We all have a car nut in our lives. Gear-brains. Petrolheads. You know the deal. Guys who like to strap on a helmet every Saturday morning and spend the first couple hours of the weekend slicing up asphalt on a beautiful mountain road. Dudes who walk straight to the car section at the bookstore, and while you mull the architecture or fiction isle they pour over coffeetable books of the world’s most precious vehicles. Let’s face it: guys who have too many speeding tickets. Maybe he’s a brother, maybe he’s a friend, maybe he’s your dad, maybe he’s you — but something about him ignites the moment a cylinder head is sparked by petroleum. Here are some ideas to get him warmed up for the holidays — whether it’s a crowd-sourced radar detector, a trip snowmobiling through the frozen forests of Alaska, or a quad that turns into a jetski, we’ve got you covered. The ultimate gifts for the gearhead in your life…



Alan Gibbs has created many a crazed vehicular mutant in his career as madman inventor. The latest offering is the Gibbs Quadski, an amphibious half-quad/half-jetski that may be the only vehicle on Earth that requires both a helmet and a life-jacket to operate. Powered by a four-cylinder BMW K1300 motorcycle engine coupled with a GIBBS water jet propulsion system, the Quadski’s wheels retract in five seconds, tucking into the massive 1,333-pound one-piece hull for water use. So you can tear up the jungle trails, then hit the lagoon for some relaxing jetskiing —  reaching up to 45 mph on both land and water. On what other vehicle on Earth can you pull that? $40,000


This is one for the carpentering, disappear-in-the-workshop type craftsman who tackles big projects… and actually finishes them. Balmain’s Pilot Boat Kit is a flat-packed DIY model that contains 114 pieces of wood, and all you need to actually build your own boat (100 hours of building time not included). The pointed-bow vessel was inspired by the one found in Charles Napier Hemy’s painting The Pilot, so you can act all literary while you’re at it. $5,000


This one’s a no brainer. Arguably the most fun a man can have [http://www.askmen.com/fine_living/travel/fly-a-plane.html] without drugs or the fairer sex involved, as we’ve already covered extensively. Sky Combat Ace will take you up in their Extra 330 — a stunt plane engineered to handle more G’s than an F16 fighter jet — and let you pilot the prop plane while their trainers give you step-by-step instructions through barrel rolls and heartbreaking Hammerhead drops. Bring a friend and engage in actual WWII-style dog fights while you’re at it. Woof! Tip: whatever you do, do not go hungover, unless you want to paint the cockpit with last night’s bottle service. $600


What frequent flying gearhead wouldn’t want a travel bag made of 100% carbon fiber? Especially one made by Lamborghini? OK, Lambo owners can be a bit douched out, but this elegant Carbon Fiber Travel Bag quickly dispels those fears: black, minimal, and beautifully crafted. But as with supercars, carbon fiber don’t come cheap. $1,809.


If you found yourself suddenly married to, and divorced from, Jennifer Anniston, what would you do with your newfound gajillion dollars? Assouline answers the question in their latest tome of automotive worship, The Impossible Collection Of Motorcycles — an ultra-luxury compendium featuring the ultimate collection of two-wheeled vehicles a man could own. From the super rare BMW R32 to the art deco loveliness of the Megola to the engineer’s wet dream Honda NR750, the tire rubber-bound coffeetable book covers a century of moving sculpture in motorcycle form. Oh, and it was written by me and Ian Barry, the mind behind Falcon Motorcycles, so it must be awesome. $695

More Holiday suggestions from the LIAS Gift Guide after the Jump…

“If you found yourself suddenly married to, & divorced from, Jennifer Anniston, what would you do with your newfound gajillion dollars..?”


Why let your radar detector do all the work? Why not let your iPhone — not to mention crowdsourcing — get in on the action? Cobra’s newest ATOM iRadar connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and uses its screen to notify you of all sorts of perils that an ordinary radar detector cannot (e.g. speed traps, red-light cameras, alert history warnings, signal strength etc). Plus, if you see Smokey lurking behind a billboard, just tap a button and it let’s the Cobra mainframe — and everyone else using an ATOM iRadar — know exactly where Johnny Law is hiding out. $200


Parabellum’s made quite a name for itself crafting beautifully made luxury goods out of American Bison leather. Not only is the high grain, supple leather hand-tanned, but all of Parabellum’s bison comes from free range ranches where the animals live organically, wander freely and are humanely treated throughout their lives. Even if your dude doesn’t like jewelry, he’ll appreciate a unique black leather & copper Arrows Keychain.


Do you like adventure? Not talking about the Six Flags variety, I’m referring to the out-of-bounds snowboarding, high-seas sailing, way-into-the-jungles hiking type exploration?  Well then you’re gonna need a satellite phone, one where you can reach civilization from whatever ancient peak you choose to hand glide over. SPOT’s new Global Phone not only lets you make phone calls, send text messages and 911 distress calls, but you can use it as a satellite laptop modem for checking weather conditions, downloading Man Vs Wild episodes or finding the best Tom Yum Khoon near Mount Denali. Whatever. There are other options in the market, but this one comes with the SPOT reputation for just $500.


Alpinestars’ superior, futuristic Tech Air motorcycle suit with built-in airbags best protects Daddy’s highest impact zones in case of a crash. The all leather and Kevlar piece is an exact replica of the racing suits worn by the likes of MotoGP stars Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Carlos Checa so you know it’s tops. $2,900. Plus, if your kid wants in on the action pick him up the 100% cotton Ducati Racesuit Onesie. It’s a baby, this is as cool as it’s gonna get. $50.


