It used to be said that the best present to buy someone you didn’t like was a €10 voucher for a Bentley. . . Well, we can do substantially better than that for Christmas 2019. Herewith, our best gift ideas for the car enthusiast in your life (or just to treat yourself with the 10 shillings Auntie put in your card this year).
1: AlcoSense New Lite 2 Personal Breathalyser
This is less of a treat, and more of a necessity. Hopefully, all of us now know that we should never, ever, drink and drive, but the temptation of a tipple is often too much over the Christmas period. This AlcoSense personal breathalyser can give you a reading on your own condition in a few seconds, with what’s claimed to be ‘industry-leading’ accuracy. It could save your licence, your life and someone else’s life.
AlcoSense Lite 2 is available priced at €53.99 available from Halfords or online at alcosense.ie.
2: Heel Tread Socks
Socks for Christmas used to be the gift that we would all dread. How imaginative, thank you darling, etc, etc. Well, dread no longer, because thanks to Heel Tread, you will actually desire socks for Chrimbo. All of the Heel Tread designs are inspired by classic cars and racing cars. Our favourites range from the subtle (Porsche RSR Martini stripes, Golf GTI tartan seat-style) to the truly, wonderfully, garish (Mazda 787B Le Mans green and orange anyone?). Pricey, but excellent quality so they're worth it.
Heel Tread socks from €10 each, free shipping for for pairs or more, available from heeltread.com.
3: The Irish International Grand Prix 1929-31, by Bob Montgomery
Bob Montgomery is Ireland's pre-eminent motoring historian, so those of us wishing to avoid the Netflix binge, or the inevitable family fight over the last mince pie, should take to our favourite armchairs with his latest book. Against a background of the embers of the Civil War, and the incoming Great Depression, top-class racing came to Ireland for but a handful of years, and Bob skilfully weaves a tale of thrilling sporting action and political backbiting. Essential stuff.
The Irish International Grand Prix 1929-31, available from Waterstones and all good book sellers.
4: Seiko 5 Sports Automatic
Fancy watches and fast cars go hand in hand, a 'fact' hammered home by all those glossy ads with Steve McQueen or Paul Newman in them. The problem is that buying one of those Swiss brands can cost you as much as a decent car. So don't bother. Instead, buy a Seiko and get a technically superior watch for a tiny fraction of the price. This year, Seiko has relaunched its classic 5 Sports divers' watch in a variety of styles, from the suit-friendly and subtle to more dramatic black PVD and green finishes. They all use Seiko's fully automatic Caliber 4R36 movement, with 24 jewels, optional manual winding, a 41-hour power reserve and a hacking second hand.
Seiko 5 Sports from €269 from good jewellers and store – seiko.ie.
5: Mondello and Rally School Ireland gift vouchers
As petrolheads, we all just want to drive, really. So the best gift you can give us is actually the steering wheel, and the keys. Head off to Mondello Park in Kildare to drive single-seaters and learn the niceties of cornering lines, or go to Rally School Ireland in Monaghan to sample sideways action in classic Escorts, Subarus and even a Nissan 350Z police car.
Vouchers available from mondellopark.ie and rallyschoolireland.ie.