What to Buy Car People This Holiday Season

You have a car person in your family. Maybe it’s you. Maybe it’s that cool cousin who just got a classic car. It can even be a friend. Whomever it may be, these are the gifts to buy them.

  • Blipshift T-Shirts: I’ve always loved the Blipshift designs. They are humorous, and all around awesome. In the world of car-themed t-shirts, nobody does it better than Blipshift. Their shirts are affordable and cool. The catch is that they are all limited editions. Once that shirt sells out, that design is gone forever (or at least for a few years, when they’ll do an extremely limited run). Plus, they always have amazing deals around this time. A perfect excuse to buy one (or six). But don’t take my word for it. Visit them at blipshift.com
  • HeritageRacing Motorsports Calendar: Lots of races happen throughout the year. If you like going to some (but not all), it can be difficult to keep up with them. That won’t be a problem for this calendar! It has the entire racing schedule for 13 racing series. An added bonus is the retro racing artwork. You can buy it at https://www.etsy.com/listing/245716201/2016-racing-calendar?ref=shop_home_active_1
  • Valentine One Radar Detector: When you have a lead right foot, it can be very hard to stay under or at the speed limit. I know. I’m one of those people. Get a Valentine One radar detector for that member of your family. Buy one at http://www.valentine1.com/
  • One More Than 10: Singer and the Porsche 911: Air-cooled Porsche 911’s are the new classic car fad. If you, or someone in your family is a Porsche 911 fan, chances are they are a huge fan of Singer’s restomodded (restored and modified) classic 911’s. Even if you can’t afford to buy them a classic 911, you can at least keep them temporarily happy with reading the story of Singer on their coffee table. Just make sure to get a copy for me. http://www.stanceandspeed.com/automotive-books/one-more-than-10-singer-and-the-porsche-911
  • Side Glances: Anybody who has read “Road & Track” in the past, oh, 10 years or so, will recognize the name Peter Egan. Any fan of Road & Track, or anybody who’s a fan of amazing writing will never stop thanking you for this gift. It’s more than 300 pages of Peter Egan’s incredible columns on literally every aspect of the automotive industry. He shares 48 of his columns, all of which are bound to teach you something new, or make you become incredibly fond of British cars (I am, thanks to him). These columns cover his time at Road & Track between 2002-2006. Again, you can get me a copy at http://www.roadandtrackshop.com/road-and-track-books/!/peter-egan-side-glances
  • Die Cast Cars: Die cast cars of any make and model are a great addition to a desk, a diorama, a bookshelf or your garage. Even if you just buy one, it will be a nice addition to that collection we all have. These die casts are high-quality, and worth a boy. http://www.roadandtrackshop.com/road-and-track-die-cast
  • Forza 6: Even if cars are your life passion, you will likely never be able to drive a hypercar around a world-famous racetrack. Most people will only be able to somewhat replicate that experience by playing a world-class racing game like Forza 6. If the person you’re buying Forza 6 for doesn’t have an XBox One, you can buy the two in a bundle at http://www.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-one/consoles/1tb-forza-6
  • Motoring Art: Every car enthusiast worth the oil running through their veins needs some automotive art gracing their garage or living room. You’ll be hard-pressed to find anything better than Guy Allen’s motoring art. It’s truly beautiful. http://guyallen.co.uk/motoring-art
  • Cutaways: David Kimble is a well-known automotive artist. If you’ve ever seen a cutaway of a car, chances are, he drew it. His illustrations are incredibly intricate. In Cutaways, he shows you the secrets, techniques and procedures he uses to create his masterpieces. Definitely a good gift for that family member who loves the technical aspects of cars. http://www.roadandtrackshop.com/road-and-track-books/!/rt-david-kimble-cutaways
  • Team O’Neil Rally School: It doesn’t matter how talented of a driver you, or anyone you know is. You can never have enough training driving a car. If you’ve ever seen videos of how fast rally cars go, and the superhuman reflexes of the drivers, you’ve probably wondered if you could do that too. Yes, you can, thanks to Team O’Neil Rally School. https://teamoneil.com/rally-school/

That’s all folks!

