“Radwood” 1980s-1990s Car Show in Los Angeles at the Petersen Museum

Odometer (Integra Sedan):  73,102

Trip Distance:  762 Miles

Some things just get better with time.  And other things, even though not “good” by many definitions, still deserve a chance for recognition and appreciation.  Like this one:

Matt Farah, a notorious automotive journalist known for his podcast “The Smoking Tire,” made the comment during the closing awards ceremony at the Los Angeles Radwood show on Sunday afternoon, “To the guy with the Pontiac Bonneville SSEi, this is your show.  You’ve waited your whole life for this.” And he’s right – what other car show anywhere in the world welcomes a car like an Oldsmobile Ninety Eight or a Chrysler Town & Country wood-paneled convertible?

It’s those “malaise” era cars from the 1980s and 1990s that some of us grew up behind the wheel of, I’m happy to report that my third “Radwood” car show and celebration of culture from that two-decade era was a total success.  Here are write-ups from prior Radwood shows.

This time around, I took the opportunity to debut my new (to me) 1992 Integra GS sedan that I picked up in May in Southern Utah.  Of the couple hundred cars on display, I had 1 of only 2 second-generation Integras, and mine was the only 4-door “DB1” sedan version.  Dominating the playing field were German cars, especially BMW, Mercedes, and Porsche.  I was glad to have a little exclusivity, and at least I was able to park by some fellow Honda-heads, including David in his 1994 Legend and Mike in his 1989 Prelude.

My drive to Los Angeles was filled with traffic, rain, and traffic because of rain.  All of that contributed to making my normally-six-hour-drive take about eight and a half hours.  I spent a couple of days in West Hollywood part of town, including a meet-up with my friend Wyatt who has a 1997 Acura SLX that I got to drive.  What a ride!  It was a little clunky, top-heavy, and the transmission slipped, but it solidified my need to own one in the next year or two.

Radwood this time took place at the world-renowned Petersen Museum at the intersection of Fairfax & Wilshire just a couple of miles south of where I’d been staying in WeHo.  The lineup of cars headed into the venue quickly confirmed that I’d found the right place, and the 1983 Dodge van ahead of me got me high on exhaust fumes while we idled our way to the check-in staff and were directed to parking spaces. on the upper levels of the structure.  It took just a few minutes to get the car dusted off; my little Integra has only about 73,000 miles on it and has been extremely well preserved.

Throughout the day, I bounced around the parking structure interacting with friends I’ve made through the crazy automotive enthusiast network over the years.  For me these events are even more about the people who attend them than about the vehicles themselves.  Best of all, the 1980s and 1990s culture was well represented in forms other than the cars we’d driven:  Blasting on the loudspeaker were hits from Madonna, fanny packs and bright colors were the apparel of choice, and we were surrounded for just a few hours by the carefree, big-hair, analog lifestyle of the 1980s.  The chicken tenders and tater tots from the food truck weren’t bad, either.

Representing as sponsor for this event was Acura corporate, which surprised me, but I was happy to see it.  Andrew Quillin from the company’s Public Relations area had brought out a red 1991 NSX, a yellow Integra Type-R, an Integra from the RealTime race campaign, and the 1995 CL-X concept car which had to be transported via mechanical means other than its own, since it doesn’t have a drivetrain.  The booth drew a good amount of foot traffic throughout the day and I got the chance to briefly rub shoulders with people like Jon Ikeda who is the brand’s General Manager.

Speaking of star-studded encounters, I got to shake hands with a couple of YouTube celebrities including Ethan Tufts of Hello Road and Tyler Hoover of Hoovie’s Garage.  Tyler’s channel recently hit a half-million subscribers so I congratulated him on that well-deserved accomplishment.

All too soon, it was time to wrap up the festivities at the Petersen, and Radwood’s Bradley Brownell distributed 7 awards – not just for cars, but some were for wardrobe and wheels.  I rolled out of the parking garage a little before 4:00 p.m. and set my sights eastward for my 400-mile return trip.  With 1990s music on the playlist, of course.  Thanks for coming along!

Entering California

Traditional photo-stop in Desert Center, right off Interstate 10

Evening meet-up with Sofyan Bey of Redline Reviews

Saturday morning visit to Honda’s original headquarters at 4077 Pico Boulevard (circa 1959).

The SLX and the Integra

Spotted from the parking garage by Motor1’s Steve Ewing on the way into Radwood

My friend Rob’s Legend sedan looking fantastic

I loved the gear shift lever in this Oldsmobile.  It spells out “Reverse, Neutral, Overdrive,” and so on.

Does this car make you think of the movie Planes, Trains, & Automobiles?

So 80’s!

My friend Leon’s Mercedes S-Class “Grand Edition,” one of only 600 cars in that package for the year, in stunning Obsidian Black and complete with a cellular telephone.  Leon was taking care of important business when I captured this photo.

Here’s Ethan from Hello Road.

My friend Serge’s 4Runner was full of period-correct swag, including a Blockbuster rental video.  Be Kind, Please Rewind.

Pre-departure from the deck of the parking structure with Joseph and his amazing 1991 Integra GS.

My friend Brandon’s new 2007 TL Type-S manual.

