It’s Black Friday this week and in America (yes, we know this isn’t America) this tends to mark the start of the Christmas shopping frenzy. But is Christmas the same as it was with us all going out on a cold and often snowy Saturday in December to buy loved ones a present or two. Indeed, is Black Friday even the same as it was a few years ago? But regardless of our take on nostalgia, Christmas still exists and most of us still buy each other presents.
But, many of us, and we speak from the mouth here, really do find seeking out those Christmas presents a bit of a challenge. In fact, one or two of us here at Autoaid have been known to leave it until Christmas Eve.
So, we have had a chat in our office and have devised what we think is the essential ‘top 10’ Christmas gifts for a Car and/or Bike (read ‘petrolhead’) enthusiast. In reverse order (of what we’d quite fancy ourselves and excluding a new car or bike or heavy duty upgrades like a turbo/exhaust or new engine etc…):
10/ Car mats. We’ve all got them but by gosh, these get dirty and deformed VERY quickly. If you have pets or have a regular smoker in the car, they also retain a smell sometimes. You can get these from main dealers for original spec mats for newer vehicles, or a host of aftermarket companies can supply varying quality replacements, often far superior to what the carf would have originally been supplied with.
9/ There’s been a resurgence of nostalgia for sure during Covid and in regard to car accessories, the original ‘Feu Orange’ Traffic Light air freshener is about as nostalgic as you can get. These great smelling original air fresheners from the late 80’s and early 90’s are now a highly prized piece of automobilia with new, old stock in original packaging now selling for as much as £50 per air freshener on some auction sites. There are more modern copies too, which still look good, but any recipient who learnt to drive from 1985 – 1995 will appreciate this ‘drive’ back down nostalgia avenue for sure.
8/ Car polish/wax gift set. Back in the day, this was a regular gift under the Christmas tree for ‘Dad’ along with a chamois leather (remember that ‘smell’?!) In 2021, there are literally hundreds of car accessory ‘brands’ available from your local car accessory store to online. The big word for 2021 is ‘ceramic’ but look for ‘SI02’ too.
7/ Car branded accessories. This used to be just for the posh and big brand car manufacturers but again, thanks to ‘online’, it’s pretty easy to pick up something, even for older vehicles, with your make or model of car stamped on it from umbrellas, pens, touches, and even complete baggage kits designed to fit your boot space precisely!
6/ Stereo upgrade. These are evolving year on year and whilst owners of newer cars now have integrated entertainment systems built in, those of us still driving around in not quite so new jalopies don’t have the big screens integrating stereo, sat nav and reverse cameras etc. If your recipient drives a REALLY old vehicle, there are some great retro design car stereos designed to look similar to the old-fashioned original head units, but with USB, Bluetooth and phone connectivity.
5/ Track day voucher. Ok, we admit, this costs more than the average air freshener but if you have that ‘special someone’ constantly cooing over a certain British F1 driver, or thinking they know how to take the racing line through corners, a track day would be their chance to prove it. These needn’t be as expensive as you think with vouchers starting at less than £50 and varying from a few laps in a supercar with an instructor, to taking one’s own car out for several sessions across the course of the day. All the big tracks like Brands and Silverstone offer these, but look too at the likes of Castle Coombe where some of our own team have had some great track time.
4/ A professional ‘detail’. Let’s clear one thing up here though. A valet is NOT a detail. A detail, as the name suggests, its where the ‘detailer’ will spend many, many hours removing wheels, sometimes even trim, and masking up to get one’s car looking like it had just left the factory. Not cheap this though, again quoting our friends in America ‘a $30 dollar car wash adds $300 to the value of your car’. Caveat: this won’t cost you $30.
3/ A ‘ceramic coating’. We’re getting into the big presents now. This is almost the full bhuna. Any self-respecting petrolhead will become slightly weak at the knees at the thought of a professional coating for their car. Put simply, a ceramic coat can be applied after paint correction and a proper detail to protect the paint from chips and scratches and colouration deformities for often a number of years. Beware of those offering cheap ceramic coatings; the cost of decent quality coatings alone can be expensive and then there’s labour to apply them. Often, a vehicle will be required to cure overnight too. Great gift though. We’d buy this for ourselves.
2/ Car related office furniture. Here at Autoaid, we are owned by RCIB, and RCIB have been involved in sponsoring British Touring Car Racing team and drivers at Laser Tools Racing for a number of years. This is a seat they sell (Laser Tools Racing) which gives any race fan extra BHP for his or her daily tasks. Other race brands and even car brands are available if you search hard enough.
1/ What greater gift could you give to a car or bike enthusiast that shows you live and care for them and their safety and which doesn’t cost a lot and can even cover the older cars and bikes for a slight increase in premium, than a year’s membership of Autoaid. Seriously. £59.99 to £74.99. For a year. That’s 12 months of giving and love…