Once again, we’ve gathered a small selection of items we think should be on every car enthusiast’s gift list this holiday season. We’ve made an effort to include items throughout the price range from reasonable to unthinkable and worked to keep them as car related as possible. Happy holidays from the staff of european car.
This publisher is back on our list for a second year in a row because it has such an amazing collection of must-read books for the automotive enthusiast. Memoirs of a Hack Mechanic by Rob Siegel ($29.95) will have you laughing and relating as he reflects on his life of fixing great European car classics like the BMW 2002 and the VW Camper Van. Siegel’s latest offering, The Hack Mechanic Guide to European Automotive Electrical Systems ($49.95), offers step-by-step instructions for repairing electrical systems on your favorite European marques from DIN systems to Bosch fuel injectors. The V12 Engine ($79.95) by legendary automotive author Karl Ludvigsen is a comprehensive 590-page book that features 585 pictures to accompany the information-rich but very readable text about everything you need to know about the best engine in the world. For nostalgia’s sake, The Racing Driver by Denis Jenkinson ($24.95) is a cult classic and an absolute essential for motorsport fans.
Released earlier this year, Brian Redman’s Daring Drivers, Deadly Tracks ($65) is the iconic racer’s memoir of the years 1965-1975—the first time his racing life has been put on record in book form. Read about Redman’s experiences at legendary courses such as Spa-Francorchamps and the Targa Florio and his experiences racing Porsche 917s and 908s and Ferrari 312PBs.
And while visiting that golden, dangerous era of racing, why not pick up Le Mans: The Official History of the World’s Greatest Motor Race 1960-1969 ($65).
We absolutely fell head over heels in love with Dwight Knowlton’s first children’s book, The Little Red Racing Car, and were just as excited when this second book was announced. Approved by Sir Stirling Moss himself, who helped as a consultant, the book tells the story of Moss and Denis Jenkinson’s famous drive to victory at the 1955 Mille Miglia in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. Like The Little Red Racing Car, the illustrations are incredibly detailed and accurate and will be sure to immerse both child and adult alike in its story. Plus, it’s even introduced by Sir Stirling himself—what other children’s book can say that? $21.99
Mercedes-Benz Balance Bike
If you want a pro race car driver, you have to start them young. Get your son or daughter’s engine going with the limited-edition World Champion Edition balance bike from Mercedes-Benz. Inspired by MB’s championship-winning F1 team, the livery is on top of an all-birchwood frame that is built with zinc-plated steal fasteners, just like your car. It is suitable for aspiring pros aged 3 years and up, although I’m guessing most of us would have as much trouble riding this as we would squeezing into an actual F1 car. $207.00
While your hard-core roadie friends will look down their noses at you for buying something that isn’t in the pro-peloton, you will be enjoying a beautiful riding experience similar to your 911. This Stuttgart cycle features a hydro-formed aluminum frame, eight-speed internal rear hub, no-mess belt drive, hydraulic disc brakes, and a suspension fork. It might not be as fast as your buddies’ time trial bike, but the point is to get some exercise, right? $3699.87
More than likely, most of our readers are “of the age” where a nice, comfy longboard is more appropriate to out-skating style, but these decks from Garage Welt
are almost too nice to use anyway. A variety of limited-production pieces are available on the site with some of the most iconic European road, tuning, and racing cars. All decks are seven-ply American Maple, and the MP4 model you see here is part of the Senna Summer Motorsport Collection. You can also order wall mounts or legs, to turn your deck into a stool. $60.00
While already a favorite on the computer for the last couple of years, Assetto Corsa is now available on consoles for the first time. Arguably the most hard-core of the large collection of sim racers out there, the Italian-developed game features real-life production and race cars that behave just like their real counterpart. The sound in the game is just as realistic—featuring all the squeaks and rattles you’d expect in a genuine race car. Laser-scanned courses ensure millimeter-accurate re-creation—even of 1960s-era Monza, including the famed banking. $49.99
Codemaster’s annual F1 release continues with F1 2016, and it’s the best yet. Featuring the re-introduction of safety cars in the franchise and brand-new street circuit, Baku, it’s up to you to decide if Mercedes walks away with another championship. $59.99
If you’re looking for a break from these more serious sim-heavy racing games, try your hand at the latest Forza Horizon release. The game takes place in an open-world Australia where you can choose to race around in everything from a Holden’s final ute to a Meyer Manx while traversing the barren Outback, gorgeous shoreline, and even the streets of Surfer’s Paradise. Just look out for the kangaroos. $59.99
LEGO has released the grooviest set we’ve seen in awhile. At more than 1,100 pieces, this LEGO Creator model of a 1960s VW Beetle includes a full roof rack complete with removable surfboard and red cooler. Push the rear seats forward and an actual fabric beach towel is exposed. The hood accurately carries the spare tire and fuel tank, while the trunk holds a reproduction four-cylinder air-cooled engine. At more than 11 inches high, 10 inches long, and 4 inches wide, this should be one impressive set to have on display next to your Beach Boys record collection. Wouldn’t it be nice? $99.99
So it resembles more Ford than Ferrari—who cares? Petrolheads cannot deny that these midcentury-design-inspired toys equally deserve a place in their children’s hands or on their bookshelf. We particularly like this Woodie Wagon and Camper combination ($35 for each) that reminds us that the journey is just as rewarding as the destination. From $24.99 (most cars)
Design & Drill Activity Center
We always encourage STEM learning with children, and this activity playset is one of the best. The set allows children to be creative as they use a child-safe power drill (with interchangeable drill bits), screwdriver, or combination wrench to create shapes, objects, and whatever their imagination creates into the activity board. If you’re good enough, maybe your child will let you share it with them. $39.99
