Car Gifts for Christmas: Stuff For Under the Tree

'Tis the season once again. We were scratching our heads wondering what to get the car-obsessed men and women in our lives, so we made some lists. This first list contains ideas for stuff that goes under the tree, the kind of car gifts that don't cost an arm and a leg but go over well with the auto lovers in your family.

See the list...

For the Gamer

Gran Turismo 5

As we pointed out in our review of Gran Turismo 5, while it may indeed be the most eagerly anticipated racing game in history, it's not exactly a must buy for casual gamers. But if you've got a car lover on your gift list who owns a PS3 and hasn't bought it yet, GT5 is a gift that's sure to please.

Review: Gran Turismo 5

Price: $53.99

For the Xbox 360...

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit for XBox 360 - $39.99

Does the car lover in your life lean more towards Microsoft than Sony? No problem. Give the gift of Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, the biggest racing game released this Fall other than GT5 and available on the Xbox 360.

For those who don't play video games...

Top Gear Ultimate Challenge Board Game - $30

Not everyone plays video games, but everyone seems to love Top Gear. This Top Gear board game will test your car lover's knowledge of all things Jezza, Hamster and Captain Slow.

RC Cars in the House

Hot Wheels Stealth Rides

These collapsible racers fit into their own cases, which also double as infrared remote controls. They fit in any pocket, run for about 45 minutes and start at just $25. Batman's Tumbler is our favorite.

More Info: Hot Wheels introduces remote controlled Stealth Rides

Price: $24.99 and up

For the motorcycle lover...
Zero Gravity Tron Light Cycle

Tron Legacy Zero Gravity Light Cycle - $39.50 and up

Got a lover of awesome video-game-inspired flicks from the 1980s? Then pick up one of these Zero Gravity Tron Light Cycles. They can drive up walls and ceilings and leave a trail of light in their wake with the lights turned off.

For slot car folks...

High Iron & Burnin Rubber Train & Racing Set HO Scale

High Iron & Burnin Rubber Slot Car Set - $127.29

This is a splurge for under the tree, but how cool is a complete model train and slot car racing set in one! You can control both the train and cars independently and, if you time it just right, will survive the section where both tracks meet.

Batteries Not Included

XM Snap In-Vehicle Satellite Radio

Satellite radio has come a long way, and this holiday season XM is offering a device that makes adding the service to your car easier than ever. Called the XM Snap, just plug it into your cigarette lighter or power adapter socket, connect the antenna and listen to SIRIUS XM through your existing stereo. All that and it costs just $40.

Price: $39.99 plus $38.85 for 3-month subscription

For the garage...
Schumacher Charger/Maintainer - $80.74

This fully automatic, microprocessor-controlled battery charger is self-adjusting and supports variable charge rates for everyday needs as well as maintaining your battery. Editor-in-Chief John Neff swears by his that keeps the battery in his '91 Taurus SHO at peak condition.

For, well... you know...

BreathKey Breathalyzer - $69.95

At less than an ounce, this is the world's smallest and lightest breath alcohol tester. And, as the only consumer breathalyzer to use fuel cell sensor technology (the same type that's used in police equipment), it's been certified by the FDA to be +/- 0.010% at 0.080% BAC.

Apps, Apps, Apps

Reckless Racing HD

Rather than try and recreate a console racing game on a smart phone, Reckless Racing mixes old-school, top-down racing gameplay with crazy good graphics and multiplayer features to brew a mean gumbo that takes mobile racing games to a new level of fun. Drifting through mud and dirt is the order of the day in this good 'ol boys racing game that has a spot on many of our own mobile devices.

Price: $4.99 (iPad) $2.99 (Android) Click here for more

For the wrench head...
Rev - $39.99

Rev is an application for the iPhone and iPod Touch that monitors, displays and records real-time vehicle data. By communicating directly with your vehicle's ECU via the OBD-II port (a separate connector is also required), Rev is the first app to give you complete access to your car's electronic innards.

