Best Hits of the 80s & 90s: “Radwood 2” Car Show in Anaheim, California

Odometer (Legend):  557,148

Trip Distance:  356 Miles

Let’s take a moment to appreciate my fashion sense in this photo from circa 1990.  I’m pictured at left here with my two brothers.  Rolled up jean shorts?  Check.

Popped collars, fanny packs, and porn-staches greeted me upon arrival to “The Phoenix Club” yesterday morning just a few miles from Disneyland in Anaheim, California.  It was almost as if I’d gotten stuck in a time warp and traveled back in history 20 years.  When I saw this Delorean a few minutes later with license plate “BKNTYME,” my suspicions were confirmed.

Yesterday’s event was the most brilliantly-executed and exciting car show I have attended in years.  It was something different, and something very “me.”

Radwood” was a contrast to go from the white-collar LA Auto Show media days which I attended earlier this week, with its forever growing ego-contest and snooty “the coffee at our booth is better than yours” attitude, to a venue where cutoff jeans are appropriate, Bud Lights are readily available, and Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me” is blasting on the loudspeaker.  I loved every minute of it.  I only wish I’d invested in a slap bracelet, Hypercolor T-shirt, or some stone washed jeans ahead of time so I could better dress the part.  One smart attendee was even taking pictures with a disposable camera!  You know, the kind that you “click,” then have to manually advance the film.

This event was born as a small show in 2016 in the Bay Area catering specifically to the era of vehicles produced from 1980 through 1999.  Now in only its second year, the event shifted venues to a place with far more capacity and still sold out well in advance.  Thanks in part to clever partnership with Jalopnik, Clarion, Japanese Nostalgic Car, Bring a Trailer, and many other sponsors, the word was spread far and wide.

Attendees traveled from all around the country to attend.  One attendee – Peter Monshizadeh – drove all the way from Overland Park, Kansas, and entered three vehicles in the show:  His Dodge pickup truck, which was towing a trailer with his Nissan 300ZX and a period correct motorcycle.  That’s dedication.

And who could forget automotive journalist extraordinaire Jason Cammisa running around in booty shorts that would make Richard Simmons jealous.  This was a sight to behold.  Jason’s immaculate BMW E30 station wagon, among many other “feature cars” including my friend Chris Hoffman’s CRX, was on display in the main tent area near the stage.  Jason ended up taking home an award – a 1985 Nintendo game cartridge glued to a plaque, of course – for his Bimmer, and it was well deserved.  His enthusiasm added to the fun and atmosphere of the program.

I was in good company in the Honda/Acura family.  My friend Rob Pia proudly showed his immaculate, 130,000-mile 1994 Legend sedan in glistening Cashmere Silver Metallic, and next to him my friend Chris Green parked his award-winning 1986 Honda Prelude with only 50,000 miles on the odometer.

I had the privilege of meeting a couple of ‘new’ Legend owners, too, and had some friends stop by who live in the area.  Cars from all regions were accepted and recognized.  Even the 1991 Pontiac Bonneville parked in our row with nearly an entire keyboard of buttons on its steering wheel attracted lots of attention.  Another guy named Tyson who drives a beautiful black 1997 BMW M3 introduced himself and his car to me – complete with a period correct cassette tape sitting on the center console.

But how about this?

Perhaps one of my favorite vehicles was Ryan Glass’ 1992 Ford Explorer, which started life as a pretty ho-hum Eddie Bauer edition but has been extensively and painstakingly converted into a Jurassic Park movie icon.  “Spared no expense,” were the words that came to mind as he described to me the custom wrap, brochures in the back seat, bumper and taillight protector guards, and even a pair of velociraptor-spotting goggles on the passenger seat.

As the day carried on, I reflected on how much I appreciated the laid-back and friendly vibe at Radwood.  I hope the event continues its great momentum and carries on for years to come.  I’m already starting to brainstorm ideas for next year’s trip, and it might have to be in the Vigor since I didn’t see one this year.  Now if I could just get ahold of some Reebok Pump footwear.  Below are some more pictures and a short video!

I knew the day started off right when I saw this pay phone outside my motel in Orange, California.

I put my custom wheelstand to use that my brother hand-built for me out of aluminum.

Roll-in shot, thanks to Chris in the 1986 Prelude.

Photo with Rob in ‘vintage’ motif.

Ran into my friend Grant with his beautiful Mercedes SL.  Check that fanny pack, too.

One of two super clean generation 1 Legend coupes on display.

And another.  Becki was awesome!  How much Aqua Net did she need for her hair?

Visit from Penny.

Shooting the breeze with Jalopnik’s Andrew Collins.

A visit from Fred and checking out the Clarion Legend coupe.

The aforementioned 1991 Bonneville!  With a “LeBra” on the front, of course.

Love me a big-body Benz 560 SEC.

Original owner 1990 Honda Civic 4-speed manual with over 300,000 original miles.

Just $6,635 MSRP for this thing.  I think he got his money’s worth!

My friends Felix and Matt

Love the 1990s Mitsubishi Eclipses.  What happened to Mitsubishi?

Good NSX representation, too.

Sweet CRX, but look what’s on the roof.

That’s right:  Boombox and some cassettes!

Reconnecting with the man himself:  Matt Farah and his now-969,000-mile 1996 Lexus LS400.  I drove this car a couple of years ago and blogged about it.  It’s on a quest to hit a million miles.

