Does your spouse want to buy you a car related gift, despite slipping into a suspiciously temporary coma every time you mention your car?
Are you trying to buy something for a car enthusiast, but you don't know the difference between a wheel and a tire?
Revolving Garage can help. What follows is a heavily edited transcript of a conversation that never happened between Dan and Christian, owners of Revolving Garage. This straight-to-transcript exchange focuses on gifts that will thrill car enthusiasts, but can be bought by friends and family that couldn't be less interested in cars. We have endeavored to include a variety of different price points, and have included links to examples wherever possible. None of the following are paid advertisements, no consideration was given for any of these suggestions. None of the links below are click baity spam. They are links to actual products we own, or would like to own. They are all gifts we would love to receive under the tree ourselves.
Quick Links To Holiday Gift Ideas
- ($) Charcoal Air Filters: California Home Goods
- ($) Revolving Garage Hoodie: Revolving Garage Hoodie
- ($$) Nylon Coated Socket Set: Harbor Freight
- ($$) Leather Gloves for Driving: Geier Glove Co.
- ($$) Paint Sealant from Zaino Car Products: Zaino
- ($$) Small sized electric tire pump: Home Depot
- ($$$) Portable Car Lift/Jack: Quick Jack
- ($$$) Compact Car Lift: MaxJax
- ($$$) Rent a car on the Nurburgring: RSNurburg
- ($$$$) Driving School at Nurburgring: RSRNurburg (school)
A Revo Holiday Chat with Dan and Christian
Dan: Happy holidays. So glad to be here with you.
Christian: Get over yourself you sanctimonious prick.
I’m kidding. Mostly. Happy holidays to you too, bud. I couldn't be more thrilled to be embarking on this project with you, Revolving Garage.
OK, with niceties out of the way, why don’t I kick things off by describing a bit about where I’m coming from with my holiday suggestions. First, I like to get an actual gift under the tree. That isn’t always possible for good reason, but nevertheless, I’ve focused my attention on things that can be bought, wrapped, and then used within hours of opening. And lastly, I’ve tried to keep things broad and not specific to any make or model of car. You may want a set of solid bushings for your spec miata racer, but I promise that sending a noob into the inter-net-o-sphere to try to buy something that niche is going to end in failure, tears, and no sex for anyone. Which reminds me of another point…
Dan: You really like to hear yourself talk, don’t you?
Christian: Subtle hint there, thanks. Ok, what do you think makes for a good car gift?
Dan: As with any gift, in some sense you have to know who you are giving to. I also like to ask for and give things that will be used (and can be put to use).
So without further delay, my first suggestion is a set of nylon coated sockets. Sets can be found on Griots Garage and many other tool websites. Spring for a good sized set of both metric and SAE sizes. The reason these are so cool is that they are designed to not mar the surrounding surface of what you are trying to tighten or loosen. Nothing chaps my ass like going in to remove a wheel lug bolt and crashing the metal socket into the wheel surface on my way in. Ironically, this is one of those things that I have used and wanted, but never bought for myself.
Shown above is a solid low cost set from Harbor Freight
Christian: I like that idea Dan. I hope my wife reads this. My first suggestion is a pretty simple one, and only requires knowing someone’s hand size...
Dan: Dude, stop right there. Who knows their own hand size, let alone anyone else’s?
Christian: Fair point, but that’s what returns are for. Also, a general rule of thumb is it’s close to your US shoe size.
Anyway, my first suggestion is driving gloves. I’m talking about subtle driving gloves. I’m not talking about creepy-ass chauffeur slash murderer slash OJ driving gloves. I have bought several pairs of gloves recently from a company called Geier Glove Co. They are all made in the U.S., and they come in a variety of styles, and leathers. The following examples are made in the Gunn pattern, which provides great flexibility for quality leather gloves. For driving, I would either go with a brown kangaroo skin glove, or a light elk skin work glove (shown above).
The kangaroo skin is slightly exotic, very thin and form fitting, and a bit dressier. The elk skin is rougher and not as formal appearing, but can serve double duty as a work glove or cool weather driving glove. I own and love both (along with a set of creepy-ass open knuckle gloves I only wear when I’m alone, kind of like this clown on the left).
Dan: Interesting choice, really cuts down the time having to “wipe down” a potential crime scene. My second suggestion is a Revolving Garage hoodie. Check out the new merch store here: https://www.revogarage.com/store
Christian: That was so shameless I’m almost embarrassed for you. (But not that embarrassed, here’s that link again: www.revogarage.com/store )
Dan: Ok, ok, my actual second suggestion is this electric air pump from Home Depot.
This is probably the best $32 I’ve spent for airing up tires. Between cars, campers, atvs, and bikes, I have a lot of tires to keep dialed in on air pressure. This thing is tiny and just a power house to get things inflated.
Chirstian: Nice one. Tires and proper tire pressure are probably the single most important thing in determining how a car rides, drives, and keeps us safe.
My second suggestion is also based on personal experience. I have had great results from a series of paint care products from a company called Zaino. Full transparency here, I started using these quite a long time ago, and some people think there are newer and better products out there. But I still get the results I want, with ease of use, so I’m still using Zaino.
My recommendation is to keep it simple. I would avoid the urge to get a complete pre-made kit with bucket, brush, towels etc… With a core product in hand, your car enthusiast can decide whether he or she wants to take a deep dive into all the products a particular supplier has to offer.
For paint care, I would buy the Zaino “All-in-one” (Z-AIO) which is a single application cleaner and synthetic sealant, and very easy to apply. Unlike traditional waxes, it protects for months. I apply about twice a year.
Another option: The Z-6 Gloss Enhancer is basically a detailing spray that is great for everything: cleaning spots, maintaining shine, doing wheels, trim, etc… This is like the windex of car washing.
Dan: Honestly, I didn’t do my homework. You go again while I quickly look up something else on my phone.
Christian: Well, that was honest. And I’m happy to keep talking.
My third suggestion is an expensive one. It’ll run you $1,200 or more, but it’s an awesome gift for anyone who likes to work on their car with a limited amount of space: A mobile/quick car lift. Some enthusiasts have the garage height and a wallet width to accommodate a full built in lift ($5,000 and up, with tall ceilings required). For the rest of us, mobile jacks slide under the car when you need them, and use hydraulic pressure to raise the car high enough to more conveniently manage many different types of repairs, maintenance, or detailing. They then store out of the way in a regular size garage.
One option for mobile/quick car lift is called Quick Jack. Note, you will need to know what car you are purchasing for (or at least whether it’s a sports car, medium car, or truck).
Dan: Solid suggestion. If we’re talking temporary lift options, I would really like the offering from MaxJax.
It’s a two post lift that goes to about 40 inches. The posts are bolted down in a fashion that they can be removed, and wheeled aside for storage. These are a bit more than the QuickJack, and it’s not something you can relocate easily (the bolts go into a threaded insert that you drill into your garage floor). These will run about $1,999.
Christian: Nice, I forgot about that one. Which reminds me of the time I forgot my pants at a Sonic drive-up and...
Dan: I’m going to jump the order here to suggest my last gift. These gift guides always have at least one absolutely ridiculous gift so I’m going to “shoot my shot” as the kids say, with two suggestions.
First, the full suite of Nurburgring driving academy courses from RSRNurburg. These include an upfront program to get to know the course before your visit, and various levels of learning, attacking, and racing the storied road course. All in, including travel, it would be somewhere in that $40,000 range. Quite the deal if Santa can’t quite spring for a Ferrari 458 Italia. Which brings me to my second Go Big or Stay Home idea:
A 2015 Ferrari 458 Italia! I’m not trying to be greedy here by asking for a Ferrari La Ferrari or anything, but I definitely have one of these 458s on my list to Santa. It’s the last model year of a true “end of an era” car for Ferrari - a high revving, naturally aspirated V8. If Santa was really being kind to me, the 458 would take a trip to European Auto Group in San Antonio, Texas for a manual transmission conversion. Sans manual conversion, these can be had for under $200,000.
Ok Christian, those were the two that I hope my wife reads (right after she discovers a multi-million dollar trust fund). Do you have any big swings to take on this list?
Christian: The only thing I’d add to your two last suggestions, other than a fire extinguisher, is that RSRNurburg has lots of different levels and options, none cheap, but it can be done for less than $40k, including simply renting your own rig for some self guided hot laps (starting at less than $300 for a handful of laps). The Nurburgring has gotta be high on the list of any car enthusiast.
For my last suggestion I was going to stay grounded, but if we’re really dreaming, I would have to say some sort of mesh crop top with the words “Pound Cake” on them. But then again, I already have one, so my totally unrealistic, never going to happen dream gift would be peace on earth. Oh boy, that sounded more sour and pessimistic than virtuous. Ok, one more try on a realistic gift:
Charcoal air fresheners. These don’t mask smells, they absorb them. They aren’t magic, but they work. Dan’s wife lent us one after riding in my wife’s car which smells like the underside of a dog’s tail and I was sold. I’m buying several as stocking stuffers this year. I particularly like the ones from California Home Goods.
Dan: Once last honorable mention from me - some Dickies coveralls. When working on a car, it is so nice to not get your clothes dirty. Whenever I do something at home beyond swapping winter/summer tires, I always end the job with a test drive. It is such a convenience to just peel off the coveralls and jump in the car versus going to change, or, *gasp* sitting in the car with dirty pants.
Christian: And you can get them monogrammed! Look for some Revo Garage logo coveralls in the merch store soon! www.revogarage.com/store