There’s Goodwood  — but there’s also Radwood

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A variety of shapes are celebrated at a Radwood show, such as this one held recently at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles | Larry Crane photos

Remember the radical origami designs and grossly underpowered vehicles of the 1980s and ‘90s? And then came — OMG Y2K! — and ended two decades of mostly unloved cars. But now it’s nearly two decades later and Bradley Brownell and Art Cervantes have conspired to create a celebration for cars with nowhere else to be celebrated.

The event is called Radwood — technically, RADwood — “the car show that blends period correct dress with automotive awesomeness,” though not quite the same awesomeness you might see at the Goodwood Revival. Nonetheless, Radwood purports to be “a period correct event for cars, trucks, and bikes from 1980-1999 that captures the essence of a bodacious era.”

These are cars often seen clustered together at your local cars & coffee, with owners telling the best stories they can think of—without mentioning performance numbers. Better known as your favorite high-school-bedroom-wall poster cars.

A rooftop experience

Recently, the Petersen Automotive Museum roof was the host venue for a Radwood celebration and was awash in a broad selection of this automotive era. Mostly, everyone present loved these cars then and still do today. 

Think Ferrari 308 series cars (Mondials), the lesser Camaros — or even the heart-warming IROC version — a Delorean, a Cadillac Allante, Mercury Capri (even an RS Turbo, not so bad), that incredible Buick GNX, any of the Shelby Dodges, little 4X4s, Mazda RX7s were, and are, fantastic cars and good value.

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Also air-cooled Porsches, which are no longer a secret, but an unrestored one, or a poorly maintained one, or a rally modified version are all way off the existing perfect car prices — especially, the front-engined cars that Porsche-people dislike and that Alfa-people love and fear. 

The great discovery of the gathering was a rear-wheel-drive Toyota Starlet with a wildly developed engine. There also were Supras, which remain in the affordable supercar realm.

But then again, there were a brace of ageless Countachs, a timeless Vector and the French connection included both a Renault Turbo and a Peugeot 205 — all desirable no matter how they are categorized.

Think of Radwood as a shopping experience for cars to love driving and are still possible to repair in your garage—sort of.

Renault Turbo and Peugeot 205

PS: If such an event revs your engine, or wardrobe, Radwood gatherings are scheduled — at least tentatively — for 2019 at Austin, Texas (February), Sonoma, California (March), Japan (April), San Francisco (June), Seattle (July), the UK (August) Detroit (September), Philadelphia (October) and back in LA (December).

For details — and dates — visit the Radwood website.

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Larry Crane has been an automotive literature aficionado from childhood. Car books and magazines represented most of his reading experience. He moved to Southern California in his early twenties to be close to his favorite cars. After a WestPac stint in the Navy, he was offered a position redesigning Motor Trend magazine. Then, for Steve Earle, he created America's first vintage road racing magazine as both editor and designer. FromVintage Racer he joined Road & Track and then David E. Davis Jr., asked him to help create a new kind of car magazine, Automobile. After 12 years, Crane took his family back to Los Angeles to create his dream magazine, AUTO Aficionado, which attracted an impressive cadre of the most influential members of the collector car hobby until the national economy made that one impossible to continue.

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