Contributing Author: Craig Fitzgerald
The holiday season is always a challenge. You want to give a perfect gift, but unless you know your target recipient’s tastes intimately, it’s hard to really wow them with something thoughtful. If you’ve got car fans on your list, we’ve got you covered. We’re not talking about heated ice scrapers here. These are gifts that are going to be appreciated, and they’re all under $75.
Blipshift T-Shirt/Gift Card – $16 to $25
Blipshift is amazing. Every single day, they release a new design. The shirts are only $16 each, and each design is only available for a few days before it’s gone forever. While one of the shirts would be greatly appreciated, allowing your loved one to choose their own design before it’s gone is a fantastic gift. Gift cards are available in $25, $50, and $100 denominations.
Bellroy Key Cover – $40
Chances are pretty good that your favorite car enthusiast is driving something worth between $15,000 and $40,000, and they’re running around with a keychain they got from Dollar General.
Bellroy makes a genuine leather key cover that neatly stores all your keys in one little wallet. They’re suitable for both keys and key fobs. A much more elegant solution than the keyring they swiped from the Hertz counter.
“Driving gloves” are what Alton Brown would call a “unitasker,” good for nothing but gripping a steering wheel. They’re also rather absurdly expensive, considering you only get half a finger.
The Sullivan Glove Company is one of the last glove manufacturers in the United States. For $75, these gloves will grip the wheel and also protect your hands when you’re riding motorcycles, changing wiper blades, and doing all kinds of other jobs. They’re made of 2.5-3 oz American deerskin, drum dyed in the United States, and then assembled in Bend, Oregon. Sullivan makes less expensive American gloves, too. Any of these would be a welcome gift during the holidays.
Candylab Toys – $10 to $45
Candylab builds the absolute coolest toy cars anywhere. Their designs are deceptively simple, yet perfectly mimic the cars, trucks, and SUVs of the 1960s and 1970s. The larger wood cars and trucks are between $38 and $45, and have extra features like magnetic removable surfboards, roof racks, and canoes.
The small like of CANDYCARS are around the size of your typical diecast cars, but feature designs reminiscent of 1950s cartoons. These cars are available alone or in sets that include things like roadside motels and filling stations. Your favorite car addict is going to go bananas over these.
Innova OBD-II Scanner – $45
An OBD-II scanner used to be a professional-level tool, but the price has come down dramatically. You can buy a dongle and an app, but a standalone code reader is nice to have in the toolbox. For $45, this Innova 3011 will help your car fan diagnose any issues, and clear check engine lights after the problem is corrected. This tool doesn’t require batteries. It’s powered by the vehicle’s battery.
We’re warning you right now, Chemical Guys stuff is addictive. This all-in-one starter kit contains their Citrus Wash & Gloss, Butter Wet Wax, wheel cleaner, glass cleaner, Speed Wipe Detailer, and Silk Shine interior protectant. It also comes with a clay bar and instructions on how to use it. If you haven’t used a clay bar, it’s an amazing product that will remove all the surface contaminants adhered to the paint, producing the most beautiful shine you’ve ever seen.
No joke, we’ve tried just about every mobile phone mount in existence, and this is the one. Your author spends an inordinate amount of time driving a 1966 Jeep CJ5 with the ride quality of a cement mixer, so a mobile phone mount that doesn’t flop around is of paramount importance. The Steelie Nite-Ize mount is basically a steel ball and two of the most aggressive circular magnets you’ve ever experienced. You’ll need to affix a steel circle to your mobile phone case, but this device holds a phone unlike any we’ve ever used.
Any of these gifts would be absolutely welcomed by your favorite car enthusiast. We hope you have a great holiday season, and if you’re a car fan yourself, maybe pass this list along to your Santa.
Craig Fitzgerald began his automotive writing career in 1996, at AutoSite.com, one of the first online resources for car buyers. Over the years, he’s written for the Boston Globe, Forbes, and Hagerty. For seven years, he was the editor at Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car, and today, he’s the automotive editor at Drive magazine. He’s dad to a son and daughter, and plays rude guitar in a garage band in Worcester, Massachusetts.