It’s holiday season and you may be wondering what to get the car-lover in your life. Don’t worry, we’ve got a lot of ideas.
We reached out to all our editors for some thoughts on what they’d recommend as gifts at various price points. For a stocking stuffer at under $25, some of our editors recommended clothes or artwork. For under $100, there are a few tools and other cool gifts, and over $100, there’s a wide range of crazy ideas. Take a look below.
Jodi Lai, Managing Editor:
$25: My car is old (2008) and I have no Bluetooth, navigation or basically anything cool, so I’d really love a cellphone mount so I can use Android Auto while I drive. I have a huge cellphone (a Samsung Galaxy Note of the non-exploding kind), which makes it perfect for using in the car, especially since Android Auto got an update that allows people to use it even if the car is old and doesn’t have a touchscreen. The ideal cellphone mount wouldn’t be too clunky and would allow me to charge my phone while I use it.
$25-$100: My favorite racing livery toggles between Gulf and Martini Racing. I love this Martini Racing waterproof jacket and in a rare twist, they actually have women’s sizes available. Any self-respecting automotive enthusiast would appreciate any Martini or Gulf swag. Mugs, cool posters, t-shirts, whatever.
$100+: Drift school and a Miami Blue, manual Porsche 718 Cayman S. That is all. I’ve been really good this year, OK?
Dan Ilika, Road Test Editor:
$25: There are plenty of affordable goodies for gearheads, but few look better than these awesome prints by Hive Posters out of Auckland, New Zealand. With a few dozen to choose from – not to mention one already hanging on my wall courtesy of a Christmas gift to myself last year – I wouldn’t say no to the Circuits of the World print that features 28 of the greatest racetracks on the face of the earth.
$25-$100: I’ve been a reasonably descent human being this year, which means you don’t need to spend all $100 on a gift for me. In fact, a little more than half that budget will do for this 1:43 scale model of a 1984 BMW 635CSi touring car by AUTOart. It’s finished in the Genuine BMW Parts livery, and would look great on a shelf beneath my new Circuits of the World print…
$100+: Not all of us have such lofty dreams as Jodi . The top gift on my list is much more affordable – but certainly not less fun. It’s the Skip Barber Racing School’s Ultimate Racing Bundle at Sebring International Raceway. For a paltry $7,120, it includes both a three-day racing program and a two-day advanced racing program at the storied track. That means some track time on the full 3.7-mile course used for the 12 Hours of Sebring, not to mention some great instruction along the way.
Jonathon Yarkony, Editorial Director:
Instead of asking for presents for myself, I thought I’d be a cheapskate and use my budget to get gifts for my family. No really, these are totally gifts for my wife and kids. Really.
$25: For my son’s birthday, someone got him the Hot Wheels Track Builder System starter set, and as soon as he saw it, he immediately dropped everything and proceeded to do nothing but play with it for the next six hours. What better way to continue his budding love of cars than an expansion set, this one with launchers that can feed into his current tracks? Bear in mind, there are more expensive sets with all the components, or the starter kit for a similar price.
$25-$100: Meanwhile, all my daughter keeps asking for since we went to a recent tech fair is robots. This set from Thames and Kosmos combines a LEGO-like assembly with basic lessons in circuitry and the ability to build up to 10 different models, with three motors that means you can create complex machines like diggers in addition to a basic car.
$100+: Our car is a 2007 model without a backup camera, but having driven press cars for several years now, my wife and I have gotten used to that luxury. There are a variety of license-plate mounted rear-view mirror display camera available, but I would gladly pay extra to avoid having to replace my stock mirror, so I’d be looking for a Bluetooth-equipped model with an app for iPhone/Android devices like this. Then again, I wouldn’t say no to a set of lowering springs and coilovers for my B7 Avant.
Craig Cole, Associate Editor:
$25: There are plenty of tawdry trinkets to be had at this bargain-basement price, but instead of asking Santa for some clichéd detailing kit or yet another digital tire-pressure gauge, I reckon it’s time to thinkoutside the box. This nondenominational, inoffensive, all-inclusive, generic holiday season, I’d like a nice pair of leather driving gloves so I can keep my gnarly paws firmly on the tiller, which is where they belong.
