November 24, 2013

News & Features

Auto-inspired gifts for the driving fans on your list

Special to NWautos


Whether the car lovers on your holiday list like rides big or small, are the practical type or are more adventurous, these gifts are sure to rev some holiday engines.

Audiovox Car Connection

Keep an eye on your teen driver from a Web interface or iPhone app with this device that plugs in under the dashboard. It curbs texting behind the wheel and sends an alert when the vehicle travels outside a designated area. The monitor also checks the gas level, offers fuel-saving tips and helps find the car in a parking lot.
$170 at Sears and

Anki Drive Starter Kit

Like Hot Wheels for the digital age, Anki Drive's sleek toy racing set features tiny robotic sports cars covered with sensors and a computer "brain" capable of making intelligent decisions on the rubber race track. Players control their cars via iPhone or iPad, racing for dominance while shooting at competitors and building an arsenal of weapons and armor. Starter kit includes two cars.
$200 at and Apple Store

Kelty Small Folding Cooler

Warm weather may seem an eternity away, but it's never too early to plan ahead for the next car-camping adventure. These sleek coolers, which hold up to 20 liters, are semi-rigid yet collapsible and compact for storage. Kelty even thought of molded cup holders for the lid.
$46 at

Mr. Bacon Air Freshener

Everything's better with bacon — including your bacon lover's daily commute. The Mr. Bacon Air Freshener takes the aroma on the go, tantalizing drivers on their way to work ... or breakfast.
$2 at Archie McPhee, Wallingford

SpareOne Plus charger

When your loved ones are on the road, make sure they have an emergency cellphone charger on hand. A SpareOne Plus can hold its charge for 15 years when unused, and provides at least 10 hours of talk time. It also has an LED flashlight, an SOS torchlight that flashes in Morse code, a panic siren to attract attention, and a location and alert system.
$80 at, Home Depot and Sears

Park Right Garage Laser Parking Sensor

Stop your spouse from running into the bike racks or parking too close to the door with this device by MAXSA Innovations. It attaches to a garage ceiling and automatically activates when a car pulls in, and helps guide drivers with a laser light to the designated parking spot. Available in both one- and two-car-garage models.
$28-$30 at

Race Car Wine Caddy

The car lovers on your list ride in style, so why not give the same treatment to the wines they love? The Race Car Wine Caddy, exclusive to local automotive mecca Griot's Garage, is handmade in Europe from recycled steel, and each is one of a kind.
$100 at Griot's Garage, Tacoma

Robo Keys Space-Age Key Covers

The alien robot invasion takes control of a car ignition with Robo Keys Space-Age Key Covers. The rubber key covers come in sets of two different robot friends (or are they?), bringing a fun spark of artificial life to the most robotic of tasks.
$6 at

"Strange but True Tales of Car Collecting"

Every car collector loves a crazy car story, and there are plenty in this book by Keith Martin and Sports Car Market, subtitled "Drowned Bugattis, Buried Belvederes, Felonious Ferraris and Other Wild Stories of Automotive Misadventure." Perhaps it will keep the car nuts on your list occupied enough to avoid seeking out adventures of their own.
$22 at and local bookstores

High-performance driving courses
ProFormance Racing School at Pacific Raceways in Kent offers a wide range of courses, including a Half Day Teen Program ($200), which teaches advanced car control and street survival skills; a One Day High Performance Driving Program ($555-$1,155); and a two-day accredited Competition Licensing Program ($2,550). Drivers can bring their own vehicles or train in their choice of the school's cars.

Zombie Family Car Stickers

For those who are particularly proud of the brains that run in their family, vinyl zombie car stickers are the perfect way to express it. The complete set includes nine undead family members and flesh-hungry pets.
$9.50 at Fireworks


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