For, well... you know...
Trapster - Free

Yes, it's free. Yes, it's awesome. Yes, we use it. Trapster users submit speed traps, enforcement cameras and road hazards that then alert every other user in the area. It's a high-tech version of flashing your headlights to alert drivers of potential road hazards.

Greasemonkey Gifts

Deluxe Warrior Car Kit

This isn't your everyday emergency car kit, this is a survival kit. As you would expect of something named the Deluxe Warrior Car Kit, there's truly too much included to list everything here. Suffice it to say that you'll be prepared for your daily commute, even after the zombie apocalypse. Good luck out there.

Price: $89.95

For the mechanic...
Craftsman Ratcheting Wrench Set - $24.99

Craftsman's open end ratcheting wrenches feature a new design that allows you to fit into tight spots with the open end without taking the wrench off the fastener, making jobs faster and easier. It's like a wrench and ratchet in one and will be at the bottom of a few Autoblog writers' stockings this season.

For people in dark places...
Joby Gorillatorch Flare - $34.95

The most versatile portable lighting system ever? We wouldn't argue. The Gorillatorch Flare from Joby can be stuck nearly anywhere thanks to its flexible magnetic legs and directs a steady stream of LED-supplied light (One 100-lumen ultra-bright white CREE LED, three red LEDs, and six light settings). Brilliant.

For the Bookworm

At the Crossroads

Steven Rattner is the star at the center of Overhaul, his story of Auto Task Force. Yet his own light shines so brightly that the nuances in the auto industry landscape he attempts to describe were washed out, or simply failed to ever register. That's a shame because the tale of GM and Chrysler capsizing cannot be accurately told without the specifics of how and why leaders, labor and government all strapped themselves to the decks of an ultimately dysfunctional ship.

At the Crossroads: Middle America and the Battle to Save the Car Industry returns a great many of those details to the picture. Written by two alumni of the Indianapolis Star, the book goes back to the mid-20th century labor agreements that helped prepare the disaster, looks at Wall Street's methods and effects after the deregulation of the 80s, and examines how the municipal governments and residents of towns like Kokomo, Marion, and Bedford Indiana have worked to respond to the gutted carcass of American manufacturing.

It's not a casual read, but it is a good one. And to begin to really know what is the what, it is an important one.

Price: $16.47

For the history buff...
Can-Am Cars in Detail - $99.95

The Canadian American Challenge Cup lasted but nine years. Yet the unsurpassed bait of technical regulations that practically read "Race what you brung" and impressive prize money lured almost all of the motorsport names we still revere today: Andretti, Brabham, Donohue, Gurney, Hill, Hulme, Ickx, Jones, McLaren, Newman, Posey, Stewart and Surtees. Manufacturers like Lola, McLaren, Porsche, Ferrari, Ford and Chaparral built 1,500-horsepower racers for them, festooned with enough techno oddities to qualify for the Wacky Races.

Can-Am Cars in Detail, with photos by Peter Harholdt and text by Peter Lyons, is 224 pages of high-gloss nuts, bolts, trumpets and cockpits from 22 of the cars that competed. Every single page adds a rare bit of substance to the phrase, "Now that was racing."

For Americana lovers...

Roadside America - $34.95

Thirty-some years in the making, John Margolies' camera rescues memories of the American highway from the obliterating jaws of history. Its 256 pages present hundreds of relics that today we'd only expect to see in a National Lampoon's film, but were once taken surprisingly seriously. Well, as seriously as one could ever take a billboard for a jail in St. Augustine, Florida, a supersonic car wash in Billings, Montana or The Leaning Tower of Niles, Illinois.

The pictures would certainly be enough, but there is accompanying text by New York Times writer Phil Patton. Don't look for answers in the words, though - because let's face it, there aren't words to resolve enigmas like the giant, angry ape on the Rawhide City billboard in Mandan, North Dakota. And it's probably best not to even ask. Just enjoy the show...

Share This Photo X