Well, it's Holiday Time again (even though it seems a bit strained and lonely this year) but we've been soldiering on pretty well here in the Levy household. Catholic wife Carol pulled out my folks' old menorah and insisted, as per usual, that we light the lights and say the blessings I remember pretty much phonetically/by rote from when I was a kid. I never learned Hebrew like a good Jewish boy, but we were "reform" Jews, which was probably closer to being a political liberal than it was to the Orthodox brand of the faith. Which may explain some of political leanings today? But, hopefully, we can put all that in the rearview mirror (or at least aside) for awhile now, and I'm happy to report that my brief, toe-in-the-water political musings in the last e-blast earned many supportive comments--from both the lefties and even some righties--and no threats or incendiary outrage at all. Let's hope it stays that way.
We were able to walk through the woods with a few friends plus a nice, long sunset bike ride this past week, but today it's rainy, cold and gloomy with more of same on tap, so we'll be doing a lot of staying home (except for occasional trips to the store and to the post office to mail holiday-gift books/audiobooks etc to friends, fans and customers...have you placed YOUR order yet?). Been putting in a lot of hours on the new book project, too, and come evening we'll snuggle in bed like hibernating hamsters while watching old B&W movies and a few compelling (or sometimes not-so-compelling) TV shows and miniseries. The Crown is exceptional and we really liked a Brit-angled show about the TV biz in Hollywood called Episodes (warning: it's a bit raunchy in spots) but there's also a lot of slick, manipulative crap out there that's well done and well acted and all-too-easy to get sucked into. Then you get to the end and realize you've been enveigled and entertained but not particularly enriched.
What? You were expecting maybe substance?

Had a very fond memory rekindled the other day thanks to Alfa club friend Carl Sarro. I received a big envelope from him--out of the blue--and inside was the tear sheet of a column hero/friend/racer/writer Denise McCluggage penned about me and my books back some 19 years ago. Now Denise was a VERY special person (although she'd wave that off with a snort if you said it out loud) and made her way as a woman in the thoroughly male-dominated worlds of car racing and sports journalism at a time when that simply wasn't being done, staring in the mid-1950s. Moreover, she did it as a participant and skilled practicioner rather than as any sort of gender crusade. She just wanted to do those things. And so she did. Period. Full stop.

I asked for and was honored to draw the assignment to write her obit for Vintage Motorsport magazine after she passed away in 2015, and I think I said it there as well as I could manage. So, for those of you who don't know about her or don't know much about her (or just want to join me in remembering her), here it is:

Photo immediately below is from the Revs Institute

So that was Denise and, as I said, she was really something special. She was a hero first, then an acquaintance (we talked about cars and writing a lot) and then a friend (more of same, but add in diverse topics from all over the omnibus of human experience) and, until I got that envelope from Carl, I'd more-or-less misplaced the memory of the column she wrote about me and my books for AutoWeek way back in August of 2001. Sure, she spelled my first name wrong, but the rest of it got me righter than I'd care to admit. And, as per usual for Denise, with far fewer words...


The thing that really struck me here, besides my fond memories of Denise, was that I knew (or at least thought I knew) way back then where I was going with The Last Open Road book series. And I've somehow managed to get most of it done.
Guess it's time to wrap this up and get back to that last book. The damn thing isn't gonna write itself, now is it?
Happy Holidaze to All!
(buy stuff on the website, too...Carol wants to re-do the kitchen!)
Hint: The Last Open Road audiobook is great for those long tows and cold winter nights


Yeah, this WAS too easy, as a depressing number of you (led by "Robbin Six-Foot-Two") have spent way too much of your lives poring over fascinating Old Car Stuff and instantly recognized Ferrari 250SWB Belinetta "Sefac Hot Rod" serial number 2819, which suave, speedy and aristocratic Belgian driver/LeMans-Sebring winner Olivier Gendebien (a.k.a. "Jellybean" when he ran in Canada) bought and drove to second place in the 1961 Tour de France, then sold to young Venetian team owner Count Volpi of Scuderia SSS, who had it converted into a sort of chopped-and-channeled hot-rod Ferrari to take on and beat Enzo's new GTOs at Le Mans. It's a long and convoluted story, full of passion, personalities, intrigue and guile, and I told it as well as I know how in Chapters 7 and 8 of Steamroller II. So I'm a-no gonna repeat-a myself here, capiche? But it's worth reading...
There was only one Breadvan (although a second SWB Belinetta, #2053, was fitted with similar bodywork by Drogo in mid-1962, but it was comprehensively destroyed at Spa in 1964--see pic below--and apparently never rebuilt).

I got to drive The Breadvan twice, and I recall that there wasn't a lot of legroom and it was very hot inside because Bizzarrini had shoved the V12 engine about as far down and back into the chassis as it would go. So, like the Bill Thomas Cheetah, you were pretty much sharing the interior with the blessed engine! Heat, fumes and all. And it smelled of fuel inside--a lot--when I drove it at Tamiami. But what a great thing to drive! Smooth and raw at the same time. Loved it then and love it still today.


Let's fire up the Wayback and see if you know what THIS thing is. And, while you're at it...where?

And now...back to the new book. Really...
Oh, and PUH-LEEZ buy lots of Holiday stuff from Finzio's Store on the website at

Catch the latest poop & pictures, the Jay Leno interview, Last Open Road swag & highly inappropriate attire from Finzio's Store and the lurid & occasionally embarrassing "ride with Burt" in-car racing videos on the hopefully now fully operational website at: