The 7 craziest cars from Radwood Greenwich

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In a way, Greenwich, Connecticut is the perfect location for a Radwood event, as the financial boom of the 1980’s effectively transformed the city into what it is today, with numerous luxury and sports car dealerships based throughout the area shot the ground. Greenwich has long been one of the highest income communities in the United States – as evidenced today by the cars on the city’s streets. During the “Decade of Greed” many of those who worked on Wall Street lived in Greenwich and the surrounding towns, and there were many real Gordon Gekkos who could be seen with giant cellphones. Greenwich still embodies some of this image in the New York City area and still has plenty of 1980’s architecture to prove it, with many hedge funds scattered throughout the city.

You’d think this would result in a lot of local cars being part of the event, but most of the cars we saw on the show field weren’t even out Connecticut, with some seriously traveling long distances to attend. One might assume that this reflects the fast pace of automotive fashion in cities like this one – local residents might prefer to be seen in the latest and greatest cars rather than making tongue-in-cheek fashion statements.

The reality is that there are still plenty of well-maintained luxury cars from the 1980s in Greenwich, and hundreds of Rad-era cars can be seen each year in the car park opposite the Concours, which in recent years has become its own event has become . So Radwood is perhaps still too niche of an enthusiast event to draw locals, even in a place still stocked with W126 Mercedes sedans with phones in their armrests.

This year’s event, which follows on from a successful October 2021 edition, saw some European and Japanese rarities, although it didn’t match the sheer vehicle volume of other Radwood events. But at least is a small park, and Radwood Philly was only a few weeks earlier.

Here are seven cars that caught our eye at Greenwich, listed in no particular order. Also check out the full gallery of this event.

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Seeing an Audi from the early 1990s is already a tall order in the US, but this inexplicably clean V8 sedan was almost hypnotic to behold. The model helped usher in Audi’s 4.2-litre V8 era while signaling Ingolstadt’s arrival as a serious player in the German luxury sedan game. The V8’s clean lines made it a little anonymous on the road back then, but today we can spot one from a mile away simply because they’re so rare these days – especially compared to their BMW and Mercedes contemporaries.

You can roughly say that Everyone of these are now in the hands of enthusiasts, but few are in competition condition like this one, complete with a Monroney decal in the rear window. Perhaps not many today remember that the V8 itself was a 3.6-liter unit early on, or that the sedan was offered in two wheelbases. The A8, arriving in Europe in 1994, would largely reflect this lineup, adding even more engines to the list. But the V8 is where it all began for Audi’s true executive sedan lineup.

A futuristic design by Infiniti, the J30 was once more common than it seems today. The J30, intended to play the role of mid-range offering sandwiched between the big Q45 and the small and sporty G20, was the third to arrive, going on sale in the US in 1992 when the worst of the recession seemed to be over . It also came in time for the US market’s obsession with gold trim on Japanese luxury cars.

Actor Jonathan Pryce introduced Infinitis with his Welsh accent just prior to his role as a villain in television commercials Gold eye and ronin, giving the brand an air of sophistication. However, the J30 itself only spent five years on the market and sold well enough while remaining a bit overshadowed by the Lexus ES and Acura Legend. Reviews of the time also noticed its cozy interior, which was too modest for this segment at the time.

It’s not easy to find a clean J30 these days, so it was a pleasure to see this well-maintained example.

Ever heard of the Biagini Passo? Before there was the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet, there was the Biagini Passo. This little 4×4 is what happens when you combine the platform of the VW Golf Country with the front fascia of the Fiat Panda hatch and some generic 4×4 hardware like a beefy bumper and some flared wheel arches. The Passo filled an interesting niche in Europe, somewhere between the Lada Niva Cabriolet and a soft-top Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, while sharing parts with the Golf. Unfortunately, this niche was also being filled by an endless variety of small Japanese 4x4s at the time, making the Passo a rare and not particularly cheap engineering and styling exercise. A 1.8-liter underbonnet with 98 horsepower on tap assured the Passo would not pose a challenge for more serious 4x4s of the day, although it still hit a certain sweet spot as a beach car.

This particular Passo won the Raddest in Show award, and it’s no surprise as it was by far one of the rarest machines on the field, with lots of 80’s and 90’s tech from more than one automaker. That’s something many other competitors can’t boast of.

The Peugeot 505 is by no means a common sight on the road today, but Radwood had not one but two 505 sedans on the show field this year. As some of our readers might note, this particular example received a Euro headlight retrofit en route, which is a fairly common modification for 505 owners. Speaking of 505 owners, the Northeast was a stronghold for Peugeot dealers (along with Northern California and the mid-Atlantic states), which meant 505s could still be found in everyday use up until about 15 years ago. Their numbers are still going strong, with hundreds on the road across the country, as this was Peugeot’s most popular model for much of the 1980s and beyond.

Of course, the lack of direct replacements added to the automaker’s fortunes in the US, as the 405 sedan hasn’t been able to hold its own against competitors from Germany and Japan in the short time it’s been offered here. We see about a dozen 505s at various shows each year and this one was one of the best in terms of condition.

5

Toyota Crown Royal Sedan G V8

Though Toyota has had a generous lineup in the US for decades, there are still some cars the Japanese have kept to themselves. This Toyota Crown Royal Limousine, owned by Jacob Cirulis, is one of them, a model rarely seen outside of Japan or the handful of RHD markets around the world. But the Crown is nothing short of a legend in its home country, even sporting its own distinctive grille badge and traditionally known for its spacious and comfortable interior. With an under-engined V8 and a large trunk, the Crown has played the role of the sleek executive sedan in its home country, while other versions of the Crown serve as taxis.

Thanks to the 25 year rule, 1996 and earlier crowns can be imported into the US and can often be found at fairly modest prices. This 1991 specimen came a long way for the event and had several other JDM cars to keep it company on the Greenwich field.

One of the most popular kei cars to import in recent years has been the Suzuki Cappuccino, to the point that we see several of these each year, often just making their way through traffic.

A hit with private importers, the tiny roadster, produced from 1991 to 1998, offers a surprisingly aged design and 63 hp, thanks to a 657cc three-cylinder engine. That may not sound like much, but the cappuccino doesn’t weigh much at first. And if you’re nervous about shifting a manual transmission in an RHD car in the US, you might even look for an automatic version. Pretty soon, the US will need Suzuki dealers again to sell and service 1990’s cappuccinos.

Conan O’Brien may have regularly promoted the Taurus SHO well past its sell-by date, but that doesn’t mean that this car was easy to find even 20 years ago when it was relatively fresh. The second-generation Taurus, arguably sleeker than the stripped-down model of the RoboCop generation, offered 3.0- and 3.2-liter V6 engines producing 220 hp during the model’s short run from 1992 to 1995, at a time when this figure was more commonly associated with domestic V8s.

This Taurus SHO that turned up at Radwood Greenwich looked spectacularly well cared for and is quite poised to star in a movie set in the mid 1990s, which is far enough in the past now to call for “retro” cars. That’s right: a 2002 film that looks just as far back in time would be about the 1970s. That’s a slightly unnerving thought when you remember the 1990s in all its glory, and chances are you knew someone who had a Taurus sedan back then.

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