Oooh, love this old 5-series BMW.

2G Integras with a super clean 3G Prelude.

My friend Derek, repping a Mazda 929 sedan.

Late night drive home to Phoenix!

22 Responses to “Best Hits of the 80s & 90s: “Radwood 2” Car Show in Anaheim, California”

  1. OMG!! Boom boxes, 80’s high fashion… What else could you ask for?

    That bronze Scirocco next to the Benz looks pretty awesome.

    Finally that payphone… Oh my!

  2. Socks & sandals – the highest fashion crime imaginable, haha! Radwood 2 looked awesome, the cars, music and participation from the crowd to make the event feel like a real 80s/90s affair is pretty cool. Heck, maybe I’m biased – growing up with these cars & music tends to leave you reminiscing. Did you happen to see the Clarion Legend Coupe while you were there?

    • I know! I felt it appropriate to listen to my “80’s Mega Mix” CD on the drive home last night. The Clarion Legend was there, looking great as always, along with a very sweet 6-speed manual BMW 8-series that the Clarion Builds team has also put together.

  3. I would love to attend that car show. I’ve probably driven a good chunk of cars from that era. We need to take Ms. Cognac to that one. Ready to book my flight!

    • Yes. Cognac is the car of choice for 2018 show for sure. I just need to get both bumpers refinished first. Easy enough. Word on the street is that next year’s program will be in Sonoma, CA near San Fran so it’s a solid 12-hour drive. Little more effort than just going to LA, but still totally worth it for this show if I can get the time off work…

  4. This show definitely looked like a lot of fun!

    Now I understand why your brother fabricated a custom wheelstand for you I bet it makes him happy you’re putting it to good use.

    Let me know if you want to borrow my Magnavox VHS camcorder and Panasonic Boom Box for next year’s show.

    I think that it was so cool you got to meet up with Matt Farah again. Too bad Brian Cooley didn’t attend with one of his Country Squires…

    • Matt was great. He was actually driving his black Mustang 5.0 when I saw him leaving the show at the conclusion, so I’m not sure who is cruising around in the Million Mile Lexus this week. He offered it up to me if I want to throw a few more miles on it, but I got my fill of it in 2015! I might take you up on your Magnavox and Panasonic electronics.

      The wheelstand from my brother has come in handy twice now. I’m thinking about powder coating it with a different color other than just the plain aluminum. It would just have to be something neutral so it’ll still “match” all my vehicles. By the wait, Tait has my Integra again. Starter was on the way out! That’s what I get for buying a 230,000 mile, 23 year old Acura with no records on it. I’ve almost had to replace everything now. Haha

  5. LOVE. THIS.

    I must go next year, that’s been decided. The bigger question is how to get there… would be super fun to get the E36 racecar into the show (next to that other black 1997 you saw!), but towing 5k miles sounds like a bit much. Henry’s 560 AMG would be perfect (and he’d have flipped out about this show), but that’s a hell of a road trip from DC at ~11 mpg and on very old *everything*.

    Guess I’ll have to fly in to PHX and rent from Tyson’s Fine Fleet of Acuras, if the timing all works out 😉 Would be awesome to finally meet some of these west-coasters I’ve seen online for years (Matt, Jason) as well!

    • Every person I’ve talked to has had the same positive perception of Radwood, so it would be worth your while 100% to make it out there. I’ll keep you posted as I hear updates on the time & place. 🙂

  6. Chris Green Says:

    Nice wrap-up of the event. It was so much fun! I’m glad you found the 1990 photo with the sandals, socks, striped shirt and rolled jean shorts, because now you know what you’re wearing next time. You should have plenty of time to find grownup size versions! In a color combo to match the Vigor.

    • Haha, perfect! Yes the wardrobe is half the fun! I’ll see what I can come up with. It would be especially cool to replicate the entire ensemble I wore back then, and do a side by side comparison.

      • Chris Green Says:

        Yes, that would be so great! If you could get your brothers to join in as well with their clothes, you guys could do one of those re-creation photos in the same poses. (Wouldn’t have to be at Redwood, though!)

  7. Tyson, were you a redhead as a kid?

    • Haha, no I wasn’t! It must just be tricky lighting. I did have blonde-ish hair as a kid which got a lot darker as I got older. I’m just thankful to have any hair at all. My brother who’s a year younger than me has been bald for years.

  8. I just love how everyone gets into character. If time permits next year, and if I still have the VehiCROSS, maybe I’ll have to make an appearance. Loved Jason’s enthusiasm too – I’d love to meet him someday.

  9. This post is oozing of 90s…LOVE IT! Looks like a lot of fun. I think that Explorer and Becki’s hair is my favorite of the mix. 😀

    • I know, right? I just today found Ryan’s Instagram page about the Explorer “Timmy.” It’s under @jpexplorer04. If you scroll down a bit, there’s a pic of the Explorer as it originally started out, bone stock tan 1992 Eddie Bauer edition with low miles! As for Becki’s hair, I don’t even know how much Aqua Net hairspray that took, but I love it.

  10. This may indeed be the best car show in the history of the world… or at least one that calls the most to my childhood! Very cool, and the boom box on the CRX was terrific.

    Legend coupe looks terrific, as always. Glad to see it getting in-depth road time!

    • Thanks Tim! Dig deeply into your wardrobe closet. Have any 1980s-1990s accessories or apparel items that you want to contribute to my fashion statement for 2018?

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