Ahh, 2020, a year that held so much promise after a fairly dismal 2019. It was a year we all looked forward to as a year of growth, improvement and job security. It has delivered precisely none of those things, slapping us all around like a category 5 hurricane that’s just gone through a warehouse stacked high with giant foam hands.
With just a month to go before Santa starts pulling on his woollens for his annual pan-global present drop, in an effort to help him swat away the year’s misery we’ve put together a roller-coaster of a Christmas gift guide with some examples of the best, most elaborate and slightly iffy options for your car-obsessed loved ones this festive season.
There are a few affiliate links in this article, and if you click through and make a purchase we might get a few coppers thrown into our frosty December purse, but that doesn’t affect how much you pay or change the fact that we can still freely mock true Yuletide tat.
But not just any old socks. These are a far cry from the plain grey ones your ever-practical mum has bought you before. These are socks in iconic WRC liveries, spanning the yellow, grey and orange of the Audi Quattro, the Martini red, white and blues worn by the Lancia Delta Integrale, a similar-coloured but very different design inspired by the Group B Peugeot 205 T16, and of course the 555 blue and yellow markings from the McRae-era classic Subaru Impreza. Your feet will thank you, although at £5 each or £32 (€35) for four in a presentation box, they’re not cheap. If you’re really into these, there’s also a mixed box of 25 wider motorsport-themed pairs for £160…
We just had to squeeze some shameless self-promotion in nice and early. Sorry. We really think you’ll like this, though: an appeal for information about that most frequently absent of tools, the 10mm socket. Those Houdini-esque little buggers just don’t want to stay put. The struggle is real, and now you can honour it with a best-selling £17.99 torso cover in a choice of seven colours across sizes small to XXL.
Let’s imagine a crazy set of circumstances where you don’t own or operate a Porsche-based racing team. What are you going to do with all those spare centre-locks we all have lying around? Porsche has already found the answer – turn them into wine bottle stoppers, of course! That’s right: you too could keep your vino fresh through multiple sittings thanks to this weighty little number, priced at £35. Best when not dropped on toes.
Alright, so this exquisitely (or at least expensively) crafted Bentley fountain pen is actually a fiver short of £1000, but we liked the alliteration in the sub-heading. With an 18-carat gold nib, an iridium tip, pieces of platinum, knurled ends inspired by Bentley gear knobs and a wooden barrel made of ebony, this is an extremely fine way to sign your name. Each individual pen is actually ‘run-in’ by its makers so that it’s ready for your Extremely Important Business. If you’re feeling poor after a tough 2020, there’s also a basic-looking ‘Centenary’ fountain pen for, err, £530.
One thing we can’t describe as exquisitely crafted is the unfortunate Lego Speed Champions Ferrari F8 Tributo, which looks more like a red Ford GT with bad crash damage. Around £28 buys you this 275-piece build with instructions provided in English, French, Danish, German and Spanish. Model-specific stickers provide headlights and badges. Not recommended for those under 7, presumably because looking at it could give them nightmares.
Know anyone who’s gaga for the cars in James Bond films? This incredibly detailed collectors’ edition book, called Bond Cars: The Definitive History, comes from seasoned motoring journo Jason Barlow and contains not just original call sheets, technical drawings and storyboards as mapped by the films’ producers, but also previously unpublished photography and exclusive interviews. Inside the £35.61 luxo-book there’s input from the films’ makers and even from Daniel Craig; arguably the fourth-best Bond. Third if you’ve accidentally forgotten about Timothy Dalton.
One of the best titles in the long-running Need for Speed franchise was 2010’s Hot Pursuit. Ten years later there’s a reboot with up-to-date graphics, more cars and an even better gameplay experience. It’s currently yours on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, and is backwards compatible with next-gen consoles. You can get the game for an RRP of £35.
Struggling to find enough spare change to land yourself or a (very valued) friend a Toyota GR Yaris? Never fear, because Tamiya has stepped up to the plate with a 372mm, front-wheel drive alternative. Riding on four 25mm-wide tyres beneath double-wishbone suspension and with a motor mounted in a front-mid layout for good weight distribution, this £119 tarmac terrier is a rapid and handsome way to get your GR thrills on a relative budget. Just don’t get carried away and/or attempt to make the cat ride it. Kits are available with controllers, batteries and everything else you need.
We can’t all have a new Porsche for Christmas, but there are impressively ridiculous alternatives if you’ve still got big money to spend. Check out this handsome(ly priced) 911 Soundbar Black Edition. Yes, that’s right, you can have a high-quality soundbar with a decorative Porsche 911 exhaust on top, all painted black. Imagine popping that beneath your 50-inch widescreen and being obliged to explain it to every guest you ever have. You’ll pay £2950 for the privilege, or if you’re happy with a bare metal version it’s a mere £2400. There’s also a £295 option – sound the bargain klaxon – in the shape of a twin-exit Bluetooth speaker, this time only mimicking the style of a 911 exhaust.
GoPro has released the Hero 9 Black this year to reviews as warm as a mulled wine. The in-camera stabilisation is incredible in action, while there’s a bigger battery, a second colour display and video recording in up to 5k. The GoPro is the go-to action cam for most adventure seekers and track day bros, and while it’s not cheap, at £330 with a year’s subscription to the company’s add-ons, it’s a one-stop shop for next-level video edits.
Alfa Romeo goes big on carbonfibre. The fanfare around the heavily encarbonated 4C was almost – but not quite – enough to distract from the slightly disappointing four-cylinder engine. Alfa’s carbon know-how may or may not have directly influenced this skeletal, sleek-AF downhill skateboard, or longboard if you insist. Within the naked carbon is a red Alfa-style cross, with two brushed aluminium plates with Alfa branding. It’s a lovely-looking thing befitting of Alfa Romeo’s carbon programme, and it’s yours for the unbefittingly weighty price of £1041.
The ordering process for a new Bentley is a wonderful thing. The price it commands is not. If you can’t afford the full thing but you really must have that experience once in your life then behold: Bentley will sell you a 1:8-scale model of a 2018 Continental GT with “immaculately faithful” detail. To be more accurate, this is a model you don’t just buy: you commission it. There’s a vast options list in line with the real, amazing Bentley configurator, and the finished item takes 20 weeks to be built. This 780mm luxury is possibly the most incredible car model you’ll ever buy, and it costs less than one twentieth of the price of the real thing, at £6995.
Websites are great and all, but you can’t beat the feel (and the smell) of a printed magazine. And for the petrolhead in your life, there’s one mag worth subscribing to above all others - CT’s sister title evo. Every month readers are treated to a drool-worthy feast of exciting cars from the past and present, laid out over 150 or so pages of automotive loveliness.
The price of having all that posted through your loved one’s letterbox every month? A mere £24.99 for six months saving 16 per cent off the cover price, or 12 months for £45.99 saving 23 per cent.