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10 Perfect Presents: The Car Connection's Holiday Gift Guide

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'Stormville' by Kevin Cyr, featured at 20x200.com

'Stormville' by Kevin Cyr, featured at 20x200.com

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It's been two weeks since Black Friday, and still you're struggling to find gifts for the last few folks on your holiday shopping list. You've hit the malls, you've followed Groupons and coupons down virtual rabbit holes lined with impersonal gift cards and bland gewgaws that wouldn't even tempt the most ardent Lillian Vernon fan.

Never fear: we're here to help.

On this page and the next, you'll find ten top-notch gifts for all sorts of personalities: thrill seekers, travelers, tinkerers, and tuners. Some items are pricey, some are cheap, but there's definitely something here for every driver and gearhead on your list.

Of course, if all else fails, there's one more present that we haven't included. It's pricier than the others, but it's bound to be a hit with at least 65% of the people on your list. Any guesses what it might be?

And if you have great holiday gift ideas of your own, we'd love to hear them. Feel free to share them in the comments section below. 

'Stormville' by Kevin Cyr, featured at 20x200.com

'Stormville' by Kevin Cyr, featured at 20x200.com

For the collector: fine art, $24 and up
There are plenty of advantages to giving art as a holiday gift. It's unique (or awfully close). It's impractical (as the best holiday gifts tend to be). It doesn't take up much space in the recipient's house (she just has to hang it up and admire it). And if you're lucky, it might be a good investment. There are many places to find art on the interweb, but one of our favorites is Jen Bekman's 20x200.com. Bekman offers a range of original prints by both up-and-coming and established artists (like William Wegman), and they're searchable by category (e.g. travel) and color. For auto enthusiasts, consider something like this print by Kevin Cyr, called Stormville. Not only does it feature an awesome customized van, it also comes with a certificate of authenticity, signed and numbered by the artist. At $24, it's as close as you're likely to get to a free ride this holiday season.   

Handmade leather driving helmet and goggles from the Bentley Racing Collection

Handmade leather driving helmet and goggles from the Bentley Racing Collection

For the car snob: Bentley merchandise, $30 and up
We all have one car snob in our circle of friends -- one of those folks who turns her nose up at any car without walnut veneer on the dashboard and leather pulls on the glove box. Ironically, these are often the same people who spend a lot of time driving to Big Lots in their 1980something econoboxes. But no matter: what's important is that they like the look and feel of luxury, and nothing says luxury like Bentley. The automaker offers t-shirts and cufflinks and pashminas galore, but for our money, nothing says, "I love you despite your many annoying affectations" like this handmade leather driving helmet ($217) and matching driving goggles ($185) from Bentley's "Heritage Collection" of gifts. Act soon, though: to receive them in time for Christmas, you'll need to order by Monday, December 10. (Alternately, just give 'em a set of Downton Abbey DVDs and call it a day.)

'Imported from Detroit' coaster set

'Imported from Detroit' coaster set

For the Detroit fan: Imported from Detroit merchandise, $6 and up
When Chrysler debuted its "Born of Fire" commercial for the Chrysler 200 a couple of Super Bowls ago, no one knew that the spot's "Imported from Detroit" tagline would take off the way it has. Today, "Imported from Detroit" is a brand unto itself (still owned by Chrysler, though), with a wide range of products to suit nearly everyone on your list. We're particularly fond of the leather coaster set ($20), which comes with its own carrying case. Not only is it hip and stylish, but as with most IFD gifts, a portion of the sale price goes to charities like the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan and Habitat for Humanity Detroit. That's two presents for the price of one.

Parrot ZIK touch-activated Bluetooth headphones

Parrot ZIK touch-activated Bluetooth headphones

For the jet-setter: Parrot ZIK headphones, $399
As much as we love a good road trip, sometimes we have to take to the skies. (Stupid oceans.) And when we fly, we love to carry a great set of headphones -- not only to enjoy in-flight movies, but also to reassure the chatty folks sitting next to us that we are so not interested in striking up a conversation. While the Parrot Zik headphones are big and come with an equally big pricetag, their sound is beyond compare. Plus, they're touch-sensitive, so you can adjust volume or switch to the next track on your mp3 player just by swiping your finger along the case. Best of all: they use Bluetooth to pair with your device of choice, meaning that there aren't any pesky wires to cramp your style. Which is great, because in economy class, things are cramped enough already.


 
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