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*And by "receivers," we mean like if you like get them and think about opening them but don't, or if you do open them and think about reading them but never actually get around to it, but are too damn busy or lazy or whatever to opt out.

We've been doing some major updating, cross-referencing, merging and rehab work on our e-mail lists (including adding in folks who've bought books and other assorted crapola off the website, etc.), and that means you may not have gotten one of these for awhile (or maybe never?) and, if so, there are two things you really need to know:

1) If you want to opt out and never have me darken your e-mail door again, there's a little SafeUnsubscribe link way at the bottom of this missive that will remove you from our list. Sure, you'll hurt my feelings. Maybe I'll even cry a little. A lot you care...

2) This e-blast is really Part II of what will ultimately be a 3-parter (I been doing a lot of stuff lately), and if you didn't get Part One (it went out April 16, when you were probably still rushing to finish your taxes), you should really read it first. You can find it archived here:


We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming:



OK, so one of the inherent & accepted risks of writing about any kind of history is that anyone (meaning me, fr'instance) can occasionally get stuff wrong. And it's even worse when it's something you have inaccurately assumed to be true for a very long time. Like since I had a full head of hair. And none of it was grey, either. But you know what they say about that sneaky little word "assume," don't you? It fairly regularly makes an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'...
Worse yet, this particular gaffe concerned Ferraris, and if there is one thing the exotic-car/collector-car/motorsports-history world is lousy with, it's people who care deeply and even devoutly about Ferraris. And with good reason. I count myself among them. 
So it was a bit of a kick in the gut when I received a polite and even slightly complimentary  corrective e-mail from one Alan Boe, who is most definitely a source majeure among the Ferrari cogniscenti, has been deeply involved with the marque and its owners club for about forever and has written extensively and authoritatively on the subject. So, as you might expect, I was:
a) thrilled that someone of his nature and stature actually reads my e-blast drivel (an also apparently enjoys same), and:
b) punched in both the solar plexus and cerebral cortex by the information he supplied. Namely that I had thoroughly mis-identified the red #22 Ferrari SWB Berlinetta (shown below on display at Amelia Island) as the same SWB Belinetta #22 that stock-car ace Fireball Roberts raced so effectively in the Daytona Continental 3-Hour in February of 1962 (a race, BTW, that I wrote about in some detail in the first Steamroller book):

Only it turns out (as Alan kindly pointed out) that the Fireball Roberts car was chassis #2725 (which first broke cover at Le Mans in June of 1961) and was moreover painted a nice  metallic blue with a wide white racing stripe (the American racing colors, of course) when Fireball drove it for Ferrari importer Luigi Chinetti's team at Daytona. Alan went on to explain that the red car pictured is actually Chassis #2291, and belongs to Bob Bodin, who has shown it and raced it extensively--as owners of all significant Ferraris should do!--and whom I actually know a little and have raced against a few times. For the record, Bob is a really neat guy with a truly eclectic taste in cars, and you're as likely to see him hustling around racetracks in his, umm, unusual Philson Falcon special (words fail me, see pic below) as his Ferrari.

More importantly, Bob never once said or claimed anything about his #22 SWB Berlinetta being the Fireball Roberts car. I just kind of assumed it based on the racing number and the fact that, at least until around 2am this morning, I had never seen a color picture of the real Fireball Roberts car and realized it was blue.
Hope this satisfies the well-tailored Ferrari-aficionado lynch mob sure to gather in my driveway if I don't put this right.
Like I said at the top, mea culpa.
MORE ERRATA (will the agony ever cease?)
But I was hardly done with my screwups on the last e-blast, as regularly and inevitably infuriatingly accurate British nit-picker Bob Allen once again leaped into the breach and emailed that I had managed to mis-identify 1950's English racer, car dealer, colorful motoring character and bon vivant Cliff Davis (that's him in his famous, Bristol-powered Tojeiro special LOY 500 shown below) as Colin Davis, who is another chap and racer entirely. Cliff Davis is the one who campaigned LOY 500 with unbelievable success in 1953, and it ultimately became the inspiration and design DNA for the A.C. Ace and Bristol and, in the fullness of time, for Shelby's A.C. Cobra:

As you can see from the photo, Cliff Davis was a bit of a charger! Only instead of pinning him correctly to the corkboard as CLIFF Davis, I mis-identified him as COLIN Davis, who was a totally unrelated (but also highly accomplished) English racing driver in the late-fifties-to-mid 1960s. Colin Davis spent much of his time in Italy and drove many of the great endurance races for young Venetian count Giovanni Volpi's Scuderia Serenissima team. I wrote quite a bit about Count Volpi and his team in the two Steamroller books because:
1) They were easily the most colorful, professional and successful privateer team of that era
2) It's a story full of money, intrigue, vendettas, operatic drama and dark rumors of skulduggery
3) Volpi's team produced the one-off Ferrari "Breadvan" (essentially a "hotrod" SWB Berlinetta built on the chassis of SWB #2819) after an angered and, at least in his own mind, betrayed Enzo Ferrari refused to sell the young count another GTO for his race team. So Volpi commissioned a few of his ex-Ferrari people to build him something that might beat the GTOs at Le Mans. Just so's he could thumb his nose at Old Man Ferrari. And the signature feature on the car (besides using a dry sump engine so's they could shove the driveline down and back in the chassis and making everything as light and tightly-packed as humanly possible) was the "station wagon" back end, which was a radical interpretation of the "Kamm effect" aerodynamic theory and was supposed to generate less drag and yield higher top speed. Even without the 5-speed gearbox that Ferrari refused to sell them.
Anyhow, Colin Davis was one of the car's drivers at Le Mans (along with Carlo Abate) and they very nearly pulled it off. They were as fast or faster than the quickest of Enzo's GTOs, and actually led them all early on. But the transmission failed after just 30 laps (as did the transmission in the team's top prototype Ferrari after an identicalnumber of laps) and there was some grumbling and dark speculation in the paddock--or maybe it was just sour grapes?--about how both of those transmissions had been recently rebuilt in Mr. Ferrari's customer race shop...
Like I said, it's a pretty good yarn. And I wrote all about it in the Steamroller books (hey, it's fiction, right?). In any case, The Breadvan has always been one of my very favorite Ferraris--in fact, one of my favorite cars--because it's such a fabulous, one-of-a-kind machine with such a fantastic, one-of-a-kind story. Although the very best part (for me, anyway) is that I actually got to drive it! Twice, in fact! Once on a test day at Blackhawk Farms (an early "ride-mooch-under-the-totally-lame-pretext-of-doing-a-magazine-story-about-it") when friend Monte Shallett owned it and once at Tamiami Park in Miami when my sponsor/patron/friend Joe Marchetti entered it in the vintage race that served as a sort of curtain-raiser for the season-ending, only-time-it-ever-happened Indycar race there. He turned me loose in one of the practice sessions to see what I thought of it. And, except for a worrisome and pervasive gas smell in the cockpit, I loved the damn thing! Wotta car!!! (see pix below from the Blackhawk outing)

In any case, I suppose I should grudgingly thank Bob Allen for pointing out my error relative to Cliff vs. Colin Davis (and once again making me feel like a foolish, doddering, know-nothing twit) and the experience has led me to purchase a very special product just for him:

