Valentines' Day is kind of a major occasion around our hosehold, seeing as how it represents far more than a box-of-chocolates/vase full of flowers/smarmy greeting card celebration of our undying love for each other (except for maybe when I say something boorish, thoughtless, trashy or insensitive or leave a mess in the bathroom, the kitchen, my study or the end table by my side of our bed). "Do you really plan to READ all those old car magazines, half-finished books and past-their-sell-by date issues of the New Yorker?" Truth be told, the only thing I regularly finish in the New Yorker--every issue, in fact--are the blessed cartoons. But I digress. Becuase Valentines' Day is not just a benefit for our local florist shop, chocolatier and the great god (small "g") Hallmark around our house. No siree. Because February 14th is also long-suffering (I'm not kidding here...I mean about the "long-suffering" part) wife Carol's birthday. Cue candles, mirth and merriment, please. Not to mention (talk about getting off cheap in the annual gift-giving department) our annual wedding anniversary.
This February 14th will mark 47 years of wedded bliss (that's the take on my side of the bed, anyway...the upstate vote may still be out on Carol's?) and that should give you an idea of just how long that "long-suffering" part has been going on. We met on a blind date and I'm happyu to say that her state of blindness has thankfully continued.
People who don't know enough not to ask me questions sometimes inquire about the apparent success and endurance of our marriage, and (assuming I haven't had a bit to drink and am feeling loquacious), I can sum it up by noting that we're very different types of people with many differing tastes, interests, opinions, family backgrounds and priorities (yin-and-yang, get it?), that we truly do respect one another and enjoy each other's company and companionship (well, most of the time, anyway) and that, above all, when we go though those rough, choppy, sometimes angry, disappointed and/or disgusted times when you can't even stand to be in the same room with the other person (hey, it happens), we can see through the darkness to the other side of that storm (or stony silence, as the case may be) and have the faith and trust that we'll get there once again.
And you don't even need to know how.
Feeling unbelievably lucky in that and looking forward, God willing, to many more years of the same...

Speaking of Vanentines' Day, may I remind you that it's a perfect opportunity to either BUY something from our fine website (see gift ideas below), leave an immediate hint for your Significant Other to do something similar for you (time is short, eh?) or (here's a thought!) memorialize your relationship (or anything else you'd like to memorialize) with a sponsorship in the upcoming (and last) book in The Last Open Road septology (if there is indeed such a word for a 7-novel series?). Your name, your spouse's name, your friend, crew chief, racing team, car club or damn near anything else can be noted, inscribed and remembered for all time (or at least until the earth either freezes over or plummets into the sun) in the full-color sponsorship/advertising pages of the new book. You can find all the juicy details here if you like:
THE LAST RANT (to the tune of "The Last Dance" by Donna Summer):
As you can imagine, I sparked a lot (emphasis on "LOT") of mostly civil feedback thanks to my venture into the world of politics and current events in the last e-blast. In fact, the response was downright overwhelming. Not to mention occasionally troubling. The voluminous comments ranged from thumbs-up "attaboys" to "take my name off this frigging list, you ignorant socialist a**hole." Responses ran roughly 30-to-1 in favor of/in agreement with my sentiments. Which, to be fair, probably says more about my particular audience than it does about the pulse and opinions of the nation at large. But I can hope, can't I?

The rest fell into a couple distinct categories as follows:
1) stay away from politics and stick to writing about cars
2) warnings that I may or will most definitely "lose half my audience" by speaking out as I did (please see "30-to-1" stat above)
3) I did get a scant handful of earnest, oft-lengthy responses from, as they say in Congress, the "other side of the aisle," most of which argued against my view of things or pointed out where I'd quite obviously lost my way. I endeavored to respond to each of these individually (and also at some length), as I truly believe this is the right time to reach out to "the other side" and try to find some common ground. Or at least understand where they're coming from. This resulted in some long-winded e-mail exchanges that threatened, in some cases, to go on and on forever. Like the famous Flying Dutchman that went round and round the world's oceans but could never reach port. The thing I kept running up against (as anyone who follows The News and, more particularly, all the different takes on/versions of The News that are currently available) is that where you choose to source your data & information pretty much defines what your vision of/opinions about the world will be. Can't offer any kind of solution for this except to note that I make a point of watching some CNN, a bit of Fox, some MSNBC, local news, BBC, etc. plus some of the way-out-there fringe-y/nut-ball sites just to round out my view of things. And I think everybody should grit their damn teeth and do the same. And then go kick you dog or feed a kid's pet goldfish to the neighbor's cat.
In any case, the situation is out of everyone's hands now (unless you happen to be a member of congress) and so this has been, at least for the foreseeable future, my last socio-political rant. Let's hope we all emerge from under the current and fearsome Covid Cloud, are able to start messing around with proper cars and motorbikes again and can GO BLOODY RACING!
Which reminds me: the IMSA 24-hour at Daytona was absolutely thrilling--great cars, star drivers from around the globe and unbelievably close racing--and to have it come down to a few car-lengths and a ding-dong battle for the win (with I think 5 cars still on the lead lap) after 24 hours of racing and 20-something pit stops is frankly unbelievable. That's a lot closer (not to mention more equal cars and competition) than you see in a lot of sprint-format F1 races. Just sayin'...

