Radwood in the Paddock showcases Monterey’s most bodacious

Cameron Neveu

As the sun set on WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, concluding a Friday full of wheel-to-wheel vintage racing, the party was just getting started. A throng of Eighties- and Nineties-era machinery infiltrated the California track’s infield for Radwood in the Paddock. Featuring supercars, race cars, oddballs, and rarities from the Nintendo generation, the curated display of nearly 50 cars had something for everyone. Highlights included a mint Dodge Shelby GLHS pulled by an equally pristine Dodge Dakota (still sporting the dealership window sticker), a pair of Nissan GT-Rs, and the Hoonigan Ford RS200 driven by Ken Block to YouTube stardom.

Vendors served up mouth-watering grub while a DJ spun the generation’s most metallic bangers. Those who left the track early surely missed out.

If you’re unfamiliar with Radwood as a brand, let’s get you up to speed. Inspired by Goodwood Revival’s period-correct automobiles, attire, and entertainment, Art Cervantes and his fellow dudes developed an event to celebrate all things radical—specifically, any car from 1980 to 1999. “We wanted a space to celebrate these cars,” says the Radwood founder, “and every car show in California was all metal bumpers or modern supercars.” The first event, held in 2017 just outside of San Francisco, offered 150 spots, first come, first serve. They sold out immediately.

Since then, Radwood has grown into an international phenomenon by tapping into show-goers’ nostalgia, which has always gone beyond cars. In addition to the usual rows of bodacious rides—MR2s, Beats, Countaches, 944s, R5s, Testarossas—Cervantes and his crew booked famous rappers, held extreme sports exhibitions, and handed out awards for best attire. To manage the behemoth, which quickly became a full-fledged brand with global reach, Cervantes left his software development job in Silicon Valley.

“It’s cool to see cars we appreciate in our backyard,” says Cervantes of the Laguna Seca show. “This is the area where it all started and to come back close to the original site, feels like everything has come full circle.” Free to the public, the event deviated slightly from a traditional Radwood event in that the Eighties and Nineties relics were hand-selected by Cervantes and crew from a bevy of entry applications.

Those who were selected to showcase their rad rides wre labeled as “Radwood Royalty” and became eligible to win a few awards for best in show. Pity the judges as the level of quality was sky high. Top honors, appropriately named Raddest in Show, went to a Peter Orlinski for his cherry red 1989 Merkur XR4Ti. The Reagan-era coupe sported a 3.0-liter Duratec V6—with a T3/T4 Turbo—mated to a G-Force T5 transmission. “It was already an honor to be selected and be part of the show,” says Orlinski. “I honestly had no idea that there was any awards at this event, so winning the raddest of the show was a very humbling and amazing experience for me.”

Radwood event show winner
Cameron Neveu

Eventually the scene cooled as the marine layer sent everyone running for warmer clothes, trading their neon track suits for jackets. An evening well spent among bodacious rides and Monterey’s most rad.

Should you wish to participate in the next show, visit radwood.com.

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