Shopping for car nuts is actually pretty easy. Firstly, they’ve got a clear interest you can cater to; and secondly, there are thousands of retailers who would love to sell you that special car-related something. But what is it this year?
It could be an addition to the wardrobe – something that complements the style of their garage and their clothes – or another piece for the toy chest. (Have you seen LEGO’s ridiculous car collection lately?!) Or it might be something that interacts directly with their vehicle, somehow enhancing the experience.
For inspiration, or for links to stuff you can buy online right now, check out these 14 gift ideas for car enthusiasts. And scroll last year’s list here for more ideas.
The capsule vacuum is a neat tool for neat freaks, or just a handy way to get crumbs out of seat cushions. This modern-day USB-charged dustbuster from Roidmi looks more like a portable speaker than a vacuum, but it really sucks — in the way you want it to. $70, Best Buy
Sock-seller Sock Affairs has a motor section on its website with dozens of options for car-lovers. And they get pretty specific. The Heel Tread GTI Sport Socks, for example, are a great pair for lovers of the classic VW hot hatch, with a tartan plaid similar to the car’s interior. Other options include the Willys Socks in military green with a black star; or the Cobra 427 Socks in the classic Shelby blue, white, and red. $17
Canadian winters aren’t just hard on the vehicle exterior. First the roads get covered in snow and ice. Then a layer of salt and sand is added, which in turn renders it into a gritty brown slurry. And then all of it ends up being tracked into your car on boots and shoes. This is the simple and unrelenting way that new interior carpeting gets weathered and ruined in Canada — but the solution is almost just as straightforward.
TuxMat uses custom measurements and lasers to cut model-specific mats that clip and lock into place as simply as a vehicle’s actual floor mats. Just visit their website and enter the year, make, and model of the chosen vehicle. Price by model
There are a few fashion accessories that consistently turn up in the automotive realm, and sunnies are one of them. Protect eyes and sartorial reputations with the ultimate pair of driving sunglasses from Persol, modeled after those worn by Steve McQueen himself. The Persol 714SM are a premium pair of sunglasses that fold up for compact storage, feature McQueen’s name printed on the arms, and come in a variety of fashion-forward colours like the new option, honey. $507
When working from home turns into working from the road, having a way to charge devices like tablets and laptops becomes crucial. The Bestek 300W Power Inverter is a safe bet: it’s got two USB ports and two AC outlets, thousands of positive reviews online, and a price of around $50. $45, Amazon
When Danish toy giant LEGO wants to go extra-realistic and intricate with a model like it did with the recent Ferrari Daytona SP3 Technic, it uses the Technic designation. Containing 3,778 pieces, the set includes a V12 engine with moving pistons, an eight-speed sequential with paddle shifters, a detachable roof, and butterfly doors. If you’re gifting it to a child, be prepared to lend a hand, because it’s rated 18+.
And if you like the idea of giving a LEGO gift, but are strapped by your office’s $30 Secret Santa budget, consider this 2 Fast 2 Furious Nissan Skyline GT-R Speed Champions set that was also released this year. $560, LEGO
Pay-to-use features in new vehicles are on the rise, and while some are probably not worth the subscription (looking at you, BMW heated seats), others offer tempting value. Mercedes-EQ, for one, is advertising an optional “Acceleration Increase” sub that boosts its EVs’ horsepower and torque via an annual subscription. Currently available only to American customers – maybe Canadians will have to wait for next year’s holidays for this one – the US$1,200 annual sub unlocks 20 to 24 per cent more power depending on the model. In the Mercedes-EQ EQE SUV 350 4Matic, power goes from 288 hp to 349 hp, and the zero-to-60-mph (-96-km/h) time of 6.2 is cut to 5.2 seconds.
Maker L.L. Bean calls this portable and collapsible organizer a “Hunter’s Cargo Organizer,” imagining users filling it with outdoor gear, but it will just as easily handle groceries, sports equipment, safety equipment, or whatever other detritus your SUV has accumulated. $100, L.L. Bean
If matching a pair of shoes with a belt is good fashion fundamentals, matching them to a car is next level. Designed in Italy and manufactured in Portugal, Piloti makes relatively affordable driving shoes in a variety of silhouettes. The low-cut Avenue are made from Italian leather and feature a subtle brogue detailing that elevates them above the status of basic sneaker. $250, Piloti
Hot Wheels Diecasts
Diecast vehicles are classic gifts for enthusiasts young and old, and range widely in terms of rarity and price. Walmart has a bunch of readily available new Hot Wheels toys perfect for last-minute shoppers, including Mario-themed race tracks for kids, as well as more expensive and rare classic single models like this $35 Volvo P220; or this $50 1964 Chevy Nova.
Red X Thread’s premium Shelby-inspired cotton crewneck sweater is designed and fabricated in Toronto and officially sanctioned by Shelby American. The brand sells a number of other automotive-themed wears, but the classic cut, diamond-quilted elbow patches, and Le Mans stripes and race colours make ‘The Thoroughbred’ crewneck a standout. $200, Red X Thread
Kids can be hard on vehicle interiors, but there are easy ways to protect light or delicate surfaces. This simple Smart Elf waterproof seat protector and strap-on organizer helps prevent stains, scratches, and other issues while providing easy-to-access spots for toys, drinks, and snacks, tablets, and the other distractions that are so crucial to parenting from behind the wheel. $36, Amazon
Gifts don’t have to be fancy to be appreciated. And who doesn’t love it when somebody offers to fill their tank? Many gas stations like Esso offer prepaid gift cards that can be swiped right at the pump.
John Dent began making leather gloves in Worcester, U.K., in 1777, and the brand hasn’t stopped since. Dents has a total of 25 different driving glove styles for men, each in a number of different finishes. The women’s driving glove section is a little less robust in terms of options, but still features some bright and brilliant options like the fingerless Paris Fingerless Keyhole pair ($116) pictured above.