EVEN MORE ERRATA (Geez, how long am I gonna have to wear this frickin' dunce cap?):
My interview on Mark Greene's CARS, YEAH show (click to find your way to the website) will be on March 14th, not March 4th. And it will be archived there forever after should you find yourself hard up for cheap entertainment or have some time to waste.
And now, finally and without further ado, back to our originally scheduled program: The Florida story:
As you may recall, we last left our stalwart protagonist (that would be me) gathering my shit together following a fine and fulfilling Sunday at the Amelia Island Concours. I'd signed books alongside famous race drivers David Hobbs and Hurley Haywood (and Hurley's excellent biographer, Sean Cridland) and it was pretty cool that international racing hero & occasional scribbler Jochen Mass (like me, he writes a byline column for VINTAGE MOTORSPORT click for the website)stopped by to chew the fat. What a lovely guy! He likes my writing, too, so no question he has superb taste in literature!
I gave out the Buddy Palumbo award as mentioned in the last e-blast, met up with longtime friend/soon-to-be traveling companion Joe Gearin, and then tried to work out how to get all my leftover books and signing kit (it's quite a should see me going through airports!) back to my rental car. Which was roughly a mile-and-a-half away. Hot ticket turned out to be commandeering a luggage cart from the Ritz-Carlton's front entrance (tip: DO NOT ASK! Just walk in like you own the place--or, better yet, like you're on a mission from God--and you can usually get away with that stuff), hauled my load down to the volunteer-worker shuttle stop, took the cart back to the front entrance (you don't want to be one of those jerks who just leaves it stuffed in the bushes somewhere), went back to the bus stop, thew all my crap in the back of the third or fourth shuttle bus to come by, enjoyed something like a 35 minute ride back to the lot where my rental car was and, in less time than it takes to strip three seasons-worth of barnacles off a whaling ship, I was on my way. Well, almost on my way, as post-concours traffic was typically impenetrable.
This is the unseen side of the glamorous, bigtime motorsports novelist business.
Joe Gearin had meanwhile run ahead in his very nice TR6 (which, BTW, is for sale) and we rendezvoused at his folks' house in a lovely Florida golf community about an hour south of Amelia. Had a nice dinner at the clubhouse there that they wouldn't let me pay for (I was kind of on a roll in that respect) and then Joe and I took off on what turned out to be a pretty damn epic journey.
It went something like this:
OK, so that's a bullshit headline right off the bat. There are no actual Ferrari Testa Rossas in this story. And if you don't know what a Testa Rossa is, you are probably reading the wrong blessed car blog. See footnote at the far bottom below (*) if you need to be enlightened. ButI simply couldn't resist the onomatopoeia or whatever (most people won't even know what that is) of the headline. Besides, as most writers of historical fiction surely know, you never want to let the actual facts get in the way of a good yarn.
Anyhow, here's the rest of the story:

Joe and I had to travel damn near the entire length of Florida to get to our next destination, but it had already been a very long day (as you may recall, it was the morning after the time change, and I'd been on my way to the show field before dawn) but we lucked into a perfect--not to mention perfectly priced!--stopover point on Merritt Island, which was just about halfway down. Seems Joe's older brother lives there (lovely place right on the water, and with a pool, a hot tub, my own room and cold beer in the fridge!) and he and his kids were out of town for the weekend. So we were welcome to stay. For free.
Slept like a well-fed baby that night!

Come morning we were off on another long haul down I95 towards Palm Beach and Larry Wilson's rather amazing car collection. Larry has put together an enormous and unique museum/Garage Mahal combo (not to mention a first-rate race-and-restoration shop) that I first visited years ago when Larry hosted a pizza party during Brian Redman's Targa 66 event at nearby Palm Beach International Raceway. The place blew me away! Got to know Larry a little better trackside at Roebling Road and VIR, and ultimately wrote about his incredible place for the magazine:

But Larry is more of a driver and racer than a car collector, and heunderstands that any wonderful sports car, race car or sporting sedan makes for a pretty damn dull static display. Without the noise and the speed and the feel of the car though your fingertips and the seat of your pants, it's just a shape hewn out of metal with some history and mythology attached. Plus Larry knows that cars atrophy if they just sit. And racecars twice as much. So Larry threw out a kind of open-ended invitation to come down and help "give his cars some exercise."
And this was going to be the day!
He even claimed to be eager to have me abuse some of his cars. And he welcomed friend/shotgun-seat fellow-traveler Joe Gearin to join in the fun. As did lovely English couple Peter and Carol Hewitt, who were in the process of buying Larry's Cosworth BDG-powered Royale RP17 (wonderful racecar, see pic below) to take back home and race in the U.K. Made me a little blue, though, since I was hoping to get a little track time in it myself.

You would not believe the day we had!!! And fortunately longtime friend and ace lensman Chuck Andersen was on hand to record it all for posterity. Otherwise you would simply not believe me...
We started out with a tour of the facility, which includes several large, long, orderly display rooms (in the main hall, the cars are stacked two high, ranked by make and country of origin and flanked down either side like soldiers in dress-parade formation) plus spacious, cool-stuff-everywhere-you-look rooms like the one shown below.

I was particularly taken by the signature green, ex-David Piper Ferrari P3 above and the utterly delectible little Maserati A6GCS (one of Larry's favorites, BTW) shown below

And here we are looking at a Bugatti (L to R: me, Larry, Joe Gearin and Peter and Carol Hewitt)

In the race shop, we gathered around a fascinating ad-hoc re-creation of the Porsche 804 Grand Prix car that Dan Gurney drove to Porsche's only Grand Prix victory in the French GP at Rouen in July of 1962. Gurnery also won the non-championship F1 race at Solitude with the 804 that year, and might well have won the German GP at The Nurburgring--he put it on pole--but, in terrible conditions with heavy rain and patches of fog, he was scrapping at the front with Graham Hill and John Surtees when the battery broke loose down around his legs and he had to drop back while he figured out how to brace it against the frame tubes with his leg and still drive! He took 3rd at the end, with the top 3 cars covered by the proverbial blanket. Make that a wet blanket.
In any case, there were only three 804 race chassis ever built (plus a fourth, never-raced chassis that I believe is displayed in the Porsche museum these days) and the other three are in museums and private collections. They'd be horrendously, astronomically expensive if one ever made it to market. Plus the purpose-built, air-cooled, 1.5-liter flat-8 motor used in the 804 is virtually unobtainable.
But Larry's a big Porsche fan and, as a racer, kind of wondered what it might be like to wheel an 804. So he and his guys (many of whom came through the exceptional auto-restoration major program at McPherson for more info) decided to BUILD themselves a Porsche 804. I mean, it's just a welded-up tube frame with some fabricated tube suspension bits...not much more than an up-market Formula Vee, right?

Of course it's far more complicated than that. But Larry managed to get his hands on  some specs and drawings and they laid the car out and began welding it up. But what about the motor? So I guess it says a lot about Larry and his approach to life as well as his cars that he decided to put a hotted-up, flat-6 Porsche 911 motor in where the unobtainable 8-cylinder would go.
Hey, you purists, pundits and full-orthodox Porschephiles can go suck an egg. Mumble and mutter all you want. Meanwhile Larry (and, hopefully, a few of his racecar-nut buddies...hint, hint) are going to get a pretty close approximation of what it might be like to drive Porsche's only GP winner. Not to mention the car that gave Dan Gurney his very first GP victory. I think that's pretty damn cool.

After the shop tour, we went upstairs for a light lunch and to get to know one another a little better, and then it was time to go outside and see what Larry had on tap for us to drive:

First up we had English cars, featuring an Austin-Healey 100S (perhaps the very first of the manufacturer "Factory Hot Rods?" back in 1955), a just-completed Lister-Jaguar "Knobbly" racecar, a lovely little yellow Lotus Elan (not in the picture above) and a fine-running Jaguar XK140 roadster. Naturally I wanted the fastest car first (the Knobbly, of course) and, as you can see, I'm all smiles:

Chuck hopped in the so-called passenger seat to shoot some pictures and the lot of us took off.
Turns out there are a lot of mostly vacant roads around Larry's place (plus some better-than-decent corners if you know where to look for them) and the plan was that we'd drive for a bit, then stop and swap cars, then drive a bit more, stop and swap cars get the idea. Only that went down the drain about eight minutes in when Chuck (who is not exactly tiny and was more-or-less wedged into the Lister) realized his left leg felt like it was on fire. Sure enough, the Lister's fabulously noisy exhaust pipes were right on the other side of a handsome (but very thin) aluminum panel.
Me: "Think I ought to pull over?"
Chuck (pretending to smile but actually grimacing): "I kind of wish you would..."
So we pulled over and Chuck hopped out (literally) and he had indeed suffered a bit of a grill sear on his left calf.

So we waited for the others to circle back and find us and we swapped cars. To be honest, I was just as happy to get out of the Lister. It was hot and windy and noisy and...well, one of the things you learn over time is that race cars don't make very good touring cars. And visa versa. And all you punks with your hatchback rice rockets slammed down to the bump stops (on 20" wheels with  35-series tires, no less) will figure that out one day, too. Just about the time you're trying to find out how to get rid of unsightly tattoos. 

Anyhow, Chuck and I piled into the Healey and I felt at home immediately. I've still got that old 100/4 in the garage and the 100S has always been about my faorite all-time Austin-Healey. And this one ran beautifully. Lovely car.

