‘Tis the season… and for many of us, this time comes with stressing over Christmas wish lists. When it comes to giving our friends and loved ones gifts, some are harder to buy for than others. So what do you get for the car enthusiast who seems to have everything?
Whether the gift recipient is into hardcore wrenching, a weekend warrior, or a do-it-for-me proponent, we’ve gathered a variety of ideas to choose from. In order to make the cut for this article, the items needed to be under $500 and be cool, car-related gifts or products that can make life a little more enjoyable.
Keep Warm With These Cool Automotive-Themed Fire Pits
Perfect for any season to gather around a fire in the backyard or at the campsite, Pragma Designs has more than 70 automotive-themed fire pits in a variety of makes and models for $249. Just a few of the many Chevys available are a ‘57 Bel Air, ‘67-’69 Camaro, and ‘73-’80 Chevy trucks.
Waterjet-cut from 1/8-inch steel, the 24×24-inch flat panels can be quickly assembled or broken down for compact storage. The six pieces assemble using slots and tabs with included locking pins. The removable top grill can be used for decoration, cooking, or can be removed. On pits with side mirrors, the top grill can be hung on the side for easier wood-loading.
Mastercool Flaring Tool
Mastercool’s 72485-PRC Silver/Blue Universal Hydraulic Flaring Tool is available from most retailers for about $300. Because it is compact, it can be used to form hard lines on the workbench and under the car. That makes it ideal for more accurate at-the-car forming of new lines and partial line replacement.
According to Mastercool, the set provides production-quality flares on annealed stainless-steel tubing, terne-plated steel tubing, soft aluminum, and soft copper tubing. Its assortment of dies and adapters allow the user to form fittings in multiple sizes for push-connect GM fuel lines, GM transmission cooling lines, 45-degree, double-flares, and metric bubble flares.
Cleaning Power In A Portable Package
Milwaukee’s M18 cordless two-gallon wet/dry vacuum provides users with a powerful (45 CFM) and portable wet/dry vacuum. We thought it looked like a perfect companion for car shows and road trips. It usually sells for about $120 from various retailers, although at the time of this writing, The Home Depot has it on sale for $89.
Its stackable design and organized on-board storage keep all attachments inside the unit for convenient transport and storage. The model 0880-20 comes with a flexible hose, crevice tool, utility nozzle, and a certified HEPA filter. With an M18 Redlithium High-Demand 9.0 Ah battery pack, it offers 30-plus minutes of runtime. The unit also includes a built-in blower port.
Drive A Muscle Car In Your Basement
While your Camaro is safely tucked away for the winter, you can keep your performance-driving skills honed by driving a realistic look-alike. The Vaterra 1/10-scale 1972 Chevy Camaro SS from Horizon Hobby features an officially licensed body. Performance-boosting features include shaft-driven all-wheel drive, a Dynamite 15-turn brushed motor, sealed gearbox, LED headlights and taillights, and waterproof electronics. A Spektrum STX2 two-channel, 2.4-GHz FHSS radio system controls the Spektrum S603 servo. It will set you back about $220, and the charger is not included.
Keep Tools Organized And Accessible
SK’s magnetic universal tool holder is finished in a cool green-anodized aluminum. Available from SK for $29.99, it has a magnetic backing to keep the rail in place on surfaces such as a vehicle, a lift, or a toolbox. The back is coated with fabric to help prevent scratching.
We like that the socket clips have ball detents to securely hold sockets in place (although they’re specifically designed for SK sockets). That should keep them much more secure than the spring-clip-style rails. Tool clips can be installed in place of the socket clips to hold pliers, ratchets, screwdrivers, and wrenches.
Keep Up To Four Batteries Maintained With One Charger
Clore Automotive’s Pro-Logix Battery Maintenance Station is now available in a five-amp model (PL4050, $179.95 from most retailers) and is perfect for a car collector needing to keep multiple batteries charged simultaneously. Each channel operates independently, so one faulty battery won’t affect the other three batteries being charged.
Unlike traditional battery chargers, the PRO-LOGIX PL4050 uses microprocessor-controlled logic. According to Clore, that technology precisely delivers a fully automatic charging routine designed to optimally charge and maintain each battery serviced. It can charge a wide variety of lead-acid battery types, including conventional, AGM, spiral-wound, start-stop, deep cycle, and marine batteries.
The multi-phase charging routine brings batteries back to full charge and then switches to an enhanced maintenance mode to provide optimal battery maintenance. Whether it is hooked up to a battery for days, weeks or months, it is ideal for our vehicles that may not get driven much.