Look, everyone loves a Defender. It is the foundation on which Land Rover, and by extension Range Rover, was built. It is the definitive man’s truck. But who wants to deal with the ancient electronics, Fred Flintstone brakes and luxury accoutrements of a Burning Man porta-potty? Enter West Coast Defender. They take a real world Land Rover Defender and rebuild it entirely from the ground up, with modern technology and luxury amenities like diamond stitched leather seats, LED lights and world-class suspension. $85-$110,000.


When someone says “Aston Martin” and “driver”, usually keys are involved ($2,800 crystal fobs, to be exact). But in this case it appeals to the man as addicted to the greens as he is to naturally aspirated V12 engines. Made in collaboration with fellow Brits MD Golf, one of Europe’s highest rated golf companies, the Aston Martin collection includes a wedge, putter and iron set, but it’s the Driver  that really stands out. Crafted of titanium with a kangaroo skin leather grip, this Driver is like the Aston Martin of golf clubs. Because it is the Aston Martin of golf clubs. $450.


The ultimate collection of “Bucket List” motorcycle rides across America printed on weather proof and tear resistant maps. Butler’s aptly titled collection includes the best rides throughout the West Coast, Rockies, Ozarks and Texas Hill Country — all that’s missing is your Harley or Moto Guzzi V7. The whole Butler Maps Bucket List collection is offered for only a limited time for $209.


Perhaps the finest gift someone can give a car lover is access to the world’s fastest, rarest, and most beautiful automobiles. Manhattan Classic Car Club is just that, all in a luxurious country club-like setting. Everything from McLaren MP4-12Cs, Ford GTs and Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG supercars to vintage rarities like Shelby Cobras, Jaguar E-Types and even sixties-era Ford Broncos. Plus outings, events and the exposure to some of New York’s finest investment wallets.


Russian manufacturer Ural has been making variations of their sidecar-equipped bikes since the 1940s. Their Gaucho Rambler — washed in a unique Pacific Blue created by Pendleton, as we’ve previously covered — aims to manifest the spirit of the cowboy in steel and rubber. The motorcycle features sunburned canvas upholstery, an accessory windscreen, one of Pendleton’s Journey West blankets strapped to the sidecar, on-demand two-wheel drive, a spare tire and a GSI Outdoors camp kit — perfect to get the wind-in-your-face journeys started. There will only be 50 of these limited edition bikes built for $14,350.


This is where men who don’t have time to organize their own trips come to adventure. Wilderness Collective curates bare-knuckle escapades like sailing and surfing around the Channel islands, dirt-biking through old-growth redwood forests from Sequoia to Yosemite, snowmobiling 350 miles through the frozen heart of Alaska — all while camping overnight and sharing stories and bottles of bourbon over a campfire. Trips vary 3-4 nights, from $2,250-$4,500.


Quite simply the ultimate motorcycle helmet. A brand new model, the Shoei RF 1200 is smaller, lighter and more aerodynamic than previous versions — plus it features speaker pocket cutaways for the true video game experience. The RF-1200 also uses Shoei’s exclusive Emergency Quick Release System that allows emergency medical personnel to easily remove the inflatable cheek pads from a rider’s helmet so as to not disturb the neck. No one wants to go down, but if you do this helmet’s the one you want on your noggin. $590


Learning to drive on ice isn’t just a skill required by James Bond and Inuit drifters. Nimbly corralling a car around long frozen corners, while tires howl and heart pumps wildly, will help you drive better in every facet of your life. And if you do it in 400-horsepower AMGs well, all the better. The AMG Ice Academy offers the experience of a lifetime: negotiate massive racetracks plowed on a frozen lake high in the Arctic Circle of Sweden, then relax in a posh hotel while enjoying fine scotch in an igloo for dessert. Since it’s Benz it’s luxurious; since it’s AMG it’s unforgettable.


Sure, there are other companies taking vintage cars and modernizing them from the ground up (see West Coast Defenders above), but no one’s doing it like Singer. They take a 911 from its halcyon air-cooled era and rebuild every piece with modern technology and luxury amenities. But they then go one step further: for even greater classic aura, Singer packages their Porsche in the shell of a classic 1974 911 — arguably its most beautiful, iconic iteration — totally fashioned in carbon fiber. Truly a masterpiece, with a pricetag to match. $400,000.


Icon’s A5 is brilliantly engineered, aesthetically gorgeous and one of those rare achievements that reminds you that yes, the future is coming. Maybe we were promised jet packs, but we’ll take a folding plane instead. The ICON A5 fits under the Light Sport Aircraft category, meaning access to a license is quicker, you just aren’t allowed to go anywhere near an airfield tower. But you can use nontraditional landing strips — like lakes and ponds. The origami-like plane not only fits in a double-side car garage when folded, but you can tow it, unload it on Lake Winnipesaukee and take it out for a spin over the White Mountains in one afternoon. $189,000.

2 Responses to “LIAS Holiday Gift Guide: 20 Ideas For the Unrepentant Petrolhead In Your Life”

  1. […] if you can copy that. And now, the trusted Chicago-based electronics producer (and maker of many a quality fuzz buster) has released the Cobra Airwave Series, a new line of Bluetooth-friendly wireless speakers. Among […]

  2. […] 2014 compendium documenting this history into an extensive volume. Much like the excellent Impossible Collection Of Motorcycles book, written by LIAS contributor Nicolas Stecher, the Impossible Collection of Watches aims to […]

Leave a Reply