Then we stopped and swapped again (this time I got the XK140, which turned out to be a regal and refined sort of ride) and all was going swimmingly until we noticed that Peter and Carol (and the 100S) had gone missing from the back of our caravan. So (and not for the last time that day) we doubled back and found them parked at the side of the road at the end of a long swath of oil. Couldn't see the cause down in the engine compartment (there didn't appear to be any holes in the block or connecting-rod fragments laying about) but Larry just called for a couple of his guys to come over with a trailer and cart it back to the shop.
You got the feeling this was hardly a first-time thing...
I got the yellow Elan for the last leg, and as a guy who has spent a LOT of time in, around and (it goes without saying) underneath Lotus automobiles, I've got to say this was one of the sweetest-running examples I've ever experienced.
So we get back to home base and, what do you know, here's a second set of cars for us to try, abuse and enjoy. In all, we did four (or was it five?) of these "flights" of amazing cars, and rather than bore you with a blow-by-blow dissertation, let's just cut to the highlights:

OK, so the Ferrari SWB California Spyder (the "Ferris Bueller" car...even if the movie one was a fake) is on everybody's drool list. I remember as a wee tad journeying up to Evanston where a highly exclusive (if short-lived) exotic-car and motorcycle dealership had opened. You knew the kind of place it was by the merchandise on display and the way the proprietor strode around in an ascot and jodhpur riding pants, and smoked Dunhill cigarettes through a holder as long as a concert conductor's baton. He always had interesting stuff on the floor, including a delicious little Fiat-Abarth 1000 coupe on an elevated platform and the very first Honda Hawk motorcycle I'd ever seen. A few years later, they were everywhere. Hell, I even owned on in college But the thing I remember most is wandering in one day at about age 15 to find an alloy-bodied Ferrari California Spyder painted the color of arterial bleeding (similar to the car shown above) occupying the center of the floor. I walked around it until I damn near burnished a trail on the tile flooring. Then finally, with immense trepidation, I approached the owner and, my voice cracking just a little, asked what such an other-worldly machine might cost? He sniffed at me just a little, but then, quite casually, allowed as how it was "around fifteen thousand dollars..."
I couldn't believe it! Why, nobody on earth would pay that much for an automobile! Not even a Ferrari!
How times have changed, eh?
But the point is that, although I've been fortunate to drive a lot of Ferraris, never a California spyder. So this was a treat. But the car was just out of the resto process and there were a few little things that still needed to be sorted out. Even so, it was quite an experience! Notice the shit-eating grin below:

And now we head to the other side of Modena for a ride in Larry's Maserati 3500 GT. Life is good, no?

The 3500GT is a car I've always admired but had never driven, and I've got to say it did not disappoint. The silver example above felt taut and well-broken-in at the same time, and although the steering seemed unnervingly light at first, it got better and better as I became more acclimated. This thing is a real Gran Tourismo,

and just perfect for those weekend trips down the cote d'azur with, oh, say, somebody who looks like Ingrid Bergman (or maybe Gina Lollabrigida?) in the passenger seat. What a lovely, composed and elegant car. Although Maserati built many successful racecars, the 3500 was strictly refined, high-speed transport for a gentleman of means, taste and leisure time. Absolutely loved it!

For contrast we had Larry's 1955 Chrysler 300, which boasted a dashboard like a Wurlitzer jukebox and a turning radius that just about required tugboats to get it maneuvered around tight quarters. And yet this was the epitome of Detroit's take on the "Gentleman's Express" theme in the mid-fifties, and you have to remind yourself that Karl Kiekhafer's team of Chrysler 300s dominated American stock car racing (mostly thanks to that powerful Hemi-head V8, great drivers and world-class preparation).

It wouldn't be a Larry Miller Production without Porsches, and here's a car I'd always wanted to sample: a Porsche 356 Carrera mit the ultra-rare, 4-cam Fuhrmann engine in back. 

