“I never know what to get you” is a common refrain directed at classic car and motorcycle fans when it comes to Christmas presents. There’s a lot of truth in it because, after all, if you already have your dream machine parked in the garage, what else do you need? Well, to help out, here are some of our suggestions.
Whether you’re a hands-on tinkerer or not, it’s always good to have a few tools, and you can never have enough of them when the right spanner always seems to have gone missing. Tool kits come in all shapes and sizes, and to suit all pockets, so they are an ideal present for a classic owner setting out with their first car or for a seasoned owner looking for that special bit of equipment for a specific job.
As well as being handy for those jobs around the garage, tools can be a practical present for anyone who uses their classic. A basic tool roll with a selection of spanners, pliers, screwdrivers and sockets will be the best gift in the world when they save the day at the side of the road. And even if the lucky recipient of your thoughtful present already has every bit of kit they’ll ever need, how about a period correct tool roll for their car? You can get these in leather or canvas, embossed with the car maker’s logo or model, and they’re compact enough to chuck in the boot or behind the seats, so the tool roll is always there when it’s needed.
Alongside a tool as the ideal present, you could also look at a workshop manual, such as the ones produced by Haynes for a huge variety of cars. For other cars and motorcycles, there are plenty of other workshop manuals to help fathom how to diagnose and fix any issue that might crop up. This type of present doesn’t have to be brand new either as the right book from the same period of the car not only gives sound advice to aid repairs, it looks fantastic sat in the boot or glovebox or tucked into a handy nook.
Not all books have to be so practical, so you could look at a history of the car or company related to the car of whoever is the fortunate recipient. Most classic owners love to know more about the object of their interest, so a good history or biography is perfect for those cold winter nights around Christmas when pottering in a chilly garage holds less appeal than a hot cuppa and good book. As with workshop manuals, there are some superb out of print books you can track down online or through specialist book sellers, so have a browse.
Over the festive season when it is dark and cold, you could help brighten up the classic car or motorcycle enthusiast in your life with the promise of driving adventure still to come. If planning a big trip or holiday isn’t in your plans, you could make a present of a driving experience. There’s a huge variety of these events to choose from at venues all over the country, but to give it a classic twist you could book a session at the Great British Car Journey where they have a range of classic cars you can get in and drive.
An alternative option for a driving experience gift is to present something that will take them out of their usual environment. How about trying some off-roading in a classic Land Rover, or a track day alongside other classics? Another great option is to book an experience at one of the hillclimbs across the UK that offer driving schools. A classic car or motorcycle owner can then use their favourite machine at a historic venue and test their own skills while receiving expert instruction.
If that sounds too energetic for the person you’re buying a present for, maybe a model of their car is more their speed. Plenty of classic fans have a selection of scale models of their preferred make and model, but do they have an exact copy of the vehicle sitting in the garage? Several companies offer this bespoke service creating exact models of the car you want right down to the same colour, wheels, interior and badges.
The same idea for this present could also be turned into the chance for a classic fan to own the car or bike of their dreams that would otherwise be out of reach as a full-size machine. You might not be able to give a perfect Porsche 911 Turbo or Bugatti Type 35 as a present, but a detailed model that its owner can gaze at is the next best thing, and it doesn’t come with the running costs of the real thing.
If you’d rather give something that’s original and the right size, you could look at a bit of garage memorabilia. With anything and everything from an oil can to a fuel pump, spark plugs to huge enamel signs, there’s a piece of period garage history to suit every classic owner as a present. It doesn’t even have to be for the garage or car cave as many of these items are now considered full-blown antiques in their own right. Finding the perfect piece of memorabilia is made easier with online auctions and dealers, so have a scout about and see what there is that appeals at the right sort of money.
Whatever you find that makes the perfect present for a classic car or motorcycle fan, what all of these gifts have in common is they show a lot of thought has gone into them. At Christmas, it’s always the giving and the thought that counts, but our loved ones sometimes just need a little nudge in the right direction to make sure they know exactly what to get you.
What was your favourite classic Christmas present? Let us know in the comments below!