It's that time of the year again. Tinsel, chocolate, trees, candles and of course, the racking of brains to determine just what wonderful gift you can get for that car guy or girl that has everything. Luckily, the car being such an instrument of our culture means that there are actually a great selection of gifts out there that if it weren't for you (and, of course, the following guide), your car person may never know about.
Gift value: $50 and below
We’ve likely heard of these before, but American Shifter Company – yes, that’s a thing – has taken it to a whole other level. Sure; you can get an 8-ball sourced from an actual billiard set and that’s cool, but what if your preferred hot rod has Creamsicle finish? Well, the striped 13 should do the trick. Toronto Maple Leafs fan? How about the striped 12, also sourced from a set? Skulls, eyeballs custom jobs – it’s all here.
Group B Rally, Steve McQueen, Eric Bana – this subject matter and a whole lot more can be found on Amazon, and often for bargain-basement prices. Of course, it’s hard to attach a price on what is essentially a gift that can keep on giving, as the world of cars and motorsport is so varied and full of colourful characters that once you open the door to that rabbit hole, there’s no turning back. Or, go whole hog and see if you can find yourself the Director’s Edition bundle of Disney Pixar’s Cars franchise, which features Blu-Ray and DVD copies of Cars, Cars 2, a range of Mater’s Tall Tales shorts and notes from Director John Lasseter.
Subscription to Amazon Prime
Come on, let’s face it; in the context of this article, this is really a subscription to The Grand Tour, the new show from the old Top Gear crew. It’s gotten an even bigger budget than the BBC could provide (if that’s possible) and it takes one of everyone’s favorite Top Gear themes – the fellas going on wild road trips that any petrolhead would dream about – only on a much grander scale. Instead of a single segment in a given episode happening somewhere far off, each week, the entire episode takes place in a different setting, from the Nevada Desert, to Barbados and South Africa.
Car Legends metallic posters
These were cool when the good folks at displate.com came out last year with the original run on Bullitt, Gone in 60 Seconds and Mad Max-themes posters, but the library has gotten more eclectic – and possibly even cooler – this year with the addition of Pulp Fiction, Death Proof and Top Gear-themed posters. Basically, these are posters first painted, then handcrafted out of metal and mounted via adhesive-backed magnet to your wall. And, for each print sold, 10 trees are planted. Thus far, Displate’s planted almost 2,000,000 trees.
Gift Value: $200 and below
Lego Caterham Seven 620R
If a full-size Lego Porsche GT3 RS is a little too extreme, and the various nifty Speed Champions a little on the kiddy side, then perhaps you’ll find what you’re looking for here. Ringing in at about $100 in Lego stores or on Lego.com, the Lego Caterham Seven 620R is a great representation – in about 1/18thscale – of the minimalist b-road master. Better still, since the Seven really hasn’t changed much in, well, ever, this is kind of a full circle thing as the car would’ve been around in pretty much the same form when Lego was celebrating its 10th anniversary in 1958.
Playmobil Porsche 911 Carrera S
Lego not your thing? Fancy yourself more of a Playmobil person? Well, you're in luck, as the kings of plastic playthings has something for you, too. Only it's not as far from Lego as you may think. On the surface, what you have is a fairly standard-looking Playmobil, save for the fact that it has working head- and taillights. Look more closely, however, and you'll see that they haven't skimped on the DIY stuff, providing you with add-on spoiler, front clip, and wheel sizes.
Porsche: Origin of the Species coffee table book
Well, there’s a foreword by famed comedian and Porsche collector Jerry Seinfeld, so there’s that. On top of that, a car from his own collection – the Porsche Gmund Coupe 356-2/040 – is heavily featured in the book in its silvery glory. To top it all off, author Karl Ludvigsen is an all-timer when it comes to Porsche historians, so you know the material’s going to be good.
Piloti Prototipo driving shoes
You may think you have to spend a king’s ransom in order to get a proper pair of racing shoes, but that’s simply not the case. While Piloti does make some higher-spec competition stuff, gear like these Prototipos as well as more casual styles such as the Pistone line can be had in a host of colours, and all for under $200. They’re functional and they look good; that’s a win in our book.
Stanley Black Chrome Socket Set
There are lots of these out there, but the Stanley name is a good one and these happen to be on closeout right now at good ol’ Canadian Tire for just $119.99. The black chrome finish is a sharp one, the set is durable and the lifetime warranty provides some proper peace of mind that’s hard to put a price on.
Grand Prix Originals gear
There are few motorsport enthusiasts that don’t recognize the timeless powder blue, orange and white of the Gulf Racing company. While the oil company with which the colours and logos are associated may no longer operate as it once did, the colours live on in the form of racing liveries gracing Aston Martins, and in the various t-shirts, racing jackets and duffel bags available from Grand Prix Originals. If that’s not your cup of 40-weight, then perhaps the books and Blu-Rays also sold here are more your style.
Gift value: "Well, I've got this tree out back that grows $$$, so..."
Race car-themed furniture
What’s that, you say? Car stuff should be kept in the man cave or garage? Psshhhaw. Cars have always been associated with art, and the good folks at Need for Seat have found a way to mix both art and functionality to a host of products they offer. From high-bolstered, comp spec chairs that can change your desk into a racing cockpit to more relaxed wing backed styles (finished in camo, if you like), there’s a huge variety of chairs on offer.
Who says that your car-themed timepiece has to be a Rolex, Breitling or TAG and cost you about as much as a brand new car to procure? The watches from Autodromo are as car-themed as anything else on that list, thanks to their elegant cases, faces and straps with colouring that evokes famous racing colours such as the Martini blue, red and black seen on Felipe Massa’s 2016 Williams F1 car.
Sure, sure; the books and toys are great, but what if you really want to drive the thing? In fact, after reading all about them, the urge that was originally a small glow in the pit of the stomach of whomever you’re buying gifts for could very well become a roaring flame after they’ve spent two-three hours with the great images and history found in the books. In that case, a real life drive at the Porsche Experience Center in LA (PECLA) may be just right for you, if you happen to be in LA. All sorts of Porsches are available to drive – from the pedestrian Macan SUV to the fire-breathing GT3 RS – if you’re willing to pony up the dough, as the cost of your 90-minute lapping session depends on the car you choose. After you’re done (or before), try your hand at driving classic Porsche racers on world-renowned tracks in the simulator, or grab a bite at one of two on-site cafés. Or just wander the halls – that’s free – and check out the fantastic cars on display, which range from customer-owned classics to current race cars, as Porsche Racing North America’s HQ is here, too.