8 Father's Day Gifts Car Guys Will Love


CARS.COM — Attention, families. Father’s Day — that 107-year-old homage to Philip Banks, Phil Dunphy and every dad in between — is just around the corner (Sunday, in case you’re unaware). Does your family have a pavement-loving patriarch? We have a roster of car-guy gifts for spouses and kids on any budget.

Related: Ford, GHSA Partner to Improve Teen Driving Skills editors voted on their favorites, and here they are, organized by cost. One caveat: We’ve bought some but not all of these, so we can’t vouch for quality across the board.

On a Shoestring

Carwash voucher. If your old man’s daily driver has seen cleaner days, volunteer to wash it. You could even present Pops with a handwritten voucher. Aside from some soap and a bump in the water bill, the only cost is elbow grease. Make sure to clean the inside, too: That pays the biggest dividends because it’s where he spends the most time. Bonus points if you wax the exterior, which can keep a like-new finish for weeks to come. Have better things to do? Buy some vouchers from your local cash-wash facility or pony up $100 or so for a professional detailing job. That should brighten his ride — and his week.

Speedometer cufflinks. Automotive apparel need not invoke Joey Tribbiani poseurdom. Keep it subtle: We found a set of speedometer cufflinks on Etsy full of understated charm. Each one has a tiny 140-mph speedometer and old-school mechanical odometer etched in; a pair runs $12.50. Plenty more exist — from this pair with auxiliary dials ($23 to $55) to this set with a speedometer and fuel gauge ($15). Whatever you get, Dad will remember Father’s Day when he dons them for the next soiree.

Roadmap T-shirt. Parents with young children can consider this genius idea off Etsy: A T-shirt with an automotive play mat on the back. Kids will traverse the T-shirt’s crisscrossing roads with toy cars while their old man enjoys watching his tots gain early automotive inspiration. That, and he gets to lie down — nay, he must lie down — while the kids play. It’s a win-win. There are plenty of variations for sale, including some with matching shirts for youngsters; prices range from around $10 to $30.

Somewhat Spendy

All-weather floormats. You don’t buy all-weather floormats for styling. They give your footwells all the charm of a linoleum floor, after all. But consider the alternative — carpets stained with coffee or, in winter, road salt — and all-weather mats are a practical gift Dad will appreciate for years to come. We like WeatherTech’s custom-fitted mats (around $100 to $300, depending on car), which fit each car’s unique footwells. If you can do without fitted mats, plenty of one-size options exist for less than $50.

Sports-car rental. If Dad ogles sports-car ads, a daily rental could make his year — either in his local neighborhood or added to a trip already planned. Prices vary: For a June weekend from Los Angeles International Airport, rates at Enterprise ranged from $70 a day for a V-8 muscle car (think Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro or Dodge Challenger) to a cool $1,200 for 24 hours in the likes of an Aston Martin DB9, Ferrari California or Bentley Continental GT. Want just an afternoon of fun? A peer-to-peer service could be an affordable option. Car-sharing company Getaround touts everything from Tesla sedans to BMW convertibles, which you can rent from its user base for an hourly rate.

Whole Lotta Dough

Driving or racing school. If Dad fancies himself a skilled motorist, a trip to a high-performance driving school can take his abilities up a notch (or three) both on and off the racetrack. If he just likes fast cars, send him to a racecar experience to drive or ride in a few. editors have been to their share of driving courses — from defensive-driving programs to performance track school — and can attest to their benefit. Any reputable experience will cost you, however. Expect to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars, especially if the school requires travel and lodging.

Trip to a race, museum or factory. There’s something unforgettable about watching professional drivers thunder past you in racecars. Take Dad to see a race — from open-wheeled Formula One racers to mud-slinging rally cars — and he’ll look forward to it all the way until then. AutoWeek has an expansive schedule for 2017, and chances are you’ll find a race nearby. For something lower key but no less memorable, spend a day with Pops at an automotive museum or factory. Any decent museum should have a range of classic and current models, and a factory tour will give him new appreciation for the complexity of auto manufacturing. Prices depend on the complexity of the trip (duh), which could be as simple as an afternoon at the local auto museum or as extravagant as an overseas trip to Le Mans in France.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. OK, we’re kidding. But Dodge’s supercharged V-8 has a sneaky habit of making our Father’s Day lists. The Demon doesn’t go on sale until later this year, and when it does, the 840-horsepower muscle car will set you back at least 86 large. Should Dad be so lucky, you’ll want to package this with driving school. It would be foolish not to.

Photo of Kelsey Mays
Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey Mays

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