The PL4050 adapts its approach based on the needs of each battery it services. That can include activating a soft-start mode on deeply discharged batteries and a battery repair mode on older/distressed batteries. Temperature compensation ensures a proper charge, even when charging in extreme temperatures. It also incorporates numerous features to make charging safer for the operator and the vehicle/battery being charged, including overvoltage protection, reverse-polarity protection, and battery fault detection. The unit also comes with four sets of standard-length clamp accessories.
Keep Your Tires Stored Out Of The Way
Whether it’s a set of slicks for your race car or summer tires for your daily driver, Summit Racing’s sturdy Folding Tire Loft ($59.99) keeps them off the floor and out of the way. Finished in silver, the steel-tubing rack adjusts from 32- to 48-inches wide, is 24 1/2-inches tall, and has a 300-pound capacity. When it’s not in use, the rack folds flat against the wall.
Shed some light on your work situation
Even if your workspace’s ceiling (and maybe even the sidewalls) are covered in bright fluorescent or LED lights, it’s hard to have too much light when you’re working on your ride. That dropped bolt or socket will show up a lot more easily with a work light directing light to the area being worked on. The latest LED work lights have powerful magnets to attach them to any steel surface. But, the most helpful feature may be the ability to precisely direct the beam. That means no more waiting for your child to arrive home to hold the flashlight in place for you!
Coast’s PM500R magnetic work light ($99) provides 700 lumens of LED light. It’s USB-rechargeable and has a magnetic base to affix to any steel surface. The beam pivots to direct the light beam, but the twist-focusing lens also changes the shape of the light beam from a bullseye spot to a flood that’s 11-1/2-feet wide. It has a runtime of approximately five hours and 15 minutes on low and two hours and 15 minutes on high.
Clore’s compact Light-N-Carry Rechargeable COB LED (retails from between $40 and $55) work light can be used as a handheld light source — like a flashlight — with a maximum of 500 lumens from its high setting. The focused beam provides 60 lumens to illuminate a specific location. The swivel handle rotates 180 degrees, and features magnet mounting to allow ideal positioning in the work area. USB-rechargeable, it has a runtime of up to four hours on the high work light setting.
Get Into Tight Spots With Tite-Reach
Tite-Reach introduced its first extension wrench about six years ago, but we’ve found that many people are still not aware of it. It’s a chain-driven extension that allows a ratchet — and for most models — an impact driver, to apply motion up to 16-1/2 inches from the fastener needing to be loosened or tightened. It’s available in 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch, and 1/2-inch-drive models.
The 3/8-inch professional model featured here ($65) is aluminum and has a torque rating of 125 lb-ft and an impact rating of 400 lb-ft It comes with adapters for 3/8 x 3/8-inch, 3/8 x 1/2-inch, and 1/4-inch bits. Tite-Reach also offers a set of low-profile sockets that have the adapter built-in so the extension can fit into even tighter spots.
The Tite-Reach extension clamp ($17.50) has jaws that open to 1 1/8-inches wide, giving you the ability to hold a 3/4-inch nut or bolt in a tight spot to get it started. It has a vise-like design to grip the nut or bolt (or a constant-tension radiator hose clamp, as shown here) until the tension nut is loosened.
See Your Welds
Miller Electric Mfg.‘s Digital Elite Inferno welding helmet ($340 manufacturer’s suggested list price) features a ClearLight lens with high-definition optics for precision arc recognition. If you’re welding in an area with bright sunlight, you’ll find the X-Mode setting to be helpful. According to Miller, it electromagnetically senses the weld and continuously detects the arc, even if the sensors are blocked. The four operating modes of weld, cut, grind, and X-Mode provide greater versatility.
Flush With Envy
And finally, we present what may be the ultimate gift for the hot rodder who claims to have everything. The new, limited-edition Moon Tank Toilet Paper Holder ($340), which looks like a Moon tank, was made famous on dry lakes hot rods and dragsters in the 1950s. They’re made to order, and the company calls it a 3/4-gallon tank. It measures 8-1/2 inches in diameter and comes with an 8 x 4.5-inch backing plate and a toilet-paper-roll spindle. Paper and (two) mounting screws are not included.
We hope you’ve enjoyed checking out our selections and that you now have more than a few gift ideas for friends and family. Christmas will be here before we know it, so there’s no time like the present to start shopping for your favorite car enthusiast!