$25-$100: Moving a rung or two up the ladder, a gift I’d like to receive that costs less than one Benjamin Franklin is a new torque wrench, but not just any old force-measuring device, oh no. I need an industrial-grade specimen, one rated to exceed 200 lb-ft. This is required for accurately tightening the rear-axle nuts on my V8 Ford. If they’re not properly snugged the tapered shaft-ends can twist right off, allowing the wheels to — literally — go flying, not something you want to have happen at 60 miles an hour.
$100+: Finally, with a budget of more than a hundred bucks, I’d like an ATS-V. Yep, a brand-new Cadillac. Hey, nobody ever mentioned there was a limit beyond $100, so $65,000 is still fair game! I’ll take mine in sedan form with Vector Blue Metallic paint, three pedals, gold-colored brake calipers and the luxury package. I wonder how Ol’ St. Nick’s going to get it down the chimney? Oh well, not my problem.
Stephen Elmer, News Editor:
$25: I love automotive history and discovering the past that got us to the point we’re at today. To that end, any automotive-themed book you can pickup would make a great gift. I also wouldn’t hate it if I got this sweet guitar strap made from recycled military-issue seatbelt material.
$25-$100: Can someone please just get me an Amazon Prime subscription so I can watch The Grand Tour? It’s only $99 for the year. Come on. Help me out here.
$100+: Some of the most fun I’ve ever had behind the wheel of any vehicle was getting a taste of desert racing thanks to BF Goodrich and Wide Open Baja. At a cost of $4,295 per person, you can go on a three-day adventure, blasting through Mexico in a Baja Challenge Race Car worth $100,000 that has 18 inches of wheel travel. Off-roading in that environment, in such a capable machine, is a totally exhilarating experience. And there’s no baby sitting or handholding. You’re really in charge, and one wrong move can send you off the scariest cliffs you can imagine. I can’t wait to get back.
Sami Haj-Assaad, Features Editor:
$25: At $25, I’d look to get some of the coolest automotive-themed apparel I can get. Blipshift is currently my favorite with a number of unique and creative designs for their shirts and there are a few awesome accessories that are right up my alley too, like bowties. The designs are only available for about two days, so when you see something you like you have to act on it, but some popular designs come back again. I love them, and they get a ton of comments when I wear them out. I certainly wouldn’t mind another in my wardrobe.
$25-$100: One of my favorite times of the year is tire switchover day, which is when I get to pop off the seasonal tires on my car for another set. However, some of my tools are feeling a bit old, so I’d love to get myself some new ones like an air compressor and torque wrench. These go for about $50 each, so they’re well within a reasonable budget.
$100+: At over $100, I’d love to go to another track day, where I can play with my car in a safe environment, and maybe get some additional high-performance driver’s training. I’m thinking that any of the driving schools at Spring Mountain outside of Las Vegas will do the trick nicely.
Jason Siu, News Writer:
$25: For under $25, I wouldn’t mind a few posters or large prints of some of my favorite cars to hang on the wall of my garage. Cars like the Nissan GT-R, McLaren P1 and Acura NSX… you know, cars that are much more affordable on the wall in 2D form.
$25-$100: I’m really just a giant kid and if I had to choose a gift between $25 to $100, it would have to be the 1:16-scale Mario Kart Yoshi remote-controlled vehicle. I actually saw this the other day while shopping at a toy store and had to stop myself from buying it.
$100+: Forget a one-time weekend trip to the track, or just a single car. If you’re going to offer me a gift that’s $100 and upwards, I want a fancy driving simulator from CXC Simulations. They start at $49,000 and can be customized to go well beyond that, but if you’ve ever had the opportunity to try one out you would know it’s worth every penny.
Michael Accardi, News Editor at GMInsideNews, AllFordMustangs, Luxury4Play
Sebastien Bell, News Editor at VWVortex, Fourtitude, Swedespeed
$50-$100: Cherry bomb glasspack (a muffler) . I’m a child, I like loud noises, and I’m not especially original. Sue me.