Top 10: Gifts for petrolheads
Adrenaline-fuelled track days, Porsche model engine kits and devices to help modernise an older car make up some of our top 10 picks to get a petrolhead this Christmas.
How To Be A Motoring Journalist book
Richard Porter’s tale of fictional motoring journalist and bombastic curmudgeon Roy Lanchester is part autobiographically and serves partially as an educational toolkit. Porter was the script editor for Clarkson’s Top Gear and, among other things, runs the Sniff Petrol website – a satirical motoring website.
The particularities of motoring journalism itself are impressively realistic and well observed though, albeit they're fed into a Spinal Tap machine. It's clear that Porter is a veteran. And a very funny one at that. It's also less than £8, so you won't be out of pocket too much if you do hate it.
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Bespoke Carvolution print
Work with an artist to produce a print of your own car history. This bespoke Carvolution artwork includes all the cars and bikes you've owned over the years. It's available in four sizes (Small, Medium, Large and X-Large) and can display a maximum of 20 vehicles.
Car models and colours can be detailed specifically and you can even add your own personalised messages to make it extra special.
Red Letter Days - Quadruple American Classic Car Blast
Drive four iconic American cars around the track in a variety of locations across the UK. Vehicles include the Ford Mustang GT350, 1970 Corvette, Pontiac Firebird, 1969 Camaro SS, Ford Gran Torino or GT40 — with three exciting miles in each car. If that wasn't enough, finish off with a hot-ride driven by a pro!
Alternatively, if classic cars are more your style, the Double Classic Car Blast and Hot Ride might suit better. This exciting double classic car driving day at Heyford Park (Bicester) lets you choose to drive two classics from a list of iconic beauties: a Jaguar E-Type, classic Porsche 911, Austin Healey, V8 Mustang or 1970s Mini Cooper S. Again, you get to do three exhilarating miles in each before you strap in for a high-speed passenger ride in a hot hatch, driven by a professional.
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Porsche 911 Flat-six model engine kit
With this model engine kit you can build your own working model of the classic 1966 Porsche 911 Flat-six engine. The kit includes an electronic sound module with genuine boxer engine sound, transparent casing to view inside the engine, cams activated by the belt, spark plug firing simulated with LEDs, working distributor and spinning cooling fan.
It also comes with the collector’s manual written and produced by The Porsche Museum in Stuttgart. The model is 1:4 scale and currently retails for just under £90 on Amazon.
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Sony XAV-AX100 car stereo with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
The not-so-catchily-named XAV-X100 features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality, so it can be linked to a smartphone and used to stream Spotify, make and receive calls and navigate with Google Maps. It fits a double DIN slot, so check with a car electrician if you’re not sure if it’s compatible with your car.
This system effectively replicates the same functionality you would get from a new car with the latest connectivity features, and it's very easy to use. Though installation can be tricky, so if you’re not sure about in-car electrics then ask an auto-electrician or visit Halfords.
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FenSens parking sensor
FenSens is an aftermarket wireless parking sensor. IIt's perfect for drivers who didn't opt for parking sensors and change their mind when they realise how much easier parallel parking could be, as well as for modernising as older car. The wireless aspect also means no drilling into your car or professional fitting is needed.
The FenSens is very likeable - it's easy to install (mostly), fills a gap in the market and is genuinely cheaper than manufacturer parking sensors.
Spytrack Nano tracker
The Spytrack Nano tracker by Rewire Security is a small tracker device for keeping tabs on any particular thing of your choice. The app integrates Google Maps and the topography can utilise satellite imagery if you choose. Using the desktop site you can set up ‘geofence zones’ that allow you to place markers on the map so that if the tracker goes outside of them you’ll be alerted. Aside from that, you can set up alerts if the tracker moves or travels beyond a certain speed.
If you want to track a car, you’ll need to buy the optional magnetic case to make it fully waterproof and stick it in the wheel arch. The case costs about £25. Or for a fiver less you could buy an official car hardwire kit. That’ll also prevent the battery from running out. On that basis, it’s very cost effective.
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YI Smart dash camera
It's not exactly a fun gift, but it'll be something you wished you had in the event of an accident. The YI Smart offers a maximum resolution of 1296p @ 30fps, an 'Advanced Driver Assistance System' and WiFi. Along with the YI Dashcam app, this means you can view your footage and download it to your phone. In our opinion, it's one of the best non-4K cameras we have tested and, for the price, is superb value for money.
YI also has excellent customer support and you only have to have a quick glance at the customer reviews on Amazon to see many satisfied buyers.
TomTom Go 5200 sat nav
The range-topping 5200 packs a five-inch screen, worldwide maps with free updates, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, speed camera alerts, integrated live traffic updates and voice control. And if you connect your phone to it, it can also read out your text messages and provide hands-free calling - it’s compatible with Siri and Google Now, so your electronic personal assistants can be used while on the move.
This is a capable device that, once set up and updated, is guaranteed to deliver straightforward, accurate and rapid guidance to your destination. This, in part with the Go 5200’s wide array of functions and route planning options, makes it a great companion for frequent travellers – and, as it’s continually updated and has worldwide maps, it should last you a long time.
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DBPower 600A 18000mAh Portable jump starter pack
With 18000mAh capacity, a 2.1A USB port, and a smart USB port — this DBPower jump pack is able to jump start 12V vehicles (up to 6.5-litre petrol or 5.2-litre diesel engines), as well as charge phones, tablets, laptops etc at the fastest speed possible with the included adapters. It's small enough to store in the glove box and the LED Flashlight can switch between lighting, strobe and SOS modes. There is also a red emergency light.
The LED screen shows the remaining power and output voltage, and the clamps can provide protection from short circuits, overheating, reverse-polarity, reverse-charge protection, overcharging etc. The DBPower jump pack currently has a 4.6 out of 5 star rating on Amazon from 885 reviews.
Starting your Christmas shopping? We've got you covered. On this page, you'll find all our top 10 gift...