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We're trying to figure out what?


Carol and I always love traveling out to California to spend time with our kids (it's nice when your family types are also your best friends) and of course I always enjoy it because Southern California is the freaking car-craziest place in the whole freaking world! Oh, sure, I used to struggle against the notion just like everybody from anywhere else, and I remember the go-kart shop I used to hang around back when I dreamed of upgrading to a thoroughly F.O.O.R (Financially Out Of Reach) Evans Flyweight with a McCulloch Mac10 on the back had this sign over the engine-building bench:
but of course that was just sour grapes. SoCal had the weather and the cars and the music

c'mon, put on your best nasal white-kid voice & let's all sing know the words: "The west coast has the sunshine and the girls all get so taaaan....")

not to mention the space and the people and the talent and the back-alley shops and the places to run (regardless of your motorsports persuasion, and pretty much year-'round) and that's why most of the best and most successful sports cars, oval-track cars, drag racers and Bonneville salt-flats runners ever built came from around LA. And you have to respect that, even if the traffic out there can be ridiculous a lot of the time (you NEED to have a nice car in LA, because you're going to be spending most of your time in it!).

To be honest, I don't think I'll ever understand how eight or nine lanes of wide-open freeway can suddenly accordion back into a bumper-to-bumper, stop-and-go creep for two or three miles, then free up again WITH NO FREAKING ACCIDENT IN THE MIDDLE OF IT!!!!! This is not normal anywhere else, and results in a sort of two-speed approach to LA freeway traffic. You're either sailing along at something just shy of eighty (and most likely being passed by a few shaved-head or meticulously unshaven agents in their MBs and Bimmers, busy making or breaking deals on their cellphones) or sitting stock still, staring at the license plate in front of you

and wondering if you have enough gas and/or bladder capacity to make the next exit....
But you gotta love it in LA. Even if only the old-timers remember the last significant rainfall....

The other cool thing is that there's always lots of Car Stuff going on in Southern California (quoth Carol--with dangerously narrowed eyes--: "You know we DID come out here to spend some time with our kids...."). So, before the onslaught of fuel-fed activities commenced, she and I joined up with son Adam and went to his Personal Trainer place (Chain Fitness in Toluca Lake, which looks after some boxers and mixed-martial-arts types when they're not busy turning doughboys into studs and making old people feel much, much older). Taylor and Maria at Chain Fitness are incredible and they really kicked our collective asses!
I recommend them highly, & check them out if you're ever out this way and feel the need to have every muscle fiber you haven't used in years beg for mercy!

Had to stop by at Autobooks/Aerobooks in Burbank, of course (If you haven't been, you must) and then my good friend Tom Stahler invited me to an MPG (Motor Press Guild) gathering at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena on Tuesday. What a place! It's where Pete Brock and a bunch of other notables went, and I was absolutely BLOWN AWAY by the place. Particularly the 4th-term Final Projects my longtime car buddy and Art Center Transportation Design Chair Stewart Reed had on display from his students. The designated marque was Alfa Romeos (can you believe it?) and they were all in red (natch!) to focus attention strictly on the design & styling elements and, oh, hell, here's some pictures:

Is that cool or what?

There was a gallery showing, too, and I must say I was impressed by a model of a damn-near feasible future Ferrari

and well past impressed by the eclectic and amazing collection of pieces from young Jonathan Peace, who has an incredible future ahead of him as an industrial designer after you and I are mostly rolling around in wheelchairs and drool bibs. Jonathan's already won the famous & prestigious Ridler award in 2012 with this car:

and that's just the tip of this kid's iceberg. He had a compact, fold-up, carry-it-with-you personal mobility device on display (VERY cool!) and some other neat stuff including a kind of highly retro wooden speedboat that I just fell in love with. Wow.

