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Rado Automotive Inc


I’ve decided I need to redo my story. Plus the old topic was getting…old.

In the Beginning (1942-1949)

Backstory and Rado Trucks Inc.

After Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, to build trucks for the US army the company Rado Trucks Inc. was founded.
Run by John Jake Rado (1903-1995) and Sam Johnson (1911-1984) the company built trucks for the US Government in WW2. These trucks weren’t so popular in the US army, but US citizens realized that these trucks would be perfect for hobbyists and farmers.

Rado Trucks 100 (1942-1945)

Featuring a 2.8l Inline-6 engine making 70 hp and 116 ft-lbs of torque the car would go from 0 to 62 mph in 21 seconds and hit a top speed of 79.5 mph. It came standard with a transfer case and lockable differentials front and rear.

Rado Automotive Incorporated

In September 1945, WW2 ended. As a result the contract by Rado to supply trucks to the US army was broken and the stockpile was sold off for private use (The US army disliked the trucks) With the 2 co-founders realizing the situation, they founded Rado Automotives Inc.as a sub-company of Rado Trucks Inc. In 2 years they developed the Rado I sedan.

Rado I (1946-1956)

The Rado I launched as the Rado 1200 Sedan. Featuring a 1.2l DAOHC I4 making 45 hp and 59 ft-lbs of torque the Rado 1200 Sedan was noted for offering luxuries like padded seats and an AM radio for cheap. It launched at a price of 7710 Automation Units in 1946. It went to 62 in 19.3 seconds with a top speed of 86 mph.

Rado L (1947-1981)

Rado soon decided it needed a true upscale offering, and the Rado L delivered it.
Featuring a 3.6l Inline-6 engine making 125 hp and 204 ft-lbs of torque the Rado L went to 62 mph in 13.4 seconds with a top speed of 108 mph. It also featured a premium interior and AM radio and luxuries like Safety Glass. It also featured Suicide doors and much less chrome than it’s rivals. It was priced at 9833 Automation Units in 1947.


Oof, rewrite.

Rado was founded in 1941 by co-founders Samuel Jacob Rado (who resigned in January 1974 for SOFA-related reasons) and John Richardson (who died in 1983) and started production of it’s trucks and vans for private use in 1947 under the name of Rado Trucks.

The Rado Trucks 100 was it’s first creation, and one that would last in one form or another as it’s main pickup truck for several decades. It was powered by a 240 ci straight-six through an open differential.

Year: 1947
Engine: 240ci Inline-6 OHV
Power: 102.2 hp
Torque: 189.9 lb-ft
Top speed: 92.3 mph
Weight: 3203 lb
Seats: 3
Load capacity: 1394 lb

However, Rado’s true bread and butter before the events of the 1970s was it’s vans. First introduced in 1951, this family of vans would become the vast majority of sales for the company for the next few decades.

The Rado Van 100 was introduced in 1951 with a 2.8l 4-cylinder making 53 hp and was aimed at the heavy delivery and construction markets, and would form the base of a later Rado…

Year: 1951
Engine: 171ci Inline-4 OHV
Power: 53.7 hp
Torque: 125.8 lb-ft
Top speed: 78.6 mph
Weight: 2639 lb
Seats: 3
Load capacity: 2180 lb


Rado in the 50s and early to mid 60s

Sales were going good. Not spectacularly, but enough to be able to make modifications to their lineup without sending themselves into bankruptcy. The first change would be to introduce a new 276 ci straight-six in 1958. This new engine would be used in two new vehicles that Rado introduced:

Rado Trucks 200

It was a Rado Trucks 100 with the 276ci 6-cylinder and stiffer rear suspension.

Year: 1958
Engine: 276ci Inline-6 OHV
Power: 124.6 hp
Torque: 205 lb-ft
Top speed: 96 mph
Weight: 2827 lb
Seats: 3
Load capacity: 2153 lb
Price: $7437

Rado Van 1000

The main star though was the long wheelbase version of the Van 100, called the Van 1000, with the 276ci I6 engine.

Year: 1958
Engine: 276ci Inline-6 OHV
Power: 124.6 hp
Torque: 205 lb-ft
Top Speed: 103 mph
Weight: 3006 lb
Seats: 3
Load capacity: 3858 lb
Price: $7466

These two new vehicles boosted sales going into the 1960s…


The 1960s and 1970s

While sales were still going well, Rado wanted a relatively inexpensive way to enter the passenger car market, not wanting to spend too much on a gamble that could backfire. They ended up joining forces with communist car company SOFA, causing the importation of the infamous Rado Communt, which had a rather…big scandal relating to it’s safety, or rather it’s lack of it. After the fallout from that incident, Rado decided another try was worth it by a very narrow vote, taking their existing van platform and making it narrower to fit a standard wagon body on it.

Rado Adventure 140

Year: 1978/1979
Engine: 140ci Inline-4 OHV
Power: 73.1 hp
Torque: 105.4 lb-ft
Top speed: 96.3 mph
Weight: 2525 lb
Seats: 5
Load capacity: 1708 lb
Price: $7952