Looking for the perfect gift for your car-obsessed friend or significant other? You search ends here. We’ve rounded up the best motoring presents, including car accessories to make driving that little bit more enjoyable in 2017. From T-shirts to TomToms, this is your one-stop Christmas car shop.
Big Mac, small price
Wouldn’t we all like a McLaren P1? The British carmaker has launched a ride-on, pure-electric version of its hypercar in time for Christmas. With a top speed of a mighty 3mph, the mini-P1 features dihedral doors and a central driving position (just like, er… a McLaren F1). There’s even an MP3 player fitted as standard.
With a price tag of £375, it’s about 0.02% the cost of a real one…
Price: from £3,995
If you have a bigger budget and want to encourage your child to appreciate classic cars, Pocket Classics creates miniature ride-on motors for the discerning youngster. Prices start at £3,995 for self-build army truck, rising to £14,995 for a Porsche 904 Carrera GTS.
Do it yourself
Price: from £16,995
We all need something to occupy our time over Christmas (aside from eating mince pies and watching comedy re-runs, obviously). If you have a spare ‘80-100 hours’, a self-build Caterham Seven could be the answer. The entry-level Seven 160 starts at £16,995 – £2,500 cheaper than the factory-built car. It should be ready just in time for spring, right?
Out of the blocks
If you can’t afford a real Caterham, this Lego kit offers a cheaper – and almost as time-consuming – alternative for £69.99. The super-cool 620R is made up of more than 770 pieces and features a removable nose cone and functioning axle stands.
Want chips with that?
Price: from £300
Give your car a boost this Christmas by having it ‘chipped’. This quick and relatively cheap tuning method involves tweaks to the car’s electronic brain to unlock more power and performance. Some companies claim fuel economy gains, too. The BBR-tuned Mazda MX-5 seen here produces 193hp, up 33hp from the standard car.
Excel yourself this Christmas
Price: from £24
There’s a shortage of car events at this time of year, so why not give your loved ones something to look forward to in 2017? Running from 23-27 February, the London Classic Car Show is now in its third year. Held at the Excel, adult tickets start at £24 and include access to the Historic Motorsport International exhibition, which runs alongside the main show.
VIP Premium tickets start at £55, with perks including fast-track entry and free drinks.
The latest Porsche 911s may not howl like the old ones (thank turbocharging for that), but we’re confident this soundbar will make a great noise. As indeed it should for £2,400. The Porsche-branded audio system boasts an integrated subwoofer made from a 911 GT3 rear silencer and exhaust pipes, and can be connected via Bluetooth to mobile music devices. For the Porsche fan who has everything.
Price: around £750
Can’t afford a new car for Christmas? Why not give your existing motor a makeover? Vinyl wraps allow you to change the car’s colour and are much cheaper than a respray. They also protect the paintwork underneath, so they can be removed when you sell. Probably a good idea if you’ve turned your Nissan Micra into a mobile Union Jack.
Price: £60 (set of four)
Large alloy wheels and low-profile tyres look great, but are all too easy to kerb when you park – leaving the wheels covered in unsightly scratches. The subtle solution comes from Alloy Gator: tough nylon protectors that fit between the wheel and tyre. They’re available in 15 colours and the company has a network of approved fitters nationwide.
Give it the beans
For some drivers, this could be the ultimate in-car accessory. The Handpresso Auto Hybrid connects to a 12-volt socket and sits neatly in a cupholder, turning your car into a mobile espresso machine. It uses either ESE (Easy Serving Espresso) pods or ground coffee to prepare a fresh espresso in a little over two minutes. If £133 seems like a lot of cash, just think how much you spend on takeaway coffees over the course of a year.
A taste of Italy
Price: from £195
Looking to buy a special present for that Maserati enthusiast in your life? This book has to be the most thorough history of the Italian car manufacturer ever. It’s not cheap, starting at £195 for the Tifosi edition (two volumes and 872 pages). Alternatively, splash out on the collector’s edition for £595. It’s limited to just 101 copies and comes with its own ‘chassis plate’.
Sorry to break it to you, but unless you’re incredibly fortunate, you’re unlikely to receive a real Porsche 911 for Christmas. Could this be the next best thing? The set lets you build a fully-functional 1:4 model of a flat-six engine from a 1960s Porsche 911. The set, which is suitable for ages 10 and over, contains 280 components and features authentic engine sounds. We want one.
Have nav, will travel
Price: from £50
Buying for someone who still relies on paper maps? A sat-nav could be a great gift, with new models available for as little as £50. The unit pictured here is a fully-loaded £209.99 TomTom GO 520. It features smartphone notifications, is compatible with Siri and Google Now, and can even read out your messages.
Geek and you shall find
Buying for a data-obsessed petrolhead, or just someone who wants to improve their driving and save money? The TomTom Curfer plugs into your car and connects to your phone, providing information on acceleration, G-force, cornering and braking. The trip to Tesco’s will never be the same again…
You booze, you lose
Driving while under the influence of alcohol can land you with an unlimited fine – and have even more severe consequences if you’re involved in a crash. While we wouldn’t recommend relying on a breathalyser to decide if you’re fit to drive, it could be a useful tool for those ‘mornings after the night before’. This AlcoSense Excel uses a smaller version of the same sensor used in many police breathalysers, so should be highly accurate.
Time for T?
Forget Christmas jumpers, the car T-shirt is this year’s must-have fashion accessory. Whatever your motoring allegiance, from Aston Martins to Austin Allegros, Petrolthreads has a T-shirt for you. This Fiat 126-themed tee is priced at a very reasonable £16.95. About the same as an actual 126, then.
Great Scott! If you know somebody whose electrical items are constantly OUTTAJUICE, this might be the perfect present. It’s a USB car charger designed to look like a Flux Capacitor from the Back to the Future series and features two USB ports.
Smells like damp asphalt
Price: £28.00 – £40.00
“The man in your life will be thrilled to see the iconic Jaguar logo emerge from his Christmas stocking,” says the PR blurb. We hate to break it to you, Jaguar, but said man might prefer to find a Jaguar logo attached to an actual car. But hey, if your man likes “the fragrance of warm, damp asphalt after light summer rain,” this is the ideal present.
Brother, sister, a sledge?
Believe it or not, this Audi snow sledge pays homage to the legendary Streamliner models of the 1930s and features two handles and a comfortable. We’ll have to take your word for the ‘comfortable’ bit, Audi. Suitable for children aged six and up, the sledge can withstand temperatures as low as -20ºC. Other sledges are available, but we can’t guarantee they’ll feature four-wheel drive…