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Redusernab Asks: Can you pick a decade for your preferred car show?

Jeff Glucker December 5, 2017 Redusernab Asks 43 Comments

Radwood 2 just went down this past weekend and it was, well, quite rad. All manner of machine from the 1980s and 1990s arrived to wow those in attendance. If you were born in the 70s and 80s, this makes Radwood one of the greatest gatherings of vehicles you’re likely to find, at least as it might relate to your sense of nostalgia.

The 80s and 90s, of course, are not for everyone. If you had to pick a decade on which to focus for a car show of your own, which block of years would you pick? What would you call your show?

For me, it would be 1961 – 1970. I think I’d just call the show “Alright Alright…” and sit back and smile while all the awesome machines rumble into the lot.

  • Fred

    If I had to pick a timeline it would be mid 50’s to mid 60s as those are the cars we had in highschool. Since I like British cars we can extend those dates or minus 10 years as they didn’t change a whole lot.

    • crank_case

      You could call it Dadwood

      • Alff

        Hadwood….but not any more.

        • outback_ute

          1930-40s station wagons needing restoration – Badwood

  • Sjalabais

    I’d also pick the 60s, though probably 65-75. All for just the right dose of automobile cubism, chrome, and untempered noise from up front.

  • tonyola

    1932 to 1942, mainly because cars of this era are getting pretty scarce and a good number of them are grand-looking.

    • outback_ute

      I hope that one has the supercharged engine!

    • onrails

      These are the ones I tend to migrate to at car shows. Or earlier. Not that I don’t appreciate tri-5 Chevy’s, 60’s Impalas, Mustangs, Camaros, GTOs, etc, but I’ve seen enough to last a lifetime. Give me something different!

  • I’d have to say 1895 to 1904, a period of significant innovation including a range of intriguing one-offs and fascinating technological false starts, frequently constructed in a relatively exposed manner which lends itself to ready examination within the setting of a show.

    I wouldn’t be too strict on the dates, though. Earlier cars would be welcome.

    • Tylerd5079

      Actually, I would be very interested in this show.

      I used to ignore pre-WWI cars, because I rarely saw them, and couldn’t relate to them in any way. Then I started working at a museum that had a few, and started learning about them, and of their trials and tribulations when it came to innovation.

      Some were amazing ahead of their time, like the 1898 Innes, a one of Scottish car that featured inline 4-cylinder engine, and believe it or not, a way of shutting down cyspecific cylinders in order to safe fuel, predating Cadillac by 83 years.

      My favourite ones however, are the ones that are laughably bad, like the 1901 Queen Stanhope Runabout, which had the throttle fixed open to prevent stalling. It varied the spark timing to change speed. This, combined with a rough shift of its primitive 3-speed transmission, and it was said to occasionally throw passengers clear of the vehicle!

      This would definitely be a fun show idea.

      • Now I want a 1901 Queen Stanhope Runabout.

        • Tylerd5079

          It is fairly interesting…

        • Tylerd5079

          It is fairly interesting…

    • You’re so right. By 1910, things had gotten so conventional and boring.

      • Ah, but the question is about car shows. It is of course understood that motorcycles have always lagged a bit behind…

        • outback_ute

          I imagine that the steering wheel would make this a 2-wheeled car in some jurisdictions!

          • outback_ute

            Here is a photo

            • That’s somewhat reminiscent of the swing-away steering wheel on the M274 Mechanical Mule that would permit operation in reverse while crouched “behind” the vehicle for cover.

            • Tylerd5079

              Fascinating! I love the ingenuity shown by automotive pioneers.

              In the same stream, one of the museums key exhibits features a “walking” tractor, which was designed for logging in bogs and other areas where a wheeled tractor would get stuck,

              And yes, video of it running does exist:

              (None of these images or videos were taken by myself.)

              • Alff

                I wonder how long it took for fatter tires to be the clearer answer.

                • outback_ute

                  I think tracks would be the answer, tyres still have limitations. A friend has some fairly soft/swampy areas on the family farm, and if they bog a tractor it stays there until the ground dries out in spring – otherwise you are going to have 2 bogged tractors if you try to get it out!

                • Tylerd5079

                  They actually tried that earlier, in 1900:

                  It didn’t work out very well:

                  That tractor was built by Daniel Best, one of the founders of Caterpillar, which supports @outback_ute: about tracks, and about stuck wheeled tractors staying stuck.

                • Vairship

                  And miss out on the free spine-cracking chiropractic ride?

              • outback_ute

                That is a pretty elaborate solution to the problem! I wonder how it compares in both timeframe and weight to tracks?

                Another solution for that one was using timber beams anchored around the wheel, or “dreadnoughts”. There is a giant ‘tractor’ known as Big Lizzie on display in the north-west Victorian town of Red Cliffs that was a not-quite-successful upscaling of this idea; due to the size of the beams the top speed was limited to a maximum of 1.5 mph. Nevertheless due to the investment in the machine it was still put to work just in slightly different roles. The Land Rover provides a useful reference for size! Weight is 45 ton, power is 60hp @ 200rpm from a single cylinder engine of about 18 litres.

