Is ‘Radwood’ Actually as ‘Rad’ as it’s Reputed to Be?
We wanted an inside scoop from an outside view to figure out what ‘Radwood 2,’ happening Dec. 2 in SoCal, is really all about.
The second edition of the popular Southern California car show “Radwood” is coming up fast — happening Dec. 2 in Anaheim, California — and lots of people seem to be talking about it, like here, and here, and here. At first, we couldn’t really figure out why. We mean, why are they holding an event that celebrates what some enthusiasts consider to be some of the most terrible cars ever created?
Naturally, we were curious about what makes this event so special, and we wanted to learn more. But can you really trust anyone with ties to the inside? If you’re planning an event, it’s your job to make that event seem awesome. It just so happens that one of our colleagues, prolific auto journalist Manuel Carrillo III (pictured above, far right, alongside Radwood’s Bradley Brownell, center, and Cam VanderHorst), attended the official launch of Radwood in June, and was willing to give us the full scoop on what it is and why people should care.
So, we started with the simplest question we could: What’s Radwood actually like?
What followed were several minutes of excitement and gleeful rambling about a car show. One of the biggest things he hit straight from the start is about how friendly and inviting this event is. As a creation brought together by podcasters from the popular shows Driving While Awesome, Cammed & Tubbed, and Clutchkick, it carries a certain freedom and openness that other events might not have. It already has a rapport, an audience, and an air of friendly discussion.
‘It’s not just another car event. There’s a genuineness about it that makes Radwood more compelling than any other car show I’ve ever been to.’
In Carrillo’s words, “You feel this familial sense of organization. It’s not just another car event. It’s something that comes from each and every one of these guy’s hearts, and there’s a genuineness about it that makes Radwood more compelling than any other car show I’ve ever been to.” On top of that, participants are required to dress in period-correct attire.
Now, that does sound like a party we can get behind. Except in our head, the car selection was still going to be awful. Why do we care about the Cadillac Allante, or something similar? But then Carrillo hit the nail on the head and made us take notice.
He was talking about how the cars were organized by region, and he said you had Japanese cars on one side where, “You would see, like a Cressida, and it would be parked next to the Back to the Future-inspired Toyota truck…”
That’s when it hit us: This sounds like the perfect event. When we began hearing all the Radwood folks rave about “cars from the ’80s and ’90s,” for some reason, that sounded awful. But then it dawned on us that this two-decade period brought us some of the most awesome Toyotas ever made. The J70 and J40 Land Cruisers qualify for Radwood, the original 4Runner, classic Toyota pickups, and even the Tacoma was born in the required “1980-1999” time frame. And if you don’t want to rock out with your favorite Toyota off-roader, the Supra, AE86 Corolla, and a decent pile of Lexus cars are all worthy of a Radwood showing.
So, we are declaring it here. Our mission for Radwood 2 needs to be bringing the Toyota off-road love. Let’s show those Honda Civics, C4 Corvettes, and Ford Escorts what “rad” really looks like.