It isn’t always easy finding the perfect gift for the discerning gentleman during the holiday season. That goes doubly if he happens to have an addiction to burning fuel and shifting gears. And it doesn’t help that a majority of car-related gifts seem to have an aura of tackiness to them; tee shirts reading “Eats Fords, Shits Dodges”, dashboard hula girls and brake disc ash trays don’t exactly exude class or even pragmatism. But never fear. If you’re buying for that special guy (even if that special guy is yourself) there is an array of automotive gifts out there that will suit any gearhead’s tastes, rev his appreciation for all things automotive and make his time behind the wheel all the more sweet.
Now, On to the Gifts…
Master Mechanic: Computer-controlled engines have made the casual mechanic a thing of the past. Fortunately, OBD-II scanners are becoming widely available at affordable prices, making them a must for DIY-minded guys who wouldn’t dare trust a crooked mechanic. BlueDriver physically connects to a car’s OBD-II port, then sends an inventory of information to the user’s phone via Bluetooth regarding fuel consumption, engine issues (and potential fixes), and even predicts whether or not a car will pass a smog test.
Because Cooler Heads Prevail: The common misconception is that wearing a helmet on a motorcycle is uncool. However, getting in an accident and becoming a vegetable isn’t likely to get a rider any Fonzie points, either. The Bullitt draws its inspiration from helmets of the McQueen era, but it’s made to adhere to modern DOT standards, keeping both a rider’s vintage look and brains intact.
CG Lock Seatbelt Add-On
Stay Glued to Your Seat: Anyone who’s handled a car like they meant it knows that standard three-point belts don’t always keep you snug in your seat through fast switchbacks and S bends. A racing harness is ideal, but installing one in an everyday car can be nettlesome; the CG Lock is a worthy substitute. It attaches to the standard belt and offers about 80 percent of the holding power of a racing harness. It’ll suit guys who tend to drive with gusto.
Aether Apparel Skyline Motorcycle Jacket
Protection Never Looked So Good: There are plenty of motorcycle jackets that look good, and there are many that are extremely protective. Aether Apparel’s Skyline Motorcycle Jacket is both. Made from Japanese Field Nylon, the Skyline is fully waterproof and resistant to abrasions. Aether also partnered with D30, one of the finest makers of protective padding in the world, to make sure that in the case of a spill, the only thing damaged is your ego. But style and protection aren’t the only benefits of the Skyline: ergonomic details include articulated elbows and shoulders, a two-way zipper, weatherproof zip vents and an internal velcro pocket.
The Backup Plan: When living out an overdone horror movie trope doesn’t sound like much fun, the Cobra JumPack can put battery life back into both your car and your smartphone, even if civilization is miles away. The JumPack has enough juice to recharge a car battery multiple times, and its 7,500 mAh battery with USB connection is a reliable phone charger in a pinch.
Track Your Pace: Watches and cars go together like whiskey and self-reflection. While classic motoring watches from Tag Heuer or Rolex demand a pretty penny, Autodromo has made a name for itself by crafting beautiful yet reasonably priced motorsports timepieces. The Stradale takes inspiration from the great grand touring cars of the ’50s and ’60s with a fine leather strap and a face that mimics a dashboard gauge. The Stradale’s power comes from a Japanese-made, 24-jewel automatic movement that echoes the raw mechanics of these Italian tourers — though admittedly it’s a little more reliable.
Chamberlain MyQ Garage
Opening Doors: In the age of the “smart house”, lights, air conditioning and even locks can all be controlled via smartphone. It only makes sense that that same convenience is available for the garage, too. The MyQ Garage can sync with a household’s wi-fi network to be controlled from anywhere — say, the interior of a car or halfway across the world — all from a smartphone, leaving no need to worry if a garage bay’s precious contents have accidentally been left exposed to the world.
Deus Ex Machina Mesh Gloves
Get a Grip: Though originally made for protective use on a motorcycle, Deus Ex Machina’s Mesh Gloves are slim and stylish enough to pull double duty in a car as well. Some guys might get flack for the “Ryan Gosling in Drive” look, but driving gloves are a must for those who own a classic with a wooden steering wheel or if it’s just plain cold out. Besides, there’s no getting around that they’ll look kickass both on a bike and behind the wheel of a so-called “cage”.
Yakima Whispbar S17
Storage Meets Speed: For the gent with a lot of gear, a set of roof bars is always a good investment, and Yakima’s Whispbar system is one of the best kits out there. So named because their low-drag profile doesn’t produce that annoying whistling sound at speed, the Whispbar’s different setups are suitable for bikes, kayaks and a variety of Yakima cargo boxes, and can lug up to 165 pounds.
HRE Classic Line
Nice Wheels: There comes a time when every gearhead needs to get a new set of wheels — literal ones. While the aftermarket is packed with variety, HRE makes some of the finest-looking, lightest and strongest wheels money can buy. Their Classic Line wheels add a vintage touch to new cars and a modern touch to older ones, all while helping to improve a vehicle’s braking and cornering performance.
Pedal Pushers: Want to heel-toe shift like a pro while retaining a certain level of sartorial elegance? A proper pair of driving loafers are in order. Tod’s Gommino drivers are among some of the finest auto-oriented footwear around, and their handcrafted, supple Italian leather construction is sophisticated enough to impress in the cockpit and during cocktail hour. Though they look best without visible socks, consider combining them with Aryton Senna’s fabulous white tube socks when completing hot laps.
Life of the Automobile
Know It All: Any gearhead would be remiss to exclude a proper book on automotive history from his collection. Steven Parissien’s comprehensive look at the 130-year history of the automobile covers everything the horseless carriage era of the late 19th century to the high-tech cars of today. But to say the cars are the only stars of the book would be inaccurate. Parissien also takes time to tell the stories of the automotive vanguard: people like Karl Benz and Ferdinand Porsche, who made the car what it is today.