Published on March 26th, 2012 | by Tuan Huynh
Club Miata NW Field Trip to Simpson Design
Last Saturday the local Club Miata NW had a field trip to the home of Simpson Design, a local coachbuilder known for customized Miata creations. The morning started off at a Starbucks in Marysville where over 10 Miata’s showed up ready to cruise to Simpson Design located on Whidbey Island, Wash. We took a scenic cruise through Deception Pass with a pit stop at the Albertson’s in Oak Harbor.
The weather was perfect – it almost seemed like it was spring in Washington with blue skies and beautiful sunshine. Most of the members cruised with their top down but I had my hardtop bolted down with SPEC Miata brackets and was quite jealous.
We arrived a little after 2 p.m. and were greeted by Jim Simpson, the owner and brainchild of Simpson Design, with one of his creations parked out front – the Italia II based on a second-generation Miata. The three-imported Toyota Sera’s he had outside, two of which are daily drivers for his wife and himself, quickly distracted my eyes as my jaws dropped – I have a thing for rare and unique cars.
Jim greeted us, gave a little talk and then proceeded to take us inside the shop where there was pizza and lots of car porn. He gave us a run down of his history of cars, how he creates everything out of steel before having fiberglass molds made, his work with Nardi and Mazda in the past and his genuine love for cars.
My attention was fixated on the ’71 Mazda Cosmo Series II, one of my all-time favorite Japanese sports cars. This is a car that is quite rare and not something I expected to ever see in person. It was just beautiful, but did have a smirk that predates Mazda’s Nagare design language. If that wasn’t enough, Jim had a very clean Nissan C110 Skyline 2000GT, a Fiat Ghia, Lancia Fulvia, Alfa Romeo and a Lotus Esprit.
During our time inside, a customer of Jim’s stopped by to drop off his Lancia Flavia convertible for brake issues. The Lancia Flavia was completely restored and a stunning example, which only made me sad that Fiat is rebadging the Chrysler 200 has a new Lancia Flavia, but that’s another story altogether.
After a couple hours, it was time to depart Simpson Design. Everyone went his or her own way only to end up in the same Ferry line. I was not so lucky because my clutch master cylinder go out and missed the first ferry, but managed to get the car home in Seattle traffic.
Jim Simpson was a wonderful host and Club Miata NW put together a fantastic event for my first club outing – thanks to all.