If you’re the type that keeps your ear to the ground, then the concept of RADwood should need no introduction.
The US-based show has gone from strength to strength across the pond over the past few years, with increasingly popular events spanning the length and breadth of the country.
Now, RADwood’s organisers are taking the show overseas, with the UK stop of the tour being their first venture into Europe. Word.
The venue – the prestigious Goodwood Motor Circuit in South East England. It makes sense phonetically, at least – Goodwood, RADwood – get it?
A celebration of everything ’80s and ’90s, the idea of RADwood is that you rock up in a car from the period, dress like a cool dude stuck in the era, and generally have a rad time reliving the most day-glow of times in modern history.
It’s easy to see the attraction. Compared to modern times, the ethos, fashion and cars of this era are massively appealing – to me anyway. I’m an early ’80s baby, but my romantic memories of the ’90s can be attributed to more than simple nostalgia.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Ferrari Testarossa and Porsche 964 Turbo, day-glow and/or heat-sensitive t-shirts, synth-pop, big hair and bigger attitudes. It was a great time to be alive.
So, when it came to arrange my trip down to RADwood, step one was to make sure that my car was of a suitable age. Project RS4 was built in 2007 – way too new to fit in at RADwood – so a quick call to Audi UK to get my blag on, and I managed to source the closest thing, but from the right era.
Audi’s heritage fleet RS2 is truly a thing of beauty. It’s a completely original car with just 3,400 miles on it from new. I felt very lucky to call it mine for the weekend.
So, naturally, my trip down to Goodwood ended up being somewhat scenic and somewhat less direct – it was only fair that I put the RS2 through its paces in a proper road test. I’ll share my more in-depth thoughts further in a future story.
Step 2 of RADwood prep was making sure I dressed to fit the bill (thanks to The Kyza for capturing this wonderful look). I was going for a White Men Can’t Jump medley – think Sidney Deane mashed with Billy Hoyle. Secretly, I wish I could dress like this every day.
Despite RADwood’s events being fairly well-known across the US, the brand is relatively unheard of to most people in the UK. This, combined with the on/off storms gracing the South Coast last weekend, meant that the turnout to the first RADwood UK wasn’t as big as it could have been, or as I’d have expected it to be.
However, the lack of quantity didn’t lessen the quality of what was there. I’d like to think that the British attendees brought something a bit different to what the RADwood guys are used to seeing over in the States.
There were truly some rare beasts in attendance, like this genuine Tommykaira R32 GT-R, for instance.
Or this spider-converted ‘Ratarossa’ that’s probably not to everyone’s tastes, but certainly turned heads.
Oddly, the most common car there was the Lotus Carlton, of which there were three – something that the RADwood fraternity would rarely see stateside
Alongside the RS2 that I was lovingly chaperoning for the weekend, Audi also sent along their immaculate S2 coupe. This thing had just ticked over 400 miles on the clock from new when it arrived at RADwood, and it had to drive around 160 to get there and another 160 back. It did more miles last weekend than it had done since 1996.
I also got to have a proper look around Khyzyl’s gorgeous RX-7. Is it just me, or does the FD3S still look as fresh today as it did at launch?
Despite the relatively low turnout, the smaller attendance actually helped give the inaugural RADwood UK a really enjoyable vibe.
By the time lunchtime came around almost everyone had interacted with everyone else. I guess common ground was easy to find – we were mostly all dressed like idiots and just enjoying being lost in the wrong era for a day.
I sincerely hope that the organisers use the lessons learnt at this year’s event to come back bigger and better next year, and shout about it from the rooftops too.
RADwood UK has the potential to be a really good show – more people just need to know about it.