acura Utah.

In that time the car and the dealer have grown steadily. Month by month, car by car. Today it is one of the most respected cars on the market, and the dealership one of the most respected in Utah.Both the car and the dealership will be part of the Salt Lake 500 New Car Sell-Off at the Salt Palace this weekend.

Featured in the show will be the Acura Legend and Integra. Not shown, but surly to be talked about will be the new additions to the Acura line . . . a newer, larger Integra and an new sports car as yet is unnamed but already causing a stir in the auto market.

When Acura first entered the market it introduced the Legend, a luxury model performance sedan, and the Integra, a sports sedan.

Since first introducing the two models, more than 300,000 cars have been sold in the U.S. Since March of 1986, the Acura Division of Honda Motor Company has experienced solid growth in both sales and dealer expansion. During 1988, Acura sold 128,238 cars and increased its dealer network to 285 dealers. For 1989, Acura Division projects another 15 to 20 percent increase in sales with total dealership across the U.S. expanding to nearly 350.

According to Hale, sales of Acura last month are expected to hit an all-time record.

Since being introduced, Acura has become recognized as one of the finest cars made. "Road & Track" magazine, in its December 1987 issue, listed the Acura Legend as one of the best 10 cars in the world, and two Legend models as two of the best 10 values.

"Consumer Guide" magazine rated both the Legend and Integra very high in consumer satisfaction and both cars at or near the top in tests on crash protection. The publication also lists the '86 and '87 Integras, and the '86 and '87 Legends as four of the best used cars on the market.

J.D. Powers & Associates also lists Acura as number one in consumer satisfaction for two years in a row.

The Integra is a three and five door sedan with some unique features. Such as the driving environment. The design philosophy was simple enough: Reduce the distractions of driving and the comfort and enjoyment will increase. It has a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder, 16-valve engine that produces an impressive 118 horsepower. The engine, along with that of the Legend, was designed through Honda working with and developing engines for the McLaren Formula 1 Racing Team.

The Legend has a 24-valve, V-6, 2.7-liter engine locked to the front wheel drive. It also has power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes and control of an Anti-Lock Braking system, and speed-sensitive power-assisted rack-and-pinon steering.

According to Hale, the new Integra coming onto the market towards the end of the month will be longer and come with a larger engine.

The car, however, he says, that is creating a stir is the new high-performance sports car, code named NS-X.

Hale expects the mid-engine sports car to be available sometime in 1990.

The NS-X utilizes many aspects of weight-reduction technology such as the use of an all-aluminum monocoque body and aluminum suspension components. It will be powered by a V-6, 24-valve engine that will be capable of producing more than 250 horsepower. Early reports are that the car will have a top speed of around 155 miles per hour and will go from zero to 60 mph in six seconds.

Projected price is from $50,000 to $60,000.

Hale said he will have pictures of the car and will be able to answer questions at the show.