We’re heading to Radwood, the fantastic 80s and 90s-themed car show in San Francisco, later this week. We want you rad readers to bring your rad rides, so we’re holding a rad contest to see which rad ride is raddest. Follow?
The categories we’re handing out trophies in are:
Raddest Time Machine, our term for the most well-preserved ride
The winner of each category gets to display their car in the Jalopnik area, gets featured on the site, gets VIP passes to the show and some lovely Jalopnik swag.
But most importantly, we’re letting you decide who wins! We’ve culled the original group of submissions down and are now letting you vote on the Jalopnik staff favorites. Submissions were varied and often included many details and pictures, so we’ve taken the liberty of editing them down to one paragraph and one picture.
Pick your favorite for each category and vote in the poll below!
What’s not rad about the first gen MR2? It’s got the pop up headlights, origami and wedge shape, mid engined! Handling by Lotus, bruh! This car has it’s original paint, very cool original rear wing in black which I think looks way better than the body color wings on later year models, pop up sunroof with trick front trunk storage. Nothing is more rad... except the original 1984 New Orleans World’s Fair license plate with an original registration sticker from ‘86 proudly displayed in front!
The car is my pride and joy. A similar car was my first car when I was 16 yeads old, and I totaled it the day of my senior prom. A few years ago, I started looking for a similar car, and after two years of searching, I found this car. I have been improving it mechanically and cosmetically ever since. My wife and our dog (Toby) enjoy taking the car to car shows, including Toyotafest and the Japanese Classic Car Show, and rallies like the Touge California and the California Carrera.
I bought this car at 24 when they were the cheapest 911s going, and it basically looked good but was toast mechanically and had unseen rust. I spent the next 10 years restoring the car. First, full motor and driveline, then suspension and electrical etc. I most recently I did glass, cut out any rust and had paint done. I love the car but don’t let anyone tell you these cars are cheap to run, reasonable to maintain etc, practical. The thing has 12 spark plugs and two distributers connected by a rubber band. Guess what happens when the band breaks? $$$$$$ and tears. Not in that order.
I just got a ‘93 Mercedes 300ce cabriolet with 45k Miles. It is perfect, and on extremely dorky Benz taxi-spec 15-inch wheels. It was the second nicest one I could find in the country, (the nicest some dude wanted 60 grand for. Insane). Amazingly, it babies. I would like to humbly submit it for the “raddest time machine” category. We call it “jean” as an homage to jean tripplehorn—re: a similar car’s role in the classic tom cruise vehicle “the firm.”
[This entry was quite long, so we’ve rewritten the first part. The quoted portion is the entrant’s own words, but the opening is paraphrased]
Richard’s father originally purchased the car, treasuring the 308 since renting one while his wife was pregnant with Richard. After years of desiring them, his father bought the car and treasured it for years. Eventually, he was diagnosed with colon cancer and passed way. Richard says, “[t]here really were some great memories involving this car. It can be said that art is timeless - but that human life is not, so it was incredibly sad to inherit this beautiful machine last year. I’ve been taking care to exercise and maintain her, but haven’t been to any shows and believe she should be appreciated. I’d be delighted to share her with the Jalop community at Radwood, and look forward to being there.
The CS Last Edition was BMW’s opportunity to try and extract some cash from their clients as they stopped making boxer motors. BMW had been building boxers since 1923, so it was a big deal. BMW figured everyone would want K-bikes, which didn’t exactly pan out, lending a bit of irony to this generation of boxers. These Last Edition bikes were produced and I think about 50 or so of this specific type, the CS, were exported to the U.S. Originally, this bike had a certificate and a bunch of other crap that’s long since lost. I got hit on this bike by a person making a U-turn in 2006, which taught me that It’s Always The Corolla. I restored it with the insurance money and it’s pretty damn close to the original. Not sure this works for Time Machine criteria, but chances are good you won’t see many other Last Editions and their nifty motorsport paint job.
I think it deserves to win because: It is in all-stock, extremely great condition (except slight window tinting) and it demonstrates just how different BMW is now versus the 90s. This thing is so basic inside (i.e. no wood trim) and the interior condition is stellar. This one was not optioned with the premium package so it was “the budget 5 Series.” To be completely up front, after these pics were taken someone slightly scraped my front fender in a parking lot and left a five-inch scrape. People suck. I have an appointment at a body shop but they likely will not be able to get to it before Radwood. I’m very bummed about that. I hope that doesn’t stop it from winning!
I have a 1984 Jetta GLI Coupe, originally bought in Salinas, California by my parents and remains in family possession to this day. This is the car I was brought home from the hospital in, learned how to drive a manual with. It definitely reinforces the notion it is more fun to drive slow cars fast as it is a car that always leaves me smiling when I step out. There were about five GLI coupes sold in the US so it is a bit of a rare Jetta and it often gets mistaken for a BMW rather than a rabbit with a trunk. Regardless, I think it is a prime example of the Rad era.
