Gift Guide 2011 | Behind the Wheel: 10 Picks for the Driver
Better than a necktie, a misshapen fruitcake and a smothering of grandma’s kisses all at once is a gift for our inner gearhead. From bike to motorcycle to car gifts, the editors at Gear Patrol have whittled down our monumental list of coveted wheel-related items for your giving and/or receiving pleasure. And regardless of what’s chosen, the recipient will surely be thrown back into childhood days when the next wheeled adventure was all that could occupy the mind.
Our guide continues after the jump.
Fratelli Orsini Driving Gloves
If you’re serious about driving (and we’re not talking about ‘drag’ racing rental cars), then consider a good pair of Fratelli Orsini Driving Gloves. Made in Italy from some of the finest lambskin, they’re soft, well-ventilated in case you like to white-knuckle it on switchbacks and come in a multitude of colors and styles. Our choice? Black with red piping. Very Italian.
Buy Now: $96
Though it looks conspicuously Ferrari-esque, the Lego Supercar ($120) sports no branding aside from the LEGO name, but it bleeds Italian sports car from its blocky but attractive shape. The LEGO Power Functions battery and motor will open the scissor doors, extend the spoiler and lift the hood (try that with your piddly Happy Meal toy). As if that weren’t enough to get your inner Top Gear host going, the LEGO Supercar also has working suspension and moving pistons. If you get bored with this Italian job, then you can rework the entire car into a Hot Rod. The Autobots would be proud.
Buy Now: $120
Oakley Race Mid Driving Shoes
You can make like Schuey and don a pair of Oakley Race Mid Driving Shoes ($170) and though you likely don’t have a car to match, at least you can heel-and-toe with the best of them. The Race Mids are built with fire retardant leather and split suede, lined with CarbonX, flame resistant material and a vulcanized high-grip rubber sole for solid feel as you “gently” throttle the gas pedal. And no, they’re not for bowling.
Buy Now: $170
1936 Type C6 Auto Union Tribute Sculpture
Quite possibly for the man who has everything but who also doesn’t do any work on his desk, the 1936 Type C6 Auto Union Tribute Sculpture ($3,500). A simplified interpretation of and an homage to the Ferdinand Porsche designed racer, the sculpture is 1/4 scale and measures a full 38 inches long with a total of five separate pieces (body and wheels). Completely hand made, it’s handcrafted in Epoxy fiberglass and urethane and then coated with a matte aluminum finish. Now THAT’S a Christmas gift.
Buy Now: $3,500
Restored 1955 Jeep Willys M170 1/4 Ton
So, you’ve plowed through all the M*A*S*H* reruns and you’re jonesing for the next level? Try a fully refurbished Jeep Willys ambulance. Redone inside and out, it’s no replica but the real McCoy. The era-appropriate tires, not-so-ergonomic seats, matching canvas canopy and shovel make this the ultimate retro Christmas gift. On the bright side, there’s no stretcher, so you won’t feel obligated to carry your drunk buddies aboard after a particularly tough New Year’s Eve.
Ferrari Carbon Fiber Chess Set
If the game of chess is a bit slow for you and you friends, consider amping it up (at least aesthetically) with the Ferrari Carbon Fiber Chess Set ($1,600). Hand made in Italy, it’s constructed of carbon fiber, wood, enameled glass and metal. The beautiful board displays both carbon fiber and fiberglass in alternating squares. And instead of the boring black and white, the sleek and stylish pieces are Ferrari red and black.
Buy Now: $1,600
Ducati 1098/1198: The Superbike Redefined
This is probably more of an ‘espresso table” book due to its contents. The full-color, 192 page Ducati 1098/1198: The Superbike Redefined reveals the in-depth process of R&D for the high-end Ducati superbikes, the 848, 1098 and the 1198. Photos and drawings abound in this detailed book, and every step of the creation process is outlined, with input from engineers, designers and the business minds behind the exclusive motorcycles. Never before revealed renderings and CAD drawings can also be found within the book’s pages. Buy it for a friend and he might never leave the bathroom.
Buy Now: $26
Derringer Bespoke Bikes
Want to turn heads as you barrel down the street and time-travel, simultaneously? Try Derringer Bespoke Bikes, a modern version of the classic board track racing bikes from the 1920s. Classic, colorful and ridiculously retro-cool, Derringers are propelled by a ‘moto-hybrid’ drivetrain that gives the rider 180 miles per gallon, with ultra-clean emissions, to boot. Top it off with some nice leather goggles.
Forza Motorsport 4
If your commute buries you in the right lane at glacial speeds for two hours a day, you surely need relief. Forza Motorsport 4 could be just what the doctor ordered. With all new features and cars like the Koenigsegg Agera and the Tesla Roadster Sport, you’ll possess the ultimate driving game this year. The added bonus of Kinect enhances the experience even more. Last but not least, the Top Gear content and insane graphics will blitzkrieg any boredom remaining from your real commute by the fantasy racing career you’ll be thrown into with Forza 4.
Buy Now: $52
Bell Custom 500 Helmet
Bell’s first motorcycle helmet is a classic and is still produced. Retro-cool and DOT compliant, the Bell Custom 500 was designed by Bell founder Roy Richter in 1954. It was, essentially, the forefather of the modern motorcycle helmet. Full of modern technology like EP foam, fiberglass shell and a full quilted liner, it maintains the classic design and provides the safety you need. You can also customize the paint job to personalize it. The Bell 500 Custom might just be the best looking helmet you’ve never seen.
Buy Now: $100+
Top Gear: The Complete Season 16 Blu-ray
The UK version of Top Gear remains the best, by far, and the antics continue for Season 16 with Clarkson, Hammond and Captain Slow (May), who embody every car fanatic’s dream job. This time, we get to see them in Iraq, driving convertibles and donning body armor, as well as testing a Ferrari F40, Porsche 959, Ferrari 599 GTO, Ariel Atom 500, Jaguar XJ, Pagani Zonda R, BMW M3 Competition Pack and the Audi RS5. Not too shabby of a lineup. This is, truly, the gift that keeps on giving for car nuts of every age. In a couple of months, you can also pony up for Season 17 on DVD. Maybe James May will finally get a haircut.
Buy Now: $22