On the whole, if you’re a fan of subtle style and minimalist branding, it’s a safe bet that products and accessories car companies market alongside their bread and butter (cars) make you nauseous. Most of the time, manufacturer “merch” is something like a plain backpack, t-shirt or hat with the company’s logo slapped on. Moreover, if you’re not a diehard fan, chances are you won’t casually rock a logo hat. However, there are rare occasions where manufacturers get it right: when it’s less about brand enthusiasm and more about a classy, quality products. There are only a handful of non-car products made by car companies worth considering — these are easily the best.
Specialized S-Works Roubaix McLaren Road Bike
McLaren built its reputation on championship-winning Formula 1 cars and some of the fastest supercars to ever hit the road, but that’s only a facet of what goes down at its HQ. Over in the McLaren Applied technologies wing, teams of engineers work with other companies on multiple collaborations. The fruit of one of those team-ups is the Specialized S-Works Roubaix McLaren Road Bike. It has a generous helping of carbon fiber, a set of custom rims and is coated in iconic McLaren Papaya Orange.
Porsche Design P´8508 Sun Glasses
Porsche beneifts from having a design house that’s almost entirely separate from the car company. So, while Porsche does sell t-shirts and hats with not-so-subtle Stuttgart sheilds embroidered across them, Porsche Design has better fashion sense.
Peugeot Coffee Grinder
Before Peugeot won the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times, before it even made cars or steam-powered three wheelers, the French manufacturer made pepper, salt and coffee grinders. And, while Peugeot pepper grinders are still a staple in many top restuaraunts, it’s hard to deny the classic beauty and design of its current antique-style coffee grinders.
Land Rover Heritage Leather Duffel
At first glance, you wouldn’t know this leather weekend was Land Rover branded — and that’s the point. Land Rover understands that if you want everyone to know you’re a fan of Defenders and Range Rovers you simply buy one and drive it. And even if you’re not Land Rover owner, this is still a classy enough duffel bag to tote around without shouting fanaticism about a car you don’t own.
Triumph Andorra Jacket
Okay, so Triumph isn’t a car brand, but the Andorra Leather Jacket is worth a mention. Especially because Triumph is also guilty of over-branding on some of its other products. The Andorra has removable removable D3o protectors at the shoulders, elbows and back, so it’s not just for style, it’s a legitimate motorcycle jacket too.
Aston Martin Merino Wool Scarf
For whatever reason, it’s the super high-end luxury car companies that make the more cringe-worthy, needlessly overbranded products. But, if one of them is going to get it right, it should be no surpise that it’s Aston Martin. On what is a great-looking grey merino wool scarf, the only branding is the Aston Martin logo embossed on a tiny, brown leather tab.
Porsche 1919 Chronometer Flyback
Porsche gets a pass for having two items on the list because it’s hard to argue with Stuttgart’s description of this watch’s design: “as much as necessary, as little as possible.”