[This entry was quite long, so we’ve rewritten the first part. The quoted portion is the entrant’s own words, but the opening and closingis paraphrased]
Dane’s father spotted the 300ZX in January of 1990. “His jaw was agape. It was love at first sight. From that moment he researched, read all the reviews, poured over suspension numbers, ogled the power figures. The 300ZX was sleek and sexy, something completely different from the box designs of the 80’s. It had performance. It had four seats to fit his entire family. And, it had a liftback— just like his Practical Caprice! Four months later, spring had sprung and our hero was riding T-topless through town with his entire family.”
The car has been in Dane’s family ever since and he’s worked hard to keep it well-preserved.
It is a 1989 Saab 900S with period correct goodies such as Speedline Mistral Wheels, Momo Corse Steering wheel, and factory louvers. The odometer says 137,000 miles and I like to think its a fairly well-preserved ride.
This van has been my love for more the five years, giving me and my family tons of fun times. Hopefully it’ll be considered for best van.
It’s painted in a BMW individual color called Madeira Schwarz. (A dark purple). There were two made in this color in ‘94 (this was the first one), and two in ‘95. This is the only one in the US. It was imported and federalized in 2006, and miraculously registered in California. I’ve owned it for about five years, and I drive it regularly. Both as an occasional daily and on family/auto related road trips. Currently it sits at 220k km. What makes it rad? It’s an e34 M5, and it’s a wagon, and it’s purple (though not quite as in your face purple as Daytona). The ultimate sport utility vehicle. I’ve used it to haul plants, pick up parts, and it’s seen a few laps on road courses. One of its prior German owners was listed on the Nurburgring’s top 10 lap times in 2003 (while he owned this car). As an M5 fan, this was a holy grail car that I was able to get needing some work, before the values went up.
My 1990 Peugeot Wagon is build by myself and it’s only in U.S. that’s Peugeot 306 GTI 6 speed M/T swapped.
This 1995 E320 has been modified in several areas, suspension, brakes, interior, and conversion to manual transmission. This car has been on the field at Legends of The Autobahn over the last few year receiving awards in both Class 6 as well as the Modified Class for Mercedes. Should you have any questions about the car please do not hesitate to contact me directly. This wagon was built and is used to haul my 170 pound Newfoundland to and from the office along with a 30 lb Whippet for a solid 200 lbs of guaranteed daily cargo. I also use this wagon for typical duties like groceries and of course picking up parts for my other car related projects which are many.
I wanted a fun, comfortable, practical highway cruiser wagon with a manual transmission, so the rarest car in the U.S.
After researching the E34 5 series on a suggestion from a friend and having already looked at manual swapping turbodiesel Mercedes, I decided to look at the remaining German luxury automaker, Audi. We did not get the RS2, but we got the highly tunable 20V turbo inline-five without Porsche’s reworking in the big Audis from 1991-95 (only ‘91 and ‘95 for wagons), only paired with a manual. In ‘91, the last year of the car introduced as the 5000 with plummeting sales thanks to CBS, Audi sold, with this new engine, a total of 133 wagons. As I said, the rarest car in the U.S.
Attached herein is the ultimate ‘90s van. You need not look any further for a van/wagon category winner, and I’m sure the discerning Jalop community will agree. Behold, all that is good about the ‘90s. Who amongst us did not have a friend/parent/grandparent who invested poorly in a large, gas-guzzling, American made quasi-luxury vehicle such as this and/or take family trips in same? Shall we list all of the items that make it awesome? Scooby-doo font spare tire carrier? Check. Captain’s chairs? Check. Cocktail table with four (4!!) built-in cup holders seemingly made with beer steins or wine glasses in mind? Fold down rear bench/bed (for questionable hijinks and/or camping)... Checkity check check. And the glorious piece de resistance? LED party lights in the ceiling?... YES! This vehicle represents all that is holy and good about the 90's; a time that will never come around again (possibly for the good of all involved) but should be remembered and revered for obvious reasons.
I present my 1989 Dodge D250 as a candidate for the raddest truck category, mostly cause I’m a sucker for the far off possibility of free stuff and because it’s a fine benchmark of an era of American engineering that would not go silently into the good night. I submit this to the Jalopnik community as a simple, honest, working class hillbilly hot rod. It gives me great joy to drive it, wrench on it, learn obscure things about the history of Chrysler motor company, and swear profusely about how there’s almost no aftermarket support for this fine machine.
[Yes, it’s a 2000 model year. Radwood rules allow continuation models, so it checks out. Also, Erik is entering on his friend Julian’s behalf.]
Truck is super different compared to his other cars and its part of what makes it so cool. Its a pretty simple truck but is also pretty uncommon. The Limited trim is blacked out and features unique body accents for a street truck look. Its also extremely low and sitting on a great set of meaty tires and steelies for a mean nascar like stance. He’s put a bunch of work into cleaning the car up and fixing it from the previous owners neglect. It just got an all new stereo setup with a badass center console sub box. Julian and myself both drove from SF to LA for the Rad2wood because we didn’t want to miss it. We both are super stoked on the idea of the group and event. Truck is badass and Julian is a super Rad dude and is a true auto enthustiast (He even works at Tesla) I’m pretty sure he’s too modest to submit and that’s why he should be in the running for an award.
