How RADWood went from friends in puffer vests to the US' biggest celebration of hoopties
Every incredible event starts out as a small gathering
If you’re even somewhat familiar with the car scene and the events around it, you’ve doubtlessly heard of RADWood (@radwoodofficial)! The one and only show that celebrates the forgotten automotive legends of the 1980s and 1990s has made waves since its inception in 2016, that much is clear. But how did it all start? Was it always this massive in popularity? I just had to know. To quench my thirst for knowledge, I talked to co-founder Brad to get the inside scoop on RADWood’s inception. The story I was told was certainly RAD, to say the least.
It all started in 2016 when the four co-founders were hanging around at Monterey Car Week and someone asked the group the pressing question of “if you could host your very own car show, what kind of car show would it be?” The initial idea was to do a US version of the Goodwood hill climb. That idea turned into a Goodwood Revival-style show on American soil and what it would look like here. Now at the time, the guys all owned 80s and 90s cars which, since they weren’t some vintage Italian classic, were generally frowned upon by the higher-class attendants of some Monterey Car Week event. All of that brewed together into RADWood, a show where those unloved cars could be celebrated and given the attention they deserved.
The first show took place in San Francisco with nothing more than a taco truck to feed the attendants since they thought it would just be them and their friends. Imagine their surprise when over 100 cars showed up and the park immediately filled up with cool cars and numerous oil puddles. They knew they were on to something.
That feeling of accomplishment was further accentuated when Patrick George, who was in charge of Jalopnik at the time, asked when their next show was and if the company could support it. When Jalopnik comes a-knocking, you can’t say no, so they got to planning once again to put on a show in December. When that one sold out in a similar manner to the first one, they decided to host another show once a month in different areas of the country like Chicago, Austin, and LA among others.
Since then, the support from the community has been nothing short of amazing with every show welcoming hundreds upon hundreds of different cars from all makes and models.
“We couldn’t do the show without the people anyway,” Brad said. “There has been so much love from the community and we appreciate it so much.”
As things continue getting back to normal, the monthly RADWood shows will be back in full swing. Brad tells me they’re even working on other things to help grow the events but despite all my pleading, he wouldn’t say much more than that.
If you have yet to attend a RADWood, you’re missing out! The music, the people, the outfits, and most importantly the cars help turn the event into an incredible time machine like no other. Make sure to check out the article I wrote on this year’s NorCal event to get an up-close look at what you missed if you weren’t there. The next RADWood is on September 19th in Seattle with an Austin show on October 9th and a SoCal one on November 20th. Huge thanks to Brad for taking the time out of his busy schedule to talk to me and I wish him nothing but the best with future iterations of RADWood. It was an experience that I can’t truly put into words and I look forward to next year’s NorCal event!