If you, or someone you know, is obsessed with everything car culture, there are a ton of interesting gift options out there. Why spend hours surfing the ‘net, when all the coolest car related gift ideas are right here, starting from super cheap, to less so.
Die-casts ($1 and up)
Die-cast vehicles have been made for almost a century, and the variety is staggering. Every single production car made in the last few decades has a die-cast model out there. Yes, even your ugly first car, a 1986 Ford Escort. If you have a gearhead that loves their vehicle, take a look online to find their exact ride in miniature form. It’s super affordable, but is guaranteed to make them smile.
Books ($5 to $30)
Books offer a lot of in-depth knowledge gearheads love, and present it in an entertaining way. For the adventurer, it’s hard to beat Horatio’s Drive: America’s First Road Trip by Dayton Duncan. For the art aficionado, Cosmic Motors by Daniel Simon and Syd Mead, offers a behind the scenes look at vehicle design, and many gorgeous visuals on the future of automobiles. Of course, Haynes manuals are always well received with the DIY crowd.
SCCA ($15 to $100)
The Sports Car Club of America is a nationwide organization that holds time trial racing events near you. For just a few bucks, you can experience racing your vehicle around a course, competing with other drivers against the clock. The SCCA is very newbie friendly, and local events can explain things for you if you show up early. $15 covers all day completion for members, and the $100 covers a cheap helmet purchase and non-member entry fee. Bring your water bottle, and let’s go racing.
Supercar Rental ($150 and up)
If driving a slow car fast isn’t your thing, how about driving a fast car at legal speeds? For just $150 a day, you can rent a high end exotic or supercar. While not available in all locations, there are several rental companies along the lines of Gotham Dream Cars that will rent you a Ferrari F430, Dodge Viper, or McLaren 12C for just 1/10th of what the monthly payment would be. Granted, gas is on you, and there are fees for going over the mileage limit. But if you want to drive an exotic, there’s no cheaper way to feel like the 1%.
Racecar Experience (~$300)
Want to go even faster? For speeds that exceed the speed limit, it’s best to take it to the track. Companies like Racing 101 offer instruction from a pro, and then let you lose on the track. The style of car varies by the race company, but NASCAR and Formula 1 seem to be the most common. Be prepared to sign a lot of waivers, but it that doesn’t deter you, the 150+ mph curves will be an experience you’ll never forget.
Clothing and Accessories ($300+)
For the car nut that has everything, look into clothes and accessories. While officially licensed merchandise isn’t cheap (a ladies Ferrari babydoll shirt will run $50 on clearance), it tends to be great quality and will last several years. A dressy Lamborghini belt runs $218, and a Lotus leather racing jacket will set you back a grand. Also look into related brands, like Shinola watches, out of Detroit. These quality beauties start at $550, but mark a luxurious return of downtown Detroit’s manufacturing industry.
Remember, the key to a great automotive gift idea is not the money spent. A great gift comes from listening and knowing the person you are giving it to. By matching the gift to their personality, your gift will treasured.