You know that friend you love to talk cars with? The one who always wears a fully-buttoned trench coat, has a weirdly small head and hands, a peculiarly high voice, seems to have two waists, and shoots milk out of their nose whenever anything like a fart sound is made? Hate to break it to you, but that’s two stacked kids in a coat. Even so, you should still get them something awesome for the holidays.
Don’t feel bad about being taken by the old two-stacked-kids-in-a-trenchcoat bit; these are just kids who want to talk cars, doing the best they could. As long as you never bought them beer or loaned them your car, there’s nothing to worry about.
This holiday you can quietly send a message to your “friend” that you know what’s going on, but no hard feelings by giving them one of these amazing kid-friendly gifts. They’ll get the message.
One of the most frustrating parts about being a kid who loves cars is that there’s not really that much you can actually, legally drive. Sure, maybe a kid can find an abandoned Daihatsu Charade in a field somewhere, but that’s unlikely. That’s what makes this gift so great.
One of the least expensive ways to give a kid something close to an actual driving experience is with one of these electric Razor Dune Buggies.
It’s much closer to a go-kart than some plastic tired pink Barbie Power Wheels jeep, and provides a much more engaging driving experience. It’s got real rubber pneumatic tires, a 350 watt electric motor, and can hit up to a respectable 10 mph.
At about $300 it’s way cheaper than a full-on go-kart, and may be the best first motorized vehicle out there.
It’s important to pass down knowledge to the younger generation, especially esoteric knowledge in danger of being lost. That’s why you need to get the kids in your life one of these Minicraft Visible Rotary Engine models.
When was the last time you saw an RX-7? When do you think Mazda is actually going to make a new rotary-powered car? Who knows. We can’t take a chance on this marvelous, flawed engine being lost to history. This model will carry on the rotary legend to a new generation, long after the last local RX-7 has lunched itself.
A shit-ton of Hot Wheels. They’re more fun in bulk. This gift is best given by having the kid close their eyes, and then just dumping the whole box out in front of them, and letting the din of 50 Hot Wheels clattering in front of them shock and delight them.
They may even let you keep one or two for yourself.
If you really care about the kid your shopping for, and you want to get them something really special, there’s really only one option: the absolute best car-related plush toys in the world, from Rocket Craft.
Rocket Craft is based out of Japan, and while their stuff isn’t cheap, they make the most detailed and charming plush cars you’ve ever seen. They even make plush engines!
They’ll make you the car of your choice (or engine) to order: these aren’t some mass-produced crap, they’re handmade soft art objects, and these will be something whoever you give it to will keep forever, or at least until college, when it gets thrown up on at some party.
I wrote about these before, and I know it’s not likely the kid knows Swedish, but the books are too good to ignore, and if you show the kid how to use the Google Translate phone app with the visual-translating thing, it becomes an even more exciting experience.
The book, Halvans 1-2-3, is one of the most detailed and best illustrated kid’s car books I’ve ever seen.
There’s other great car books in English, too, like Dwight Knowlton’s lovely Little Red Racing Car, so if getting books for your kid in a language they actually understand is a priority, this is a good one.
While the average kid probably already has some kind of advanced, touch-based device on which to play games, it never hurts to make sure they know and appreciate where it all came from.
That’s why, for real driving game (and other game) enjoyment, the most culturally-aware thing you can do is give a kid one of these handheld SupaBoy Super Nintendo players and a driving game like Super Mario Kart or Top Gear.
Let them appreciate the joys of 16-bit processors and physical button-pushing. They’ll be better people for it.
R/C Mustang GT500 and Duplo People (The Ultimate Cars & Coffee Playset)
They’ve read the articles, seen the videos, and maybe even witnessed the excitement firsthand. But they want even more. That’s why this Jalopnik-exclusive Cars & Coffee Playset is so great.
By buying these two toys and combining them together, you get the perfect setup for kid-scale re-creations of Mustang-induced post-Cars & Coffee mayhem. Simply set up the unsuspecting crowd of people, then take the remote control for the overpowered Mustang and do what comes naturally: drive well beyond your ability and plow the fuck into that crowd.
Then, set the crowd up again and have another go! Combine this with a cellphone camera and make your own Cars & Coffee Mustang carnage videos! It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Just to be sure they don’t end up with boring, predictable tastes in cars, throw a little chaos into their car-psyche with this lovely 1:76 model of a Morris Marina.
Just give them a cryptic smile whenever they ask about it.
tOkay! I hope this helps bring any actual kids or pretend kids you know some painfully intense joy this holiday season!