More Crap For Your Buck: Radwood at Hooptie-Con

Despite the growing–some might say exploding–popularity of Radwood, when the opportunity was presented for it to be part of a “festival” of other car events, it was readily accepted, despite having proven it could exist as a standalone event.

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This festival of sorts was called Hooptie-Con, which as evidenced by the name, is not something to be taken seriously.

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And if you think about it, that was perfect for Radwood, a brand and event that is definitely on the light-hearted end of the scale.

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This whole shindig went down at one of the greatest race tracks in North America, and perhaps the entire world: Sonoma Raceway.

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It was miraculously dry at the track, but there were huge storms around the area that most people had to drive through. Thankfully, it was nothing some detailing spray and microfibers couldn’t fix.

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Now that’s a real 80’s icon. Radwood has so far been a little light on the very high end side of the market, but as of this event you can feel that starting to change.

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That’s not to say the cheaper stuff is not appreciated. Check that toe-out!

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The best thing about Radwood is probably the variety. I’m still split on whether cars should be organized with other similar cars, or if the completely random approach works better. The latter is certainly easier to set up, of course–first come, first serve on the parking.

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Whatever happened to pop-out windows?

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Canepa brought out a 959, which are always awesome to see, even though it’s Canepa specifically who have almost “devalued” the cars in my mind by showing off so many of them at their Cars & Coffee events.

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Our buddy Jon brought out his Rabbit, which has just the perfect amount of patina.

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And funky period-correct graphics!

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There were a handful of motorcycles, but unfortunately just not enough. We need more Japanese superbikes!

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The Teslonda was there, and it was actually pretty impressive. I wish I had seen it do some pulls.

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I always get a kick out of 7 digit blue plates. And is that geometric hood bulge for real?

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5 cylinder, longitudinally-mounted, and FWD?? So weird. Honda was definitely peaking in the 80’s and 90’s.

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This Acura Vigor was immaculate; it should have been down on the tarmac in the Radwood Royalty section.

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Trueno or Levin?

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The ZR-None was in the corner, with the trash, where it belongs.

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It was half an hour before the show was officially supposed to start, but spectators were already trickling in.

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Now that’s a cool window banner.

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Pretty cool to see a JDM Turbo-diesel Landcruiser in California. It’s just a little bit harder to bring cars into compliance with CA laws as opposed to the other 49 states; something probably evidenced by the Montana license plate seen here.

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Cheesy to have a Jeep parked in the weeds? I thought it was kinda cool.

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Radwood will blow your mind, mannn. Check out that kid, he’s lovin’ it.

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The RX-7 still manages to look futuristic, 25 years later. I love how well-integrated the door handles are.

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You really can’t take yourself too seriously at Radwood.

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Art was showing off his Euro 500SEC, and Warren was providing a little contrast with his US-spec 300SE behind.

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Nice touch with the F1 cards on the dash of Art’s coupe.

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Golden State stickers were plentiful. You think California will take the hint and re-issue the beloved sunset plates?

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Now that’s a funny-lookin’ little diesel…

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This was a pretty serious build.

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As always, people took the period-correct clothing very seriously. Everyone’s efforts were much appreciated! It really enhances the vibe.

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I was not expecting to see a Bentley Turbo R. Again, it’s the variety that really makes Radwood fun.

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Despite the semi-remote location (~45 minutes north of San Francisco), there was a pretty good turnout.

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Although my desire to actually own a real JDM right-hand-drive car has waned over the years, I’m still enamored with all the funky stuff they got over there, and especially the names they have, like this spiffy 4WD Diesel Turbo Master Ace Surf Super Touring. Over here, this was called “Van”. (Seriously. Look it up.)

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DJ DPFonix was on the 1’s and 2’s, and he always plays a great selection of music.

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At times it seemed like rain was threatening, but it stayed clear all day.

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There were soooo many (too many) BMW E30’s, but this was easily the standout for me.

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Early small-bumper (Euro?) car with the full Hartge kit.

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And a beautiful two-tone interior with all the period accoutrements.

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One more of the minty Vigor.

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At this point I started wandering over to check out the other stuff that was going on. I shot this turbo BRZ for WORKS a few years ago, in the early days of this site.

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I looked around for a few minutes, but quickly got distracted and then sucked back into Radwood.

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Every French car is just different. Bless the French and their individuality.

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My favorite shades of red!

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One of the rarest cars in the world: an un-molested 240SX.

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Another rare car in California, although for a different reason.

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This guy must have gotten a lot of “WHAT YEAR IS IT?” questions in the past.

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After lunch, the now-traditional “live at Radwood” podcast was recorded.

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Right now is a great time for a photo op!

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Why is there a sheet metal screw just floating around the floor of the ZR-None?

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Couple of rad stickers.

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People gathered at the top of the hill for some giveaways and contests, like chugging expired Crystal Pepsi to win some 90’s ephemera.

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Not Radwood at all, but I’m in love with Sean’s patina’d 911. He’s not afraid to get this thing dirty.

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The reason I got really into Hondas was because the ideal car was like that Integra. Low (but not too low!) with nice wheels and subtle mods. Things got a little too extreme for me; years later and the “dubber” lifestyle of being super low with stretched tires is still clinging on. Sad!

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This was my best-of-show. An immaculate Tercel 4WD wagon, complete with a manual transmission and real sunset plate. This is the epitome of Radwood for me.

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By the way, this was the shot they were trying to get earlier.

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Or at least, I assume that was the shot. It’s what I got, anyway.

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There are a few flaws here and there, but that is some damn good looking paint for an 80’s car.

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I miss brutally functional interiors with straight lines. Everything now seems to be so over-styled and full of swoopy, compound curves that seem dated almost immediately.

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The campgrounds were cool, and probably damp at night, but damn scenic. On a side rant, why do so many people call scenes like this “Windows 95 background”? Doesn’t anyone remember that Windows XP was the one with the rolling hills and blue sky?

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An original RAV4 EV showed up. I remember seeing these back in the day, but no one ever drives them anymore. I wonder what happened to them?

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At this point the show was over, but there was still one more thing to do: everyone (everyone!) was invited to take some laps around the track. Who could say no to that?? So of course, I stood by and watched cars go up the hill–even those not necessarily in the show.

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I rode with my buddy Kian in his Cayman S over to the Turn 7 runoff where they were staging cars.

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The Cayman got some funky looks, because it was clearly not eligible for any of the shows at the track that day…but so what? They never said anything about who could drive in the parade!

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I’ve never seen people so stoked just waiting around!

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The anticipation was definitely off the charts.

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It was cool to have a nice low perspective of the racing, although I was itching to get way closer.

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And then we finally rolled out!

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I’ve driven on Sonoma Raceway before, although not on a track day (I was laser scanning the track). What an amazing track, truly a classic layout.

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And of course, how could you not laugh to see this random assortment of crap on your tail?

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Or an old Landcruiser at full tilt through the hairpin!

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Some parts were definitely at parade speed, but there were some areas where we got to open it up just a little bit. Of course, the tire-squealing and suspension-leaning speed of an old SUV is a one-handed sedate cruise in a modern Porsche—a stark depiction of “slow car fast” for sure.

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When we got back to the paddock, the sun was starting to get low and delicious…but no one was around to take advantage of it.

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On my way out, I saw Art coming back in to grab some more stuff. Nothing else to see–That’s all, folks! See you at the next one.

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