Find Out Why Everyone's So Hyped On '80s And '90s Cars Now

1980s and ’90s nostalgia is coming back as loud and proud as the first guitar riff in the Miami Vice theme song, and it might be one of the best things to happen to car culture in a long time. Roll up to a Radwood show with us in this video and see what everybody’s freaking out about, man.


A lot of you reading this probably grew up looking at and lusting after cars from these decades–and that’s the short answer to why the Radwood car shows, which exclusively feature vehicles from this era, are taking off.

And “taking off” is no hyperbole. The second official Radwood show, which went down last December in Los Angeles, had a few hundred cars and had to turn people away because it filled up. The latest edition, Radwood NorCal which happened just a couple weekends ago, took over a beautiful little spit of land in the San Francisco bay with an expected attendance of 300 cars... but organizers told me the final number was more like double that.

As you’ll see in our video tour, there’s more to Radwood than the cyclical nature of fashion and people’s love for all things ironic. This is a car show that’s about the dedication to the theme and a genuine interest in the mundane. Period-correct dress and props are encouraged, and so are random and regular cars.

Where else can you see a Ferrari F40, a Porsche 959, and a mint-condition 4x4 five-speed manual Mazda Navajo with the original window sticker at the same show?

Customized, bone-stock, rare-breed exotic or pool boy’s pickup truck... there’s something for everybody at this show. Even if you’re just looking for an excuse to rock leg warmers and neon colors again. Welcome to Radwood.

Jalopnik Staffer from 2013 to 2020, now Editor-In-Chief at Car Bibles



I think that “rad” is coming back in the sense that people of our generation are waxing nostalgic about their youth and thats all well and good but the reason 80-90s cars are so hot right now is only partly because of rose colored glasses. It was because it was a golden age of cars - new enough that reliability was a thing, with computer controlled fuel systems and refined engineering principles, yet old enough not to have to gained the weight of safety innovations and the pampering creature comforts associated with modern cars like laminated glass or overly complicated and integrated electronics.

Not only that, but the economy was doing well enough that manufactures were motivated to make GOOD products, competition was getting stiffer and manufactures had to distinguish themselves with quality and innovation. it wasn’t enough to just make a segment filler like before, or just create new segments like after.

They were made well, they drove well, they were reliable and most were much easier to diagnose and repair.

It was a good time for cars.