What gift would you buy for the motoring enthusiast?

I MUST admit, having woken up on too many Christmas mornings to find a car wash kit or a press-on dashboard jotter under the tree, I came to the conclusion that the car accessory and the cherished Yuletide gift were never meant to overlap.

Wednesday, 21st December 2011, 2:30 pm

It doesn’t necessarily have to be like that, of course. With a little more thought, it’s quite possible to sift through the wacky and tacky and select a quite acceptable gift, even for the car enthusiast who has everything.

In reality of course, your preference as the joyful giver will depend on both the car and the driver in question. So here are a few suggestions to ease your Christmas present buying woes:

Computer games featuring fast and powerful cars have become a ‘must have’ for any self respecting petrolhead. The games available are only relevant to the device they are played on so before you make your choice of game ensure you know the recipient’s current games console. Gran Turismo 5 would be the choice for Sony’s PlayStation 3 whereas for the Microsoft Xbox 360 (X360) and Nintendo Wii a good choice would be Forza Motorsport 3 and Mario Kart Wii respectively. Prices are in the region of £50 per game.

Alternatively, how about a computer mouse in the shape of their favourite car? At www.caagis.com you’ll find an Aston Martin DBS, a BMW Z3, a Range Rover Evoque and the humble Volkswagen Beetle each for around £30 to £40.

And there is always the Driving Experience that offers the recipient a day out driving an exotic piece of motoring machinery such as a Porsche 911, Aston Martin, Ferrari or Audi R8. And you don’t need a driving license either as these events are usually performed on tracks or private road ways. The only restriction being one of height, normally a minimum of 4ft 10 inches is required. For the enthusiastic youngster who can’t wait to get behind the wheel, this could be a magical Christmas present. Prices start from around £100.

One feature that now appears on many new cars but can also be retro-fitted to older models are reversing indicators.

These can be fitted to both the front and rear of the car or just the rear. They give the driver an audible warning when the vehicle is close to an object. This device has proved very popular and has save countless small accidents with cars saved from reversing into unseen objects or other parked vehicles. DIY prices start from around £50 and can be fitted easily with minimum effort.

With road maps fast becoming arcane to all but the dogmatic, and AA Route map delivering directions strewn with erroneous nonsense, the only way the modern individual can guarantee a trip from A to B that is stress-free, is by using a satellite navigation system. These devices really are fast becoming an essential motoring tool with maps literally being consigned to the dustbin. A decent satellite navigation system can be purchased for approximately £100.00.

If you really want to push the boat out then there is a plethora of in-car entertainment to choose from. These include radio/ CD players, DVD players, digital radios, devices to connect your MP3 player to the car audio system, hands free phone devices and much much more. If you decide to go down this route it is advisable to first consult an expert to ensure that the device you intend to purchase is compatible with the recipient’s vehicle and its existing electronic devices.

You could also choose a gift according to the car they drive - if you’re absolutely sure that they don’t intend to change their vehicle in the near future you could purchase a present from the car manufacturer’s gift catalogue. Most of the premium brands like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Jaguar have brought out their own gift catalogues, offering anything from a key ring pendant to a £200 all weather jacket.

Whatever automotive gift you eventually decide upon, you can be sure that it will be joyfully received by the motoring enthusiast in your life. Merry Christmas!

Steve Ghosley