by Paul Williams

With Christmas just around the corner, an automotive gift is high on the
list for many people. Car buffs live in hope that this year, someone will
recognize their passion and get them something other than a pair of socks.

Or at least, get a pair of socks with cars on them.

If you can’t find those, here are some other suggestions.

Car buffs typically like cars from their teens. If your car buff is a
teenager, or slightly beyond, they probably like modern, modified, hi-tech
cars that you don’t. A subscription to Import Tuner or Sport Compact Car
will be appreciated. Max Power and Redline are popular, too. Even a package
containing the current issue of each will be an inexpensive and welcome
gift. Throw in a copy each of the Toronto Asian and European Auto Traders
(available at the Auto Trader office on Gladstone Avenue in Ottawa) and
they’ll think you’re way cool.

Ind Glo
Continuing with the younger crowd, but for those that actually own cars,
Team Street Glow had just introduced neon pedals. You know, for your clutch,
brake and accelerator. These things actually light up, and come in nine
exotic colors and three finishes. They fit both automatics and standards,
can be viewed online at, and can be ordered at 1-800-935-6366. Neon pedals start at US$69.99.

The “teen years” rule of thumb continues for those in their 30s, 40s, 50s
and beyond. Take a trip to Toys ‘R Us, do the math, and you’ll find some
excellent one-eighteenth scale die-cast cars representing vehicles back to
the 1950s. Burago, Maisto, Sun Star, Ertl and Hot Wheels are the makers
you’ll find, with impressively detailed products in the $35.00 price range.
One will be a fine gift for the kid-at-heart.

If you want something really exclusive, go online to
and order one of their limited edition, one-eighteenth scale, Exact Detail
series of cars. They specialize in Mustang GT-350s and early Camaros. At
US$79.95 plus shipping, these are for the connoisseur Baby Boomer, but worth
the money. See the cars on their website and order at 1-800-772-2682.

For those with long commutes in frustrating stop-and-go traffic, the mother
of all cup holders is now available. It’s so hi-tech that it’s no longer
called a cup holder. The F-Series Beverage Containment System (BCS) is a
must-have for anyone who likes to sip, drive and stay dry.

BCS model F3
How can I begin to describe the Beverage Containment System? I’ll let Jim
Webb, inventor of the device have a go. “There is no comparable ‘cup holder’
that has the ability to continuously reposition itself, even in the most
extreme conditions. The BCS units feature a fully articulating aluminum
mounting bracket that attaches to the BCS body with stainless steel bearings
and viscous fluid, so the BCS can take a jolt or a curve with grace and
without spilling a drop.”

These genuinely high-quality items represent the final frontier of
motion-dampening, self-adjusting, 21st Century cup-holding technology. This
is the kind of device the Borg would want to immediately assimilate. Prices
range from US$29.95-US$149.95. See them online at, click on the
item you want, and order directly. Or, phone 310-891-1550. Leave your number
and they’ll call back to take your details.

Handy Bar
Another very practical, but very affordable gift is a Handybar. This is a
personal support device to help you get in and out of your car. For those
that have difficulty with this manoeuver, the Handybar is a portable handle
that fits into the U-type latch plate found in the doorways of most cars. It
locks securely in place, permitting you to rest your weight on it as an aid
to entering and exiting the vehicle.

At about 23cm long, and weighing 750g, it’s small and light enough to carry
in a pocket or bag. This is a Canadian product, endorsed by the Canadian
Physiotherapy Association and various other professional healthcare groups.
See it online at The product is widely available for $39.99 at
drugstores throughout Ontario, the Prairie Provinces and British Columbia.
Elsewhere call 1-800-268-0184.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve meant to buy some new coveralls for about
five years. Anyone who works around the car or in the garage needs good
coveralls. First of all, they signify that you know what you’re doing (even
if you don’t) and are worth wearing for that reason alone. Secondly, you can
carry just about every tool you own in the many pockets hidden throughout
the garment, further enhancing your street-cred’. Finally, they do a good
job of keeping your clothes clean, so that’s an added bonus. Boost your car
buff’s ego with some proper automotive attire. Sears will sell you some
six-pocket Wearmasters for $54.99.

For those that like to be prepared, Canadian Tire’s offering an Ultimate
Auto Safety Kit at $34.99. This kit’s got everything. Booster cables, tire
inflator, gloves, blanket, candles, matches, you name it. These are the
things that people forget to buy until it’s too late. From the same store a
useful stocking-stuffer is a Sno-off windshield cover. Even if you have a
garage, these are great for keeping freezing rain off the windshield and the
wipers when you’re parked outside. They’re a bit small for vans, but you
could always use two. At $8.99 they’re inexpensive and very useful.

Now then, there’s no excuse for socks.

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