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These are the best gifts for the car enthusiast in your life

It’s that time of the year for merriness, camaraderie, and caving into the materialistic desires of a highly capitalistic culture! It’s the holiday season, and now is the time to snag some hot gifts for the car enthusiast in your life while the egg nog is fresh and Mariah Carey is still thawing from her stasis.

Are you considering surprising your gearhead (or yourself) with some trick new car parts? How about some unique and fashionable apparel? Or how about bits and bobs to make their average commute a little more forgiving? Because God forbid, they dare take their battered project car to work. Everything and more, tailored specifically for the geekier of hobbyists, can be found in our lovely little holiday gift guide at your disposal. 

Car parts

MBRP exhausts

MBRP Exhausts
Image credit: MBRP

MBRP is a budget-friendly exhaust manufacturer that makes just about any exhaust for nearly any vehicle, on or off-road. How can I be so sure of their worth? Because I rock them. My friends rock them. My old gig at an aftermarket retailer rocked them on shop cars. And they’re a strong value proposition, undercutting some rivals by hundreds of dollars. Although some consumers and a few friends reported some tinny raspiness on the most aggressive exhausts, the muffled systems my colleagues and I use are fairly civil and drone-free, with enough bark to remind us we have something special. Most retailers will sell some lineup of MBRP systems, including domestic-centric American Muscle or import-centric Speed Industry, for example. However, we’ve linked their site above to let you pinpoint exactly what car you’re looking for.

Powerstop brakes

Powerstop Brakes
Image credit: Amazon

Once again, harping on budget-friendly yet highly effective options, we have Powerstop brakes, the perfect upgrade for your street or canyon car that you can buy on Amazon, believe it or not. Among their hottest sellers and brakes I personally stand by as a fantastic budget performance option is their Extreme Z26 pad lineup, which includes carbon and ceramic in its composition to provide long-lasting performance that’s never let me down in spirited canyon runs. Those looking for even more capability under harsher driving conditions can opt for their Track Day pads, but note that they’re quite aggressive, as track pads often are, and will decimate any rotors that aren’t up to snuff with such performance levels.

Type-S lighting kits

Type S Lighting Kit
Image credit: Type S Auto

Just because Halloween is over doesn’t mean you still can’t rock that Spooky Shreds aesthetic. A longtime sponsor of Formula D and a big player in reviving interest in underglow, you can grab a set online or at nearly any Autozone. The Formula DRIFT full car kit linked above comes complete with light strips for all sides, plus app connectivity for setting your mood lighting on the fly. Customers frequently commend the sheer brightness and numerous lighting modes at a fairly decent value, but some concerns have been raised over hardware quality and waterproofing. And their universal application may require modification for installation on some cars. But, I mean, come on. Does this not look awesome, or what? Get a little goofy and have some fun with something like this. 

Car enthusiast accessories

GT//Rotors 4-keychain set

GT Keychain Set
Image credit: Amazon

Behold, the cheapest thing on this guide by a sizable margin and one you can hand out to all your car buddies. This keychain set includes a gunmetal wheel, a brake caliper with an actual spinning rotor that tragically has no ventilation for Stuart Little’s upcoming GP race, an adjustable wrench, and one of those trendy turbo whistle keychains. Yes, it reportedly functions as advertised. You blow into it, the impeller spins and generates what a few reviewers described as an obnoxious, high-pitched whine. Did anyone expect anything different? Come on, now. Enjoy this cheap and cheerful gift idea, but be wary of products reportedly getting damaged or missing during shipping or transit.  

BRIDE JDM bi-fold wallet

BRIDE Wallet
Imade credit: Amazon

Here’s another affordable option and one for the JDM merch fans! I actually own this BRIDE wallet after purchasing it weeks ago at GRIDLIFE Laguna, and it proved to be a surprisingly robust and accommodating successor to my janky, old leather wallet, with plenty of space for cards and IDs while still having leftover pockets. And while it’s no Ridge wallet, it’s slim enough to be far less intrusive in my pants pockets than any wallet I’ve had. Any fan of the brand or JDM car culture will be quite pleased with this offering for the $15 or so that it costs. Just know that while it’s not as thick, it is “taller.” It’s better for concealing cards and cash with nothing sticking out, but smaller pants pockets may find it hard to get along with.

Samsonite lumbar support pillow

Samsonite pillow
Image credit: Amazon

Don’t look at me like I’m some geriatric weenie. This is as handy to office drones and 9-to-5 commuters as it is to those who took “fuck it, we ball” to heart when purchasing those racing buckets. Fill the void in your project car’s lackluster comfort with this portable lumbar pillow by Samsonite. The memory foam and mesh construction make it light, plush, and breathable, while the wrap-around strap enables its use in nearly any seat, whether in-office or in-car. It can also be paired with various Samsonite comfort accessories like neck pillows or bottom cushions. Perfect for when the regret of snagging those eBay bucket seats finally hits.

