(drums is okay, too!)


Not to put too fine a point on it, but some of my wonderful readers, fans and followers (perhaps because of advancing age or the cumulative effects of lives lived at or near the redline of human experience/endurance) are a little hard-of-listening these days--or maybe "hard-of-comprehending" might be more accurate?--so let me remind EVERYBODY in plain, simple, straightforward, grammar-school English:

1) The hardcover first-edition files, COMPLETE, are off to our beloved printer and, barring any unforeseen disasters, plagues, wars, insurrections, famines or earthquakes/volcanic eruptions in and around the general vicinity of Ann Arbor, MI. (or here at home in the greater Chicagoland area), we should have these puppies in hand sometime around SEPTEMBER 1st! HOWEVER, we will be embarking on a two-week book-tour/signing-and-schmoozing/maybe even a little ride-mooching journey to Lime Rock Park, CT, and Watkins Glen, NY the first two weekends in September, so we won't be getting much book-shipping done until the week of September 13th. And then we've got VSCDA/HSR at Road America the very next weekend. Not to mention that, thanks to our pre-release PREVIEW EDITION book-signing event at Road America last weekend (alongside hero/friends David Hobbs and Brian Redman...gotta pinch myself re: that deal) we already have a fat fistful--make that TWO fat fistfuls!--of First Edition orders to fill. So the bottom line is that if you place an order for the upcoming, hardback with (we hope) all typos fixed FIRST EDITION of the new book, you won't be getting the damn thing until mid-to-late September. At best.
Sorry, but there's just no way to sugar-coat it without leading you wonderful people astray. That said:

2) We DO have about 100 copies left of the paperback/a few little typos and tech glitches here-and-there paperback PREVIEW EDITIONS on hand, which are the ones we send of to reviewers* who will hopefully like them and write many column-inches of flowery, supportive and enthusiastic prose about them wherever they can.* We were intending to unload the damn things (pardon me, I mean "make them available for purchase, signing and appropriate personalization") at this current weekend's Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. But, if you've been paying attention, you know that I am temporarily (2-3 more weeks?) semi out-of-commission with a damn leg brace from hip-to-ankle on my starboard side, all thanks to age-related clumsiness and diversion of proper attention (read: "oooh...shiny!") whilst exiting a restaurant a couple weeks ago. So no traveling or lifting/carrying of heavy book boxes until AT LEAST Road America IMSA August 6-8. And that one could be iffy. We'll see. But the point is I've got some PREVIEW EDITIONS in hand and they're up for sale on the website (click above to order yours) although it's very much a "WHILE SUPPLIES LAST" sort of deal. But I can ship them out immediately. Or at least I can until they're all effing gone, that is...

3) We DO still offer our MEGA and MAGNIFICENT, FULL-TILT BARGAIN "BIG PLUNGER" TWO-FER DEAL, which includes immediate shipment of the paperback PREVIEW EDITION" so you can start reading right away (teaser hint: BUDDY'S BACK!!!), and then we'll follow that up with a signed, defaced and personalized (if so desired) FIRST EDITION copy once we have them. And we even pick up the freight charges on that second copy! SUCH A DEAL! Plus it could be a really good thing for that small-but-significant minority who've bought second and third copies of some of my titles because they keep lending them out and then find that they never return home.
On the one hand, I'm not particularly happy with y'all that lend 'em out ("make 'em buy their own damn copies!" sez I), but it's gratifying when someone drops by to buy a second- or third-time-around copy of the same damn book they already bought! I usually sign them: "You keep lending 'em out, and I'll happily keep selling you replacement copies!"

You can find all of the above options/alternatives/explanations on the website. So click the damn button (above) already.

* FINE PRINT for WORKING JOURNALISTS, COMMENTATORS & MEDIA TYPES: If you are an actual, get-occasional-checks-in-the-mail writer, editor, media personality, race commentator, book reviewer or even if you're just a damn club-newsletter editor/assembler or blogger with a verifiable following and would like a REVIEW COPY of the new book, please reach out to me at and let's see if we can make it happen.

On the other hand, if you're cold-calling about consolidating my credit-card debt, investing in oil futures, changing my cell-phone provider, combining my insurance coverages under one big, happy umbrella or because you're the financial officer, inheritance lawyer or crown prince-in-exile of a small South African or South or Central American country who would only like my bank routing and account numbers and password so you can deposit a huge sum of money therein... Try some other doofus, OK?

By the way: I feel pretty damn good about actually FINISHING the new book. Gimpy leg and all. It's been one HELL of a loooooong journey! See appropriately exultant image below:

Pictures without comment, below, courtesy of my fellow aging-but-still-game-and-active Scottish motoring journalist friend, Graham Gauld (who now lives in the South of France, the bastid!), who happened to be a passenger at the time:

