The concept of Burger Meet is simple – a car park meet to get as many readers of Any Given Reason and their cars in the same place as possible. The emphasis is on diversity and informality, and the vague idea of standing around a car park eating burgers is about as far as the planning goes.
On the evening of Saturday 28th December, the readers of Any Given Reason descended on the Hagen Arms Hotel at Echunga in the Adelaide Hills to watch the sun set with burgers, beers, and of course, cars. And what a spectacular array of cars it was – but more on that later.
The thing that makes organising Burger Meet such an exciting, rewarding and completely terrifying experience is that I have absolutely no idea who actually reads and follows this blog. I get traffic statistics but they’re just abstract numbers and graphs, so when I put the word out that Burger Meet 3 was happening I had exactly zero idea who and how many people would actually come. I guessed about 80 cars and thought it would be pretty cool if we could fill the car park, but when streams of cars started pouring in and it wasn’t even the 6pm start-time yet, I started to get a little nervous/overjoyed.
So this is the part where I extend a gigantic thanks to everyone who came and made Burger Meet 3 a success. The car park that I hoped we could fill was full by 6pm, and anyone who arrived after that had to find parking in the surrounding streets. There were people coming and going during the meet, but at one point I counted just over 160 cars! That far exceeded even my wildest dreams, and whilst it was a little tricky to work with I think it was pretty cool that we managed to take over the whole end of a small country town.
I’ve got no idea how many people came but it was certainly well over 200. The pub actually ran out of burgers and despite doing mad dashes into Mount Barker to grab whatever they could lay their hands on, demand still far exceeded supply. Towards the end there were some pretty long waits but I guess the trade off was a huge range of diverse and high quality cars which in my opinion more than made up for it. Better to have a rocking car meet and slow burgers than fast food and nothing to look at!
The ethos of Burger Meet is that it is for all interesting vehicles, no matter what they are; it’s about mutual appreciation. I thought we had a pretty diverse range at the first two, but Burger Meet 3 showcased probably the widest spectrum of machinery I’ve seen in a long time.
For Burger Meet 3 I had some little stickers made up, expertly designed by friend of Any Given Reason Luke Jaksa. We distributed them to all of the cars we could, but we ended up running out so I’m sorry if you didn’t get one.
Not only was the car park located across the road from the Hagen Arms Hotel, but it was also adjacent to Pitstop Service Centre, the workshop where Kerry Sarandis prepares English Ford racing engines and carries out other service and restoration work. Kerry rolled out his immaculately modified Lotus Cortina and son Andy pushed out his daily driver Evo 5 and Improved Production AE86 Sprinter, fresh from its rally adventures at Targa Adelaide and Targa High Country.
This R35 GTR highlighted a diametrically opposed way of achieving the same performance goal a decade later, and would have required a great deal of self restraint on the police-saturated holiday roads.
Stepping back in time was the thundering V8 in Alister Gosse’s XY Falcon tarmac rally car. This thing has to be heard to be believed, and the noise alone stopped most people in their tracks as it arrived.
Another exciting arrival was this Sunbeam Tiger, a car almost identical to the famous Shelby Cobra in essence. After his success with the Cobra, Carroll Shelby went looking to do it again and this time stuffed the venerable Ford V8 into the Sunbeam Alpine. With the Tiger, Shelby didn’t produce the cars himself however he oversaw the project and was paid a royalty for each vehicle – just over 7,000 were built in the end. This example was a rare and unexpected treat at Burger Meet 3.
Bruce & Julia Field don’t get out very often in their old Rolls Royce, in fact I didn’t even know they had the car, but they made the smooth and elegant trip for Burger Meet and parked it right in front of the pub like every good Rolls Royce driver should do.
This early 911 was easily one of the most popular cars of the meet, not just because of its subtle performance upgrades but because it is the owner’s daily driver, complete with child seat in the back.
Not only was it exhibiting an exquisite collection of vintage motorsport stickers (Porsche wins the Monte Carlo Rally, anyone?), but this brilliant old Nurburgring badge was affixed to the rear engine cover.
In a complete first for any of the Burger Meet’s, we even had lowrider representation! This old Cadillac is worlds apart from anything I’m usually into, but in this setting it was the coolest thing. What a perfect machine to cruise around on a hot summers night.
This ‘bagged Accord was following the Cadillac, and it turns out that it’s actually a hopper! He slowly rolled past the hotel with the back fully aired out, and then right as he got to the main group of people he bounced and hopped the back of the car right up and then slammed it down again. It was completely unexpected and caught everyone by surprise – the crowd was silent for a moment, at which point everyone clapped and laughed. It was one of the highlights of the meet.
The 156 GTA is one of my all-time favorite Alfa’s. It’s not a perfect car, but it is fitted with the final iteration of the famous Alfa Romeo V6 and in my opinion looks purposefully aggressive without resorting to boy racer-ness. They were hugely expensive when new so they never sold many which makes them somewhat of an underground rarity these days, and it was a pleasure to see one at Burger Meet.
In fact such was the quality of cars that it would be possible to go on for hours about each car in great detail and I was so busy on the night that I probably even missed seeing and photographing some cars. Apologies if I’ve missed your car here – it certainly is not intentional.
So the view now moves to the next Burger Meet, which probably won’t be until next summer. With the fantastic support of the reader base we’ve certainly got the size now to confidently plan bigger and better things for the next one, so stay tuned.
Thanks to Luke Jaksa for helping with the planning and designing the stickers, and to Chantelle Franklin for diligently handing them out. But most importantly, thanks to everyone who came because without you guys, we wouldn’t have a Burger Meet at all.
Words and photos by Andrew Coles – firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos 6, 8 , 11, 28 & 39 by Luke Jaksa.