Car enthusiast apparel

Simply Carbon Fiber fashion accessories

Simply Carbon Fiber Watch
Image credit: Simply Carbon Fiber

If you’re the type of person to check every carbon option box on the BMW or Porsche configurator, this is the brand for you. Cave into your addiction with Simply Carbon Fiber lifestyle and fashion accessories, ranging from a broad selection of – you guessed it – carbon goods, from wallets and sunglasses to watches. Yes, watches. And they actually look quite nice for a great price, with three different styles ranging from 40mm to 42mm dials. And while we have them listed here under apparel for their impressive selection of tastefully styled goods, they also provide plenty of other goods that’d be right at home under accessories like car phone mounts, phone cases, and chargers. 

Blipshift t-shirts

Blipshift shirts
Image credit: Blipshift

Here’s a kickass offering that’s been slinging apparel for car enthusiasts of all calibers for many years. Blipshift is a collection of various art submissions brought to life through your choice of shirts, sweaters, and more. And when I say car enthusiasts of all calibers, I mean it. This is a brand for all, regardless of your taste or age. It’s not brand-centric or JDM-centric or domestic-centric. It’s just gearhead stuff for nearly any gearhead. Want a cutesy Miata shirt? Or one with old F1 cars? Or how about a Ram pickup, if that’s your jam? If it’s on Blipshift’s calendar of constantly-circulating designs, then there you go. Their print quality is fairly robust and long-lasting, as my BMW M shirt from Blipshift has lasted roughly 11 years with minimal wear and tear. 

Hoonigan t-shirts

Hoonigan censor bar shirt
Image credit: Amazon

Can’t talk car merch without the OGs, whose name is now as synonymous with gear and apparel as it is with their racing team. Nothing too extravagant. Nothing too outlandish. Just plain, simple shirt designs like this censor bar logo listed on Amazon. Of the various bits of merch I’ve acquired from many different brands, these are among the handful that actually fit true to size with no second-guessing on whether a medium may run smaller or larger than anticipated. One complaint I do have is that their colored logos on other shirts may fade easier in the washer than similar shirts from different brands, but that could just be solved with extra care and attention come laundry day.

Tuned In Tokyo t-shirts

Tuned In Tokyo Shirt
Image credit: Tuned In Tokyo

Tuned In Tokyo seems to have stormed onto the car scene with great success, constantly rolling out new designs and becoming increasingly common at auto shows and car meets. For those who love far more elaborate designs, especially those heavily influenced by JDM car culture and Asian-American streetwear, there’s plenty to like about this brand. Just take their reportedly top-notch shirts and prints with a big fat asterisk, as many customers in prior years have reported delays in shipping with minimal updates on when items will be shipped or restocked if backordered. The items have been well-received for quality and aesthetic appeal but are offset by the company’s shaky customer service. However, if you’re willing to play the gamble, know it’d be far-fetching to find other apparel like this elsewhere.

Donut Media t-shirts

Donut Media shirt
Image credit: Donut Media

In tandem with Hoonigan, Donut Media is now a top-shelf competitor for car merch, catering to dedicated fans of the media brand with self-referencing shirt designs and project car tributes. Suppose you ever wanted shirts and other apparel with catchphrases from that loud dude who taught us about our favorite childhood icons in 10-to-15-minute bursts. In that case, this is your move. An interesting observation with Donut apparel is that my colored Boost Creeps shirt appears to have faded significantly less than my Hoonigan censor bar shirt, so props to whatever materials go in every product. I will say that with Donut merch being self-referential, appeal to non-fans may be limited aside from a few car-specific items, like this EJ boxer engine shirt.

Car enthusiast gaming

Logitech G923 racing wheel and pedals

Logitech G923
Image credit: Amazon

The Logitech G923 frequently finds itself on numerous buying guides and “best items” lists for a good reason, likely the same reasons it’s now mentioned here. It’s a damn fine sim wheel setup at a reasonable price, enabling you to get a jump on an eSports career without totally breaking the bank. It’s not specific to a console, enabling its use for both Xbox and Playstation and can be purchased by itself or paired with a manual shifter for added involvement beyond the standard paddle shifters. Other neat tidbits include leather upholstery and metal pedals, a gear-type steering system with force feedback, and programmable launch control. At roughly $350, it’s frequently praised for its strong value, featureful standard equipment list, and robust build quality, even for an alleged “beginner’s” sim wheel setup. 

