As the late summer sun reflected off its stainless steel bodywork a power-suited professional strolled past the DMC-12 talking loudly into his giant brick of a portable phone. A youthful-in-spirit Elliott lookalike rode by on his BMX with ET on the handlebars, while all around the pastel hues of Miami Vice could be seen alongside slogan T-shirts, dayglo spandex, side strakes and spoilers.
For on this one special day you didn’t need actually need a DeLorean to travel through time as RADwood arrived at Bicester Heritage near Oxford.
This celebration of the automotive Eighties and Nineties is now in its second year in the UK, having originally been founded by American podcasters Art Cervantes and Warren Madsen to champion cars from 1980-1999.
More than 600 cars of the RAD years and thousands of fans took over the former RAF base, most of them suitably attired for the time. A soundtrack by Absolute Radio DJ Andy Bush ensured that the tunes were just as topical.
Every kind of classic from the Eighties and Nineties was represented, with 50 cars entered into a Show & Shine judged by Charlotte Vowden and Hannah Gordon from TV’s Repair Lot, and YouTuber Chris Pollitt. Their picks included a Mercedes W124 Estate, an Audi UR Quattro and a Nissan 300ZX, with the Raddest in Show award going to the brilliantly-white VW Scirocco of mechanic Katie Bushell.
Over in the main hanger there was even more at stake as the 2023 Hot Wheels Legends Tour saw ten of the country’s most imaginatively-modified cars compete for the chance to be turned into an actual Hot Wheels car.
The line-up was indeed legendary, including such amazing machines as a Jaguar XJ with two straight-six engines bolted together to create a unique V12, an 800bp Transit with a DRS system, a former airport van turned dragster and Skoda Octavia Estate inspired by Japanese touring cars of the Nineties.
After talking in depth to each of the contestants and examining their incredibly creative cars it was Michael Wallhead and his MG B-EAST that the judges all agreed should go forward to the next round.
“Choosing a winner was no mean feat and each finalist has what it takes to represent the UK in the global finale,” explained Callum. “That said, Michael Wallhead’s MG perfectly encapsulates the three core elements we were looking for in our winner – authenticity, creativity and garage spirit. We loved the reuse of materials in new and exciting ways, such as the denim seat covers and temporary tattoos for graphics.”
Check back for an in-depth look at the MG B-EAST soon. And, if you’ve got an Eighties or Nineties car yourself then save a slot in your diary for RADwood 2024.
Mark Roper, Managing Director of Hagerty International, added, “Hagerty welcomes all car enthusiasts and RADwood UK looks set to follow our own Festival of the Unexceptional in becoming a must-attend show for UK enthusiasts. RADwood and FOTU will be back, bigger and better than ever, in 2024 and I can’t wait to see you there.”