Radwood SoCal Photo Dump! '80s and '90s cars, from classics to crap

Radwood SoCal Photo Dump! '80s and '90s cars, from classics to crap

Earlier this year, I attended my first Goodwood Revival in England and shared a whole heap of photos. And then even more photos of just the parking lot. This celebration of cars from the end of World War II to 1970 is without a doubt the best car event I had ever attended. Radwood would be the tongue-in-cheek answer to it: a celebration of cars from the ’80s and ’90s, with more than a lot of tongue-in-cheek car choices. The selection of cars ranges from unquestionably classic to meticulously maintained crap. If you grew up in those eras, it’s quite the trip down memory lane.

Now, I would say that the event itself could use some sprucing up. I wasn’t expecting Goodwood levels of immersion with its period-correct venue and attendees who overwhelmingly dress up in period attire to some extent. But the venue in SoCal was bereft of charm or atmosphere (a warehouse and parking lot next to the Port of L.A.) and few people took up the opportunity to summon their inner Zac Morris and Kelly Kapowski. Although it’s definitely a car show, there wasn’t enough other stuff to do for families and folks who need a wee bit more than old cars to look at — something Goodwood does quite well. 

Anyways, despite the event lacking a bit in terms of an overall event, I still managed to spend almost the entire day checking out old cars and catching up with old friends. And occasionally encouraging them to stuff a Motocompacto in the trunk of the 1991 Acura NSX. 

So now, enjoy this photo dump of all the cars that caught my eye along with some off-the-top-of-my-head commentary.  

The Subaru XT is without question one of the wackiest cars from this era. Seeing one anywhere would be exceedingly rare, but there were actually two just like this at Radwood. And a third just sold on Cars & Bids. If you want to know more about it, Mr DeMuro did a video about that one. 

Pristine first-generation Oldsmobile Bravada. Tremendous color. Fun fact: They never sold the first two Bravada generations in Canada, or the first-gen Silhouette, since Oldsmobiles were sold in Chev-Olds-Cadillac dealers. As such, there were no independent Oldsmobile dealers, as in the U.S., that demanded a version of the Chevy Blazer. Little kid James was very disappointed in this. I’m Canadian, by the way. I always thought it was the coolest one. I was correct. 

A Buick LeSabre T-Type. After the old, rear-drive, Malaise-era Regal was retired, so too was the Grand National. This version of the LeSabre coupe was basically the best Buick could do as a replacement. It was front-wheel drive, unlike the Grand National, and rather than the hot turbo engine, it had the tried-and-true 3800 V6. I’m sure there are various other details that would be fascinating, but in short, it looked cool but was ultimately not as cool as it looked. But my grandfather got one of these as a company car, in black, and it definitely nailed the “look cool” bit. Buick retired it by the time he needed to get his next company car, which would be a regular Buick LeSabre sedan. He deemed that an “old man’s car.” He was correct.

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Speak of the devil. Here is the old man version of the last car, and in near-perfect condition. So much red!

There was somehow another example of a red LeSabre coupe at Radwood (this one on the trashed side), along with a red Fiero. If you ever wondered what was under the Fiero’s forward opening hood, here’s your answer. Also, I just love that the LeSabre hood opened like this. Note how it opens forward and dips down in front of the grille. Because reasons? Always thought that was cool.

This is an Eagle Talon TSi (with Alaska plates!) in amazing condition. I’m going to say right now that the Talon was the coolest of the various Diamond Star sport coupes. Why? Because Eagle. This sucker stickered for the equivalent of $41,000 back in 1991, and was a legit performance buy with big turbo power and all-wheel drive. Would love to drive one of these. 

This is a BMW M3 Coupe (E36) in what I believe is Daytona Violet. Technoviolet would come later and was darker. So I’m pretty sure this is Daytona. Either way, purple M3, rad. 

And now an E36 M3 in also-rad Dakar Yellow. 

Fans of the movie “Sideways” will really love the red one up there. So would fans of cowl shake, I’d imagine. And three-spoke wheels! The coupe is probably the Saab 900 I’d personally go with.

Oh, you thought that BMW applying the M badge to Series production cars was a new thing? Apparently not, as this would be a 1985 BMW M535i from the German market. I originally thought it was a blue E28 M5, which seemed insanely rare, but it obviously wasn’t. The M535i had 218 hp and 229 lb-ft of torque, which was A LOT in 1985 and for a car that didn’t weight much. It hit 100 klicks in 7.2 seconds. It’s extremely cool. 

Grouped with a boatload of Porsche 944s was this Volvo “944 Turbo” complete with prancing moose badge. Love a good lipstick-red Volvo wagon. 

Also love a good Oldsmobile, in this case a Cutlas Supreme Convertible. I still think these things look cool. Also a Cadillac Seville from the ’80s. Less cool.

Make way for the Chairman of the Board! And I don’t mean Frank Sinatra. Though I’m sure he probably rode in one of these if he ever went to Japan. There were two of these at Radwood and they are a delightful, right down to their lace curtains and trim, and front passenger seat whose center drops back to let you pass your legs through the seat as a legrest.

This would be the Omnirizon section of the show. One mundanely beige, the other a spicey Omni GLH Turbo version. 

