Buying a gift for a petrolhead is easier said than done. There are so many wrong choices you could make, but fear not - we have 10 solid suggestions in our car lover’s gift guide. Whether you’re looking for a present for someone else or need some inspiration for your wish list, these are all solid bets.
There are some affiliate links in this post, so if click and buy something at the other end, we’ll earn a small commission to put towards CT editor in chief Alex’s next protein powder purchase. It won’t change how much you pay or affect our ability to tell you if a product is decent or terrible.
So, without further ado:
Lego’s earlier Speed Champions sets all had one thing in common: they didn’t look anything like the real cars they were based on. Happily, the Danish toymaker has made them a little wider, going from six to eight studs across.
The results are… still pretty mixed, actually, but the boxy Audi Sport quattro S1 rally car is the ideal car for the Speed Champions treatment. Looks great, doesn’t it? At £18, it won’t break the bank either.
Project Cars 3 may have been nudged towards the arcade end of the racing game spectrum, but that does make it a lot more accessible than the previous two entries. With a virtual garage of 200 cars and 140 tracks to race them on, there’s plenty to keep you occupied while waiting for the delayed Gran Turismo 7.
We featured this in our Christmas gift guide, but it’s so cool we’re going to talk about it again. Tamiya’s 1/10-scale R/C cars are the stuff of legend, and the Japanese company wasted no time in making its own version of the Toyota GR Yaris in this form.
It sits on a ‘T-05’ chassis, meaning the mini GR Yaris front-wheel drive rather than all-wheel drive like the real thing. But hey, at £120 for the basic kit, it’s a damn sight cheaper than a full-size GR Yaris. Bundles that include all the stuff you need to get going (controllers, batteries etc) start at £185.
If you’re working on an older car, you’ll likely be undoing nuts that haven’t been undone in years. The job that was supposed to take half an hour can be drawn out dramatically when inevitably one or two of these refuse to budge, which is why an impact wrench is a good thing to have in the garage.
This cordless Ryobi impact wrench is £159. It has a 1/2” square drive, with a 1/4” adaptor included. So you can actually see what you’re doing while working underneath a car and in low light conditions, it has a trio of LED lights dotted around the head.
You can’t beat the feel (and the smell) of a printed magazine, and if you’re into fast, noisy things there’s one mag worth subscribing to above all others - evo magazine. evo takes the thrill of driving seriously, meaning every month readers are treated to a drool-worthy feast of performance cars from the past and present, laid out over 150 or so pages of automotive loveliness.
You can get your hands on the next three issues for just £5. Yep, all that reading material for the cost of a low-tier McDonald’s meal. Or you could take advantage of the rolling subscription and save 20 per cent, and as a bonus, you or your loved one will receive a free A3 evo poster book worth £25. Free stuff FTW.
A comprehensive socket set is the ultimate weapon in a petrolhead’s garage. Get a good one and keep it all together, and it’ll last for years while seeing you through myriad project cars, home services and more. We’ve always rated the Halfords Advanced sets highly - CT editor in chief Alex and I have each owned one for more than 10 years.
The £130 100-piece set covers most bases, but there are also 150, 175 and 200-piece versions available.
Believe it or not, there’s a company that makes shoes specifically designed to make heel and toe downshifts easier. Taking inspiration from the company’s race boots, the entries in Piloti’s more casual footwear range feature something called ‘Roll Control 2.0’ which “evenly distributes force throughout the heel for essential support and smooth pedal box transitions”. A wide variety of designs are available, including a set of loafers for the full Ayrton Senna experience.
We were eying up a neat pen holder made from a real 911 Carrera tailpipe (top image) until we spotted that it cost an absurd £205. However, if you know a Porsche lover, there are more affordable ways to help them indulge their affection for sports cars with engines in the wrong place.
This neat 911 Carrera ice cube tray is much more affordable at £13, and is apparently also “suitable for making pralines”. It’s almost as versatile as a real 911.
Ratchet combination spanners are a bit of an indulgence, making them ideal gift fodder. They’re handy things to have in your tool chest for those tricky-to-reach places, like a tight engine bay housing a comically large V8.
These Wera ratcheting combination spanners have a neat captive design on the non-ratchet, open-ended side to make it easier to seat. They’re not especially cheap with a starting price of £17.39 for a single wrench, but they look to be great quality. Sizes range from 8mm to 19mm.
It wouldn’t be a CT petrolhead gift guide without some shameless self-promotion. And sure enough, we have just the thing from the Car Throttle Shop. From our huge range of T-shirts is this stylish number featuring the now-iconic phrase ‘Pretty Much A Racing Driver’. The perfect gift for anyone who thinks very highly of their driving, it costs £17.99 and is available in six colours and five sizes.