These things absolutely dominated the 1600cc and even under 2-liter racing class, and regularly humbled monsters like solid-axle Corvettes here in the states. Plus they were brilliant over distance. Only this one was experiencing a wee carb problem (I think) and wasn't at its best. Even so, it was a treat. Besides, that's why Larry wants to run his cars: to see what they need and what needs to be done to make them even better.
The 911S "lightweight" below was one of my favorites. It just did everything so well. There's nothing as unique or instantly recognizable as the feel and sound of a good 911. And, typically, it felt like it could keep running strong for as long as you'd care to thrash it.  That's Joe at the wheel, wondering if he's gonna wake up and discover it was all a dream...

Just to cap it off, Larry let us try a far more recent top-of-the-line 911:

Jesus, was that thing ever FAST! Not to mention solid. And easy to drive. And beautifully sorted out. And did I mention FAST?
I could go on, but Porsche types are already convinced their cars are better than anything else on the planet. And who wants to pour gasoline on that particular fire?
For contrast, here are a couple more marvelous Italian cars: a real Alfa Romeo GTA (loved it...felt like home to me):

and a Ferrari 246 Dino:

When I instructed at the Ferrari National Meet at Grattan many years ago, I got to drive all sorts of Ferraris. But a slightly scruffy 246 Dino (they hadn't yet ascended into the stratosphere price-wise) was my favorite. You could throw it around and hang the tail out and have all sorts of fun that you simply wouldn't dare attempt in a big, heavy car.
Unfortunately, Larry had to call for the trailer for the Dino after a hose clamp or something came undone and all the coolant blew out. Oh, well.

Then it was back to Germany for two very special Gentlemens' Express sedans:
For their "factory hot rod" 6.3 (1968-1972), Mercedes took the hulking, 6.3 liter motor out of its huge and heavy "Grosser Mercedes" 600 limousine (which was often burdened with even more weight thanks to the armor-plating and bulletproof glass ordered by diplomatic corps, despots, dictators, oil shieks and gangsters) and shoved it into a composed and refined (but far smaller and lighter) 300 SEL sedan. It's kind of an M-B take on the American musclecars of the mid-sixties (Pontiac GTO, Olds 4-4-2, Mercury Cyclone, etc.) but done so much better. Albeit for much more money. It's always been my favorite all-time sedan, and it drove exactly like I knew it would!

Had a pretty good run chasing the living shit out of Larry on a twisty can't-tell-you-where access road while he was at the wheel of his M-B 280SE coupe (the last of the coachbuilt Mercedes) only this one has a six-speed floor-shift stick added. You get the idea Larry can't resist fiddling with things.

For contrast, we had a similarly warmed-over and "modernized" Jaguar  Mk. II sedan. That's me (below) surrounded by leather and burl walnut as I approach the redline in 2nd gear:

But I've saved the best for last. See, Larry has a very nice 289 Cobra. And although I've driven 289 Cobras before on a ractrack, I've never really had my hands on a good, unmodified street example. Or a good street to drive one on, come to that. And Larry's car feels like it just rolled off some forward-thinking Ford dealership's showrrom floor in 1962. Or maybe '63.

And was it ever a hoot to drive!

You'd get it all squirrelly in back if you tromped on it hard in first or second gear, and the sense of something primal, lean and muscular bursting out of its cage accompanied every upshift.
You bet!
Of course!
The grin goes earlobe to earlobe...
You can almost see the poor salesman from the Ford dealership cringing in the passenger seat while you balst through the gears, his fingers just about leaving dents in the little chrome grab rail over the glove box.

Guess you'd have to call that a pretty damn good "day at the office," and I'm not quite sure I can find the right words to put a wrapper on it. About the best I can come up with is: "Okay, Larry, when can we do it again?"

And now the promised footnote on Testa Rossas:
*Testa Rossa is the name applied to certain famous Ferrari racing cars (starting with the 1984cc, 4-cylinder 500 Testa Rossa in 1956, and soon followed by the fabulously successful, 12-cylinder 250 Testa Rossa of 1957-1962...which, BTW, is one hell of a long run for ANY racing car!) and refers to the baked-on, crinkle-finish (think of a pair of binoculars) red paint on the cam-box covers. See illustrative pix below:

The name was much later (1984-96) applied to a fast but rather large and lardy Ferrari road model that usually assured its owner right-by-the-front-entrance, center-stage parking in front of even the latest toney, A-list restaurants (and, to be fair, was also well suited to long, mile-devouring high-speed runs on the autostrada, autobahn or interstate). But its immense size and near two-ton curb weight put it at, shall we say, a bit of a disadvantage on a twisty road or racetrack. I remember instructing at a Ferrari Club track day at the tight Gingerman road course in Michigan, and my reaction, after hot laps in a few of them, was that they reminded me of the blessed Starship Enterprise.