20 Responses to ““Radwood” 1980s-1990s Car Show in Los Angeles at the Petersen Museum”

  1. I want to be Tyler Hoover when i grow up. I only need 499,994 more followers to catch up! I’d love to meet him.

    • He’s a great guy! Was attending the show with his grandmother. I felt a little star-struck when we ran into him. Get your YouTube momentum building up – you’ll be there soon!

  2. I was definitely waiting for this article to drop! So many great things to see here. It was cool that Acura came to RADwood in the same way that Subaru supported the east coast event in Philly. I’m especially impressed that they brought out the CL-X concept car (it’s interesting how close the CL ended up being to that idea).

    There were a lot of German products in Philly, too (especially Porsche and MB cars), but nothing will top the Benz you got to see. And I always appreciate a mint Countach!

    Did any of the cars you saw particularly surprise you or made a big impression? Were there any Accords in attendance?

    The Blockbuster video was awesome – little details go a long way. Reminded me of the BMW at RADwood Philly that had the TAB cola, period-correct radar detector, and Enya cassette tape!

    Like, totally rad, man!

    • I didn’t participate or see it happening, but apparently there was a soda tasting contest of some sort. Like people being asked to differentiate between Pepsi, Coke, etc? What’ll they think of next! I don’t remember seeing a single Accord there. I think there is definitely room for some diversification but there was representation from just about every brand. My friend Ryan even showed his little Daihatsu Charade. Thanks for reading!

  3. I seriously need to make it out to one of these Radwood shows. 80s and 90s cars are simply too cool. Hope the Integra’s check engine light isn’t anything too big.

    • I know, me too, I haven’t even had time to think about that CEL. It’s probably something O2 sensor related. That car hasn’t been to my Hon-Man guy down here in Tempe yet. I’ve only ever had it serviced in St. George (timing belt) and Vegas (fuel pump) so far. Time to book an appointment. The Radwood.co website has the timeframes & locations for 2019 shows. Looks like the next one is in February in Austin, Texas. If they hold one in Phoenix, I’m registering 6 cars and will probably need a few drivers, hint hint. Haha

  4. I need to make it a priority to visit the States and attend a Radwood car show! I loved that black Ford Merkur, even if it had been highly modified. I’d love to have a drive of one of those cars to see how the 2.3 turbo motor goes compared to the 2.8L naturally aspirated one that I have in the XR4i. If you love your 80s music like I do, then you need to check out a band called “Fire Tiger”. Hope everything else is will with you, Adam.

    • Yes I hadn’t seen a Merkur like that in a very long time! I will definitely take your recommendation and give Fire Tiger a listen. Thanks for the tip Adam!

  5. Until seeing these pics, I had forgotten that the SLX was a rebadged Isuzu Trooper. The Honda Passport was initially an Isuzu Rodeo, so it took them a while to get into the SUV craze. I’m still perfectly fine not being a part of it. Haha. Give me a coupe or sedan any day!

    • I know. The streets are being overtaken by SUVs and crossovers these days. I was talking with someone recently about how the Acura ZDX was about 8 years ahead of its time. Now everything has that kind of shape.

  6. These always look so much fun. I need to attend one of these some time. What 90’s car should I get haha. Something obscured of course.

  7. Radwood would do well here in Phoenix… at the right time of year.

    I vividly recall the Bonneville SSE and later the SSEi. A co-worker bought an SSEi at the time I owned the 89SEi. He kept joking how his was a better grown-up version. Guess I had the last laugh since mine lasted 14 years and his self destructed in about 4! Eventually he gave up and ironically bought an Acura. 😉

    Just curious as a rough percentage do you see more domestics than imports there?

    • I saw a grid that I will have to pull up when I get on my home computer. The show is heavily German dominated, and domestic cars are a small percentage. I was talking with a friend about this and the possible need to diversify a little. Word on the street is that there may be a Radwood held in connection with Barrett Jackson in January 2020. Get ready.

  8. That CL-X was quite an eyecatcher! Note to Acura…how about bringing back that name…perhaps a coupe version of the TLX with a 6-MT A-spec option? Only dreaming here. Nice write-up on the event. I’m making note to try and make it out to one of these next time. Maybe I’ll pick up a period correct car to showcase sometime soon. Teg looking gorgeous, as usual. 🙂

    • Thanks Jason, and definitely would love to see you join the bandwagon and adopt something from the 1980s or 1990s. Maybe we could find you something appropriate from your birth year? Lol. Have a great weekend!

      • Hmmm…something from the birth year. I’ve always had a soft spot for the 84-86 Dodge Daytona Turbo-Z. Damn near impossible to find these days. 🙂

  9. I *must* get out to one of these shows sometime! Could be fun to fly down to Austin for the February show if my schedule allows it.

    And you definitely need a SLX. Bummer to hear Wyatt’s had a slipping trans – it’s a GM 4L30E which is a bit undersized for the truck (the same transmission went in the BMW E36 325i, for example). Good thing is, it’s a simple GM transmission and could be rebuilt or replaced inexpensively enough.

    If they bring Radwood to Phoenix, you could legitimately recreate an Acura showroom in the parking lot!

    • Haha, trust me, the figurative wheels are spinning for Radwood 2020 in Phoenix. I even created a Facebook regional page to generate interest for the Arizona Radwood-era community so I can help event organizers gauge / justify interest in a meet in this area. Hope you had a great weekend! I’m back to the weekday grind but could really use an omelet and some toast. Rescue me from this office.

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