Why Gearhead Shirts are Important

You can always recognize a car person by their t-shirt, sweatshirt, or polo shirt.  I won’t even go into the different kinds of car t-shirts you can find – that would be an undertaking in insanity.

Ed Iskendarian is the guy who started the whole car t-shirt craze way back in 1949.  He’s still alive today.  Almost 67 years later, the car t-shirts are a mainstay of automotive culture.  It’s automotive anthropology.  You might not realize it, but you’re an automotive anthropology student if you have a car t-shirt.

Here are the main kinds of car t-shirts you will see:

Car Show T-Shirt:  Most car t-shirts typically have two or three cars drawn on it, along with the name of the event, maybe a palm tree, diner, or gas station, and the date of the event.  The name of the event is usually in cursive on the front, with the drawing on the back.  These t-shirts tell other car people you’re a park and polish kind of person.  You’re probably not the person you’ll see ripping around an autocross – you might see them cruise the main boulevard of town once in a while on a nice day.

Retro Style T-Shirts:  This is dangerous ground.  Anything with pinstriping, vintage lettering, iron crosses, or distressed lettering could mean that you really do live the vintage lifestyle with cars – all the power to you then!  It could also mean that you just jumped onto that Von Dutch bandwagon.  Tread lightly.

Race T-Shirts:  Any race car driver worth their car will have a race shirt.  These usually aren’t t-shirts (sometimes they are), but rather bowling shirts that have the logo of the team, name of the car, and primary sponsors.  Wearing one of these means you know your stuff.  You’re either a racing insider, fanatic, or you know somebody who is.  Most big-time racers will sell t-shirts that look like their race shirts.  They will usually have other merchandise, like sweatshirts, baseball caps, beanies, etc.  Just be careful if you’re a racer wearing your own merchandise in public.  It’s like a band member wearing a band t-shirt while on stage.

Old Race Track T-Shirts:  When you wear something like an Orange County International Raceway shirt, and it’s threadbare and faded, it’s obvious you bought that shirt AT Orange County International Raceway, and would never consider buying a reproduction shirt.  Instant cred among any car nut.  It’s not nearly as much cred as the guys who got a Lions Drag Strip leather jacket when they won a race at Lions.  This also applies to old event shirts, or ancient speed parts shirts.

Wrecked:  It doesn’t matter what style of t-shirt you’re wearing (it doesn’t even need to have to be a car t-shirt), but if it’s got oil stains, holes from welding, it’s got that hands-on cred.  Wearing that shirt in public and not caring if you smell like you rubbed that shirt in coolant says you’re hard core.

What do I have?  Well, I have a couple of car show t-shirts, a race t-shirt, a lot of vintage-style t-shirts, and a couple of wrecked shirts.  I’m still looking for a race track t-shirt.  I’ll find one…eventually.

These t-shirts, or other car apparel make great gifts for other automotive enthusiasts.  Hint, hint!

The Best Holiday Gifts for the Car Enthusiast!

The holidays are rapidly approaching.  We’ve all got at least one car enthusiast in the family.  Here’s what to get them (or you!).

Calendars

Hemmings Motor News has always had a great selection of calendars.  There’s pretty much a calendar for every car lover here.  You can’t go wrong.  http://www.hemmings.com/store/calendars

Calendars are helpful in many more ways than sitting up on the wall.  Write down schedules, birthdays, etc. on the best calendars for car lovers.

Books

This is going to be a really good, long list that I really want.  Maybe I’ll see some around the holidays…(I know, more of my shameless begging)

  • Miller’s Time: A Lifetime at Speed
    • Don Miller went from street racing to being the guy who stood next to Roger Penske for over 30 years.  He’s set records at the Bonneville Salt Flats, been in Victory Lane at Indy multiple times, built cars from nothing more than a pile of steel tubing and a welding machine, and taken a kid from ramshackle dirt tracks to a Winston Cup title.  If you’re ready for racing honesty and humor, GET this book!  You can get it for about $30 on Amazon, and you might be lucky enough to get a signed copy!
  • Getting Started in the Collector-Car Hobby
    • This book from the fabulous Hemmings Motor News staff details many important aspects of the collector-car hobby for a newbie.  It’s only $6.95, and that family member or friend will be thanking you when they get that cool old car!
  • Ayrton Senna – McLaren
    • I’ve heard great things about this book.  It details the racing life of a legend through the people who knew him best – his teammates, mechanics, engineers, and management staff for his McLaren team.  His dream was to help underprivileged children in his home country of Brazil.  The Ayrton Senna Foundation, established shortly after his tragic death in 1994, has helped over two million kids in Brazil.  This book has been written with the full support of his family, something rare in the racing world.  A portion of the money used to buy this book will go to the foundation to help more children.  You can find a new one on Amazon for about $40, and you’ll help Brazilian children, and enjoy a good book.
  • MotorBinder
    • This book offers an astonishingly cool peek into the golden age of motorsport – when amazing ingenuity, drivers with no fear, and no such things as crowd control existed in race cars.  It’s a beautiful anthology of pictures, mostly taken at California tracks, but also at Nassau and Indy, as well as other famous race tracks.  It focuses on the action and personalities of such legends as Sir Phil Hill, Carroll Shelby, Roger Penske, Sir Stirling Moss, and Bruce McLaren, among others.  Many of the pictures have never been seen before, many of which were taken by the San Francisco Chronicle motorsports editor, Gordon Martin.  It’s $69 on Amazon, and truly amazing.

Of course, there are far more books than these, but these are the ones that I would recommend in a heartbeat.

Clothing

OK, talk about a HUGE list!  Everybody always wants cool clothing.  I’m going to try to keep this list sane, but I make NO promises!

  • Hemmings Motor News Polo Shirt
    • Polo shirts are nice.  They make you look classy, but casual.  Car enthusiasts love them.  Here’s one that will strike a conversation with any car lover.  http://www.hemmings.com/store/wearabledetail?category2=HBPOLO
  • Hemmings Muscle Machines Youth T-Shirt
    • Here’s one for the kiddos.  It’s the same as the Hemmings Muscle Machines T-Shirt for adults, just pint-sized.  It features brightly-colored cars from America’s fastest decade, and it’s sure to be a favorite among them.  I promise.  http://www.hemmings.com/store/wearabledetail?category2=MUSMY
  • Hemmings Work Shirt
    • You should NEVER work on your classic without a work shirt.  They are durable, easy to wash, and can be sharp enough to go out in public in.  Here’s one you’ll wear with pride.  http://www.hemmings.com/store/wearabledetail?category2=HWKST
  • Hemmings Motor News Hats
    • Hemmings Motor News has a nice selection of ball caps.  There’s one for everybody.  Here’s my personal favorite.  http://www.hemmings.com/store/wearabledetail?category2=blkh
  • Roadkill “Original Vintage Tee”
    • I have this t-shirt.  I love it.  I get a lot of thumbs ups from fellow car nuts.  And a lot of questions (i.e. Why would you wear a shirt that has the name of dead animals on the side of the road?).  Get it while supplies last.  http://www.musclecarmagswag.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=66&product_id=129
  • Roadkill Dickies Jacket.
    • Roadkill is sponsored by Dickies.  Freiburger is always wearing a Roadkill Dickies jacket.  You can join him and other Roadkill fans by buying this Roadkill Dickies Jacket.  It’s expensive, but it’s cool and I want one.  http://www.musclecarmagswag.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=66&product_id=113
  • Super Chevy Men’s Racing Shirt
    • Racing shirts are cool.  I should get some.  This is one I want.  Hint, hint.  http://www.musclecarmagswag.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=59&product_id=58
  • Mopar Muscle Garage T-Shirt
    • Show off your Mopar allegiance with this t-shirt.  I’m a fan of different cars, but I’ll always have a soft spot for Mopars.  This is a cool t-shirt styled like something from the 1970’s, but with a modern twist.  http://www.musclecarmagswag.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=60&product_id=89

OK, that’s it for clothing…you’ll find something for me in this list, right?

