When I first started writing this Christmas gifts column a decade or so ago, to kick off Wheels’ annual Gift Guide Issue, there were eight specialty shops in the GTA catering to motoring and motorsports enthusiasts. Now we are down to five.
And where I used to receive at least a half-dozen books to review for Christmas each year, this year I got exactly one.
The world is changing — for sure.
That one book I received is entitled “History’s Greatest Automotive Mysteries, Myths and Rumors Revealed”, by Matt Stone and Preston Lerner. It’s a great read.
Did you know, for example, that Clyde Barrow, of Bonnie and Clyde fame, once wrote Henry Ford a “thank you” letter for building really great cars that he used to escape from police after robbing banks?
Wrote Barrow: “For sustained speed and freedom from trouble, the Ford has got every other car skinned . . .”
This is a great read with lots of interesting photos. The suggested retail price is $26 and it’s published by Motorbooks.
Now, I mentioned there are five specialty shops in the GTA. I will focus on Mini-Grid and Collector Studio-Motorsport Gallery today. Next week, I will take you to Toronto Motorsports in Scarborough, Joe Russo’s Prestige Auto Art and Gift Gallery and Transport Books at DRB Motors.
Morry Barmack’s Collector Studio (136 Yorkville Ave., 416-975-5442, www.collectorstudio.com) is astounding to walk into. When I say he’s got everything, I mean everything. The helmet thhe late Ayrton Senna wore when he raced in the Grand Prix of Belgium in 1986 is on sale there (see photo).
As is the trophy given to Alain Prost when he won the British Grand Prix in 1990.
And lots more.
By the way, Morry will be moving shop in February. He’s purchased a building at 72 Scollard St., which is just around the corner from where he is on Yorkville. It’s twice as big as the space he’s got so he’ll have lots of room for the rest of the paintings, uniforms and other memorabilia he’s got on which you can max out your credit card.
Not going anywhere is Mini Grid (608 Mount Pleasant Rd., 416-488-7663, www.minigrid.com). This mid-town shop owned by race driver Scott Maxwell (he’s been at Road Atlanta all week, testing the Aston Martin he’ll drive next season) has catered for years to the magazine and book/DVD crowd.
Scott tells me that he’s opened another Mini Grid store at Grand Prix Kartways in Downsview Park. It’s a slot car-centric store that has a six-lane, 90-foot track as its centerpiece and you can run your own cars there or rent them.
Slot-car racing’s great fun for kids and adults, so make note of this new Mini Grid location.
If you’ve got slot cars on your mind, Scott suggests a great gift would be the James Bond Skyfall Slot Car Set. It features the classic Bond Aston Martin DB5 battling the Range Rover, as per the movie. The set goes for $195.
And the 2012 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull models are in stock in various scales as well as in slot car form. The price range starts at $18 and goes up to $124.
Or, says Scott, the movie “Senna” is still available on both DVD and Blu-Ray. Scott says it’s continuing to be a strong seller and calls it “a pretty solid film.” The DVD is for sale at $34.95 and the Blu-Ray is $39.95
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