Sorry the picture isn't better:

There was a lunch (if there's one thing media types understand, it's free food) and a pretty neat--if a little scary--presentation by Angus MacKenzie, who kind of runs Automobile and Motor Trend and some other car-type titles these days and has his finger in the wind and ear well and truly to the ground regarding what's happening/is going to happen to the traditional-print Nutball Car Magazine business over the next many years.
Suffice to say that it's a brave, new world out there (with apologies to Aldous Huxley) and I'm not sure I like the fact that grand old magazine titles like Road & Track are shrinking, moving, firing folks, losing favorite columnists (you know whom I'm talking about) and struggling to keep readers & fill ad space. Meanwhile, this month'sCar & Driver offers a two-page, double-truck ad spread for popular middle-aged relationship rejuvenator/penis pumper-upper Cialis.
And, while all this is going on, Angus MacKenzie's "Roadkill" web presence dedicated to Rat Rods (a genre I don't particularly enjoy or find appealing) is doing a million-and-a-half hits.
Bleaugghhhh. What the hell happened to good taste?
Not to mention "looking sharp," which always USED to be important whether you were at the drag strip or the Indy 500.
I think it's all part of a greater phenomenon whereby things now seem to be judged by IMPACT and FASHION (remember, "grunge" and "goth" are both legit fashion trends these days) rather than CONTENT, QUALITY or MEASURABLE PERFORMANCE. Top of the list there (for me, anyway) are all the bored-looking young punks in square yards of tattoos and baggy, ill-fitting clothing contesting the X-Games. Which, as far as I can see, are just a way-stupid, well-over-the-top extension of the old "look, ma, no hands!" stunts that kept emergency rooms and reconstructive orthodontists busy back when I was a wee lad.
You can take my soapbox now, orderly.
I' done....

On a somewhat cheerier note, I got an e-mail from Mark Hanson that a talented & deserving fellow named Andy Caldwell won the "Buddy Palumbo Award" at this year's IPMS (International Plastic Modelers' Society) convention. There were something like 2500 total entries, and I'm both thrilled and flattered that Mark and his cohorts wanted to include a Buddy Plaumbo award again this year. Below is a pic of the car with the award (which Mark created) plus a close-up of the car (the famous and indecently fast--if less than thoroughly successful--"flip-top" Cobra that Ken Miles shoved a big-block engine into and brought to Nassau to harass Chevrolet's new Corvette Grand Sports). Below that is a pretty damn nice Ferrari F1 car that Andy also built. Pretty damn nice, eh?


eah, I love the Monterey weekend. I mean, how can you not? There's more cool cars and cool car stuff and incredible cars and motorcycles of every possible description and car-guy (and car-girl) celebrities all over the place and incredible car-guy shit going on everywhere you look so that....
....Well, so that no matter what the heck you're doing, you can't shake the notion that you're missing a bunch of other really neat stuff. And that can make you ever-so-slightly manic.
Not to mention sleep-deprived.
And that goes double if you're bunking in at the notorious VINTAGE MOTORSPORT house, where the resident partiers may be feeble, ancient and decrepit, but by God they're DETERMINED!
So what mixes with Metamucil, anyway?
Drove the rental car up via 101 on Thursday (in my estimation a far prettier and more entertaining than taking "The Five"--as they habitually refer to their highways around LA--and then cut towards the sea through the essentially bleak but poetically named "Lost Hills"). That route does take you through the stretch of nondescript pavement where James Dean met his end just outside Cholame but, having been through there many times, I prefer the far more scenic 101. And, so long as you gauge your timing to avoid the worst of the LA leaving-or-returning lemming tide, it can be as fast (if not faster) than "The Five" route. But do not, under any circumstances, try to return to LA via either route on Sunday evening. At least not if you value your sanity....

