Our 5 Favorite Must-haves for Car Geeks
With its crazy traffic and horrible weather, Christmastime might not be the best season to go driving -- but it is a great time to turn some of those driving fantasies into a reality. Instead of opting for a necktie or a matching underwear-and-coveralls set, you might want to put top-notch car-related items on your wish list. The following tally is a good starting-point for any car lover.
H.S. Trask Guide Driving Shoe
Many so-called “driving shoes” are more appropriate for lounging around the bar than heel-and-toeing it through a mountain pass. That’s why we favor the lace-up leather driving shoes from H.S. Trask. The specially designed soles grip your car’s pedals, and a wraparound heel-pad prevents scuffmarks. The cushioned heel and forefoot areas make for comfortable walking as well. Upper linings and removable foot-beds wick away moisture and allow you to use your custom orthotics. (AutoSportCatalog.com; available in several earth-tone colors; about $99 a pair.)
TAG Heuer Men’s CV2010.BA0786 Carrera Automatic Chronograph Watch
There are hundreds of watches out there that claim to be driving or racing watches, but the one we favor has a long motorsports history. TAG Heuer introduced the original Carrera Chronograph in 1963 as a tribute to the epic Mexican road-race known as La Carrera Panamericana. The current version of this classic timepiece captures the spirit (and the clean, no-nonsense lines) of the original -- while updating its technology.
The large, polished steel case holds a black dial with luminescent, diamond-set hands, hand-applied indexes and an automatic date display under a scratch-proof sapphire crystal. The black bezel features tachymeter readings, and the fluted crown is identical to that of the original model. The Calibre 16 automatic chronograph movement, visible through the back of the case, delivers accurate time. (US.TagHeuer.com; about $3,000.)
Accutire Professional Metal Digital Tire Gauge
If your tires aren’t at the right pressure, your entire driving experience can be thrown off. Fortunately, it doesn’t cost much to make certain your tires are at the proper PSI. While the Accutire Professional Metal Digital Tire Gauge doesn’t have the most engaging name, it does deliver the correct readings time after time.
While manual tire gauges seem flimsy and can give inconsistent results, this one delivers a precise tire-pressure reading in an easy-to-read format. Plus, it’s equipped with a flashlight that allows you to measure your tire pressure accurately in any lighting condition. The large, backlit LCD screen is easy to read -- the pressure is displayed in bold black digits on a blue background. When it's not in use, you can stow the gauge in its storage pouch so it won't rattle around in your glove box. (AutoGeek.net; about $30.)
Ray-Ban RB2140 Original Wayfarer Sunglasses
We know your sunglasses are as personal as your mixed-drink or collar style, but we strongly favor the classic Ray-Ban Wayfarer -- likely the most recognizable style in sunglasses. After its introduction in 1952, the Ray-Ban Wayfarer quickly became a dear favorite of Hollywood filmmakers, celebrities, musicians and artists -- not to mention just about every sports car driver of the ’50s.
The Wayfarer has spawned a complete line of sunglasses, but we remain partial to the original RB2140. Do us -- and yourself -- a favor: Stick with an original color, like black or tortoise. The newer colors look like they were purchased at a dime store. (Ray-Ban.com; about $145.)
Damascus DMX50 Viper Gloves
So many driving gloves have silly knuckle cutouts and string-backs, but we were inspired by the modern Viper gloves that are often used by law enforcement. They feature a unique digital-print sheepskin leather palm that is laser-etched by Pittards, makers of some of the finest leathers in the world. Instead of the knuckleheaded knuckle-holes, the gloves offer a contoured, breathable mesh back for airflow, as well as seamless rolled fingertips for superior tactility. (LeatherGlovesOnline.com; about $37.)