If you want to relive the legendary Senna and Mansell F1 battles of the early 1990s on your kitchen floor, radio-controlled manufacturer HPI Racing can help. The new Formula Q32 cars are fully functional, hobby-quality RC vehicles that will fit in the palm of your hand, or more importantly, just about anywhere you want to drive them. The 1/32 scale size means they are roughly 4 inches long and 3 inches wide. HPI offers replacement and performance parts. The controller is included and also functions as the car’s battery charger. Around $59.99
The Scalextric name evokes memories of battling your siblings on courses that spread from room to room. Don’t deprive your child (or inner child) of these pleasures, and pick up a set this year for the holidays. This Le Mans set features two prototype-style cars and nearly five meters of track capable of four different course layouts that would serve as an excellent starting point. As with any Scalextric set, the car selection is expansive and the track expansions are plenty, meaning this could very well be the beginning of a lifetime worth of slot car addiction. $149.99
Do you want to win that ugly sweater contest at work, but still do it in style? Audi has the answer. Ingolstadt’s latest advancement in torso technology is emblazoned with a full complement of holiday cheer, featuring the requisite snowflakes, Christmas trees, reindeer, and multi-horsepower sleigh. $27 sweater$19 socks
BlipShift is unique in that it creates a new shirt every day from the best design submissions the company receives. But each shirt is on sale for a very limited time, so you have to act fast if one catches your eye. The designs cover everything in the automotive world, but we love the fact that European manufacturers appear the most often. $15 for each new shirt
You know those clever shirts that only people who understand the lingo or image get? Here’s the automotive enthusiast equivalence. With products designed specifically for the European car enthusiast in mind, this company is a no-brainer to add to this collection. Having just barely missed out on last year’s deadline to be added to this list, we made sure you were aware of them for this year. $22 each shirt
PUMA Motorsports Collection
What does Scuderia Ferrari, Mercedes AMG Petronas F1, and BMW Motorsport all have in common? They have PUMA as their officially licensed clothing brand. Prominent items include the Mercedes AMG Petronas Upole Lewis shoes ($125), Ferrari weekender bag ($115), and this BMW Motorsport Track Jacket featuring a rather striking design ($80).
Shine a light on your next project in the garage with this hat from Craftsman that features four LED lights built into the bill. Two of the lights are angled at 10 degrees for distance lighting, while the other two are angled at 25 degrees to provide light where your hands are for close-up tasks. Plus, the hat can be worn daily without looking out of place. $19.99
These modern takes on your childhood poster cars are the branchild of artist Martin Miskolci. Drawn in a gorgeous, modern style, these pieces of art pop out in their vivid brightness and simplicity. We’d be happy to have any of these hanging up in our office or home alike. $28 per print
Aside from the great European car shirts Enthusiast Apparel makes, the company also features several noteworthy prints, like this illustration of a stylized BMW M1 Procar wheel ($26) featuring the vintage M badge in the center.
If the shirt of the day doesn’t catch your eye, Blipshift also features items that are available more permanently, like this Formula Fridge magnet set in which you can pretend to be the next Hermann Tilke when you visit the fridge for a midnight snack. $15
Do you like foosball? I mean really like foosball? No seriously, like even considered going pro, because you would need to be that serious to buy this table. That, or you really like Audi and we can’t fault you for that. This world-class foosball table from the lord of the four rings is built with aluminum, wood, and plastic and presumably is the best-handling table soccer piece of furniture on the planet. It’s roughly half the price of a brand-new A3, but you can’t put a total fake-sport beatdown on your kids with a car. $16,756—yes, really
Autodromo Limited-Edition Group B Evoluzione Watch
Another holiday gift guide, another watch segment, another Autodromo mention. This company just keeps surprising us with great-looking automotive-inspired watches every year. This updated version of its Group B watch features a slightly larger diameter (42 mm) and CNC-milled aerospace aluminum that makes the watch motorsport-light. The watch also comes with four nylon straps depicting famous racing livery colors that are neatly folded inside an appropriate aluminum collector’s box. Act quick, because these watches are limited to 200 examples. $1,100
Infinity Complex Collection
The idea of wearing a timepiece more expensive than your first car is off-putting to some. Anyone who’s felt that sickening feeling after looking down at their naked wrist a half hour into a flight and realizing the TSA guy at the last airport now has a new accessory, will certainly appreciate Infinity’s belief that everyone should be able to wear a beautiful watch at an affordable price. The Complex Collection features a real leather band, 50-meter water resistance, stainless steel construction, and a 40mm face. Infinity has built its name and reputation through social media, so check it out there. $105
Named for the corner at Spa-Francorchamps, this Belgian watch company makes some seriously attractive watches. The prices may be a little higher, but with every watch limited to only 55 examples, you know it’s a rare chance that you’ll meet someone else with the same one. Some of our favorites include this carbon-fiber-embossed watch with the initials of Spa corners at each hour indices and this ’70s-inspired racing watch featuring a bored-out leather watchstrap. Plus, they both feature the Spa-Francorchamps logo—a nifty touch. $3,800
These popular watches have been seen recently on both Presidents Obama’s and Bill Clinton’s wrists, but have recently unveiled a racing-inspired watch. While it’s not a European-car-inspired watch, we can’t argue with a watch that was inspired by Craig Breedlove’s speed records at Bonneville. The watch is crafted from ultra-light and ultra-strong titanium and is the company’s first to feature both a chronograph and a bezel with a tachymeter scale. The watch is assembled in Detroit with parts sourced here in the USA and Switzerland and is limited to 1,000 copies. $1,325