The smiling-for-some-reason-I-don't-quite-understand young Scot in the picture above is the driver-of-record at the time of the incident, one Ted Evans, who was incidentally the Technical Director of the Austin dealership in Glasgow. My friend Graham was occupying the OTHER, left-hand seat (the one with no effing steering wheel or brake pedal in front of it!), but escaped with minor injuries.
As any fool can plainly see, Mr. Evans has managed to fairly comprehensively barrel-roll one of the rare (only half-a-hundred made), beautiful and successful, "factory hot-rod" Austin-Healey 100S racing models.
I must admit to loving, craving and lusting after those cars for my entire adult life. Or maybe even longer. And I once even thought I had a drive in one. Happened at VIR, lo, these many years ago, where this very pleasant young British chap (I believe he said he lived in the Bahamas during the winter months) showed up with a gorgeous, near-flawless and quite authentic-looking (sic), blue-over-white 100S. He offered me a drive (and wouldn't it be nice if I could write a magazine story about the experience?) and I happily accepted. And enjoyed the living shit out of it. GREAT car!!!
It wasn't until months later that it finally dawned on me (thanks to longtime Healey friend/fixer/maven/expert Tom Kovacs) that I was sitting on the LEFT side when I drove that car...and yet every single 100S actually built in period by the Healey works in Warwick was--and quite properly--RIGHT-HAND DRIVE!!! Hmmm...
Still enjoyed it, mind you, but...
Final Healey note:
I've enjoyed a lot of wonderful Healey adventures over the years (not to mention more than a few "Healey Hangovers" when first the Brits and then the Aussies were here for those memorable--and occasionally debilitating!--"Healey Challenge" race series in 1990 and 2005. Became a field-scribe reporter/fellow-traveler/camp-follower for both series, met a lot of wonderful people, got to drive--at speed!--in a lot of the top cars and enjoyed the living shit out of the entire experience. Although I did learn two important lessons:
1: Never attempt to go drink-for-drink with an Englishman!
2: That goes for Aussies, too...

Think the 100S is still my very favorite A-H racing car, but a really good, razor's-edge, ready-to-explode-like-an-effing-hand-grenade Sprite is way up there as well...

Here's me (in a brand-new and as-yet unpainted helmet) in Bud Byrnes' example of one of my friend Tom Colby's ridiculously, even outrageously rapid "Speedwell Sprites" at Phoenix more-than-a-few years ago. What an amazing car to drive! It handled like a cross between an agitated waterbug and a young and horny--or should I say "motivated?"--ring-tailed lemur during the mating season (use your imagination, fer chrissake). That, combined with the amazing, high-revving power on tap from one of Tom's somewhat oversized, staggered and slightly-angled cylinder-bore motors, made it a genuine Track Terror. Suffice to say I was leading overall (Really! And handily, too!) until the quarter-heartbeat moment when the motor ingested a tiny chunk of its remaining (and seriously reduced!) cylinder block wall. I seem to recall it was between the 3rd and 4th power hole, and it sadly ended our run. But Bud and Tom were cool about it, and it was sure fun while it lasted!


Yes, folks, it's time to once again play everybody's favorite game: "Arcane Car Shit Nobody In Their Right Mind Should Actually Know!" And here's our host...YOU (most likely):

OLD (I mean REAL old) TRIVIA:

So last time (if you can remember back that far...I got kinda distracted finishing up and hustling ads/sponsorship for the new book) I posed the question: "What makes THIS particular Kurtis 500 Indianapolis "roadster" that I'm about to drive at The Milwaukee Mile unique?
And a bunch of you had the right answer.
Even more of you didn't.
So here's the answer (hey, a picture is worth 1,000 words, right? And if it's ME doing the writing, make that 2,500 or even 3,000 words...) :

Yep, that little beauty's got an effing Hilborn-injected CHRYSLER HEMI under its shaking, throbbing and quivering hood! It's a loooong story, but the short version is that the Powers-That-Wuz at Indy (read: The AAA) wanted to get the big Detroit manufacturers more involved in the spectacle (not to mention the finances and bottom-line) of the Indianapolis 500. So they fronted up this supposedly economy-minded/help-the-little-guy-out rule change that would allow teams to use hopped-up, 335-cubic-inch-maximum, pushrod-valve, "stock block" Detroit V8s as an alternative to the then-dominant (and already really well developed), DOHC, alcohol-burning, 270 cubic-inch Offenhauser 4-bangers just about everybody was using at the time.
Only then somebody put a Kurtis chassis together with a well-warmed-over, 331-cubic-inch Chrysler Hemi (running on alcohol, BTW, just like the Offies, and with no little help and support from Chrysler in Detroit) between its frame rails. And then they took it over to Indy for an all-too-public "private test." Which went, as they say, "way, waaay too well," with the car lapping easily and reliably at potentially (and alarmingly) competitive, even race-winning speeds.
The howling from the owners of Offy-powered cars could be heard over the grumble, crackle and burble of the Hemi's exhaust, and in short order the rules were tweaked to:

a) still allow stock-block V8s to run at Indy: "Y'all come on down now, y'hear?"

b) do away with their displacement advantage. And, at even-up engine sizes, the heavier, pushrod Hemi just wasn't going to get the job done against the Offies. Not nohow.

The car above belongs to friend, longtime racer, enthusiast extraordinaire and Head Man at car/racing publisher Racemaker Press, Jim Freeman. Take a bow, Jim. He was kind enough to let me get a few laps in at Milwaukee, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. What a marvelous and evocative car. And talk about TORQUE! Wow! Think it was my runaway favorite ride that day.


"What the hail is THIS thing???"

And, while you're at it, WHERE?
Oh, and what kind of motor does it have?
How big?
And who designed it?
And who, pray tell, was brave enough to DRIVE 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: