credit: Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum

Radical Car Display in Cleveland

RADwood, the series of car shows featuring cars and culture from the “lost” 1980s and ’90s, is taking a new turn. In addition to the seven outdoor show scheduled for 2019, the retro theme is the topic of a novel museum exhibit titled “RADwood: Cleveland Goes Rad.” The Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, situated vehicles from its collection and from private owners into vignettes depicting the lifestyle and fashion of the period. The temporary exhibit runs from January 11 to March 24.

RADwood vs. Goodwood

The RADwood concept was created in 2017 by Bradley Brownell, Rick Deacon, Art Cervantes, and Lane Skelton. The one-day shows were conducted in San Francisco and Los Angeles that year.

The name “Radwood” is derived from “rad” meaning radical or cool and “wood,” a reference to the Goodwood Revival, England’s popular automotive retro event. The Revival is a 3-day festival featuring cars and motorcycles from the race track’s original heyday: 1948-1966.The Revival features high-end vintage racing with the venue and spectators depicting the clothing and culture from the period.

 Organizer Bradley Brownell is shown below greeting attendees at the Philadelphia show last October. The other image provides a glimpse into the culture of Goodwood.

Philly credits: John Olman
credit: Telegraph.co.uk

Extraordinary cars on display in Cleveland

Featured cars at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum include the first production DeLorean (shown above), originally owned by Cleveland native and car dealer Charles DeLorean (brother to John Z. DeLorean), the1982 Buick PPG Pace Car used in the inaugural Grand Prix of Cleveland, a Dodge Viper, a Pontiac Firebird TransAm, a Porsche 959, a custom Chevrolet S-10 pickup and more.

credit: Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum

Also on display is a 1979 Ford Mustang Daytona prototype, built as a show car to promote the third generation (1979-1993) Mustang. During its day, the car was seen by more than a million enthusiasts on the show circuit which included stops at the New York, Chicago, and Detroit auto shows; it also served as a pace car at Daytona.

credit: Dale Oakes

RADwood Philly - Toyota Sera

I had the pleasure of attending Radwood Philly last October, held on the streets of the Navy Yard. The 1,200 acre former shipyard has been transformed into a rad business campus with nicely landscaped streets.  With companies closed on the Sunday show day, it made for a perfect layout for parking the more than 300 vehicles registered for the show.

I was most impressed with the large array of right-hand drive Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) cars that have found their way to the States, especially the two Toyota Sera coupes with their prominent gullwing doors. Fewer than 16,000 were produced between 1990 and 1996.

If you’re looking to turn heads at your local cars & coffee, there’s a Sera being auctioned without reserve at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale on January 16. There’s no value estimate, but they generally sell for less than $10,000. It will be interesting to see if its rad enough for two big spenders to run the price up.

To see a variety of JDM cars offered for sale, visit the website of Duncan Imports & Classic Cars, which claims to have the largest inventory of Japanese domestic right-hand drive vehicles in the US and Canada.

(FYI, the white structure in the background is not an optical illusion or mural, it’s the double-curved facade of the 1200 Intrepid Building with one corner resembling the bow of a ship.)

RADwood keeps on growing

Following the initial two RADwood shows in California, organizers hit the road and met up with local enthusiasts to conduct shows during 2018 in Sonoma, San Francisco, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. RADwood LA was held at the Petersen Automotive Museum… in the parking structure.  So, technically speaking, cars were displayed at a museum, but they did not comprise a museum exhibit. Thus the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum can lay claim to having the first museum exhibit in partnership with RADwood.

Note that the phrase “in partnership” is significantly more than a passing reference for “in cooperation with.” Not only is the term radwood a made-up name, but RADwood is copyrighted and trademarked by the originators. I choose to recognize protections, and that’s why I capitalize the RAD portion of the name.

In 2019, car shows are currently scheduled in the United States for: Austin, TX; Sonoma, CA; San Francisco, CA; Detroit, MI; Los Angeles, CA. Plus RADwood journeys overseas for shows in Japan and England.

I would be remiss to not mention "concours d'elegance" on this website devoted to the car show genre. So... I can't help but wonder how long it takes for a top level concours to create an official RADwood display class.

Most longtime concours events already have expanded their purview from "traditional" classic or vintage categories to include vehicles that appeal to a broader audience of car enthusiasts. It's common now to see muscle cars, scooters, supercars, and future classics on the show field. How about a special RADwood display for the sake of levity or possibly a display of cars with gull wing doors... where there's a pristine Mercedes-Benz 300SL lined up beside an equally pristine Toyota Sera?

John Olman

I would be remiss to not mention "concours d'elegance" on this website devoted to the car show genre. So... I can't help but wonder how long it takes for a top level concours to create an official RADwood display class.

Most longtime concours events already have expanded their purview from "traditional" classic or vintage categories to include vehicles that appeal to a broader audience of car enthusiasts. It's common now to see muscle cars, scooters, supercars, and future classics on the show field. How about a special RADwood display for the sake of levity or possibly a display of cars with gull wing doors... where there's a pristine Mercedes-Benz 300SL lined up beside an equally pristine Toyota Sera?

John Olman

Additional reading

Rad stuff about RADwood events has been well-documented online at the  Jalopnik website — here’s their index of stories.

RADwood website is www.radwood.co/

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