- Everything under the kitchen sink from 1980 to 1999 is welcomed at the show. Photo by David Ahumada.

Radwood brings out the best of the car community

Finally, a vintage car show that most people can have an actual stake in.

7w ago

I've been to vintage car shows all of my life. Usually, these would consist of inflated egos, entitled older folks, and examples of cars that quadruple most attendees' net worth. Radwood is the absolute opposite.

Bradley Brownnell, Radwood co-founder and contributing writer for multiple outlets, started this as a gathering for him and his friends. "Basically, we rented a taco truck and a marina with grass on the bay there. And we figured there would be 50 cars or something like that, and, ultimately, we had like 120 show up," Brownell said when speaking about the origins of the show. "So then we knew we had something on our hands. We kind of started telling people about it and it blew up beyond our little Instagram following."

It's all about cars from that era now being semi-affordable, everyone with a little budget or astronomical expenditures can enter. Since the original show, Radwood has traveled the globe, was even virtual during the pandemic, and hopes to get back on track for its original schedule of 12 shows during the year. When buying tickets for the show, one of the few requirements is to "bring a positive attitude." Dress up or don't, he doesn't care.

Radwood SoCal 2021 was held at Honda's North American headquarters in Torrance, CA. With ample parking and Los Angeles weather, the show was huge. Completely filled most of Honda's lots, so it took about 3 hours to fully walk and see all of the cars from the show. Owners were extremely friendly and approachable, even if they were there with something that would've been considered the "raddest," the top honor at the show. I went with my regular C&C buddy, and we chatted with so many owners and attendees that we wasted nearly an hour alone just chatting with one special owner of his "Namastang."

One week later, and I'm still buzzing about the show. I wasn't even focused on taking photos, documenting every special I ran into, nor was I focused on getting interviews and words. Poor journalism for sure, but it was so refreshing to be at an event where attendees could have just as much fun as the owners. Everyone remembers the rad-era of cars, or at least most of us do, and for the examples that are still kicking around, it produces this weird nostalgia buzz. I saw examples of cars that I haven't seen since elementary school, I remember watching classmates being driven home in Buick LeSabres and Pontiac Grand Prixs, I was even in those cars, poor examples at best, but it was weirdly nostalgic for me, even though I hated most of those cars. I can't say the same things about the 911s I see regularly every weekend at cars and coffee.

This show isn't about the best build, most performance for the dollar, or even the best driver on the lot. It finally gets the idea of the car show right by allowing everyone to share their car and their story without elites judging or isolating them into a certain corner of car culture. It's just a celebration of every automobile from 1980 to 1999, arguably one of the best eras of automobiles. As I get older, and as the cars from my youth start to age, it's weird to finally go to a car show dedicated to them. They're weird relics, they're a reminder that we aren't getting younger. I just hope to age with the same grace as these show models.

It is definitely worth all of the cost. Whether it's down the street, 3 hours away by train, or requires an entire vacation just to catch the show, it's not going to disappoint. Enjoy the galley, I apologize in advance. I didn't bring out my best photography skills while I was geeking out over some random cars.

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Comments (10)

  • Cool pics!

      1 month ago
  • I can think of a ton of cars to take just from my high school years (84-88).

      1 month ago
    • The funny thing was most of the cars weren’t even ultra rare. They were mostly all a dime a dozen and still cool to check out!

        1 month ago
  • It looks like a really fun event 😄😀

      1 month ago
  • Damn Honda really had a lot of cars there

      1 month ago
    • A lot of clean examples of Hondas, my eye naturally went there because that’s what I love. A lot of cool stuff.

        1 month ago
    • It was hosted by Honda in California, so they rolled out the collection.

        1 month ago
  • That new Acura ILX, I mean, Integra, looks completely out of place there.

      1 month ago
    • It was a no brainer way to get more eyes on the car. It is, but Acura gave them a venue, so might as well. It generated a lot of traffic that way too, so it was smart on the brand’s behalf.

        1 month ago