Playseat Trophy Logitech G Edition sim racing cockpit

Playseat Logitech Edition
Image credit: Amazon

This Playseat Trophy Logitech G Edition aims to deliver a proper experience compared to the simpler, cookie-cutter designs. Yes, it sits at a fairly lofty price point when the more generic setups can ring in at less than half the price. But I’d argue the Playseat Trophy proves its worth through its side bolstering, contoured seat shape, and angled seat bottom, which would better convey the sensation of an actual racing bucket. The adjustable pedal plate allows you to place your legs and feet right where you want them, while its slim profile and small size make it easier to store. Customers acclaim this product for its sturdy build and little-to-no perceivable shake or play, although a few have wished for quicker adjustment methods instead of the standard screw-type adjustments. Users over six feet tall may also find themselves pushing the limits of a comfortable driving position. 

Car enthusiast literature

Go Like Hell by A.J. Baime

Go Like Hell w AJ Baime
Image credit: Amazon

You’ve probably heard this title tossed around since Ford V. Ferrari dropped in theaters a few years ago. Well, here’s the book that inspired it, based on the same true story of Carroll and Ken versus the world. As expected for having influenced the movie, Go Like Hell has been acclaimed for taking what can easily appear to be an all-business affair between automakers and telling its tale in a way that truly highlights the heroes and villains, bringing to light the motivations, trials, and tribulations behind those involved in one of automotive history’s most iconic legends. 

How To Build A Car by Adrian Newey

How To Build A Car w Adrian Newey
Image credit: Amazon

A star highlight from Sheilah’s guide to Formula 1 literature, How To Build A Car is a worthwhile read that has seen its fair share of public exposure and discussion. While it does delve into the individuals involved, like Go Like Hell, this book focuses more on the technical know-how that goes into building one of the fastest, most fiercely competitive race cars on the planet. Spoiler alert: it’s not easy. The behind-the-scenes tech dives are often noted as a little hard to digest for those who aren’t as mechanically inclined, but it still makes for a riveting book. And do yourself a favor and buy the physical hardcover copy. It’d look fan-freaking-tastic on your coffee table or desk. 

Road & Track Crew’s Big & Fast Cars by Dan Bova, R&T editorial team

Road & Track book
Image credit: Amazon

So. Uh. They say this is for kids. But you bet your ass I want a copy for myself. In keeping with Road & Track’s transition into a glitzier lifestyle magazine in recent years comes some gearhead geekery that the youngins can clamor over. Keep them occupied this winter with over 700 facts and countless photos of the latest and greatest cars, teaching them various facts from how cars have four wheels to what horsepower and engine configurations mean (yes, I’m serious). And it all comes slapped together in a chic manner evocative of the magazine it hails from. Heck, you might even want to borrow it when your kids aren’t looking.

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Shop the best Prime Day bargains on car wax to truly make your ride sparkle

A practice as ancient as the martial arts: waxing. No car detailing job is complete with some good old-fashioned wax. Whether it’s that thick, goopy stuff out of a tub or that quick-and-easy magic sauce in a spray bottle, a good car wax can add a layer of protection and shine to your car that you never knew you were capable of adding. And as much as I personally hate washing cars, I do love the satisfaction of watching that wax sparkle like diamonds once it’s said and done. So, with Amazon Prime Day deals still ongoing at the time of writing, do yourself a favor and treat your car’s paint to some car wax at a great price. Your clear coat will thank you later.

Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Liquid Wax | 49% off

Meguiar's Car Wax
Image: Amazon

Although not explicitly listed as a Prime Big Deal, it sure as heck should be. At a mere $15 when writing, this top-notch liquid wax from a big-name legacy brand slashes nearly half off its original sticker price for the same great quality. This 16-ounce bottle is loaded with Meguiar’s hybrid ceramic formula, reportedly good for long-lasting protection, excellent water-beading, and a glistening shine we yearn for so much in a good car wax. Numerous gilded reviews praising its ability to make good on its claims make it one of the most acclaimed detailing products on Amazon.

Meguiar’s Waterless Wash & Wax | 49% off

Meguiar's Car Wax
Image: Amazon

For those who live and die by “Ain’t nobody got time for that,” Meguiar’s Waterless Wash & Wax is a great on-sale solution for those who put bandaids over stab wounds. Kidding! But in all seriousness, there’s nothing wrong with a quality quick detailer in a pinch, especially when your ride’s a little dusty at the car show, and you just need to give it a rapid, wax-like sparkle in seconds. No water is necessary, the clear coat remains protected while bolstering any existing wax, and Meguiar’s claims it’s also safe for use on chromes, plastics, and glass.

