Tis the season for gift giving, and what kind of magazine would we be if we didn’t follow suit of every other news source and provide our take on the gifts that every British car lover would enjoy? The key for many of us is that giving or receiving vehicle specific presents is hard. First of all, how does a spouse know what carburetor kit we really need? Or what year/make/model of Vanden Plas we have, so what oil filter element fits that? And what happens if we sell our car? Then all those heartfelt gifts that were for that specific car are now somehow less meaningful? No. That doesn’t work.
So, our choice of gifts for British car lovers tend to the be things that transcend specific application, make, or model. They are gifts that keep on giving. They are gifts … for when you don’t know exactly what kind of car a person has or what they need. And most are good whether the car is old or new, sports or sedan.
Portable car jump starter – These are great little units little units that can get you out of a jam. Not only can you jump start your car with them, but you can charge your iPhone or other USB device. Even better, they hold a charge for months at a time so you can just charge it up and then just throw it in your trunk for that road trip. I have seen these guys in operation and they really work. And since they can be used to power up all sorts of USB devices in addition to starting the car, they have a myriad of uses.
A British car wall calendar. Sure, most of us use electronic calendars on our computers or iPhones these days, but a good old wall calendar is great for planning longer trips, getting an overall view of things like car shows, and also as wall decoration. And, well, they can cover up those holes made in the wall when the cutting wheel came off the grinder and embedded itself in the drywall. Also, when the year is done, you have some very nice pictures that you can hang separately.
Leather Treatment Kit. There are different opinions on who makes the best leather treatment, and there are just as many opinions on how those treatments should be applied and when. But there is no denying that the leather in many of our favorite cars. A good leather care regimen should include both cleaning and preserving in order to keep leather at its best. Armor All may be great for vinyl, but it certainly is not what you want to use on fine Connolly leather. So, a nice leather care kit with cleaner, conditioner, and maybe even an applicator is a fine gift.
Tablet. Yes, I know it might seem a bit odd to be throwing in such a high tech and seemingly unrelated item as a tablet into this list. But stick with me. Whether at home or on the road, all British car lovers want to have full access to the 4-Ms: maps, manuals, movies, and magazines. (There are normal books too, but I couldn’t figure out how to make those be an “M”. Monographs maybe?) While iPads are the king of this category, there are other far less expensive alternative – and when I have a device in the garage, possibly getting banged around, price matters. You can pick up a full-featured Kindle Fire for only $45, which is simply amazing. They may great road companions.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Motoring by Vic Darkwood. This book is great. Yes, a real book. As the blurb says, “This hilarious take on motoring from the AA offers advice on every conceivable aspect of motoring.” From the proper attire, and pipe of course, to how one conducts oneself in an altercation, this book covers all subjects of required knowledge. Of course the subject of women driving, and whether or not they should, is covered, but I won’t go into that here. Suffice it to say that this is they type of book your recipient can keep on the bedside table and turn to for both a laugh and a nod at the end of a long day.
Gift cards and certificates. I am not a huge fan of gift cards actually. I prefer to get a gift that reflects something of the giver. But honestly, there are times when gift certificates are appropriate. When someone is trying to save up for those expensive parts they need, or accumulate gas money, or special order a custom item, a helping investment may be just the thing. In this category, vendors such as Moss Motors, the Roadster Factory, or Triple-C or even Harbor Freight might be appropriate, but don’t forget that you can also get a gift certificate to help along an eBay addiction or fill the stomach.
Road trip! Now on the subject of road trips (that is what we were talking about right?) planning a trip to a car show takes a bit more effort, but would make a huge impression. Look at going somewhere like Amelia Island or The British Invasion in Stowe, Vermont, or even the Festival of Speed at Goodwood. Then, reserve a hotel. Plot out the route or make the plane reservations. Maybe even make a few dinner reservations. Sure this costs a bit more, or a lot more, than our other gift recommendations, but it is a gift both the giver and the receiver can enjoy.
I would be remiss if I failed to point out that you can also pick up some great gifts in the two Just British shops – one at RedBubble and one at CafePress. From these, in addition to logo items, you can get such things as MG coffee mugs, Triumph logo stickers, BMC 1100 engine shirts, and much more. And while we are on the subject of the great Just British merchandise, let me just say that we are always receptive of ideas for other items to carry. If there is something specific you think we should add, just let us know.
Well, there is our list. Do you agree or disagree? Other than that new McLaren LT625 or Aston Martin, or in my case Morgan +8, what would you put on your list? Hey, someone may read your input and actually get it for you. You never know ….