No matter what you call the end-of-the-year gift giving celebration…or, to which prescribed philosophy you celebrate it under…we're all in the throes of retail hell.
Why does holiday shopping have to be such hell? Because we always think big without considering the fiscal impact of doing so. Images of hybrid theories (or, as Malcolm Burt of Friday Night Furlosophy would call it "some imaginary sky theory") parlaying the dreams of wide-eyed children towards some form of relief from reality. The concept of gift giving, card sending and the intermixing of faith is a burden we all bear during the month of December.
As an automotive website, perhaps it's time to play in this sandbox.
The point being is to answer the question of what to give that special automotive enthusiast for the December gift giving ceremony. Now, this is not a wish list for me…but, rather a survey of what V&R would suggest to the gift giver if you're interested in running up your debt to the maximum.
Rather, here's a list of "affordable" gift ideas for your chosen holiday…
"IMPORTED FROM DETROIT" WEAR: It began with an Eminem track and an image of Detroit that reflects a city of beauty with raw energy. A church choir joins in underneath "Lose Yourself" as Marshall himself emerges behind the wheel of a Chrysler 200. In the end, a simple message about the brand: "Imported from Detroit." It's actually almost true – the 200 is built in Macomb County in the suburb of Sterling Heights. The tag line began a life of its own: The new winged badge of Chrysler with Joe Louis' fist in the middle. A powerful message to the world that Detroit is the place where the automobile took flight and will remain that way. Not Shanghai, Seoul, Yokohama, Munich, Adelaide, Sao Paulo or Chennai. Getting one of these pieces of wearable pride has a cost – and proceeds of your purchase goes to various charities in the Metro Detroit area. You can buy these items exclusively online through the Chrysler Collection.
PUMA FERRARI SHOES: If you're serious about driving, you want to look the part. Professional drivers wear footwear that is designed for quick footwork inside the vehicle and protection against any hazards that would happen on the track. Not everyone is a racer. We're mostly drivers, but we want to look cool. Puma is a sportswear and athletic shoe purveyor that is familiar to both racers and cool folks. Ferrari has officially made Puma their chosen supplier of affinity footwear and other clothing. In turn, Puma has eight shoes licensed by Ferrari. Yes, eight. Some of these shoes are specifically made for driving and, even, racing. There are a couple of styles that you could wear just to show off…perhaps to out hip the hipsters. Retail prices start at $90. You can go online via Puma or to a store at a mall (or outlet) near you.
THE LATEST HOONING GAME: I'm not a gamer, but I know that some of you are. You probably own one of all of the titles out there that put you in the driver's seat of your fantasy car around any track on the planet. There’s the Sony/Polyphony’s Gran Turismo, Microsoft's Forza Motorsport, Electronic Arts' Need for Speed…to name a few. I'm certain you know which games are hot…or better. You might even know which games consoles they might work on. The bottom line is for those who can play these games will have more fun than those who feign ignorance about them. There are a few things you need to know. One, you cannot simply get the game! You got the console…great! You got the game, which is actually quite inexpensive ($20-75, depending on title and version). Then, there's the add-ons and peripherals. This adds up, really. Now you know why I'm not a gamer…but, if you want one of these games, go for it!
DIE-CAST ART: When my family celebrated Hannukah, I received a plastic 1/24-scale model car each night a candle was lit. Of course, that meant, painting, gluing, snapping together and hammering until I made my own work of art. I'm not a visual artist mind you – and pre-made models were not on my mother's radar back then. The model world has changed. Who build plastic models anymore? Die-cast is where it's at. For most automobiles you could think of, there is a die-cast version of it made. There is a pecking order based on the die-cast maker in terms of quality and price. AUTOart usually is the first among equals in this business. Their models show a fine attention to exterior and interior detail, even at the most desirable 1/18 scale. Their models sell around the $90 mark, give or take $10-15 less or more. It takes some shopping around the find the right model at the right price…both online and at select retailers.
THE ULTIMATE DRIVING TRIP: You always wanted to take the wheel of a car around the track. Perhaps it is a dream to race a NASCAR Sprint Cup car or one of the best performance vehicles in the world. There are plenty of packaged experiences out there from motorsport schools to a dream drive behind the wheel of a Lamborghini or Ferrari. While some of these packages may average about $300, there are others that scale well into the $1700 range. For example, I found one in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin where I could take a turn in multiple top shelf vehicles for 20-30 minutes at a time at the $1700 mark. If you want bring a friend, that's another $300, please? I will say that for someone my size, I might not be able to manage some of these fine machines. Maybe, you could…