12 car gifts of Christmas

Christmas is but a matter of days away and if you’ve not yet done all your shopping, here are the top 12 gifts to give the petrol head in your life this Christmas.

1. Books

Wallace-Gromit-Cracking-Contraptions-ManualIf the motorphile in your life loves nothing more than to get under the bonnet at the weekend then a Haynes manual could be just the job – if only to give them a fighting chance of putting the engine back together after a routine oil change. If you’ve any junior car junkies then Haynes also do manuals such as ‘Wallace and Gromit’s Cracking Contraptions’ and ‘Roary the Racing Car Manual’. Other motoring tomes include the controversial ‘The Man in the White Suit’ by Ben Collins, better known as Top Gear’s ‘The Stig’ and, on the subject of Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson’s ‘Clarkson on Cars’. And if fiction is more their thing, look no further than ‘The Art of Racing in the Rain’ by Garth Stein, a clever, funny and, at times heart-wrenching, book written from the point of view of Enzo, a dog who loves cars as much as his master does.

2. DVDs

Christmas is all about crashing on the couch and catching up with all those old films you’ve not watched since…last Christmas. So if you’re in need of some car-related cinema why not stock up on classic road movies such as Easy Rider (ok, they ride motorbikes, but still…), Vanishing Point, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, or The Cannonball Run.


Or perhaps, Le Mans, Bullitt, Ronin, The Italian Job or Two-Lane Blacktop, which stars James Taylor (yes, that James Taylor) and Dennis Wilson (yes, him from The Beach Boys), the list is endless. If road movies don’t quite cut it, there’s a load of factual DVDs out there covering all types of cars and vehicles – be warned though, about 90% of them seem to feature someone from Top Gear talking excitedly over explosions.

3. Gadgets

If you’re buying for someone who spends a lot of time on the road, then there’s a whole load of gagdets to make life behind the wheel that little bit easier. Sat navs aside, you could look at buying a Pure Highway Digital radio tuner which turns any car wireless into a digital radio and MP3 player. There’s also the SuperTooth Buddy Handsfree Bluetooth kit that clips onto the car’s sun visor and uses a built-in microphone and loud speaker to make and receive hands-free calls. And this could be the gift that keeps giving if it stops someone from getting a £100 fine and three penalty points, the minimum sanction for being caught using a phone at the wheel. A portable jump starter could also prove to be a great gift as the cold weather can play havoc with car batteries. Am-Tech’s 3-in-1 looks to be a good buy at £49.95 as, not only is it a jump starter, it also has a built in air compressor and a torch.

4. Music

It’s fair to say most of us like to listen to music in the car, but makers of so-called ‘driving anthems’ seem to assume that drivers can’t listen to anything that’s not either a power-ballad or a stone-cold rock ‘classic’. So why not make your own driving compilation, stick it on a cd or a memory stick – or even send them one on Spotify if they can access that from their car – and give the gift of some decent music.

5. Toys


For the kids there’s sit-in scaled down version of the Mini that is available for £120 or, for just over twice that price, you can pick up a Porsche 356 Ride-on electric car. For the kidults there’s a whole range of car related toys from classic Scalextric sets, to Lego and Meccano kits to vast array of radio controlled cars (Link to Melanie’s article). For more top motoring toys for kids, read Melanie Wright's article Cars and kids - what's the perfect Christmas present?

6. Video Games

So you can’t bothered getting off the couch this Christmas but want something a bit more interactive than a DVD…then get on your games console! The PS4 and XBOX ONE have just been released and come with some stunning looking driving games. For a full run down check out Mark’s article Gamers revving up for Christmas. And check out another of Mark’s articles for a brief history of racing video games.

7. Novelty gifts

Nothing says Christmas quite like a novelty gift and there are literally thousands of car-related gifts out there. Choose from VW key chains, Stig alarm clocks, Ferrari desk tidies, racing car nail clippers, racing car letter openers, racing car dumbbells…you get the idea! Caagis.com is as good a site as any for novelty car gifts!

8. Clothes and accessories

Although not quite as de rigeur as in days gone by, there is still a massive market for classic driving attire such as gloves, helmets and goggles. Halcyon Classic Parts is a good place to start and they also stock classic car parts as well as motorcycle and aviation apparel.

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If that’s not your thing then there’s also a lot of more contemporary car/clothing crossover items such as the Adidas/Porsche Design collection, the classic Tag Heuer Monaco watch (like the one Steve McQueen wears in Le Mans) and Ford have even produced a clothing range that includes a stylish pair of board shorts.

9. Driving experiences

Many of us dream of owning a Porsche or a Ferrari but few will ever get the chance. So a track could be a track that lets you put both cars through their paces could well be the next best thing . Racing-school.co.uk offers a package that lets you drive a Ferrari 360 Modena and a Porsche 911 Turbo around Rockingham Speedway…so if you were ever in any doubt as to which you prefer this experience may just make your mind up for you! But if that’s not quite fast enough then Silverstone.co.uk offer a single-seater experience that allows you to take a Formula 3 car on a 130mph free-lapping session around the famous race track! Or if track days aren’t your thing then sites such as buyagift.co.uk offer rally and 4x4 driving days.

10. Live experiences

Some people prefer to watch cars than drive them so tickets to a live driving event or a car show could be the answer. For example, Formula One fans could pick up tickets for next season’s British Grand Prix, which runs from Friday July 4 to Sunday July 6, or next year’s Autosport International Show that takes place at the Birmingham NEC from the Thursday January 9 to Sunday January 12. Classic car lovers can experience the golden age of race cars at the Goodwood Revival, which kicks off Thursday June 26 and wraps up on Sunday June 29, whilst modified car fans can compare bass bins and big bores at Santa Pod’s Ultimate Street Car event which takes place between Friday August 1 and Sunday August 3. 2014 will also see a full calendar of events for classic cult cars such as Minis, VWs and Morris Minors and Silverstone Classic Car Auctions is also well worth a visit…

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11. Car modifications

Though modifications can increase the cost of your car insurance some drivers can stop adding bits here and there so why not treat the hot-hatch fanatic in your life to some interior or exterior add-ons? Sites like carstyling.co.uk or ultimatemods.co.uk offer everything from exterior styling to engine tuning so there’s something there for every petrol head.

12. A Car

Probably a bit on the expensive side but you could always buy your nearest and dearest car lover an actual car this Christmas! But beware, a £300 ‘spares or repairs’ is never going to look great, even with a big red bow on it!

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