• 2017 Holiday Gift Ideas for Gearheads

    We’ve put together a killer list of presents any car lover would be glad to find under the tree.
    • 2017 Christmas Gift Ideas
    Matthew Guy

    The leftover Thanksgiving turkey has been long used up for sandwiches and you’ve finished raiding the kids’ stash of Halloween candy. This time of year can only mean one thing – it’s time to start thinking about Holiday gift ideas for the gearhead in your life.

    Fear not! We’ve put together a killer list of presents any car lover would be glad to find under the tree … except for one of them – they’ll find that one out in the garage.

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    • 2017 Christmas Gift Ideas

    Garage Scissor Lift

    When it’s time for the gearhead in your life to add some much needed versatility and productivity to their shop or garage, an epic addition is a car lift. Most folks envision a complicated system of hydraulics and hoses when talking about a car lift but in reality, a scissor lift will give most DIYers all the scope and flexibility they need to work on their projects. Scissor lifts are designed for comfortably working on the underside of the car or changing out a set of rims and tires. Most of them are powered by a simple 110-volt outlet, meaning they can be plugged into a standard household outlet. Many are easily capable of handling 6000lbs, much more than most family sedans and crossovers. It’s definitely capable of lifting that rusty Mazda Miata your gearhead friend has been talking incessantly about turning into an autocross car.
    • 2017 Christmas Gift Ideas

    Engine Block Coffee Table

    No, we aren’t advocating that you go and haul the engine out of someone’s pickup truck like the Trailer Park Boys did in the Tragically Hip music video. However, if you do choose that unwise route, there are plenty of videos bouncing around YouTube offering instruction on how to clean up an engine and position the various parts for coffee table duty. Several retailers exist offering these creations to excited enthusiasts. Some choose to angle the pistons upwards so they are holding the table’s glass top. Others dispense with the bulky block and use only the intake and heads, leaving the pistons to serve as the feet. For those interested in the DIY approach, the least complicated table design is to simply clean up an engine, place the motor under a glass top, and support the works of it with four jack stands as legs for support. A boxer-style engine from Subaru would be ideal for this as they are, by design, low and wide.
    • 2017 Christmas Gift Ideas

    Driver’s Package at Mosport

    A day at the track needs no explanation to any gearhead. Canadian Tire Motorsport Park's new Driver Development Track (DDT) is a 2.88-kilometre advanced driver training facility and is home of the Bridgestone Racing Academy. The Academy is regarded as one of North America’s top race schools and it’s located right in Ontario. Offering courses in a wide range of pricing, the group welcomes drivers of all skill levels from first timers to advanced hotshoes. No previous racing experience is required. Also at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is the Ron Fellows Driving Experience, giving gearheads a chance to pilot race-track-developed models like the Corvette and Camaro around CTMP’s legendary Grand Prix circuit. Classroom instruction is followed by on-track coaching from Ron’s high-performance driving team.
    • 2017 Christmas Gift Ideas

    Linear Edge Garage Art

    For some folks, the garage is simply another place in which to stack boxes and the scattered bit of recycling. Not for gearheads. For them, selecting decorations and adornments for the garage walls is every bit as important as choosing them for the rest of the house. Born from an architect's love for motor sports and the essential need for an alternative to posters, pictures and models, the company sells striking wall art of famous racetracks Beautifully crafted from up to 26 layers of Baltic birch wood, a wide variety of racetrack outlines are available in 2D and 3D designs, ranging from American houses of speed to historic European tracks. The three-dimensional pieces are especially detailed, actually tracing the rise and fall of the track’s elevation changes. They also craft, from 13 layers of elegant Baltic birch and finished with black laminate, engravings of notable race tracks and sports cars.
    • 2017 Christmas Gift Ideas

