It’s the most wonderful time of the year. By now the kids have all written their letters to Santa, requesting the bounty they hope their last-ditched efforts to behave will net them. And we grown-ups are properly stressed about holiday shopping we’ve not yet done.
Despite having just put away all our favourite summer motorized toys, the festive season is one during which driving enthusiasts can ask Santa for some new automotive-related goodies that perhaps they just can’t justify buying for themselves.
Being a parent and an auto enthusiast means justification for asking for really fun stuff that one can claim is to be shared with the kids.
Here’s autoTRADER.ca’s list of Holiday Gift Ideas for Car Enthusiast Parents:
The best gifts one can give an auto enthusiast mom or dad, are the ones that can be enjoyed with the young’uns. Lego is an ageless gift enjoyed by parents and youths alike and the LEGO Speed Champions sets feature licensed replicas of some of the most exciting and revered sports and racing cars coveted by enthusiasts. Le Mans–winning Porsches, Audis and Fords, both current and historic, can be built and enjoyed, and for only 1/1000 the cost of the real thing, one could park a new Ferrari 458 Italia in a tiny, plastic brick garage you can build in an hour.
If sticking plastic bricks together seems too simple, Meccano is back and offers real metal kits that require the builder to use tools and screws to fasten pieces together like this Ferrari 488 Spider kit.
Once the Lego set has been built, why not break out the popcorn and share some time with the offspring, immersing them in an automotive movie? If the kids are older, classics like Steve McQueen’s Le Mans are still unmatched in terms of a spine-tingling soundtrack and perspective of some of racing’s most formidable machines.
Perhaps the kiddies aren’t quite ready for full-on, live-action automotive films, in which case Disney-Pixar’s Cars appeals to imaginations both young and old, inspiring fantasies of Route 66 road trips and offering a brilliant blend of both humour and action.
If there’s a downside to having kids, it’s that they have little-to-no respect for any of mom and dad’s stuff. They’re delighted to draw on the walls, trample the garden and put muddy feet on the backs of those Corinthian leather car seats. The Diono Stuff n’ Scuff Car Seat-Back Protector will not only keep junior’s boots from destroying the seatback, but offers pouches to help keep the action figures and gaming devices from getting wedged down in the cracks and crevices reserved for Goldfish Cracker crumbs.
Chances are, in most modern households with kids, a video game console can be found. Parents of today likely grew up playing video games too, and for driving enthusiasts, those gaming hours were likely spent playing with racing simulators. The latest Forza Motorsport 6 for Xbox One is a visual and auditory treat, immersing wannabe drivers into fantasy track days in cars they’ll never touch in real life. PS4 drivers can turn instead to the likes of Driveclub or Assetto Corsa for their digital driving fix until the new Gran Turismo Sport comes out next year.
Remember when you were a kid and it was cool to dress like your older sibling or parent? You can now foist your questionable fashion sense on your offspring. How cool is that, right? While forcing the little ones to wear socks-and-sandals or “mom jeans” is a special kind of child cruelty, dressing pop and junior in complementary Porsche polo shirts might just net you some “Awww, how cute” points at the next Porsche Club meeting. In fairness, to purchase both of these shirts, you’ll actually need to exceed the budget limit, but hey, it’s Christmas; it’s time to splurge a little.
Part of the joy of the holidays is reminiscing about Christmases past, and maybe some favourite toys received from Santa. For car enthusiasts, a slot-car set is very likely one of them, and could be loads of fun to enjoy again with your offspring. The Team Scalextric MINI Challenge set is a great way to get the little ones racing with you, teaching them the need for slowing into corners and squeezing on the power after the apex to get the checkered flag.
If racing isn’t your thing, maybe quietly admiring the fine details of your dream machine is the answer. A 1993 McLaren F1 is a thing of beauty, but prices for a real one these days can reach into eight digits. This makes buying one for less than $200 (at 1/18th scale), an absolute bargain.
The number one priority for any parent is to always keep their child (or children) safe. Still, nobody said safety couldn’t be stylish, and matching the car seat to the crimson leather interior of your Ferrari FF seems like a necessity. Luckily, Canadian Tire has you covered with a Ferrari Highback Booster seat for your growing child. Even if you don’t own the Ferrari, teaching the little ones about Enzo’s great creations at an early age can only be a good thing.
Sometimes the best gift a parent can receive, is the gift of time away from the kids. With a Chemical Guys Car Wash Kit, you can choose to ditch the kids for a few hours and spend a little quiet time with your favourite automotive baby.
Of course some parents might also see this as an opportunity to help teach the little ones proper car washing technique, and the Chemical Guys merchandise will introduce them to the importance of using quality products.
If you’re fortunate enough to have an obscenely wealthy relative who loves to spoil you, or perhaps you’ve not yet made it to Santa’s naughty list, or maybe your kid made millions creating a smartphone app, the gifts for car-loving parents get really exciting.
No matter how much money one has, it can’t buy time travel (yet). So those glorious moments in automotive history can never be relived. But some artists have done an exceptional job of capturing the glory of past events or automotive works of art in their paintings. While choosing fine art is always a personal thing, having a car-lover’s favourite machine (or automotive era) captured in acrylic on canvas is a gift that could bring joy for decades to come. A collection of some of the world’s foremost automotive artists can be found at Automotive-Art.com, many of whom can be commissioned to do one-off creations.
Even if you’re a track-driving ace, there’s always more to learn, but imagine the fun and satisfaction of sharing that high-octane driving experience with your son or daughter. Advanced driver training programs are not only fun and exciting, they’re a brilliant way to make drivers safer on the road. Signing up for some family time together learning from driving experts is a fun and rewarding way to share a common automotive passion. Organizations like Ian Law Racing and DriveTeq offer a host of opportunities to improve your skills from basic car control to advanced track driving. Or for a more comprehensive (and luxurious) experience, Porsche, BMW and Mercedes-Benz offer their own version of advanced driver training programs with their own highly desirable machines. Programs like those offered by the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy will feed and accommodate you, as well as thrill you.
Lastly, if cost is truly of no concern, there’s no better way to wish a car-loving parent the best of the season, than by gifting them the very object of their affection. A quick search on autoTRADER.ca produced three current used car offerings (each with family-friendly rear seats) this particular dad would be thrilled to receive this festive season:
1967 Lamborghini 400 GT 2+2
1965 Shelby GT350
2017 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet
Happy Holiday Motoring!