Well 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.
Initially 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.
But 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.
However 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.
The 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.
Another 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.
A 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.
Despite 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.
It 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.
Flash 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.
The 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