2013 Ben Simpson Memorial Cruise

A_DSC_0230Easily over six hundred cars. But not just six hundred cars – over six hundred enthusiast cars. By my estimation, that’s how many vehicles attended the Ben Simpson Memorial cruise last Saturday night.

LamboPut on by the Nissansilvia.com/ Hardtuned.net forum guys, the Ben Simpson Memorial Cruise is one of the biggest annual events run by the forum. So what exactly is it?

A_DSC_0158I’m sure you’ve all seen these R.I.P drift_pig13 stickers around. That is the forum alias used by Ben Simpson on the Nissansilvia.com forum, who sadly took his own life a few years ago. After Ben’s death, his parents actively got involved in the Japanese car scene, and used it as a vehicle to promote mental health awareness so that their son’s death need not be in vein. ‘The Olds’, as they are popularly known, have since owned a range of Japanese performance cars and have become well-known fixtures of the Hardtuned.net forum.

A_DSC_0211Each year they hold a fundraising memorial megacruise in his honor, which has quickly become one of the biggest cruises in South Australia. The sheer number, and quality, of cars in attendance was huge.

A_DSC_0092As you’d expect, this event was dominated by the Nissan marque, both of the S-chassis and Skyline variety. The sheer volume of these cars getting around is borderline crazy.

A_DSC_0088But you can really understand why. There’s good and affordable parts availability, and the SR20 is an engine begging to be tuned. And really, how can you go past the classic combination of an S15 with a Vertex style kit riding on smooth styled TE37 or Advan style rims?

A_DSC_0251There was plenty of love for the Subaru boxer powered car’s too…

A_DSC_0291… with a solid lineup stretching every model of the popular platform, even extending to the Forester offshoot.

A_DSC_0035A_DSC_0041Work + Alcon = enhanced awesomeness on this R34 GTR.

A_DSC_0279In fact, I thought there was an abnormal number of R34 GTR’s in attendance. Not that that is ever a bad thing, mind.

A_DSC_0033A_DSC_0289A_DSC_0173This GTR had something interesting happening around the exhaust pipe.

A_DSC_0174It looks like a sensor of some sort, but then again this looks like a semi permanent setup. Do any of our more learned readers know what this is?

A_DSC_0008And on a side note, factory R34 GTR wheels look excellent on almost anything.

A_DSC_0165My Evo love affair continues unabated – these cars can look ridiculously aggressive with just a few simple mods. Judging by the serious braking setup, I’d say this example has seen the odd track day or two.

A_DSC_0056There was plenty of love for this Hakosuka GTR – it drew huge crowds all evening.

A_DSC_0256It was mostly a Japanese based event, but the few Euro’s there were of very high quality. Stealing the show, of course, was this Lamborghini Diablo 6.0.

A_DSC_0051The very last of its breed, the 6.0 was all about stretching just a little bit more life out of the aging Diablo before the arrival of the Murcielago. But that isn’t a bad thing – it’s the fastest Diablo and the last ‘brutish’ supercar; a car known for separating the boys from the men. From the front lights to the exhaust and to the wheels, you can see the influences from the Murcielago beginning to creep in.

A_DSC_0108At the complete opposite end of the speed spectrum and arguably more involving and fun is the Lotus Exige Cup 240. This example was stock, but when the stock car comes with fixed back race seats, Schroth 6 point harnesses, a tow hook and a kill switch, what’s not to like?

A_DSC_0097Not far from the Exige was a pair of interesting Swede’s. Nothing too crazy about this Saab, other than it was rolling on a set of 5 spoke Enkei’s. Never seen a Saab on Enkei’s before.

A_DSC_0128It is very rarely that a car physically stops me in my tracks, but this Volvo S60R did just that. It caught me completely off guard.

A_DSC_0129The stance is spot on, and whilst the black carbon vents in the bonnet aren’t really my thing, overall this S60R has an aggressive vibe that has been perfectly nailed without going over the top. Without a doubt, this was my favorite car of the event.

A_DSC_0154There was even a Rolls Royce…

A_DSC_0150… kind of.

A_DSC_0161The organizers of this cruise have built up a good relationship with SAPOL over the years, and it was good to see a mutual respect for each other. If you looked carefully there were several undercover cops walking around, but as long as everyone did the right thing, they seemed to be turning a blind eye to the cars that might not exactly fit within the law. But as soon as anyone stepped out of line, they came down heavy, and to be honest thats the way it should be. This BA Falcon was one of the most standard cars there, yet it was the only one I saw having any trouble with the cops.

Hunting around Nissansilvia.com, I found this quote from a participant on last year’s cruise: “So me and an unnamed mate got a bit lost, so we decided to be dickheads and strap back to where everyone else was, cop saw us, stopped us, pointed out its people like us that are the problem and if we did it again he’d make us sorry.
He was 100% correct, and 100% a CHAMP!”

A_DSC_0147There was even a Scooby-Doo themed monster truck…

A_DSC_0188…. who’s engine startup brought all the boys to the yard.

A_DSC_0243After the West Lakes meet point, the cruise continued on an escorted trip through the Barossa, before finishing at Burnside. Unfortunately Any Given Reason couldn’t stay for the rest of the cruise, but it’s certainly on our list for next year!

Words and photos by Andrew Coles.



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  1. KEEN AS RACING February 5, 2013 Reply

    Once again good write up mate!!!

  2. Matt February 6, 2013 Reply

    Top quality story as usual Andrew. In response to your question about the sensor in the exhaust on the R34 - Its a wideband oxygen sensor used to measuring the air/fuel mixtures. I would say the owner was doing some tuning on the road, or possibly just monitoring things.

    • Andrew Coles February 9, 2013 Reply

      Thanks for the comment Matt, and thanks for the info. I guessed it was something like that!

  3. Mark & Julie Simpson October 29, 2013 Reply

    Massive thanks for this amazing pictorial tribute
    "the dr1ft_pig13 olds" Mark & Julie

    • Andrew Coles December 11, 2013 Reply

      Thanks guys! When will your next cruise be on? Would be great to make it down if possible!

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