On Thursday, April 18, at roughly 3:20pm CDT, while suffering through the grisly digestive after-effects of the pastrami-and-butter sandwich that Concept One Media project overlord Scott Baker insisted I would enjoy (gotta admit, it did taste pretty good...but I should really own stock in GlaxoSmithKline, the company that makes TUMS). The real point is that, at that exact moment, faithful sound maven/audiobook editing engineer Ben Matthews and I came to the end of the very last line and the very last sound-effects salvo of the very last chapter of our long-running, all-consuming The Last Open Road audiobook project!
(or maybe something a wee bit stronger?)
Oh, there's still lots to do, several lines to re-record, some music and sound effects to add, modify or re-dub, some small Mystery Celebrity Guest Voice parts to record and stitch in, etc. etc. But there's something illuminating about reaching the end of what was, for all intents and purposes, our final complete pass! Makes me want to bay at the moon! Or run around our back yard in my skivvies (try to avoid a mental picture on that one, OK?). Or bike all the way from Nova Scotia to San Juan Capistrano in a single, explosive spurt of joy, accomplishment and testosterone. Pretty good feeling, just thinking you could do such a thing.
Even if you can't.

So if you somehow haven't listened to the audiobook clips on You Tube, please do. Here's the link:

And if you are subsequently moved to become involved as a greatly appreciated audiobook sponsor (or want to pre-order a copy or one of our very-close-to-spectacular numbered, suede-bound, pre-order-only 25th anniversary collectors' editions of The Last Open Road),here's a link for that, too:

UPCOMING "BS" LEVY Sightings, Schmoozings & Signings

April 26-28 THE MITTY @ ROAD ATLANTA: I'll be hawking books, taking pre-orders for the audiobook and hustling audiobook sponsors out of the Vintage Motorsports booth on vedor row (on the hill behind the pro paddock) and also co-driving one of SuperDave Bondon's Morgans and anything else I can lay my hands on.

May 2nd: Instructing at the VSCDA Drivers School at Gingerman.  Click here for details: VSCDA

May 11th: Lou's party. If you don't know what it is, you don't know what it is.

May 14th: Interview with Mark Greene on CARS YEAH  

May 17-20 @ Road America: Working my usual spot in the fabulous, elegant, expansive & moreover QUIET & AIR CONDITIONED Road America Paddock Shop and trying to find suckers with cars to share (under the thoroughly suspect pretext of "writing stories about them") during the SVRA's spring vintage race weekend.

May 26 on Chicago's magnificent lakefront: Weather co-operating, Carol and I (and some 30,000 other avid cyclists) will once again be doing a 30-mile loop of Chicago's scenic Lake Shore Drive at the charity Bike The Drive event in Chicago. Then we go out for breakfast and watch the Indy 500 on the Big Screen. Then home to watch the Monaco GP on tape.

May 31-June 2nd in Bloomington, IL: Incredible as it may seem, the Champagne British Car Festival
(click to view their website) has engaged me as Honorary Chairman and Saturday night banquet speaker for their wonderful annual event. You can tell they were hard up for talent. I'll be doing a mixed-media PowerPoint show conjured up especially for this audience (diehard British-car junkies who simply don't know any better) and it will hopefully be illuminating, entertaining and enlightening. Or it will if I can just keep myself at least twenty feet away from the cocktail bar beforehand.
Look for Part III of Florida Frolics (working title "Bikini Beach Babes, Daytona Bikers, Famous Brits, Sebring Escapades and a Space Shot") coming late next week. Or maybe the week after that?


Haven't done this in awhile, have we? Are you still listening with rapt attention & pen poised, Bob Allen?
Last time we showed you this thing:

but it was a long time ago and nobody seemed to know what it was. So we'll give you another shot. After all, some of you may see it on track this coming weekend...

But I wanted to start the ball rolling on a brand-new trivia question. So tell me: what is the odd chunk of metal below, where did it race and what made it significant?

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: