It's tough to find gifts for car lovers, especially if they've been car lovers for a long time and already have all of the obvious tools and accessories that they would need to properly love their car or truck. An online search for car gifts usually points you to hundreds of lists containing things like "Top 10 Gifts for Under $30." These are great for ideas on what to give a friend, or for stocking stuffers, but what if you want to buy a serious gift for a serious friend or relative? What if you are prepared to spend some real money on this gift? These five ideas should point you in a direction for a few price points on the higher end. They are unique and original without being too cliche, and they are guaranteed to be useful and enjoyed. Come on, do you really want your loved one to have a kegerator in the same space they are working with power tools and heavy machinery?
These scissors-type lifts are amazing. Home mechanics spend huge amounts of time worrying about how to properly jack their vehicles up for working underneath, or to get a more comfortable angle on their work area. Especially if they are proned to stiffness or back complaints, raising the work area can make a huge difference! Scissors lifts lay flat when not in use and can even be parked over with no problems in most cases. They lift the vehicle to heights that are perfect for DIY service and repair jobs, but not so high that you need to worry about ceiling impacts (believe me, this happens more often than I'd like to think). In terms of usability, safety and overall benefit to a home shop, this is a bargain. But let's get real here. It's off the charts in terms of the cool factor. Want to see your loved one freak out? Lead them into the garage with a bow on this lift. It's the best $2000 you'll spend this month.
Every home mechanic wishes they had a proper rolling tool box. The propblem with most of the affordable boxes is their quality. They feel cheap, don't roll well, and if you load them with heavy steel tools, the drawers feel like they're ready to give up. This is no fun. The other problem is the price of professional tool boxes. You can't even consider spending less than $5000 or so if you look at the major pro manufacturers out there. That's where a few middle-grade toolmakers have stepped in to save the day. Don't get me wrong, if you want the best, buy a Snap-On or Matco box and call it a day. If you're looking to be a little less spendy, a box like this Stanley Pro will provide years of solid service to even a busy home mechanic, but at a fraction of the cost of one of the big boys.
There's nothing like having the right tool for the job, no matter how obscure the job may be. The only way to accomplish this is to have lots of tools at the ready. Craftsman, one of my favorite brands for affordable, high grade hand tools, has a huge selection of pre-sorted tool sets. They range in price from under $100 to more than a thousand, depending on how big you want to go this year!
Serious car people usually love driving, too. There's nothing like the feeling of going faster than you're supposed to, and the famed Skip Barber Racing School is the place to do this. They offer one-day or full weekend classes that put participants behind the wheel of a fast car, on a fast race track, with proper instruction on how to push the car harder and go even faster. This is also a fun way to become a much safer driver. Knowing how to drive when things are happening faster than usual can be your best tool in avoiding an accident. Then you don't have to spend your time repairing dents. Priced at $1300.00 and up.
Before you shun me for being a metrosexual auto mechanic, you should know that the difference between driving in sneakers or boots, and driving in a proper shoe like this is immeasurable. Proper driving shoes are supported with pedals in mind, and have tread that directly aids in sprited driving foot placement and action. It's hard to go back to your New Balance running shoes when you've experienced heal-toe action in a driving shoe. If you don't care for the moccasin version like this one from Prada, you can opt for more of a sneaker, like the driving shoe from Nikolas Hunziker's collection.