Thursday night brought a lovely sneak preview of longtime racer Rick Knoop's excellent new documentary about the original Pebble Beach Races (titled "Racing Through the Forest," and dedicated to Rick's dad, who was one of the original Pebble Beach racers). The venue was, appropriately enough, the gracious and handsome Inn at Spanish Bay just off 17-Mile Drive, and the movie was really, really good. In its current form, it may be a little long and repetitive for general audiences (read: film festivals) but the folks who gathered to see it in Monterey absolutely lapped it up. Particularly the old racing footage and lively interviews with the likes of Bill Pollack, Jim Hall, etc. For more info check out RACING THROUGH THE FOREST
on the web. Plus it was a truly complete sort of semi-Hollywood presentation, what with a table-full of swag bags (tell me, what do dark chocolates, hint-of-mango water, camouflage lanyards and wrist-strap key rings have to do with an old racing movie?) plus some really neat and historic old racing iron parked just outside (the one-of-a-kind Ken Miles R2 "Shingle" MG special shown below hasalways been one of my personal favorites):

Only downside of the entire evening was a serious oversupply of privilege, entitlement and noblesse oblige, but there's a lot of that going on all weekend at Monterey, and most folks don't even seem to notice. That theme continued on into the car park just outside

which, rather than thrilling me, made me feel a wee bit ill. Now there are a lot of fine, hardworking people who have taken the risks and expended the effort to get into a tax bracket where they can legitimately afford such baubles. Good for them. And then you've got the inheritors, the slimebags, the double-dealers and the all-purpose (to use my son's favorite description) "Major Douchebags" who have come into big money (or at least the bauble-procurement leverage that Big Money engenders) through the back door. Or tunneling in through the basement. Or by way of an unlocked second-story window....
You get the idea.
Mind you, I think it's wonderful that people buy such things, as it provides work and income for a lot of clever engineers and master craftsmen who would otherwise be crafting Lego sets and steam cleaners. But the money is just a little bit obscene. At least through my poor eyes, anyway....
OK, the sermon's over.
Don't forget to drop a few shekels in the collection plate on the way out....

Friday I set my wares up and hawked books out of the VINTAGE MOTORSPORT booth on the so-called "Vendor Island" at Laguna Seca, but did make time to wander around and see some of my friends in the paddock. Not to mention all the INCREDIBLE cars that you seem to see at Monterey.and nowhere else. Oh, maybe things are a bit more loosey-goosey than in the old Steve Earle days (he never would have countenanced shenanigans like Sunbeam Tigers with 4-pot brakes) but where else are you gonna see legit Short-Wheelbase Berlinettas and Birdcage Maseratis and REAL Shelby Cobras glistening in the pits and tearing up the racetrack. Pretty damn special, I must say.
Friday evening I was back for a return engagement at the World Class Automotive Film Festival at the Golden State Theater in Monterey, signing a few books here and there and getting interviewed onstage by festival sparkplug "Fireball Tim" as a kind of feeble opening act for Adam Corolla's live taping of his popular CarCast show. He also showed a really impressive trailer for his new documentary about Paul Newman (Corolla is a huge Datsun/Nussan nutcase and owns & races one of the Newman/Sharp 300ZX Turbos these days) and whatever I may think about his humor, perspective and attitude, in the end you judge people by what they do, not what they think or say, and the Newman movie looks awfully damn good.
More of the same at the track on Saturday, somewhat compromised by the unbridled, frothing-at-the-mouth greed that caused Concorso Italiano to move from its traditional Friday time slot to Saturday. So the track crowd was down more than a bit as all the prancing-horse poseurs and pretenders had somewhere much more stylish and important to be. And to be seen, of course...
Then it was back to the Film Festival on Saturday evening (plus an occasional wander back-and-forth to the auctions, where one could witness--along with a breathless crowd of gawkers who would likely have been equally enthralled with a bloody 40-car wreck on the freeway--truly gargantuan piles of cash changing hands for cars that have become too damn valuable to enjoy anymore). I loved the red 250LM at RM in particular--I've had the good fortune to drive a couple of them over the years--and I sure hope it finds its way off its pedestal and out from behind the velvet ropes sometime in the future.
But I'm not counting on it.
Film Fest feature that night was an excellent presentation by highly regarded & accomplished designer, team owner, author, photographer, hang-gliding entrepreneur Peter Brock, followed by an on-stage panel of important designers followed by a showing of that absolutely iconic racing movie, GRAND PRIX. I've seen it a kazillion times, of course, but I stayed to watch that opening sequence at Monaco on the Big Screen and with Theater-Quality sound, and I have to believe it remains the Gold Standard of the genre.

