IT’S THAT time of year. Yes, we know it’s still November, but John Lewis released its Christmas advert this week, which has become the official start of the festive countdown.
Take the strain out of Christmas shopping this year with these online ideas for motoring enthusiasts.
All prices were correct at time of publication.
Three-day ice-driving trip to Sweden with Classic Grand Touring
Ask any of the Driving team what’s the most fun they’ve had on four wheels, and the likelihood is the answer will be driving on ice. Not only is it hilariously good fun, but you’ll also come away with greater car control and a newfound confidence at the wheel. This trip to Sweden with Classic Grand Touring includes flights, transfers, accommodation, meals and ice-driving tuition in a variety of cars, plus a kart race.
Price £1,350 (per person, based on two sharing) at ClassicGT.co.uk
Halfords industrial 5-drawer tool cabinet
Next year could be the one when, if Father Christmas thinks you’ve been good, you finally bring order to your tools, instead of stuffing them into a toolbox or even piling them up on your worktop. This wheeled cabinet, which is 2ft 4in high and can hold up to 30kg of tools, is likely to bring out a little bit of garage-accessory envy among petrolhead friends. Especially when you tell them about its “advanced” central locking system and non-slip ethylene-vinyl acetate drawer liners.
Price £360 at Halfords.com
GoPro Hero5 Black action camera
For people who simply have to record their journeys by car or motorbike, or their tumbles off a mountain bike course, the latest version of the GoPro action camera will capture every last detail in 4K video and 12Mp stills. It’s waterproof to 30ft, is controlled by your voice and can upload footage to the cloud.
Price £340 at Amazon.co.uk
GoPro Hero5 Session action camera
This pared-down version of the Hero5 is smaller and simpler but can still record 4K and includes features such as voice control. Perfect for recording a spot of heel-and-toe before you apply a dab of oppo.
Price £240 at Amazon.co.uk
Halfords 200-piece socket and ratchet spanner set
Described in our review earlier this year as “a beast of a set”, this is a car tinkerer’s dream, with almost all you need for a spot of Sunday DIY. The components are of an impressive quality, and Halfords offers a lifetime warranty. What’s more, it’s currently half price. Socket to ’em.
Price £175 at Halfords.com
BMW men’s jacket
Not many people want to walk around in clothes emblazoned with a car logo. Not many people who don’t own a Ferrari, that is. But you’ll get away with it in this subtly branded and stylish jacket from BMW. It’s wind- and water-repellent, and has inner pockets with cable routing for headphones. Smart indeed.
Price €184 (£160) at Shop.BMW.com
The world’s first sat nav for scooters is small, round and available in a range of colours, with a suitably funky retro feel. The screen is waterproof, and the device connects to a mobile app so you can protect your smartphone from the elements. The Vio brings you caller display, speed camera alerts and live traffic updates. But, hey, even though it offers hands-free calling via an optional Bluetooth headset, may we respectfully suggest you pull over to have that vital conversation.
Price £150 at Halfords.com
Pure Highway 600 DAB radio adaptor with hands-free calling
Digital radio is better than FM unless you live somewhere remote without decent coverage — for instance, anywhere outside the M25. This, however, is a simple way to pick up BBC 6 Music or 4 Extra in your car without sacrificing your existing stereo system: it connects to it via an aux-in lead or an unused FM frequency. It also allows hands-free calling via Bluetooth and music-streaming, via Spotify, say. It’s slightly trickier to install than the manufacturer, Pure, suggests, but Halfords will fit it free.
Price £149 at Halfords.com
Peugeot Carrier Darl’Mat
This ride-on toy for children is named after Emile Darl’mat, a Peugeot dealer who built Peugeot sports car specials from the 1930s to the 1950s. That will no doubt be completely lost on your toddler as he or she careers round your home making convincing engine noises.
Price £129 at Peugeot Webshop
Mini Cooper Paceman 6V electric ride-on car
Hard luck, Jeremy — this Mini Paceman is just for over-3s weighing up to 4 stone 3lb (27kg). With its 6V electric motor, it isn’t going to break any records — in fact it has a top speed of 1.6mph — but the neighbours’ kids will be green with envy when they see this cool drop-top machine. Especially when your junior Jenson slams it into reverse, just like a real car.
Price £129 at Halfords.com (reduced to £90 for Black Friday)
Nextbase 412GW dashcam
A dashcam records your journey continuously, writing over footage more than a few minutes old but locking the recording in the event of an incident, so that you have footage of the events leading up to an accident or the antics of a cyclist with a death wish. This model from Nextbase has super-high-definition video, wi-fi, so you can share footage via your smartphone, and a neat magnetic Click and Go windscreen mount.
Price £129 at Halfords.com
AlcoSense Excel ‘morning after’ breathalyser
At this time of year, many revellers hit the road too early in the morning after a drop too many the night before. Do them (and other road users) a favour with this AlcoSense breathalyser. We tested the AlcoSense Pro before Christmas last year; this new model, containing a smaller version of the standard police sensor, promises even more accurate results.
