Ben Simpson Memorial Cruise 2014

BSMC 957Well over 600 enthusiast cars gathered recently on a hot Saturday night in early February for the Ben Simpson Memorial Cruise; an interclub, everything welcome, drive through Adelaide and the hills to raise awareness and funds for a variety of mental health issues.

BSMC 947Initially organised by the late Ben’s parents as a small memorial event for their son who tragically took his own life, the BSMC has quickly become one of the biggest events on the Adelaide calendar. Whilst it’s the cars we come for, the cruise has a sub-plot and serves to not only raise funds but to spread knowledge of mental health issues within the automotive community; a group of people that would sooner give away their cars than discuss their mental health.

BSMC 1018But it is the cars that we come for, and most certainly the cars are what takes centre stage. The cruise met at the Tea Tree Plaza carpark, and managed to completely fill a fair proportion of it. Think how busy the carpark is at the height of the pre Christmas rush, and that’s a fair indication of how full the BSMC was.

BSMC 1016However rather than traffic jams of family trucksters and people negotiating tiny gaps with overflowing trolleys, there were lines of immaculately modified cars and people with cameras far outnumbered people with shopping bags.

BSMC 1009The current shape Impreza hasn’t found a place in the heart of enthusiasts, primarily due to its dumpy looks, but this example shows that there still is hope for this shape. The drop and wheels take care of the dumpiness, and the subtle modifications like the lip spoiler and yellow fog lights lend a slight motorsport air. Nicely done.

BSMC 1001Another car that has been a little criticised for its looks is the Toyota 86, and I have to agree. They’re a good looking car, the base is there, but from factory they look under-wheeled and under-tired. This example goes to show that a slight drop and the right wheels, in this case a set of Enkei RPF-1’s, completely transforms the look of the car. Add a subtle front lip spoiler and without doing a whole lot you’ve taken the stock 86, which looks okay, and transformed it into something that snaps necks wherever it goes.

BSMC 1014By far the most unexpectedly cool vehicle was this little machine – an early 90’s mid-engined roadster with an 8500rpm redline. Now what could that be?

BSMC 1015A Honda Beat! This is an interesting little car and unlike most of its kei-car brethren, does not feature forced induction. The naturally aspirated 656cc three-cylinder features individual throttle bodies for each cylinder, making 63bhp at 8100rpm. With the design work done by Pininfarina, the Beat was the last Honda to be personally approved by Soichiro Honda himself. I’ve never really taken much notice of the Beat before, but this example looked really cool sitting on a set of classic Volk TE37’s.

BSMC 1023Whilst there was a heavy skew toward Japanese cars, there were still some interesting Europeans to be found like this BMW riding low on airbags.

BSMC 1027And if you looked carefully, there was also the odd bit of Aussie muscle lurking about.

BSMC 985Despite the evening timeslot the burning sun was still intense and roasting any bare skin it could find, so it was a relief when the clock struck 7 and the maps were distributed to the line of waiting cars. The valuable route instructions were exchanged for a charitable donation, and showed a path that took in hills roads through Birdwood to Angaston, and then back to the finish at Westfield Marion.

BSMC 993It was good to see the cruise benefiting from the full cooperation of SAPOL, who provided a traffic escort along the full route and traffic management to ensure smooth sailing.

BSMC 989It was also good of them to look sideways on a few of the more questionably modified vehicles. This is the way it should be, because the guys that are causing all the trouble don’t usually come to organised events like this, and SAPOL seemed to recognise this.

BSMC 981How’s the EB Falcon Landaulet!

BSMC 955We didn’t actually do the cruise, rather fellow photographer and friend of AGR Mark Williams came along and we attempted some night photography from the middle of the Blackwood Roundabout.

BSMC 954Apologies to those we caught off guard with the flashes, but hey – everyone likes to feel like they’re famous, right? Paparazzi services provided for free.

BSMC 963You can just be thankful that Mark stuck with his single on-body flash, and didn’t attempt a multi remote flash setup, rally style.

BSMC 973Flash or no flash, it was pretty cool to see an endless stream of modified cars filling an otherwise dead Blackwood. There were plenty of Police mixed up in the crowd but they were just there to make sure nobody was doing anything dumb, and largely left everyone alone.

BSMC 945On the whole the drivers were responsible, and the craziest thing we saw all night happened on the side of the road.

BSMC 941It was reasonably late by the time we reached Marion, but there was still quite a crowd hanging around.

BSMC 939Something to do with the hot night I suppose, but nobody really felt like going home.

BSMC 935The BSMC proves that people will still come together for a good cause, and in the process has created one of the biggest and most interesting cruises we have. A hot Saturday night spent relaxing with cars and friends sounds pretty damn good; even better if we can raise money for a good cause at the same time.

Words and photos by Andrew Coles

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About the author

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2 Comments

  1. Mark Simpson February 12, 2014 Reply

    Another amazing tribute...thank you, your work is tasteful and professional, it is sincerely appreciated
    Kindest regards
    "the lat Ben Simpson's OLDS"
    Mark & Jules Simpson

  2. mark03@bigpond.net.au February 12, 2014 Reply

    Massive thanks for all your work with this....still blows us away btw SAPOL gave me a count of just on 2000 cars in total Kindest regards OLD Mark

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