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The 10 Best Father’s Day Gifts for the Auto Enthusiast

Believe it or not, Father’s Day is right around the corner. If you’re panicking to find some last-minute ideas on what to buy your dad, don’t fret. If your father happens to be an auto enthusiast, a person that loves cars, or something that could use more automobile-related stuff in their life, here are a few gift ideas that will surprise the dad in your life. 

Not all automotive-related stuff has to break the bank. From affordable watches to high-tech radar detectors, these gifts ensure you’ll be able to get your dad the perfect gift for June 21. We’re going to assume that your dad already has a decent set of car tools, a good jack, and sturdy jack stands, so you won’t find any of those on this list. 

Timex Weekend Chronograph

Timex Weekend Chronograph
Image used with permission by copyright holder

While the Apple Watch has made traditional analog watches a thing of the past, some still enjoy having a simpler timepiece. Crazy, I know. The affordable Timex Weekender Chronograph may not be a watch that has a direct connection to the automotive world, but it’s a chronograph, which racers have used for years as a way to measure their time around a track. While your dad may not use it for the same purpose, it’s still a nifty feature to have.

Plus, with a starting price of $65 for the 40-mm oversized version on Timex’s website, or $53.30 on Amazon, this is the kind of gift that can fit into the majority of budgets. Exchange the strap for an automotive-themed NATO strap and your dad will have an awesome timepiece.

LEGO Technic Kit

LEGO Technic Kit
Image used with permission by copyright holder

No matter how mature your father may seem, let’s be honest, there’s a child trapped in there somewhere. That child happens to love model cars, especially ones that he can put together. If this holds true for your father, then LEGO’s Technic line of automotive-related kits is the best gift for Father’s Day.

While there are numerous automotive-related LEGO kits on sale, one of the newest ones is Dom’s Dodge Charger from the iconic The Fast & The Furious films. Based on the 1970s Dodge Charger R/T, LEGO’s kit pays attention to all of the small details, like moving pistons, an air blower, a steering system, and wishbone suspension. Look in the trunk and you’ll find nitrogen bottles. Not only will this look great on a coffee table or a desk, but it will be enjoyable to put together, as well.

If a classic Charger isn’t your dad’s style, LEGO offers multiple other cars to put together.  

Meguiar’s Complete Car Care Kit

Meguiar’s Complete Car Care Kit
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Meguiar’s has been a household name for enthusiasts for decades. When it comes to cleaning your car, Meguiar’s has some of the best products on the market. If your dad likes to keep his car clean – and what dad doesn’t? – then this extensive kit on Amazon will be an excellent gift. It includes 12 products that will help your dad clean, detail, and restore his car. It’s easier than buying all of the products individually and might even come with a few new things for him to try out.

Car Poster

Car Poster
Image used with permission by copyright holder

White walls are boring. Even painting a wall a bright color like blue or green doesn’t help the issue much. A great way to spice up a wall with a Father’s Day gift is a car poster. While there are numerous websites where you can buy a poster, one of our favorites is Redbubble. Unlike a lot of other places, Redbubble actually lets you buy artwork from an artist, which means you can get everything from posters of modern supercars to updated versions of vintage races. You can even get posters of iconic tracks like the Nurburgring. Whether your dad puts a poster up next to his desk or in his man cave, it’s a great gift idea.

Video Games/Movies

Modern dads play video games. Even my father once took up a PlayStation 2 controller to race against me in Gran Turismo 4 on a few occasions when I was a child. It’s a fun way to connect and there are more available racing titles than ever before to choose from. If you have an Xbox One, a few of our favorite titles are Forza Motorsport 7 and Forza Horizon 4. If you belong to the PlayStation camp, there’s Gran Turismo Sport and Project Cars 2.

Forza Horizon
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If your dad isn’t a fan of video games, there are plenty of great movies to choose from, too. Films like Bullitt, The Fast and the Furious, and Gone in 60 Seconds are classics, but recent movies like Rush, Senna, and Ford v Ferrari are also worth a watch. With a movie or video game, you could make a night out of Father’s Day and spend some extra quality time with your dad.

Radar Detector

Radar Detector
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Getting a speeding ticket isn’t an enjoyable experience for anyone. A radar detector, like the Valentine V1 Gen2 may be an expensive gift, but it’s one that your dad will probably appreciate for many, many years to come. Plus, if the detector helps your dad avoid one ticket, it’s well worth the money. Before you pull the trigger on a radar detector, it’s a good idea to double-check if they’re illegal in a state where you reside. At the time of writing, Virginia, California, Minnesota, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York have special rules for the use of radar detectors in passenger cars.

Dash Cam

Dash Cam
Image used with permission by copyright holder

There are a bunch of available dash cams on sale these days. Once seen as a nice safety net, dash cams have become something of a necessity recently, as a way to provide hard evidence to your insurance company in the case of an accident.

Our sister site, Digital Trends, named the Garmin Dash Cam 56 as the one to buy. With a 140-degree filed of view, a Clarity HDR feature, 1,440p HD resolution at 30 frames per second, and voice-activated functions ensure the view of the road ahead is always clear, you’ll always be able to focus on driving. At the time of writing, the dash cam is on sale for just $150, a $50 drop from its original price. We would act fast to grab your dad this dash cam as soon as possible.  

Car Engine Coffee Table

Car Engine Coffee Table
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Traditional coffee tables are boring. They’re usually made out of wood, metal, and glass with some sort of storage and eventually become places where you store your junk. Ask me how I know. If you’ve got a bigger budget in mind for a Father’s Day gift and think that he needs an exciting piece of furniture for the office or man cave, Car Guy Garage has a few exciting coffee tables with car engines. There are a variety of available engines that include a V12 engine block from a Mercedes-Benz, a table using engine parts from a Porsche Boxster, and an engine block from a Ford Mustang.  

The most affordable coffee table is one that utilizes a General Motors 4.8/5.3-liter V8 that’s been powder coated silver. Pricing for that one starts at $2,170. At the other end of the spectrum is a coffee table that uses a Porsche 356’s engine block. That one will run you $10,600, so the sky is the limit here.

Recaro Sportster GT Seat

Recaro Sportster GT Seat
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If your father has a track car or street car that he’s been neglecting, a new seat from Recaro is the perfect gift to get him back in gear. With so many seats to choose from, picking one can be a daunting task. If it were up to us, we recommend the Sportster GT, which is the ideal choice for street vehicles that see some track time. With a reinforced polymer-based backrest and a metal base, the Sportster GT is lightweight and supportive. High-performance foam will ensure the seat retains its padding and shape for years to come, too.

On Recaro’s website, the cheapest Sportster GT Seat we were able to find cost $1,299. That’s not cheap, but a good seat is worth its weight in gold.

Project Car

Image used with permission by copyright holder

For a truly great gift that will surely take your dad by surprise, a cheap project car is the way to go. Depending on your budget and needs, you can find vehicles under $1,000 to work on together. If you want our advice, it’s worth spending a little more money to get something that both of you will be interested in for years to come. 

We managed to find this 1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata with 184,000 miles on it for just $2,000. It’s handsome with a white over black paint scheme that looks to be in good condition for its age. While this example has an automatic transmission, one thing you and your dad could do is swap a manual into it, spending time with one another and working together along the way. Expensive? Yes, but this is the kind of gift that an automotive enthusiast would be able to enjoy for decades.

Joel Patel
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Joel Patel is a former contributor for The Manual. His work has also been featured on Autoweek, Digital Trends, Autoblog…
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