Sunday it was up at the crack for a Dawn Patrol tour (or near Dawn Patrol, anyway) of the concours at Pebble Beach. Didn't much care for how Retro Auto has been moved off site or how the place is so damn full of "VIP Guests" and "Media-Pass Types" that you can't see your way to the blessed cars a full hour before the effing public gates open. But of course the venue is spectacular and ditto the cars, and I was highly pleased to see Hans Ledwinka's ingenious, clever, inventive and even iconic Tatra cars from Czechoslovakia getting their moment in the sun. Oh, they're a little squat and ungainly from the styling standpoint, but suffice to say that VW agreed to pay postwar reparations for certain ideas usually credited to Ferdinand Porsche (who knew and conferred with Ledwinka while the ubiquitous VW Beetle was making its way from concept into history. Things like a rear-mounted, air-cooled, opposed-cylinder engine, fully independent torsion-bar suspension, pressed-steel platform frame, aerodynamic, streamlined shape, etc).

Most folks don't even know what Tatras are, and there's a really nifty collection of them (along with lots of other cool stuff) at theLANE MOTOR MUSEUM in Nashville if you're ever down that way.
Loved all the racing Maseratis on hand celebrating Maserati's centennial and, as anybody who's read TOLY'S GHOST  knows, I'm a serious Maserati nutcase.

Not to mention that the star-crossed and magnificently monstrous Maserati Tipo 151 Le Mans coupe does a bit of a star turn in my current 200mph STEAMROLLER series:

But of course you can't say "Maserati" out of one side of your mouth without "Ferrari" blowing its way out of the other, and a real highlight of this year's Pebble Beach was a quietly jaw-dropping display of Testa Rossa racecars. Always one of everybody's favorites, they are gorgeous things to look at. And listen to. But I fear some of them (see below) are now primped, prettied up and perfected far beyond what they ever were back in the day and will never turn a wheel in anger again.
Pity, that.
But they sure look nice purtied up though, don't they?

Got back to the track in time to sell & sign a few more books, but although we did okay overall, you couldn't miss that the crowd was down from previous years. And of course the worst thing about working a vendor booth at Monterey is that you don't get to see any of the freaking races! But I did manage to sneak off by the porta johns a couple times (under the pretext of relieving myself, of course) and managed to catch a wee glimpse of the racecars roaring and drifting out of Turn 4. And apparently I'm a bit of a disaster magnet, as I witnessed two wild, heart-in-your-throat near-misses in just the few short moments I was over there.
The first involved the experienced Ken Epsman's Dekon Monza, which was involved in a hellaciously entertaining dice for the race lead with Bruce Canepa's Porsche 935. I know Ken a little because he was either generous or stupid enough to let me drive his ex-Penske/Roy Woods Racing, Trans-Am champion Javelin at Portland a few years back (that's me in the car below)

and you should also know I'm a huge fan of Dekon Monzas, which were the pet project of Chevy's irrepressible motorsports sparkplug Vince Piggins and fronted up as the prototype of a new All-American-GT (AAGT) class to break up the endless Porsche parade in IMSA racing. The cool thing about the Dekon ("De" for designer Lee Dykstra, "Kon" for constructor/original driver Horst Kwech) was that it was the first-ever tube-frame "silhouette" GT car, and it was also fast as stink right out of the box (Horst probably should have kept a little more sand in the bag at the car's first-ever race at Road Atlanta). The other cool thing is that rising Porsche ace Al Holbert did a back-to-back test with the new Dekon Monza and the new turbo Porsche and decided that, while the lap times were about the same, the Porsche, with it's "lag, then explosion" throttle pedal was much harder to drive and would surely suffer in traffic, while, as he put it at the time: "a monkey could drive the Monza." Which I believe I proved conclusively when my friend Steve Cohen turned me loose in his Dekon (see below) and I fell absolutely in love with it:

But I digress. We last left Ken Epsman's Dekon and Bruce Canepa's Porsche Turbo having one whale of a wing-ding battle for the lead at Laguna Seca. And then this happened:
Yeah, the tire went bounding into the stands. But by some miracle it didn't hit anybody. And the car didn't look too bad afterwards, either. Apparently the center fractured out of the LR wheel on Ken's car. Wow. Then, a bit later, some poor fish in my very favorite race group (fifties sports/racers) lost a bunch of oil going into 4 and we had some VERY valuable cars (not to mention owner/drivers) going off every which way. Don't know what flags the corner workers were showing or how urgently they were being displayed, but drivers definitely weren't getting the message and we had cars spinning off and dust flying and the fact that no two tried to occupy the same little corner of our universe came down to pure, dumb luck! But we'll take it! Packing up the booth late Sunday afternoon was like crawling across the desert at the end of a Hollywood war epic, but then I got some very good fish takeout and found myself pleasantly all alone back at Chateau Vintage Motorsport. So I sat outside with a nice glass of white and some grilled snapper and crab ravioli appetizers and watched the night roll in. Very peaceful. I was in bed before it was full dark.
Come the morning I took a long, long bike ride along the coastline, through Monterey and Pacific Grove and past the silent, fenced lots where all the as-yet unresolved auction cars were parked as in a holding pen. Pretty damn cool. Only I somehow dropped my rental car keys someplace along the way, and I don't believe I need to go into the Stupidity Anguish that followed or the time and money I spent at the local Nissan dealership (and that's after the expensive tow on the roll-back!) in order to put things right. It's times like that you really need a dog. So you can kick the sonofabitch....
But we get over things like that because, hey, there's really no choice, is there? And so I returned to the kids' place in Studio City late Monday with a sick, empty feeling in the general area of my wallet, slept like I'd been run over by a steamroller and got up the next morning in time to pick up my buddy/hero John Morton in El Segundo and meet for lunch with my highly experienced/highly good company crew-chief friend Greg Elliff (among other things, he was the guy with the greasy knuckles, headset wrapped over his ears and a thoroughly exhausted look on his face when Paul Newman, Rolf Stommelen and Dick Barbour took 2nd overall and 1st in class at the 1979 24 Hours of Le Mans) and enjoy a fun, bench-racing lunch at the Redondo Beach Cafe. You should probably understand here that these days Greg spends most of his time locating, restoring, buying and selling rear-engined Indycars, so he was pretty pumped (as I was) about where we were headed next....

Yep, we were on our way over to the thoroughly amazing Eagle's Nest in Santa Ana, where we had an absolute blast! Kathy Weida and Evi Gurney couldn't have been more gracious or welcoming, and we got to see an incredible collection of old photos, some memory-jarring memorabilia (including the famous, first-time-ever champagne bottle that Dan used to spray the victory podium crowd after he and ol' Ajay smoked everybody in the Ford Mk. IV at Le Mans in 1967:

What an incredible time! We met Dan's four sons (all of whom are in the business these days, with son Justin serving as CEO), got a wee insight into the amazing scope of things that are continually underway in Gurney's shops, got to see a few things (including some we probably weren't supposed to see) and, best of all, enjoyed an extended and thoroughly unforgettable chat with The Man himself.
When you think back over what Dan has done, driven, built and accomplished in his life, it's impossible not to be overwhelmed. I mean, who can forget his famous, watershed outright win at Spa in the gorgeous, sexy and sensual "titanium" Eagle

or his seeming endless string of Stock Car wins at Riverside (where he was pretty much untouchable)

or the many dominant wins with the Indy Eagles (although none as dramatic, fascinating or heartbreaking as the "shoulda won" with Jerry Grant in the purple and un-sponsored "Mystery Eagle" in 1972)

or the job he did with the 2.1-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder IMSA GTP Toyota prototype. Oh, some of us weren't too amazed when it started winning the shorter sprint races (it ended up taking its last 17 races on the trot along with two pretty much runaway IMSA GTP championships), but I would have been first in the "bet against it" wagering line when it came to achieving an overall victory at the grueling, pounding gauntlet run of 1992's 12 Hours of Sebring.

I would have lost my money. And that's what was sure to happen--sooner or later--if you took the "safe bet" odds against Dan Gurney and his teams.

But of course I wanted to talk about his early, pre-AAR days in Europe, and particularly his 1962 F1 season with the air-cooled, flat-8 Porsche 804, since that's the exact period I'm writing about now in the new book (yes, yes, it's coming!). Naturally I was eager to show off how carefully and completely I'd researched everything and so I casually observed how both he and Porsche essentially "lucked into" their first-ever GP wins at the French GP at Rouen in 1962 after top championship contenders Jim Clark in the Lotus and Graham Hill in the BRM both retired. And I went on to add that, in my less-than-humble opinion (and according to all the English scribes I'd read...but that goes without saying, doesn't it?) the new Porsche 8 wasn't really a match for the best of the new British crop....

Dan smiled, but there was a just a hint of a bristle behind it, and he gently reminded me that he won the non-championship F1 race at Solitude a week later (ahead of Porsche teammate Joakim Bonnier, but again after polesitter Clark's Lotus dropped out) in front of 300,000 fans, then put the flat-8 Porsche on pole for the German Grand Prix at The Nurburgring the first weekend of August (and on a true driver's track if there ever was one) and was pretty much running away with things on a treacherously damp track (see Brabham and deBeaufort below as the cars are being brought to grid) that was changing with every corner of every lap.

Only then the battery box in Dan's Porsche broke loose down next to his legs and threatened to bounce around loose in the cockpit (a cockpit lined, by the way, with full fuel tanks!). So he lost the lead and dropped back a bit while he figured out how to essentially cross his legs, hold the battery box in place with his right calf and work all three pedals with his remaining leg. He battled back to close on the leaders again and finish third....
You need to remember here that, back there at the beginning, Dan was the "other guy" Stirling Moss worried about the most.
But of all the cool things we heard and saw and talked about, the one that sticks with me the most is the full story of Mike Mosley and the radical, handsome and ingenious "stock block" Eagle-Chevy that won its only race (after starting at the back!) at the Milwaukee Mile in 1981. And I of course immediately chirped out the popular fiction that it won there because of the stock block's superior torque and throttle response in typically heavy Milwaukee Mile traffic. And that earned me another patient (if mildly exasperated) grin from Dan: "You keep on drinking that Kool-Aid if you want to," he smiled, "but that car was on the front row at Indy in 1981 and led the Michigan 500...."

A little research unveiled that the car was also leading on the road course at Watkins Glen (Rocky Moran up) and sat on the pole and was running away from everybody at Riverside (with Geoff Brabham behind the wheel) until a wheel nut got cross-threaded on a pit stop, and it sat on the outside of the front row in Mexico.
How quickly we forget....
Besides the all-aluminum Chevy, the real secret of that car was a totally unique approach to aerodynamics (called BLAT: take another look at the side pods and that back end) and, in the end (and under pressure from the other teams) both the stock-block engine and the aero concept were banned.
Wotta story! And, sadly, mostly forgotten these days.
Except that some of that unique, BLAT aero technology was recently resurrected when AAR worked on the development of the ultra-radical Deltawing concept currently making eyes roll and jaws drop in amazement at Le Mans and elsewhere.

I mean, it doesn't LOOK like it should work, right?
Only apparently it does....    
But of all the things we enjoyed and experienced at the Eagle's Nest, the one that stands out above all others is how Dan and Evi and their sons and their wonderful crew have managed to remain creative and involved at the very highest technical levels, absorb the setbacks, disappointments, broken promises and bounced sponsor checks and continue to adapt, survive, expand, and even thrive in a business (or make that an umbrella of businesses) known for nickel-rocket careers and fortunes squandered rather than made.
Life Greg Elliff enthused afterwards: "A really special day!"

Hope I get invited back!

If you care, you can look for me (plus a lot of really neat cars, people, offbeat parts and exciting racing action at Murray Smith's always excellent Lime Rock Historic Festival over Labor Day weekend. It'll make for a nice, relaxed and pastoral change-of-pace after the hectic sensory overload of Monterey Week. I'll be up with my books, prints and the usual "Last Open Road" paraphernalia in my much-coveted spot on the store deck, and I've also been invited (along with my fellow-author/racer friend Tom Cotter and Dwight Knowlton) to sign books in concert with the Sir Stirling Moss autograph sessions Saturday, Sunday and Monday. This is an enormous thrill for me, since Sir Stirling has been a huge hero of mine since slightly before forever and moreover since (although he probably won't remember it) we were once sort-of teammates at Watkins Glen. Really. Long story, that, and one that will surely find its way into print one day....

Speaking of Watkins Glen, I'll be there the following weekend to

hopefully cadge a few rides under the thoroughly transparent guise of "covering" the SVRA's annual NY mega-event, the Glenora Wines Vintage Grand Prix, for Vintage Motorsport magazine (I'll be doing the write-up for Lime Rock as well). You can bet your behind I'll be in and out of as many MGs as possible (all in the line of journalistic inquiry, I assure you) but other times you can look for me at the VM hospitality tent on Vendor Row or down in town, set up in front of the courthouse (better than being inside, although I've done that, too) during Friday night's blow-out street festival.
See you there?

aka: Burt questions your answers!
OK, let's start with our last Movie Trivia question: "Who went drinking every night at (take your pick, as it turns out) either 'The Moonraker' or 'Moonrakers'?"
The answer is the inimitable Charles Laughton as the bleary, beery and bombastic Henry Horatio Hobson in the British Academy Film Award-winner for "Best British Film" of 1954, HOBSON'S CHOICE

I should mention that it's one of our favorites and that if you haven't watched it, you're in for a treat!

On to this week's trivia (another simple one for you car-guy types): Who was Tim Randolph and what F1 team did he drive for?

I've never been short on crazy promotional ideas (just ask Carol!) and I think I've got another lulu on the line. Here's the deal: What would you think if I held an online e-bay auction to actuallyBECOME a character in the new, 2nd-volume 200mph STEAMROLLER book??!!! I'm not just talking a name on a page here, either, but an actual, peripheral, supporting-cast CHARACTER in the book, complete with physical & character attributes, real or imagined history & accomplishments, etc. You could do it for yourself, someone else, a loved one, a friend, a client, a customer, a much-beleaguered wrench or crew chief or whatever. You come up with the top bid, it's up to you. Of course we'd have to be a little careful about the content (nothing libelous or actionable, please) and good taste (or at least no worse than mine) would be expected. Better yet, we plan to DONATE 50% of the net auction proceeds to a worthy, motorsports-connected charity (several are already under consideration).
But before I do something radical like this, I'd like to get a little feedback from you folks out there who have read all the way to the end of this interminably long e-blast.
Is this a great idea or shameless commercial pandering of the worst possible sort? Or both?
Lemme know.
Until next time,

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: