All too often, gifts for car enthusiasts are nothing short of lame. Whether they’re novelty neckties you could never bring yourself to wear or tacky automotive accessories that you wouldn’t put on your car in a million years, all too often you can’t find anything automotive-related that’s worth putting on your list. The problem is that most of these lists are put together by people who aren’t car enthusiasts, leading to gifts that appeal to a stereotype of the group. On the other hand, this list is put together by an actual car enthusiast, so you can expect it to be actually good. Let’s get started!
1. Blipshift t-shirts
Blipshift makes arguably the best automotive t-shirts in the world. Each day, the site releases a new design that’s nostalgic, humorous, or just cool-looking. The designs are sourced from enthusiasts from all over the world and they’re only available for a couple of days before being discontinued (although some popular designs are reprinted for the holidays). The shirts are comfortable and durable, and are pretty much a staple of cars shows all over the country. For those who have to dress up for an office job every day, Blipshift also offers ties and dress socks with subtle automotive theme s.
The worlds of car enthusiasts and watch enthusiasts often overlap, so the two products can overlap as well. Both watches and cars are mechanically intricate, and blur the line between form and function. Of course, there are both tasteful and tacky watches for enthusiasts. Some great examples of tasteful examples include watches from Autodromo that range from $600 to $1,800, and the Armogan Le Mans Chronograph that sells for $220.
3. Driving gloves
Driving gloves are an often overlooked motoring accessory that can be a really great gift. Driving gloves allow the driver to maintain a better grip on the steering wheel when driving at the limits, and can also help protect the steering wheel and shifter from the oils on your hands. Additionally, gloves are a must-have for any convertible owner who enjoys driving with the top down in less-than-balmy weather. Best of all, they look awesome. Pratt and Hart makes a great pair for less than $30 while other companies sell gloves that can cost upwards of $150.
4. Driving shoes
Like driving gloves, driving shoes allow the driver to maintain better control, in this case over the pedals. With appropriate shoes, a driver can deftly heel-toe downshift, allowing for smoother control than with other shoes. Driving shoes can look like sneakers, moccasins, loafers, or even dress shoes. It’s also a subtle expression of your automotive passion; most designs look like normal shoes to anyone other than those in the know. Piloti is probably the definitive driving shoe company, but there are many other companies that make them too, from Goodyear (yes, the tire company) to luxury shoe companies like Gucci or Ferragamo.
5. Vintage car ad posters
These make great additions to any garage, office or man/woman cave. Vintage car ads can easily be found for less than $10 online on sites like eBay, and can be found framed or unframed. You can find them for pretty much any brand even if the car advertised is long gone, and they’re often a bit more cheeky and beautiful than ads you see in magazines today. They’re a great little piece of automobilia that that can say a lot about who you are and what you enjoy.
6. Model cars
We’ve covered this before, but a model car is a great gift for an enthusiast – whether it’s a model of a car they already have, one they had a long time ago, or a car of their dreams. Model cars run the gamut from 99-cent Hot Wheels to the highly intricate examples from Amalgam Models. If your enthusiast likes to assemble the cars, many companies like Revell and Tamiya make great plastic model kits that are usually much cheaper and infinitely more customizable.