If a friend, your other half or a family member are really into their motors, and you're stuck for buying them a present for whatever occasion, then look no further, because this guide is designed to covered exactly that - and for a range of budgets too - with our five awesome gifts for the car lover.
The track day experience
Aside from physically being given a car as a gift, there's nothing much much more exciting than being given the gift of a track day experience. I was bought one over 11 years ago, and I still haven't forgotten how good it was! It's perhaps the car enthusiasts ultimate dream to power a supercar of their choice around a track - no speed limits, no speed cameras, no oncoming traffic, a speedo that reads 200+ mph in front of you, and an howling exhaust sound that gives you goosebumps.
Manufacturers such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Ariel, Nissan GT-R, Caterham, Radical, Porsche, Lotus, Bentley, McLaren, Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and BMW will immediately gets car lover's brain conjuring up their fastest and most powerful models, and it's enough to make you jump around like an excited kid again. Even if you're not old enough to drive, or don't have a licence, the track day companies offer ride-alongs in all the same cars, and you'll get driven at ridiculous speeds by highly experienced drivers. Not into supercars or sports cars? That doesn't matter as there are plenty more of experiences to choose from. Ever fancied learning how a rally driver slides their car around a tight gravel course, or want to know how to perfect a controlled drift on tarmac, or seeing what a proper 4x4 is really capable of, or even get the feel of how a classic car does on the track? All available (plus more), and all will likely include a too-excited-to-sleep night beforehand.
Prices vary massively across the board, but there are plenty of companies out there doing them so the choice is huge, and cater to budgets from £60.00 all the way up to around £1,500 for the ultimate experiences.
Collectable signed by their favourite motoring icon
For those who have their personal favourite motoring icons or heros, to own something signed by them is especially nice, but even better if it's something really very cool too. The Signature Store provides both of the above, and they have a huge range of guaranteed-authentic signed products to choose from, including scale models (cars and motorcycles), books, photographs, posters, Polaroid prints, 3D circuit outlines, steering wheels and much more.
Signatures from some incredibly famous racing legends include Nigel Mansell, Stirling Moss, Derek Bell, Michael Schumacher, Damon Hill and John Surtees. My personal favourites include the 722 Collection, the Agostini MV Augusta and the beautiful full-size steering wheel signed by Stirling Moss. What would you buy?
Prices vary again - which is great for a range of budgets - and you can pay from £40.00 up into the hundreds.
Hire their dream ride for the road
Driving a car at high speeds on a track day is great fun, but what about hiring something special that can be driven on the road. Think about it: that car they've only ever seen parked up at a dealership, but longed to drive, could be parked up outside their house, with the keys placed in their hand. Whether you can afford it for a day or a week, the ultimate gift would be to plan a trip, give them the keys and go drive in a car they never thought they'd get to sit in, let alone get out on the roads. There are lots of rental companies hiring out luxury, sports and supercars now, including the Hertz Dream Car Collection, Avis Prestige selection, and the Europcar Prestige range. There's certainly a mouthwatering choice, some of which are the Aston Martin DB9, Ferrari California T, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, Lamborghini Huracan, Nissan GT-R, Porsche Panamera, plus many others. However, if your budget doesn't stretch as far as those cars, you can also hire Land Rover Range Rovers, Jaguars and high end Volkswagens, Mercs, BMWs, or even a Mini, should you want something cheaper but fun.
Another scenario is to arrange for to be chauffeur-driven around for the day, taken to an event in the city, or to be picked up from the airport after a long flight. For this, ultra-luxurious cars such as the Rolls Royce Ghost, Phantom or Bentley Flying Spur are available. Of course, this isn't exactly an inexpensive car gift idea, but it's also a very special one, and especially so when you consider how long they'll remember it.
A stay at the St. Regis Hotels Bentley Suites
Bentley are one of the world's leading manufacturers in handmade luxury cars, and it seems entirely right that in 2012 they formed and exclusive partnership with the St. Regis hotel brand. The St. Regis New York and Istanbul hotels each offer a Bentley Suite, which, as you may imagine is as tasteful and luxurious as they come.
In New York, the suite includes a foyer, bedroom, one and a half bathrooms, an expansive dining room and living room, complete with floor to ceiling windows. Also included is the St. Regis Butler service - available 24/7 - and an en-suite champagne bar.
The Istanbul Bentley Suite is finished in an Art Deco fashion, and is inspired by the Bentley Continental GT. It includes a furnished balcony with private dining, a private foyer, powder room, open plan living area, bedroom, sizeable bathroom and offers spacious and luxurious living. Book either suite, and you'll be staying in what are possibly the most beautifully-decorated hotel suites in the world, and certainly for a car enthusiast it would be a dream-like stay.
Let's hope you're pretty wealthy for these though, as the Istanbul Bentley Suite costs around £3,700 per night, while the New York Bentley Suite is priced at around $9,500 (£6,640) per night. For that sort of money, I don't know if I'd want to sleep!
A Chipex Paint Repair System
Okay, I don't blame you for thinking after all the above car gift ideas, that this one might not fit in, but hear me out. If the one you want to give a gift to has a car and is a lover of all things motoring, then I can guarantee that they'll like to take care of their pride and joy.
Applying the CHIPEX paint If that's the case, then I know from experience how painful it is to go out to your car and find a chip or scratch in the gleaming paintwork. Even if you're loaded, it's highly annoying to have to pay for a full panel respray for just a few chips or light scratches. Thankfully, you can use one of Chipex's superb paint repair kits, which is easy to use and offers a 100% guaranteed colour match. So, no matter what car they have, Chipex can supply the kit, from a Bentley to a BMW, Ferrari or a Ford to a Land Rover or Lotus, they can match them all.
If you doubt this, an example of how well it works is from well-respected detailing company The Ultimate Finish, who have used Chipex kits on some incredibly rare and extremely valuable cars, such as a 1960 Aston Martin DB4 and a 1963 Aston Martin DB5, plus supercars including a Audi R8 V10 and a Nero Daytona Black Ferrari 575M - all with amazingly good results. You can head over to the Chipex Shop to find your perfect kit. Chipex kit prices are currently £29.95, plus £4.99 P&P in the UK.
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