Diecasts

Diecasts are different than the cheapy DIY cars you can get at Michael’s.  Those things don’t fit together well and take forever to build.  Getting a diecast means that it’s made out of high-quality materials, and comes in a box ready and waiting for you.  How nice is that?

  • Hemmings 60th Anniversary Gas Pump Island
    • Limited to just 1250 units, this 1:12 scale model has six separate pieces that will make a great addition/start to a diecast collection.  It’s got a base/pump island, a tall Hemmings sign, two sandwich boards showing scaled-down versions of real Hemmings signs, two Gilbarco gas pumps with Hemmings 60th Anniversary logos, and a Hemmings oil can display.  This is cool, and what makes it even better is that the gas pumps are also coin banks!  The hose nozzle unlocks the coin door on the bottom.
  • Ford GT White 1/12 Diecast
    • The Ford GT was really the American supercar of the first decade of the 2000s.  Ford took the supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 from the F-150 SVT Lightning pickup, and tuned the engine up to 550 horsepower.  It’s really, really cool.  While prices of the real thing are going up and up, diecast prices aren’t!  http://www.ebay.com/itm/FORD-GT-WHITE-1-12-DIECAST-MODEL-CAR-BY-MOTORMAX-73001-/150302163215
  • Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren
    • This was Germany’s answer to the Ford GT, Ferrari Enzo, and Porsche Carrera.  It was diabolical.  It looks demonic in black, and you can own one…kind of!  http://www.ebay.com/itm/HUGE-MOTORMAX-1-12-MERCEDES-BENZ-SLR-MCLAREN-DIECAST-MODEL-CAR-BLACK-/351062371729

Miscellaneous Items

This is the random (but still cool) stuff.  It’s stuff life water bottles, shot glasses, tool kits, etc.

  • Hemmings 60th Anniversary Wall Clock
    • It’s pretty amazing that the “Bible of the Hobby” has been around for 60 years.  What better way to remember that by looking at a cool clock?  http://www.hemmings.com/store/detail?product_id=1883
  • Car Quiz for the Classic Car Aficionado
    • Think you and your family/friends know a thing or two about classic cars?  You’ll love this game!  Give everybody a run for their money!  http://www.hemmings.com/store/detail?product_id=1199
  • Hemmings Aluminum Water Bottle
    • Sometimes it’s nice to have the nice feel of aluminum in this world of crinkly plastic.  Get this solid Hemmings water bottle.  http://www.hemmings.com/store/detail?product_id=1679
  • Hemmings Fleece Blankets
    • Stadium blankets are useful for more than just going to the game.  They’re great for spontaneous picnics, and car shows.  These navy blue blankets have the Hemmings logo embroidered into them.  They roll up courtesy of nylon straps with handles for easy carrying.  http://www.hemmings.com/store/detail?product_id=1054
  • Hemmings Flashlight, Pen Set, and Tire Pressure Gauge
    • Keep this in your glovebox, and you’ll be prepared for map reading in the dark, jotting down important numbers, and checking tire pressures.  Plus, it comes in a nice case.  http://www.hemmings.com/store/detail?product_id=1391
  • Roadkill Shot Glass
    • This is a sharp-looking shot glass.  You can drink your favorite adult beverage from a shot glass with your favorite car show on it.

Of course, there’s plenty more in terms of miscellaneous car odds and ends.  Just go to a local car dealership and mosey around (do it when you take your car in for service).  See what you can find.  You’ll be surprised.  Ask the sales staff.  They’ll be happy to help!

Going to a car show is also a good place.  Bring cash and/or credit cards (sometimes they only take cash).  At big car shows, manufacturers will often have merchandise like a thermos, a bag, and random stuff like that.  Chat them up.  They’re often stressed, tired, and are happy to talk to you about anything related to that brand.  They really open up, and they are very knowledgeable about the technologies in the various cars on display.