Aerolon Tech Shine Ceramic Polymer Car Wax | 20% off

Aerolon Car Wax
Image: Amazon

Here’s an oddball choice by an oddball brand. Aerolon’s Tech Shine Ceramic Polymer is the perfect choice for car nerds. Or bikes. Or boats. Or planes. Or just about everything in between. Being an Air Guardsman, I can infer that “aircraft grade” likely means higher strength and concentration to ensure the integrity of the wax layer when exposed to freezing ambient temps, the heat of the engines, or immense speeds. It reportedly won’t deliver show-stopping, Concours-level shine, but it’ll certainly take care of that clear coat for a long time. So, if you’re looking for a reliable shine for your 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse or your P-51D Mustang warbird, this is the liquid wax for you.

Turtle Wax Hybrid Ceramic Spray Coating | 18% off

Turtlewax Car Wax
Image: Amazon

Here’s a take on the popular spray wax formula by the legacy wax brand that literally has it in its name. Its hybrid formula provides a trustworthy barrier against water and grime and can reportedly last up to six months between applications. Akin to quick detailers and wash-and-waxes, it’s also safe for use on chromes, plastics, and glass. And dare I say, it’s a heck of a deal right now at less than $14 per 16-ounce bottle. Normal pricing still sits at a budget-friendly $17.

Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Graphene Paste Wax |
20% off

Turtlewax Car Wax
Image: Amazon

Ah, we can’t have a car wax round-up without ever featuring one for the traditionalists who value the potency and superiority of old-school paste wax. Miyagi would be proud to smear this on this fleet on classic Americarna. Long popular for liquid and sprays, this paste now features a hybrid ceramic and graphene formula for enhanced UV protection and slickness that will make an afternoon of waxing on and waxing off worth its weight in spades. 

Chemical Guys Hydro Slick Ceramic Coating Hyperwax | 19% off

Chemical Guys car wax
Image: Amazon

The hot new name on the market strikes back with their hot-ticket ceramic car wax. And boy, does that bottle look good sitting on a shelf next to some Pit Vipers and the keys to a C4 ZR-1. Chemical Guys claims to have introduced the first-ever “hyperwax,” with unmatched protection, slickness, and shine with its silicone dioxide gel-based formula. And most intriguing of all, it’s claimed to be safe for all surfaces, including glass and chromes. Given Chemical Guys’ strong track record of highly effective products, I have no reason to doubt them, and neither should you.

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prime day toy cars feature

Hurry and shop toy cars with awesome Amazon Prime Day bargains for the young enthusiast in your life

Who doesn’t love some toy cars to fan the flames of your passion? As car people, we’ve long been fervent collectors from birth, and we always will be until death. Or, perhaps there’s a tot in your life you want to gaslight into walking the path of burning rubber and sonorous tailpipes. Either way, Acceleramota has you covered! It’s Spooky Month, which means the holiday season is just around the corner, so it’s time to take advantage of Amazon and their Prime Day deals to snag the kids – or yourself –  some rad toy cars to make the autumn months just a little more fun. 

Toy cars for the builders

Lego Speed Champions McLaren Solus GT & F1 LM | 16% off

Lego Speed Champions McLaren
Image credit: Amazon

An Amazon’s Choice winner and a mega car nerd special, here’s one for the McLaren fanatic! Snap together millions of dollars of McLaren history condensed into $30 of plastic bricks. As with other Speed Champions sets, this is a beautiful display of McLaren’s old and new flagships, the Solus GT track day special and the one-of-two F1 LM supercar. Oh, and two minifigures to boot, minifigures that look like they’re having a grand ol’ time.

Lego Speed Champions Mercedes-AMG W12 E Performance & Project One | 17% off

Lego Speed Champions Mercedes-AMG
Image credit: Amazon

Now, here’s what I’d like to call a Sheilah Special. For the young F1 fans out there or just fans of Mercedes in general, this Speed Champions set honors Mercedes-AMG’s current efforts on both the road and track. This set features a beautifully shrunken-down reimagining of the W12 E Performance Formula 1 car and the Project One (now called ONE) hypercar it inspired, complete with swappable wheel caps and two drivers. 

Lego Technic McLaren Senna GTR | 20% off

Lego Senna GTR
Image credit: Amazon

Time to get a little more technical. Part of a lower echelon in Lego’s more advanced Technic line, this is perhaps their most accurate car model, as the real Senna features just as many cuts, gaps, and holes as a Technic car. The construction nearly matches the body of a real Senna GTR, complete with a moving mid-mounted V8 and functional steering.

