This story set in contemporary California is a teen-age triangle involving Richard Curtis, his fifteen-year old neighbor, Susan, and a broken down 1925 automobile. Richard, sick with the love of automobiles, comes very close to disaster when he ignores the law which stipulates that he must wait three months until he is sixteen, in order to drive legally. But Susan, sick with love of Richard saves him from a nasty tangle with the authorities. Out of their combined malease evolves a healthy and colorful relationship. A misleading title, Heartbreak Hot Red is a gentle, humorous account of adolescence, and there is real poignancy in Susan's final realization that she loves that half-oaf, half-genius American male who, overwhelmed by the romance of machinery, must be delicately weaned to more human, adult affections.