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Santa's Little Helper?

Well, folks, it's getting to be that time of year again. Turkeys are getting brined for the oven, Black Friday looms like a great, yawning chasm of menacing credit-card debt and, although I'm out in sunny Californy right now, I'll likely be needing some fresh gas/oil mix and a new sparkplug for my snow blower by the time I get back home. Remind me once again: why do I live in Chicago?


But the point is this: the Holidaze are approaching like a damn runaway locomotive (albeit festooned with jingle bells, holiday elves and strings of twinkling Christmas lights) and, since you are inevitably going to be spending more than you planned to or wanted to on all sorts of gifts, goodies, baubles and bottles of potent things to drink for people you either love, are related to or hope to get big business orders from in the future, I figure te least I can do is try to get you to spend some of that huge, heaping pile of holiday moolah with me. I mean, that's what capitalism's all about, isn't it? So, without further ado, here's our 2014 Last Open Wallet (er, make that "Last Open Road") gift guide:

Of course, first off there's my books. Lots of people have never read them. Worse yet, they've never BOUGHT them. And here's your big chance to fix that up. We've got a Christmas Special going on the website "ALL SIX OF BURT'S BOOKS FOR $150!" (just click it to get there) and they come with our semi-famous decals and of course I'll be happy to sign, personalize and/or deface them any way you like. BTW: the 5 novels (soon to be 6, I promise) are also available as e-books from amazon kindle and B&N Nook, and will soon be up on ibooks as well. On the same page we have our delightful (and affordable!) Finzio's Sinclair Christmas cards, which are great fun for the folks who get it and a source of bemused puzzlement for those who don't.

Then we've got our fine Embarcadero pullovers, which everybody loves and which are guaranteed to make you look incredibly cool and yet keep you toasty warm even when wintry winds blow!

But if you want something really special that will be remembered forever (and moreover something that can never, ever be successfully re-gifted), why not go for one of our custom-made, personalized and thoroughly one-of-a-kind Holiday Gearhead Whatsits. Like fr'instance: OUR FABULOUS RACING or RESTORATION BUDGET PIGGY BANKS!!!

Just send us a picture of the car and we can help you with appropriate wording & logos (or, if it's some supposed "restoration project" junkpile that will likely never move under its own power again and serves mostly as a resting place for half-finished beers whilst your husband and his disreputable gearhead buddies hang out in the garage and "discuss" the supposed restoration, you can just tell us the year, make, model and projected color choice and we'll take care of the rest).

Just $85.oo including careful packing and shipping (continental US only, call for offshore or over-the-border freight).

Takes about two weeks and, since these are all custom made, it's probably best if you e-mail me at or call the Think Fast office at (708) 383-7203.

If you want to go upscale and even wilder from there, my good buddy, diehard 2nd-generation TR3 racer and accomplished artist, musician, filmmaker, VARA webmaster and one time Warner Brothers animator Steve Belfer has come up with something REALLY cool! Steve has done a lot of excellent event posters in his time, and now he's ready to make you a professional- quality, full-size (20"x30"), suitable-for-framing racing poster WITH YOU AND YOUR CAR ON IT!!!! 

Here's just a few examples of what Steve can do:


Posters are $159.oo for one and $39.oo each for additional posters (be sure to give one to all your disgruntled business partners, accountants, old girlfriends and ex-wives!). Turnaround is less than a week following receipt of order & image and the price includes shipping within the continental US. To get in on this fantastic new holiday gift idea and dress up your den, rec room, garage, trailer, motor home, bathroom or porta-potty, go to Steve's website at:

Lastly, if you really, really want to make somebody remember you, give them (or yourself) a fine, art-quality original (on canvas, no less) of renowned motorsports artist Roger Warrick's famous "The Last Open Bar" painting with THEM (or you)IN THE PICTURE! Yep, you (or your favorite holiday gift recipient) can be belly-ing up to Siebkens famous bar with all the legendary racing greats who drove at Road America! Such a deal!


email or call the Think Fast Ink office at (708) 383-7203 for more info or to place an order Or you could buy that special person (or yourself) a wee, small slice of semi-everlasting immortality (for just two-hundred-and-fifty bucks, by the way) by making them a sponsor in the new book. I've flogged this scam so many times you probably know it by heart, so rather than running it past you again, just: CLICK HERE FOR ALL THE AMAZING & SELF-SERVING DETAILS!


Well, you could start with our justly famous THE LAST OPEN ROAD decals

(rumored to be worth a second a lap anywhere) or our whimsical "Do you know Buddy Palumbo" campaign buttons or refrigerator magnets, but probably the greatest el cheapo Finzio's Sinclair/The Last Open Road gift of all time is featured in the block directly below. Read on....


(final edition!) As most of you know, I came up with a rather unique, typically self-serving and shamelessly financially motivated new scheme to help pay the regularly horrendous costs of producing the new STEAMROLLER book by auctioning off the privilege of becoming (or designating) a supporting character in the new book.
Don't think it's ever been done before. And I planned from the beginning to give a portion of the proceeds to charity (at least one of which will be the Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen) so as not to look like a complete, money-grubbing jerk.

Only then my good friend, marvelous racer and VDCA president-for-life (like my marriage, the only way out is a pine box) Mike Jackson pointed out that my books, my readers and my professed, blue collar-sympathetic, fellow-traveler, we're-all-in-this-together, optimist/egalitarian "work-on-it-myself/tow-it-with-the-wife's-station-wagon" ethic ran at serious cross-purposes to selling off such an opportunity to the highest bidder.
Especially since most of the people who read and like my stuff would be quickly priced out of the market if any rich folks decided it would make for a nice ego-fluff. And no question there was merit to his thinking.

Then I had the bright idea that I'd offer up not one but TWO characters that I needed, one Republican and one Democrat, and auction off the Republican opportunity to the highest bidder and hold a five-bucks-a-ticket, pick-a-number-out-of-a-hat raffle to determine the winner of the Democrat character. And there was a certain, elemental symbolism and elliptical symmetry about it that really appealed to me.
Only then I talked to a lot of people and thought about it some more, and it slowly began to dawn on me:

1) Too complicated. Too many moving parts. Too much explaining.

2) Don't ever start talking politics with friends unless you already know you're on the same side of whatever issue/candidate you may be discussing. Otherwise, you may not be friends much longer.

3) If somebody pays five bucks for a chance to be/name/designate a character in one of my books (including physical details, real or imagined history, endearing and/or annoying personal habits, etc.) and we wind up having--what do they call it in Hollywood?--"Artistic Differences" over that character and how he or she fits into the narrative, I can feel pretty much justified in reserving the right to switch them to one of the fine 2nd prizes (still a $250 value) and giving the grand prize to the next runner-up.

But if some rich asshole pays a significantly larger amount for the same opportunity at auction and we have "artistic differences", the situation could get a lot stickier. And uglier. And more uncomfortable. And confrontational to the point where lawyers could conceivably become involved. And that's simply not worth it. Life's too short.

So here, now, for the first and final time, is how we're going to handle this thing. Please read carefully:

THE BE (or designate) A CHARACTER IN

The grand prize winner will have the privilege of naming, supplying physical/character traits, real or imagined history, endearing or irritating personal habits, etc. for a supporting character in the next "BS" Levy next novel, THE 200mph STEAMROLLER Pt. II: The Italian Job

which is scheduled to debut at THE HAWK Vintage Races at Road America July 16-19, 2015

There will be three (3) second-place winners, each of which will receive complete, $250.oo sponsorships in the new book.

There will be ten (10) third-place winners, each of which will receive signed/personalized, first-edition copies of the new book.


Raffle tickets are 5 bucks each, 5 for $20, 15 for $50 and 40 for $100, and are already available for sale on the website (CLICK HERE!) and from the Think Fast Ink office at (708) 383-7203.