Lego Technic Sián FKP 37 | 16% off

Lego Technic Lamborghini Sian
Image credit: Amazon

The pièce de résistance of any Lego car collector. This nearly 3,700-piece 1:8 model of Lamborghini’s supercapacitor hybrid supercar is among their line of top-shelf, premium sets. From the replica center-lock wheels to the functional scissor doors and mini luggage bag, this set is perfect for the builder looking for the next big challenge. 

Toy cars for the collectors

Hot Wheels Exotics Madness random 5-pack

Hot Wheels supercars
Image credit: Amazon

Here’s a cheap and cheerful way to satisfy the inner car nerd while filling up that empty face on a desk or shelf. This randomized assortment will include any five of Hot Wheels’ array of licensed supercars. Anything’s game, from classic supercars like the McLaren F1 or Bugatti EB110 to modern hypercars like the Pagani Huayra. In an age where many specialty Hot Wheels models sticker for several dollars more just for one car, this assortment pack is an excellent way to build the collection without breaking the bank.

Hot Wheels Fast & Furious 5-pack

Hot Wheels Fast & Furious pack
Image credit: Amazon

Continuing the trend of affordable collectibility, here’s a 5-pack treat for any fans of that one wacky and convoluted car/heist movie series. This car pack spans multiple films in the franchise, from the first film’s iconic Charger R/T and Supra to even the divisive Tokyo Drift RB26-swapped Ford Mustang.

Toy cars for the drivers

Best Choice 12V Kids Ride-On Truck

Totally not a Jeep Wrangler from Amazon
Image credit: Amazon

Ah yes. The very obvious Jeep Wrangler for the tiny off-roader in your life. Because, I mean, seriously. You don’t really have a choice in buying this for anyone else other than your kids. Although, you’re more than welcome to wedge yourself in for our amusement. Complete with functional doors, a Bluetooth radio, and a seatbelt, this ride-on electric truck can be piloted by your child or by you via the included remote control!

Kidzone 12V Ride-On Lamborghini Aventador SV | $20 off

Ride-on Aventador SV
Image credit: Amazon

For future supercar hype beasts, this licensed Aventador makes good on its premium price tag with actual, hydraulically-assisted scissor doors and two speed settings. It also comes in your choice of eight vivid colors and includes a USB stereo system… for some reason. Like the not-a-Jeep-Wrangler above, parents have the choice of commandeering their kid’s joyride via a remote control.

Toy cars for the Prime Day deal hunters

Hot Wheels Total Turbo Takeover track set | $10 off

Hot Wheels Turbo Takeover set
Image credit: Amazon

Take yourself or your kiddos back to your youth of scaled-down cartoonish drag racing with the Total Turbo Takeover play set. Watch as your overpriced collector’s Hot Wheels you snagged at a Cars N’ Coffee is catapulted around a bend, through the loop, and into the odd choice of Indiana Jones-style traps. I don’t think this track layout makes sense, but neither did the logic in the Hot Wheels movies, yet 7-year-old me thought those were the coolest races to hit TV. So take a little trip back down memory lane. 

Kidami Die-Cast Toy Cars 5-pack | $12 off

die cast toy car 5-pack
Image credit: Amazon

Remember the stand at the corner of the toy aisle in every Wal-Greens pharmacy or Smith’s grocery store? Yeah, help yourself to a pack of those at a great price! At a time when one single car from those stands can ring in anywhere between $15 to $30, you can snag this five-pack of unlicensed badgeless replicas for the cost of one with current sale pricing. Not the most detailed selection of model cars, but they’re pretty dang close. I don’t think the kids will mind. 

12V Kids Ride-On Car | $20 off

Totally not a G-Wagon on Amazon
Image credit: Amazon

Currently undercutting our other ride-on cars due to a massive sale, this totally-not-a-Mercedes-G-Wagon offers much of the same features for less! Your tots can enjoy the auxiliary stereo system, elevated ride height, and, perhaps best of all, an interior actually modeled to resemble the real G-Wagon’s dashboard and center stack. Not a bad touch for something you’ll never fit in.

SASBSC Maserati MC20 Light-Up & Pull-Back Model Car | $5 off

diecast Maserati MC20 model
Image credit: Amazon

Here’s an exciting one! Haven’t seen a pull-back car with functional lights since 2 Fast 2 Furious was new, but this Maserati MC20 die-cast is certainly cooler than the plastic Honda Civic I had with the same features. This 1:32-scale model is constructed fully out of metal, complete with functional lights, its own display stand, and working doors, frunk, and engine cover.

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