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Top 7 Holiday Gifts for Car Lovers

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author photo by Nick Palermo December 2014

The holiday season is in full swing. Thanksgiving has passed. Stores are trimmed from floor to ceiling in yuletide cheer. It's a time for giving, and our shopping lists grow as we think about all the special people in our lives.

Finding ideal gifts can be stressful, but if your list includes someone who is crazy about cars, your job just got easier. Our top holiday gifts for car lovers are sure to fire up your automotive enthusiast, whether your budget is slim or as fat as St. Nick himself.

All-Weather Floor Mats

Car lovers like to keep their rides clean, but winter can be harsh. Wet or snowy boots bring unwanted dirt and moisture into a vehicle's interior, making spring cleaning a chore. A good set of all-weather floor mats can save a vehicle's carpeting, to the delight of an obsessive car owner.

Although universal-size floor mats are available, we recommend that you choose custom-fit mats to avoid issues with poor fit. You'll need to know the year, make and model of the vehicle to order custom mats. WeatherTech is an excellent source for mats for any brand. Or, visit the new-car dealer's parts counter to find out if they sell all-weather mats for a particular model.

Lexol Leather Care Pads

We gearheads love to pamper our vehicles, and a new product from the leather care experts at Lexol makes it simple. Lexol Leather Care Pads clean, condition and protect leather in one convenient step. Car buffs will be delighted with maintaining a like-new look while preserving the leather's soft, supple quality.

The pads are versatile, too. They're great for leather bags, shoes, furniture or other leather items to prevent drying and cracking. Lexol products are widely available at auto parts stores, discount stores and other retail locations.

Portable Jump Box

A portable jump box, also called a booster box, is a must for any enthusiast's garage or trunk. It makes boosting a dead battery quick and painless, with no need for a second vehicle and unwieldy jumper cables. Jump boxes make great holiday gifts, especially for drivers in cold climates or with older, less reliable vehicles.

Generally speaking, smaller vehicles with smaller engines require less power to get started. Larger motors and diesel engines require more power. So, how do you choose the right jump box? They're rated by peak amps. A 900-amp box may be fine for a Mazda Miata, but choose a more robust box if the gearhead on your list drives a Ford F-350 with a Power Stroke Diesel engine.

C7 Corvette Stingray Glacier Jacket

Most car lovers aren't monogamous -- we admire all kinds of vehicles. Sometimes we get a chance to own the vehicle of our desire, while other times we love it from afar. Either way, we enjoy sharing our preferences with others.

Both long-time Corvette fanatics and those more recently wooed by the newest C7 can wave their fan flags with this stylish and waterproof C7 Corvette Stingray Glacier jacket. The subtle Stingray logo is embroidered on the chest, and reflective trim increases visibility at night. ChevyMall sells the C7 Glacier jacket in men's sizes only, but the site offers plenty of other choices for women, too.

Driving an Exotic Car

Just owning an exotic car can be expensive, never mind the cost of the vehicle itself. But if it's in your budget to buy your favorite car enthusiast a Maserati, by all means do so. On a more modest budget, you can give your car lover a chance to get behind the wheel of an awesome machine, even for only a day or a few fast laps.

Several programs at tracks across the country, such as Exotic Driving Experience and Xtreme Xperience, put drivers in sports cars for rides of a lifetime. Exotic car rentals are also available in many major cities, although driving such a car on the road is limited by laws these vehicles seem designed to break.

Teen Performance Driving School

Driving school may sound like a boring gift for a car-obsessed young driver, but performance driving schools specially designed for teenagers are anything but boring. These schools help inexperienced drivers explore the limits of vehicle handling and learn real skills that will help them become safer drivers.

Two such programs are Tire Rack Street Survival and Skip Barber Teen Safety and Survival School. Courses teach students about vehicle dynamics and train them with skills ranging from basic safety -- such as always wearing a seat belt -- to controlling a vehicle during emergency maneuvers. What's better than a gift that's both fun and informative?

Racing School

For adults who want to hone their skills on the track, racing school is the perfect gift. Qualified racing instructors lend drivers their expertise in turning quick laps and squeezing the maximum performance from a vehicle.

Drivers who love track days or autocross can take it to the next level with a 1-, 2- or 3-day program at Skip Barber Racing School. Purchase a gift certificate and let your favorite car enthusiast choose the best date and location.

Even if your budget is tight, you can still give the car lover in your life a gift that he or she will cherish. Plan a scenic drive. Pitch in with a bucket of soapy water and a hose. Or visit a drive-in movie theater. As long as a car is involved, you can't go wrong.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Top 7 Holiday Gifts for Car Lovers - Autotrader