Random story: My father got my mom an Omnirizon with a manual transmission. It was so terrible and she hated it so much, they immediately sold it and she never drove another manual transmission again. And my dad has owned an NA and NB Miata in that time. Her loss.

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There was a shocking lineup of Lincoln Mark VIIs present, including multiple LSCs, or Luxury Sports Coupes.

Now this is max Radwood. A first-generation Isuzu Amigo. Gotta love the AMIGO on the B pillar.

While taking the above interior picture, I dropped my brand new Oakleys. So, let it me known that my Oakleys were permanently scratched because I just had to take a photo of a pristine Cadillac Cimarron. Good grief. 

Volkswagen Golf Harlequin. This was a real thing, not the result of a sale on vinyl wrap somewhere and way too much time on someone’s hands. 

Alfa Romeo GTV with a road bike on top. Owner thoughtfully lifted the hood to properly demonstrate the car in its most common state of being.

Moving inside to the “Royalty” section, which is really just a building where anyone willing to pay extra can park their cars (and themselves) out of the sun. The difference between cars inside and outside weren’t that great, although Tyson Hugie’s 1992 Acura NSX definitely qualifies as Radwood royalty. It’s a shame he couldn’t bring more of his cars, most of them rad. 

Sticking with OG Acura, here is an extremely beige original-generation Legend sedan, and an original Legend Coupe complete with an actual Motor Trend Car of the Year award and whole ton of other promotional materials. I heard that Honda cleared out a ton of old stuff from its archives awhile back and just gave it away to whomever wanted it. I guess 35-year-old Golden Calipers weren’t worth keeping. Don’t tell C. Van Tune.

These two were parked together, a VW Rabbit Convertible and a Geo Tracker (with 56,000 miles!!!). Either is just itching to go to the beach. 

Um, how about the Isuzu Impulse!?! Check out that upholstery and the fat control binnacles flanking either side of the steering wheel. What a cool car, especially as most of us only know Isuzu from their SUVs.

Sticking with interesting coupes, here is a Chrysler Laser. The interior is fantastic, and I know after sitting in a different one a few weeks ago, the seats are shockingly comfortable. The color on this one is just perfect. This seems like a car that deserves more attention than it gets. 

The Nissan Pulsar NX Sportbak has to be one of the strangest cars to ever hail from Nissan. It would probably be the strangest, but this is also a car company that somehow made the Pao, Figaro and Murano Cross Cabriolet. It looks like a truck bed canopy placed over the trunk area of a normal Nissan Pulsar NX coupe. It kinda was. Loads of cargo space, especially for a two-seater. 

Gotta love a sweet third-gen Honda Prelude and the fact that it looks enormous when parked next to a Honda Beat. 

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More 1980s red GM interior action, this time with what is probably the worst Buick Riviera generation. All that stuff on the dash is digital, with more green lights than a Christmas parade. And check out those thigh-extenders in the seats. And the curiously Christian steering wheel. 

Sticking with the red American coupe category: a Dodge Shadow Shelby CSX. Noteworthy certainly, but I think these are pretty lame. Perfect for Radwood, then!

Couldn’t find the owner of this to find out why the hell he put a Supra engine inside his Grandfather Clock / Jaguar XJS. I mean, “reliability” seems like the logical answer, but how could this possibly be done for logical reasons?

This would be the Honda CR-X2 . It has two engines. You can read about it here. 

Not one, but two Alpina B3s, including a wagon. Yes. Please. The wagon has Dutch plates, which doesn’t seem surprising as I saw quite a few old Alpinas parked about while spending a few weeks in Amsterdam. The Dutch have great taste, says a man named Riswick. 

People my age who grew up in England are drooling right now. A Cossie! Or, a Ford Escort RS Cosworth. And yes, that wing was part of the deal. So very cool. 

It’s a GMC Typhoon, in seemingly dealership condition. I’m sure this isn’t worth much. Not. 

You see kids, saying “not” after something sarcastic was a thing back in the ’90s. It was hilarious. Not.

A pink Fiero. That is all.

A pink Mercedes-Benz 500E. Oh hell yes. It was all I could do to stop from jumping up and down and clapping my hands while giggling. This thing is the best.

“Whoa, does that say 1000 SEL?” I asked former Autoblog editor Reese Counts as we walked through the assembly of ’80s Benzes. “That was a thing?”

Apparently it was. This one doesn’t say it, but it was the product of longtime Benz tuner Brabus. Sadly, it does not have a 10.0-liter V-something as its name would imply, which is gravely disappointing. It instead has a 5.0-liter V8 good for 227 hp and 298 lb-ft, and would seem to mostly be an appearance package. Dude, lame. 

And yes, we can talk about the suitcase of money and Zac Morris phone that its owner left on the trunk to complete the Radwood tableau. Bravo. 

A Ferrari Mondial convertible and a Ferrari Testerossa. No cocaine ever found its way into those, no way.

And finally, one of my favorite cars from the show. Not just because the C4 is such an icon of this time period, but because the owner went to such great extremes to fully outfit the car for Radwood purposes, fully embracing the event in a way I wish the entire show would. And I just love the McGuyvered bike rack that bolts into the targa-top attachment points. Well done. 

Hope you enjoyed this little trip with me, because despite my belief that Radwood SoCal could’ve been a lot better, the cars were still a hoot.