Radwood at Hooptie-Con 2018 - A Q&A with Radwood Founder and Organizer Bradley Brownell
What is Radwood?
Radwood is, quite simply, a car show for 80’s and 90’s cars. But if you dig a little deeper you’ll find that it’s a little bit more than that. After my experience of visiting Radwood at Hooptie-Con 2018, I can tell you that Radwood is a celebration of a bygone automotive era; a reminiscent hurrah for a time when the Lamborghini Countach was one of the baddest cars on the street, or when the Japanese giants like Honda, Toyota and Nissan took the American sports car market by storm. It’s a celebration of everything 80’s and 90’s, from the supercars to the commuters, from the music to the sheer style.
In addition to the awards given out to particular cars, the Radwood crew had a few items to give-away but did so with period-correct challenges such as a thumb war, chugging Crystal Pepsi or answering period-relevant trivia questions.
To get a little more information about Radwood, how it started, and what the plans are for the future, I got in contact with Bradley Brownell, one of the founders of the Radwood show. Bradley was kind enough to answer some questions for all of our readers here on Prime Excel.
Michael: How did Radwood get started?
Brad: Warren, from the Driving While Awesome podcast, mentioned that he dreamed of hosting an American Goodwood Festival of Speed. After talking about it amongst ourselves, we decided that we had to try to get something like that started, but we wanted it to be our own thing, inviting the cars we grew up loving. We’re all children of the era, and wanted Radwood to be a later era than Goodwood generally invites. We may have cribbed the idea of period-correct attire from that other ‘wood’ as well.
Michael: Are you surprised at the level of enthusiasm and support the community has had for the show?
Brad: We’re surprised at how quickly the show has grown, but we’re not surprised at all that people love cars of the era. We love analog driver-focussed cars that are still simple enough to DIY repairs, making the Rad-era perfect for us. We know enthusiasts for these cars exist, there just hasn’t been much opportunity for them to gather and show them off.
Michael: Aside from the year limit on the cars, what’s one way that Radwood “separates itself from the pack”?
Brad: We believe that we are a very inclusive automotive event, inviting cars that have long been derided as lesser-than. If you take a 308 to a Ferrari show, or a 944 to a Porsche show, you’ll be parked in the corner, and folks who spent more money will sneer in your direction. At Radwood, we want those cars front and center. We want to celebrate the stuff that most car shows would move to the sidelines.
Michael: What are some long-term plans for Radwood?
Brad: I would love to expand Radwood into vintage racing, enthusiast road rallies, and maybe a hillclimb.
Michael: Radwood has only been on the west coast so far. Are there any plans to bring Radwood shows to other parts of the country? How about internationally?
Brad: We’re keeping our options open for the moment. We are currently looking at a few east coast venues. We’ve definitely had some interest internationally. About once a month someone contacts me from another country saying they want us to host a show there.
(Michael: Brad has since posted on his Facebook that Radwood is looking at an East Coast event for September, so keep your eyes peeled!)
Michael: What are some of your favorite Radwood memories?
Brad: The show isn’t quite a year old yet, so all of my memories are fairly recent. This weekend I was given the opportunity to ride in one of the 959s from Canepa Motorsport, which was awesome. Radwood 2 in Los Angeles was a whirlwind, but it was awesome to see so many people in period attire.
Michael: Is there anything specific you’d like to share about the experience of hosting a Radwood show at Hooptie-con along with Billetproof and Concours D’Lemons?
Brad: The whole 24 Hours of Lemons team was incredible to work with, and they are very supportive of Radwood. It seems like HooptieCon was a hit, so we’ll probably work together on future events, so keep an eye out for those.
Michael: Is there anybody else you’d like to thank for helping to make Radwood possible?
Brad: We have an incredible support system of volunteers, largely friends and family, who have put in a ton of work to help us make Radwood work. We couldn’t do it without them. And, of course, I want to thank my co-hosts Rick Deacon, Lane Skelton, and Art Cervantes. We are all working tirelessly to make this happen.
Michael: Do you have anything else you’d like to share about Radwood?
Brad: We’re always open to new ideas, so if there is something you want to see incorporated in future Radwood events, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line. Email Team@Radwood.co (dot c-o, not dot com). Also, we’ve already announced our next show, Radwood NorCal on June 24th. For more info, check out Radwood.org, Radwood on Facebook, or @RadwoodOfficial on Instagram.
Michael & the whole Prime Excel team would like to thank Brad for taking the time to talk to us about the show. Keep your eyes on their Facebook page for information on upcoming shows (and general Rad-era automotive goodness), and keep your eyes on Prime Excel for even more awesome automotive content.