Price £100 at AlcoSense.co.uk
Peugeot Milan salt and pepper mills
Made of beechwood from the forests near the factory in Quingey, eastern, France, these grinders are unassuming to look at but pack a feature you never knew you needed until now: you can change the size of the grounds to suit the meal, with six settings allowing you to get the taste just right.
Price £98 at Peugeot Webshop
Meccano radio-controlled Lamborghini Huracan
Now you can ask for a Lamborghini for Christmas in good conscience: a build-your-own Huracan for less than £80. OK, so you can’t climb inside this Lambo, but the 298-piece kit (for ages 10+) does include an electric motor and remote control, meaning you can drive it. Technically.
Price £80 at Amazon.co.uk
Amazon Fire TV with 4K ultra-HD
Want to watch Clarkson, Hammond and May up to their old tricks — sorry, new tricks — in Amazon’s The Grand Tour? Buying a Fire TV box and subscribing to Amazon Prime is one way to do it. It also gives you access to TV and movies from Netflix, the BBC and ITV, as well as games, music and apps. Fire TV streams ultra-HD; if you don’t have a 4K TV you can watch in standard HD. Then again, you might want to go for the £33 Fire TV stick.
Price £75 (not including Amazon Prime subscription) at Amazon.co.uk
Lego Ideas Caterham Seven 620R
Caterham’s most magnificent Seven gets the Lego treatment. The 770-piece model is for kids of 12 and over — though who’s going to stop Mum or Dad lending their seven-year-old a hand? — and has a removable nose cone, engine and engine cover, and an opening boot that can store four axle stands. Just remember to let your child have a turn at building it.
Price £70 at Lego.com
Karcher WV2 Premium window vac
This rechargeable, cordless electric vacuum cleaner should give you streak-free car windows (actually, it works on any type of window) with minimal effort. Spray on the cleaner, scrub and then vac away the dirty liquid. Just spraying on glass-cleaner and wiping it off is so last year.
Price £69 at Halfords.com
Autoglym Perfect Bodywork, Wheels and Interiors collection
Autoglym is one of the leading car-care brands, and this gift set includes all you need for a spotless clean, inside and out. The kit includes bodywork shampoo, an award-winning resin polish and even glass sealant. If you know someone who might know what glass sealant is, they’ll want this, trust us.
Price £54.91 at Amazon.co.uk
Royal Enfield T-shirt
The classic motorbike brand has a selection of retro garments in its online shop, including this rather fetching 100% cotton T-shirt. The website says it’s washed — but we hope not worn — for a “lived-in feel”. There’s a stylish print on it, too.
Price £27 at RoyaEnfieldShop.co.uk
Muc-Off 4-step car-care kit
Muc-Off is a company that was clearly dreamt up in the pub after a few drinks. As with the Soap and Glory cosmetics company (sample product: Arm-a-Gooden back-of-the-arm skin-bump remover) there must have been a good few chuckles when its very British brand name was coined. There’s nothing funny, though, about the power of its anti-grime products. This four-stage car-cleaning kit contains bodywork shampoo, wheel cleaner, “speed wax” and glass cleaner, with a microcell sponge.
Price £25 at Halfords.com
Ford GT baseball cap
Ford fans can celebrate the launch of the GT model — and the car’s racing success in the world endurance championship — with this branded baseball cap. Ford calls it a sandwich cap. We’re not sure sandwiches are included.
Price €18.90 (£16.50) plus £6.50 postage at Ford-LC.com
Star Wars death trooper travel mug
For the Star Wars fan who has everything, how about a death trooper travel mug? Yes, you read that right: in the Star Wars spin-off film coming out for Christmas we will encounter the stormtrooper SAS: an imperial special-forces unit known as the death troopers. That’s something for dads to fantasise about as they slurp their scalding home-brewed coffee.
Price £10 at Halfords.com
Star Wars Chewbacca seatbelt cover
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away … Wookiees fitted these furry bandolier seatbelt covers to their Ford Fiestas. Probably.
Price £8 at Halfords.com
Pit Stop Panic board game
In this fast-paced board game, players shoot little tyres through a gap in the middle. Can you clear your pit before your opponent? This is how the Red Bull F1 team practises its pit stops. Allegedly.
Price £8 at Halfords.com
Racing car wooden construction kit
A soothing activity for families on Boxing Day and an attractive addition to any little boy or girl’s bedroom (or big boy or girl’s office, for that matter).
Price £7 at Halfords.com
Halfords 3-in-1 analogue tyre pressure gauge set
Struggling for a bargain gift? Don’t get deflated (sorry!). This set is ideal for a stocking or the office Secret Santa. It includes an analogue pressure gauge, a tread depth gauge and four aluminium valve caps.
Price £5 at Halfords.com
Car jokes cards
Add ammunition to the dad joke arsenal with this car-gags stocking filler. The writers promise the jokes will leave you exhausted. Boom-boom.
Price £2 at Halfords.com