The 16 Best Gifts for the Car Lover, Since You’re Not Getting Them a Car
A new SUV with a big red bow? In this economy?
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Visit InsideHook’s Holiday 2020 gifting hub to find gift ideas for every person on your list this year. Also, who are we kidding? Find lots of ideas for yourself there, too.
Unless your name is Jonathan Taylor Thomas and you’re in the movie I’ll Be Home for Christmas, there’s almost no chance you’ll find a 1957 Porsche 356 waiting for you come Christmas Eve, or any other car topped with a big red bow. That whole thing about gifting convertibles and SUVs for the holidays — that was implanted in our collective consciousness by car commercials — was never really a realistic proposition.
Which begs the question, what do you buy the gearhead, car guy or automobile aficionado in your life this holiday season? You could go the route of getting accessories like dash cameras or roof racks, but they might already have those, or you might get the wrong model. You could go the garage route, getting tools or cleaning solutions to buff their beloved jalopy to a mirror shine, but that reads more like a chore than a gift. In short, it’s just plain hard to buy for car people, especially if you’re not one yourself.
That’s why we’re taking all the work out of it. Below, we’ve collected gift ideas that don’t require you to know the make and model of their vehicle, gifts that target specific sections of the notoriously fastidious culture and those that are approved or made by respected people and institutions. Whether they’re Bronco, Tesla, Porsche, Jeep or DeLorean fans, we’ve got something for them.
A Man & His Car by Matt Hranek
Photographer, editor and man about town Matt Hranek’s new book isn’t about the latest or even “greatest” cars — it’s about the cars most loved by everyone from Jay Leno to Ralph Lauren to Shaquille O’Neal. In other words, these are stories they won’t have heard yet. (You can check out a sneak peek here.)
Autodromo Intereuropa Manual Wind Watch
About a year ago, the motorsports enthusiast’s watchmaker Autodromo released the Intereuropa model, pairing gentleman racer styling with a manual-wind Swiss movement. Recently, they released a new color, what we consider to be the finest form: Nassau Blue, featuring an aquamarine dial inside a cream ring with a navy strap.
Blipshift Targa Florio Poster
Call it recency bias on our part, but after delving into the historic, madcap Targa Florio race we couldn’t help but covet this limited-edition Blipshift poster celebrating Alfa Romeo.
Kith BMW Knit Scarf
Not all automotive merch is made the same. Wearing a Ferrari cap when you don’t own a Ferrari is just not a good look. But when Kith partnered up with BMW this fall, it didn’t matter if you thought Beemer was a town in Nebraska — this collection was unimpeachable and eminently wearable. Which is why we’ll be rocking this merino scarf even without an M3 to our name.
Tesla Cybertruck T-Shirt
We’re still at least a year out from Cybertruck production (if it comes at all), so get the Tesla fan in your life the next best thing: a T-shirt commemorating the demo of the so-called “armor glass.”
Be aware, this doesn’t start shipping until January, so this won’t be an open-on-Christmas-day kind of present. But there are so many Jeep diehards out there, there was no way we weren’t including the perfect piece of gear to load in the back of your Wrangler or Gladiator: a high-powered, mountain-ready electric bike made in collaboration with QuietKat.
Radwood Trucker Hat
What started off as a niche celebration of ‘80s and ‘90s cars has boomed into a full-blown reconceptualization of what it means to be a car collector. Yes, those decades are back in style in the auto world too, and Radwood is the standard bearer. Join the club with this appropriately vibrant trucker hat.
Belstaff McGregor Pro Jacket
This one’s for the bikers, British waxed jacket collectors and/or fans of Ewan McGregor’s motorcycle road trips. The actor designed this rugged jacket in collaboration with the storied outfitter Belstaff for his most recent journey in Long Way Up.
Bronco Nation T-Shirt
Like the Cybertruck, no one has their hands on a Ford Bronco, yet it’s one of the most celebrated vehicles of the year. To satiate the public until these hit dealerships, Ford has started plenty of initiatives, from Filson collaborations to opening a dedicated Amazon store. From where we’re standing, though, this simple Bronco Nation T-shirt is our favorite piece of gear yet.
Segway Ninebot Go-kart Kit
Like we said, you probably can’t buy them a car, but a go-kart? That’s much more reasonable, especially because this electric speedster from Segway is two vehicles in one: the Ninebot S self-balancing scooter that transforms into a four-wheeled fun machine for adults and kids alike (just be sure to get the bundle, not only the go-kart add-on).
Hagerty Holiday Sweaters
Are ugly holiday sweaters passé? Possibly. Is the concept completely revitalized when you swap out Santa Claus and sleighs for AMC Pacers and Jaguar E-Types? We’d say so. Hagerty has been on a roll with its festive layers for a few years, so while they just released a 2020 edition, you can pick up ones from previous years too, like the orange and green Pacer or a classic red and white layer that adds a Pontiac Aztek.
Back to the Future License Plate Replica
The store for the Petersen Automotive Museum is a treasure trove of gifts any car lover would be glad to unwrap (and supporting any museum during this time is an added bonus). However, this replica license plate as seen on the time-traveling DeLorean in Back to the Future is our pick of the lot.
Sony α6400 Camera + 16-50mm Lens
It doesn’t matter if your car costs $5,000 or $500,000, if you’re only snapping photos of it from your smartphone, it’s not going to come across as well as it could on Instagram, Facebook, your blog or wherever else you’re posting about your pride and joy. Every car lover needs a real-deal camera, and this option from Sony pairs the ease of point-and-shoot with stunning quality and video capabilities.
Sonic Editions Sean Connery Goldfinger Print
If they’re not over the death of Sean Connery, the first man to portray James Bond on film, this 20” x 24” print of him next to 007’s iconic Aston Martin DB5 should do nicely.
Uncharted Supply Co. Seventy2 Pro Survival System
It’s always a good idea to pack an emergency kit in your car with gear like a flashlight, first-aid supplies, heat packs, a shovel, etc. You could assemble that yourself, along with something to hold it all so it’s not sliding around loose in the trunk, or you could grab a go-bag from Uncharted Supply Co. that packs it all for you in a stylish, waterproof backpack, no less. Perfect for off-roaders or the off-road curious.
Type 7 Volume Two
A couple years ago, Porsche launched the @Type7 Instagram as a way for enthusiasts to interact with a different side of the marque, one that wasn’t as focused on the latest models or even selling you a car, but one that prioritized the Porsche lifestyle. That venture has led to a couple stunning coffee-table books, the latest of which was just released and can be pre-ordered on Amazon below or ordered now directly here.
We've put in the work researching, reviewing and rounding up all the shirts, jackets, shoes and accessories you'll need this season, whether it's for yourself of for gifting purposes. Sign up here for weekly style inspo direct to your inbox.
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