This is my 1997 Land Rover Range Rover trek edition. It is one of 14 but had been converted to a vitesse. I attached a photo of its former glory. It has 125k miles but runs like a champ! Thanks for your consideration.
I’ve owned the truck for almost 10 years, have replaced the frame, bulkhead and rebuilt the engine twice. Fallen in total love with the truck and have moved it here with me from NY to CA. I drive the truck whenever possible and host monthly fix-it session at my house for other Bay Area Land Rover owners. Converted it from a truck cab to a full length soft top. I’ve pioneered the Corvette master swap and numerous other publicly available upgrades including a sink strainer body exit exhaust. Attended Radwood last year and was shown in the Jalop pics! We took second place at the Diesel trucking nationals pickup truck category in NJ in 2016. Truck has also been featured in Land Rover Owners International magazine
Pretty cool you get to go through all the Radwood submissions. Here’s the winner, though (in either the truck or wagon category). May I present my 1988 Jeep Grand Wagoneer, named Tuna. Why Tuna? Because a surly tow truck driver we who rescued me when the fuel pump died asked me “Where’d you get this tuna boat?” as he was loading her onto the flatbed. We’ve befriended many tow truck drivers in the three years since I brought her home. I’ve replaced the entire interior, including a plaid headliner and period-correct Cumberland corduroy seating surfaces. I’ve also addressed some mechanical and electrical issues, so everything—power windows, locks, seats—works. She’s also getting a fresh coat of paint and new “marine teak woodgrain” vinyl as we speak.
I wanted to let you know about the Raddest truck there is, our fully loaded “1995” GMC Suburban 2500 SLT. I say “1995” because this truck was so popular that we had to wait nearly a year from order to delivery. It didn’t show up until after many 1996 models were on the road and is literally is so rad it made 1995 stick around longer just to wait for it! It may be the last truck ever to have a non-vortec Chevy Big block, and was all but certainly the largest displacement motor at the Radwood at Hooptie Con. (All of 454 cubes, I think a Bentley 6 3/4 liter was the next largest there!) Pretty darn rad, I think! Obviously after waiting a year to take delivery, we’ve never let “the Beast” go, it has served the family for 23 years all over the west coast with no signs of slowing down! From towing our boat around Tahoe to taking the family on a road trip through national parks or helping me move in to college in LA, this truck has been a lot more places than it’s 60-odd thousand miles suggest!
I’d always wanted a Honda Prelude, but it’s pretty impractical with a tiny trunk and rear seats; also always wanted a truck, but being a small Asian dude I didn’t wanna look like I was overcompensating with a F-150. So I decided to make my own pickup, and in May, 2017 I bought a 1997 five-speed Prelude with peeling paint and rusted, mismatched body panels to start my first car project. A good 400 hours of DIY sheetmetal work/TIG welding/composites layup/vinyl wrapping later, I had the Smashing Pumpkin. Named partly for the period-correct band, but also because it’s sexy killer Cinderella’s very orange whip. The payload’s not huge but I’ve used it to haul bicycles, Ikea furniture, tools, chairs and tables for a Memorial Day BBQ—and it still goes like stink when I want it to. I think its unique combination of utility, driving pleasure, and OEM+ quality of custom work make it a prime candidate for Raddest Truck. Plus, how cool would it be if the Raddest Truck didn’t actually start life as a truck?!
I’ve owned it about 15 years, so since high school, and before that it was my uncle’s from new. It’s mostly stock FJ60, with original desert beige paint (except the roof) and white California sunset plates. The Land Cruiser has been our camping and snow rig, hauler and daily driver. We’ve done camping and trails around the Southwest, snow trips to Tahoe and Yosemite, and it was our wedding getaway car. I spent a summer in Albuquerque driving it around the desert, and freshman year of college I moved out of the dorms and drove straight to Tahoe with the back full of the entire contents of my dorm room. It’s also just getting broken in at around 230,000 miles. I believe the owner of the dealership drove it as his showcase, so new in ‘83 he added the bull bar, Warn trail lights, a three-spoke steering while from an SR5, plus for some reason two Enkie wheels and two Prime wheels (yay Chevy bolt pattern!).
He also added the throttle from a helicopter as a makeshift rock-crawling throttle control, like you do.
About two years ago I was sitting in my tiny house here in Japan wishing that I could have some joy in my life. Realizing that I was eventually going to return to the States I decided to pour my efforts into finding the perfect vehicle for my return. I looked at a lot of different options and finally decided I wanted a Nissan Hardbody. I set some strict rules: SEV6, King Cab, 4X4, and it needed to be the cleanest rig I could find. I searched the internet for months, sometimes calling on the trucks I found, but in almost every case they were just a little too worn or abused. Realizing I had lots of time I did something very, very difficult for me: I waited. The months just crawled by as I looked at Hardbodies every day on the internet. I was relentless and, eventually, this adult owned one-owner D21 showed up not 50 miles from my home so I sent my brother-in-law Kenny down to look at it.
Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the contenders, please vote in the polls at the bottom of each section! Voting closes at 9:00 a.m. EST on Wednesday, June 20th.