Looking forward to lots more of the same and hope to see you there!



Okay, so we've had these suckers on sale for quite some time, but I've heard from experts in the ad-messaging biz that if you don't repeat things incessantly (in fact, if you don't beat people over the head with your message until they're damn near senseless), they forget or simply drift away like a 2-year-old watching a butterfly. So, one more time: we have these fine printed T-shirts (plus our famous embroidered logo apparel) available on the website, each of which carries and interesting, informative, amusing or thought-provoking message. And only 20 bucks each! Such a deal. So buy some, already...


Everybody loves the movies and everybody (at least in my particular audience) loves cars, and what a fertile field for wonderful trivia questions (translation: utterly useless information) where those two worlds intersect. So have at it:

1) Who died going over a cliff in a speeding Aston Martin? Where? In what movie?
It was everyone's favorite Oedipal loony Anthony Perkins of Psycho fame, only this time as a slightly different breed of Oedipal loony as the estranged (but well-heeled) son of a Greek shipping magnate who falls for his very sexy stepmother (played by Melina Mercouri & named "Phaedra," which is also the movie's title). Now she tries to patch things up between Tony and his dad by buying him an Aston Martin DB4 Mk. II (my kind of stepmom!) and also going to bed with him. After a lot of what, at least back in 1962, seemed like VERY steamy, softly lit sex scenes (today, you can see far more graphic footage on daytime hair-color commercials), he gets all lovesick and remorseful and goes speeding along this scenic coast road somewhere in Greece and end it all by driving off a cliff. In retrospect, it was a sorry waste of two good hours and a perfectly fine Aston Martin. But I recall seeing it--with dates--at the local Evanston "art house" movie theater (The Coronet) and went out for espresso afterwards at a very hip coffee house underneath the elevated tracks. This qualified as a very artsy & avant-garde sort of evening back in the dark ages of 1962.

2) What movie featured a yellow Allard J2X AND a red Woodill Wildfire?
This is more major-studio soap-opera trash titled "Written on the Wind," and opens with an extremely drunken and alcoholic playboy (Kyle Hadley, played by "Mr. Untouchable" himself, Robert Stack) bombing around noisily and irresponsibly in a bright yellow Allard J2X. He's married to Lauren Bacall, see, but she has eyes for poor, honorable and hard-working Mitch Wayne (Rock Hudson) who is simultaneously being pursued by Stack's nymphomaniac sister, Marylee (played by Dorothy Malone, whom I believe won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role) who bombs around in a bright red, plastic-bodied Woodill Wildfire. These days, the plastic bodies are mostly on the starlets themselves...

3) In the car-crazy Elvis Presley epic Spinout, Elvis is supposed to race a white 427 Cobra while co-star Shelley Fabares wheels a Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet, and both cars manage, in separate incidents, to get squeezed off an under-construction one-lane bridge and wind up, half-submerged, in a creek. But even in Hollywood, they don't go writing off 427 Cobras or Ferrari Cabriolets by half-submerging them. So less valuable, "stunt double" cars were brought in to do the, umm, "wet work."
So tell us all: what were the two cars that actually wound up in the drink?
Elvis's car miraculously transforms into a similarly painted SoCal "special" with a Mistral fiberglass body. Details here if you really want them:
The Ferrari 250GT, on the other hand, somehow morphs into a Triumph TR4. No, really. And hardly an upgrade in spite of my long, deep, occasionally illustrious and well-documented love affair with Triumphs.

4) And, while you're at it, what was the unusual thing about the test day Elvis in the 427 Cobra and another character in an early-issue Elva-McClaren Can-Am-style car did to get ready for the big race?
It was held on a short-oval dirt track (just the place to shake down your Can-Am car!) surely somewhere in the Los Angeles area.

5) On a roll now: what car did Elvis actually wind up driving in the big race after a comedy-sidekick/doofus character "stole" his ride in the 427 Cobra? Hint:
Elvis winds up wheeling one of Max Balchowsky's marvelous (not to mention highly successful), buick-powered Ol' Yallers (the Mk. IV, I believe). Max had a shop in the Hollywood area that created/took care of a lot of very cool cars for both the movies and movie people. He built the camera car that shot the famous chase scene in the movie "Bullit," (basically a 427 Corvette with the body pulled off and a kind of dune-buggy body with camera mounts all over it affixed) and it was used again to shoot the cop-chase/smash-'em-up scenes in "The Blues Brothers" movie. And I know that because, for four stirring but underpaid days, I was one of the fill-in/back-in-the-pack stunt drivers on that particular movie.
What's this thing? And who built it?

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: