Easily 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.
I’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.
Each 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.
But 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?
My 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.
The 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.
At 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?
The 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.
The 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!”
After 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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