The prize drawing will be held at precisely midnight during the running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, January 24-25, 2015. Results will be posted immediately and winners will also be notified by e-mail.

BTW, those raffle tickets make GREAT (and cheap!) stocking stuffers for all your grizzled old gearhead friends!

NEWS from the ROAD!

To be honest, I was already kinda running out of gas following the travels and adventures detailed in my previous e-blasts (hey, I'm getting a little old for this stuff, OK?) but I was also looking forward to my first-ever visit to the Hilton Head Car Show & Concours (car clubs on Saturday, high-zoot concours entries on Sunday) and it was indeed a wonderful event. Only I picked the late plane so I could help wife Carol with the Trick-or-Treaters on Halloween Friday. And it was real windy and wet and nasty in Chicago that day, so we didn't get many. And then my late plane got delayed even later on account of the wind. Like so I didn't get to my effing hotel on Hilton Head until 2 in the effing morning. And then the balmy South Carolina weather failed to appear as planned, and Saturday's "club day" was as damp, cold, windy and bone-chilling as what I'd left up in Chicago. Phooey. But a bunch of idiot diehards showed up anyway (me, included) and we even sold a few books (emphasis on "few"). Come Sunday, the weather turned chamber-of-commerce nice and the concours was a fine, fun show. Plus all the class winners both days passed right in front of Frank and Amy's People Kars booth where I was signing books, so I got to see the very best of everything. And I'm a little embarrassed to say that the car that tickled me most was a beautifully sculpted, bullet-nose Studebaker street cruiser that was just cool as all getout!

Two weeks later it was off to Daytona for the HSR's first-ever try at a 24-Hour Vintage Classic. And what a job they did, what with quality entries from all over the globe, wonderful cars, lots of famous, star drivers and organization that brought it all off without a hitch. I'm in the middle of writing my report on the event for VINTAGE MOTORSPORT magazine (read it there!) and we also did a bunch of famous- and not-so-famous driver interviews on video (in concert with to producer/cameraman/sound man/guy who keeps it all in focus John Hendricks) which will be appearing on the magazine's website. Check it out.
Spent 4 great, sunny days and one long, looong night there at Daytona, and three days after I got home, Carol and I were off to Californy to spend Thanksgiving with the kids and do a little nice-weather bicycling before heading back into the deep freeze.

Anyhow, on one of those bike rides I took a little side-detour over by Jay Leno's garage, and that resulted in my first-ever ride in a Stanley Steamer (see below)

followed by an extended and occasionally almost too-thrilling ride with Jay up a nearby (and, amazingly, nearly vacant) mountain road in the Lotus Elan project car that he and his guys have whipped up.

It's quite the little canyon racer, what with an all-alloy, 2-liter version of the famous Lotus Twincam, carbon-fiber body bits (all-up dry weight 1358 lbs.!), wide magnesium knockoff wheels carrying Avon racing tires and a modern, bang-bang sequential shifter that, to be honest, was kind of brutal and a little out of character with the rest of the car. But, jeez, could that thing ever GO! Jay even let me drive it a little once we got away from city traffic, and that was very cool. But he was at the wheel when we went up that mountain road, and may I say that he's a pretty damn good driver. Although his guys may have some trouble getting my fingernail dents out of the passenger-side door handle....



Geez, only a couple of you (Brits, of course) knew or cared that the car on the left below is a Peel Trident microcar (British, of course) and the one on the right is the 1951 Triumph TRX "dream car" (ditto).

That being the case (and since we award fewer 10-buck prizes when fewer folks know the answers, so it's easier on the old quiz-game budget) so we're "going UK" again with the following movie picto-quiz:

1: Identify the movie
2: Identify the actor
3: Identify the car (real life)
4: Identify the car (movie persona)
Send your answers to and win a 10-buck gift certificate from Finzio's Store on the website! Such a deal!

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: