The car insurance and automotive media company. Hagerty Inc. announced today that it has purchased the popular car show series celebrating ’80s and ’90s cars called RADwood. This represents a new chapter in the insurance-slash-media-slash-car-rental-slash-motorsports outfit. The Traverse City, Michigan, operation has been busy throughout the past couple of years, purchasing MotorsportsReg.com and other companies, growing its YouTube channel, partnering with a wide variety of events (including buying the Amelia Concours), and continuing to provide unique services in automobile insurance.
Adding Radwood to its portfolio certainly makes sense for Hagerty. The company’s aim is to help preserve the love of cars and driving, which the ’80s- and ’90s-centric car show lifestyle brand is all about. Two of Radwood’s founders, Art Cervantes and Warren Madsen, will transition into new roles leading the brand from inside the halls of Hagerty. It looks like the show’s co-founders Bradley Brownell, Lane Skelton, and Rick Deacon will stay involved in some capacity, but we’ll have to wait and see.
“So far feedback has been really positive,” Cervantes said on the phone about his direct messages (DMs) filling up as the day progressed. “We’re trying to grow and scale, and they’re [Hagerty] trying to appeal more to a younger audience, so the partnership works out really well. We’ve been working with Hagerty for a number of years with our Radwood pop-ups at their events, and they’ve had a presence at our events since 2019, so the move was very organic. It adds a layer of authenticity.”
It’s also quite cool to see how the concept of enjoying older cars has been molded by Cervantes, Madsen, Skelton, Brownell, and Deacon. The roots could be traced to the Driving While Awesome podcast, which started before Radwood as an outlet for Cervantes, Madsen, and Skelton to nerd out about old cars. Later, they came up with the idea of hosting events, which led to the first Coastal Range Rally in March, 2016. This multi-day drive was a means for enthusiasts to get together and enjoy fun cars, especially of the ’80s and ’90s variety, on fun roads up and down California’s beautiful coastal mountain ranges.
Cervantes, Skelton, and Madsen then brought Brownell and Deacon into the mix to help with the concept of hosting a car show, and the rest is history. The first Radwood event took place in June, 2017 in south San Francisco. I remember it well, but not because I was there — my job at the time made me do a stupid, last-minute mandatory weekend training and completely destroyed all of my Radwood weekend plans.
The next Radwood event is scheduled for April 23rd in Austin, Texas, and Cervantes shared that they’ve got some fun things in store for the rest of the year’s shows. I know my colleagues and I are excited for this year’s installment of Radwood NorCal. I think we should fly Kevin, Tony, and Andrew out to Los Angeles and do another team roadtrip up there, like we did last year.
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