GALLERY: Reliving The 1980s And ’90s With Radwood’s Return To Southern California
Photography by Patrick Stevenson
“It’s our time down here,” according to a young Sean Astin in the 1985 cult classic The Goonies. Though we aren’t on a subterranean adventure for lost treasure, the quote rings true in the world of car shows. With the advent of Radwood, events aimed at those of us who either grew up in or else simply enjoy the 1980s and ‘90s are flourishing.
For as long as I can remember, car shows were dominated by old guys reliving their youth, which often manifested in rows and rows of muscle cars parked with their hoods up as doo-wop pumped out of tinny speakers. Now that “our time” has come, we get to be the old guys reliving their youth.
But we aren’t the only ones who show up at Radwood, and this ’80s/’90s-themed wonderland draws a brightly dressed crowd made up of equal parts teenager and AARP cardholder. This is more than just a car show, though, and if you’ve heard of Radwood before (my guess is that you have if you’re reading this) you’ll know what I mean. Think of it more as a themed party where you and your friends dress up in your best Wall Street yuppy attire or punk-patched denim and load up in your period-correct ride for a day of indulgent nostalgia.
This edition of Radwood was the third held in Southern California, and the thirteenth Radwood in general, a testament to the popularity of this era and the cars it produced. Held in Oak Canyon Park in Orange County, the venue hosted over 500 cars and thousands of radical dudes and dudettes. Unusual for SoCal, the weather forecast was rain all day, but you would not have known it from the size of the crowd. The costumes were on point, and the variety of automobiles was incredible, with everything from showroom time capsules to restomods to rows of DeLoreans.
The music was also period-correct, with DJ “DP” spinning up “Rock You Like A Hurricane” back to back with “Ice Ice Baby” in case you needed any reminding of the era at hand. Neon windbreakers and parachute pants provide excellent people-watching opportunities in between the lines of cars and trucks as people of all ages and walks of life unite to look at a Toyota graphics pack, but the neck-breaker of the day was the 962 street car converted by Koenig. As the story goes, the race car’s chassis was sold by Porsche after a rule change made the 962 unable to compete, and Koenig got to work on turning it into this: a slice of Group C that could wear a license plate. Just think of this 800 horsepower wedge driving on the freeway amidst civilian commuters. No surprise it took home the Raddest Import award on Sunday.
Whatever you were into though, there was something here for you, whether that be a minty black Testarossa parked next to a K.I.T.T. Trans-Am, a Consulier GTP, or an Audi Ur-Quattro and an NA1 Acura NSX within spitting distance. It’s like the coolest and most iconic cars of their day got together for a high school reunion. We hope to see you at the next one.