                • kogashiwa

                  “single cylinder engine of about 18 litres.”

                  That is quite the thumper

                  • outback_ute

                    That is how you got 60 hp in 1915 from a crude oil burning engine! Which was a _lot_ of power then for a tractor. With 2 trailers that had tons of fuel and water stores it still had an 80 ton load capacity.

  • Fuhrman16

    I don’t see the point in sticking to a certain rate for a car show. All years of cars would be allowed to enter any show I’d put on.

  • Cars, no. But I do want to do a Twentieth Century personal watercraft show at a marina. So many cool designs early on, before the industry figured out what worked, and what sold.

    • GTXcellent

      “Your ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter”

      • smalleyxb122

        The Wetbike was a horrible idea. I wanted one so badly.

    • Alff

      I bet that thing tripped on its own shoelaces a lot.

      • If you really wanted to stab waves, you needed a Fazer Faze II.

        • I’m disappointed they didn’t make a fourth version.

    • outback_ute

      That would probably work in the right location, maybe every second year rather than annual.

      A maritime I visited a while back had a display of 30 or 40 early outboard motors ranging through to the 1960s, which was interesting.

      Are there such things as classic boat shows?

      • Yes, there are. Classic fiberglass shows, classic outboard shows, classic wooden boat shows…

  • Alff

    2020 to 2030. I’m sure there will be a lot of interesting stuff I’ve never seen.

  • Zentropy

    American: 1950-1969
    European: 1965-1984
    Japanese: 1970-1979

  • JayP

    Late 50’s to 60’s SoCal.

  • HuntRhymesWith

    For popular marques you could recreate the best era’s dealership inventory. Imagine walking into a top BMW dealer in 1999: E46 M3, E39 M5, Z3M, Z8, X5/6 speed, with a Z1 and E30 bearing CPO window stickers. Dress all the cars up like they’re new and for sale, and dress the owners up like salesmen, or wear any of those tacky BMW branded polos, windbreakers and sun visors.

    Actually I might start this. BRB gotta hit up my BMW friends

  • wunno sev


    it would just be Radwood. the 90s are the best decade for Japanese cars for sure. you could get a nice simple Civic or you could get an R32, R33, or R34 Skyline….or a Z32 300ZX, or an S13 or S14 or S15 Silvia, or a B13 Sentra SE-R, and that was just Nissan.

    i won’t say it was the best decade for European cars all round, but the best European cars did exist in the ’90s. E30, E34, E36, E38, E39, E46 all occurred in this decade, and W124, W201, W140, W126, and R129 (ran out of motivation to sort chassis codes after BMW) all could be had new. MkIII and MkIV Jettas and Golfs were a thing. and these are just cars a normal jerkoff can afford. my car show would also have an F355, a 456GT, an F40 and an F50, a Countach (barely) and a Diablo, an XJ220, an EB110, and, of course, a McLaren F1. and i’m gonna throw in a Cizeta V16T because it’s my fucking show.

    American cars were mostly shit in the ’90s, but there were a few bright spots (Impala SS, 4th-gen F-body, C5, Taurus SHO, Focus – though that was arguably not American). the renaissance for American cars really began in the ’00s and didn’t get properly underway until the 2010s, but it’s not like the ’90s were a barren desert. and since i listed a bunch of European supercars, we’ll have a Vector W8, which did make it out of the ’80s, according to Wikipedia.

    but look – the reason the ’90s is the best decade for cars is that i was a kid in the ’90s. in twenty years the kids of today will exclaim with joy when they see a tattered old E90 335i burbling down the street, or when they see an SQ5 sitting in a junkyard, the timing belt change too costly to justify, or when they see a Tesla Roadster – the very first real car! – parked in the valet. and i will age out of the Target Demographic, and the market will shift towards the new hotness, and i’ll finally be able to afford a goddamn NSX. my show is gonna be great.

  • duurtlang

    I’d still pick the 1980s, with a bit more flexibility maybe 83-92 or so.

  • neight428

    I’m a sucker for the muscle car era as cliché as in can be at times, so for a ten year stretch, I’d go 62-72. Other interesting stuff ex-Detroit in that time period too.

    I am however interested if there is a Radwood for motorcycles. I had a deep obsession with Yamaha FZR’s and the like.

  • cap’n fast

    I am not going to have a cut off date but lets just say Pre Ralph Nader and the US EPA. they both have stifled and stillborn any and all creativity and engineering legendermain. The styling of the later 1950s and powertrains of the 1960s come to mind. ideas and designs from shirt sleeve engineers such as SmokyYunik and Herb Adams went to the wayside. now days we drive what looks like a pumpkin seed pods with wheels. they all look so much alike. I suppose the real culprits are accountants and the laws of aerodynamics which never change.
    So cars from 1955 thru 1970ish. the past is always a safe refuge from the digital age