    Xbox One X with Forza 7

    It’s winter. Your gearhead friend has put their car in storage and hasn’t stopped moaning about the wintertime inability to turn laps at the racetrack. With this Xbox bundle, they can get their driving fix ... virtually. The Forza franchise brings uber-realistic racing simulations right to the living room. It supports jaw-dropping 4K and HDR graphics delivered at a buttery smooth 60 frames-per-second. Bursting with more than 700 Forzavista cars and 30 famous environments, it features race conditions that change every time you play. It’s as close as most of us will get to ripping a Ford GT around Laguna Seca or tossing a Lamborghini Aventador up the hill at Spa. As a bonus: toss in a Thrustmaster racing wheel and pedal set. They won’t leave the house until Spring 2018.
    • 2017 Christmas Gift Ideas

    Car Care Supplies

    Sure, this idea is nearly as old as the automobile itself, but it is a sure-fire winner. Be sure to stay out of the dollar store and instead seek out high quality products such as those from respected brands like Mother’s or Meguiar’s. Don’t limit yourself to soap and sponges either. Caked-on tar and bugs that won't scrub off with regular soap can make cleaning your car all sorts of unpleasant. The folks from Turtle Wax have designed this heavy-duty power foam cleaner specifically for stripping that grossness from your front bumper. Once the car is clean, one may notice faint scratches and swirls in the paint. If they are on the lighter side, Meguiar's ScratchX 2.0 can be used to lightly buff out these marks by hand, returning the paint to its natural glossy finish. DIY Car Wash Tips
    • 2017 Christmas Gift Ideas

    Dash Cam

    This idea is a two-fer, as it will do double duty in the hands of a true gearhead. Most folks deploy their dash cams in order to CYA in a traffic accident during the morning rush on the 401. With video proof, it’s much easier to convince the judge that it was the other guy who changed lanes while talking on the phone and shoveling a Tim Horton’s breakfast sandwich into his mouth. Dash cams are also great for recording and tracking hot laps at racing venues. Most racers like to improve on their lap times, racing themselves against the clock in a never-ending quest for self-improvement. With a dash cam, your gearhead friend can replay their practice laps, studying what they did right and where they missed an apex or three.
    • 2017 Christmas Gift Ideas

    Nitro-Powered R/C Car

    Gas powered nitro RC cars are fast, powerful, and crazy fun. RC cars are modeled after actual cars, and there is always a scale provided to show you how much smaller the model is than the real thing. They come in a myriad of shapes, sizes, and drivetrains. Make sure to buy an assembled unit, as unassembled nitro R/C cars can require a few tools to get up and running. The quicker ones can reach speeds in excess of 100km/h, so be sure to warn your friend and they can deploy their new toy in a large, open field. A lot of them send power to all four wheels, making for dramatic rooster tails on dirt, and weigh anywhere between five and ten pounds. Don’t forget the special fuel – a quart of which runs in excess of $40 on Amazon.
    • 2017 Christmas Gift Ideas

    Portable LED Work Light

    New LED units are much better than the incandescent work lights of yore, which would offer a feeble amount of yellowish illumination, yet quickly reach an operating temperature approximately equal to the surface of the sun. This author can personally confirm some of the really old ones get hot enough to light a cigarette. Not a great feature when using it in a tight space like under the chassis of a car. Available everywhere from discount department stores to home improvement warehouses, LED work lights use up to 80% less energy than a regular incandescent unit. With no fragile glass bulbs to break, there’s an excellent chance they’ll last well into the next decade, too. Be sure to find one with a long power cord and rated at least 3000 Lumens, which is the unit of measure for brightness for this type of light.
  • Trip to Lap the Nurburgring

    This is a big one ... but hear us out. A Toronto-Frankfurt round trip flight can be had, with some sharp-eyed planning, for less than $500. It costs 25 euros (about $38CAD) a lap at the 'ring and, if one is there, one will want to do at least five laps. Grabbing a small but sprightly rental car like a Renault Twingo from the airport will likely run about a couple of hundred euros. Adding in fuel and food will probably put in-country expenses at about $500 in Canadian funds. And on a shoestring budget, your gearhead friend is sleeping in their rental car for the couple of nights they are there. Budgeting a total of $1000 for this adventure would be well within the ballpark. Given the going rate for a simple night out at the movies, we know how we’d rather spend the money.

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