The best car advent calendars

Forget chocolate or small bottles of hot sauce, these are the perfect advent calendars for petrolheads.

best car advent calendars

by Aaron Hussain |
Updated on

You might be wondering why car advent calendars are on our minds. Well, the simple reason is it's car related gift guide season. Every December, at least most of us begin each morning digging our fingernails into an advent calendar. After getting in and ripping away the foil, we find chocolate which we indulge and enjoy the festive-ness of. Not to mention the 24-hour wait until the next day.

But here's the thing. Why eat up all the chocolate and throw away the pack, when you can treat yourself to something a little more up our street? Car advent calendars are a great way to get festive while also indulging in the passion we know and love.

Car-shaped chocolates may exist, but they don't last forever like a physical item. Such as, say, one of the items from our BMW gift guide. Instead, you can gradually build a car or open a series of car-themed calendar doors to reveal charming little gifts. Or maybe even a neat set of tools, if you fancy yourself getting a bit more hands-on.

The best car advent calendars at a glance:

Editor's pick: Franzis Porsche 911 2.7 RS Advent Calendar - Buy from Amazon.
Best for young petrolheads: Disney and Pixar’s Cars Minis Advent Calendar Playset - Buy from Amazon.
Best model kit calendar: Revell VW Type 2 Advent Calendar - Buy from Amazon.

With that in mind, we've drummed up a list of the best car advent calendars we could find. Because let's be honest, if you're stuck for ideas - even after reading our Porsche gift guide - these are great ideas for your loved ones.

The best car advent calendars

Best hot wheels advent calendar

best car advent calendarsVia Hot Wheels
Price: $15.18
Alternative retailers
Walmart$15.19View offer

Who doesn't like Hot Wheels? No matter your age, you can't help but adore those small 1:64 scale model cars that are packed with charisma and feature some insane designs. Just look at the Twin Mill and Roller Toaster for evidence of this. This advent calendar will bring a smile to any petrolhead, no matter their age.

Surprise, surprise, you get some Hot Wheels models. There are eight models included, all of them are Hot Wheels' own designs. There are also 16 accessories to play with, including a detachable snow plough, reindeer and a sledge to mount your Hot Wheels model too. The front of the advent calendar also folds down to make a small race track, perfect for imaginary races in the snow.

It's the most affordable advent calendar here but I don't think anyone would care. Hot Wheels bring so much joy and the set contains so much that it's sure to be a hit for any fan of toy cars.

Pros

  • Comprehensive little set
  • Makes for a nice display

Cons

  • A Hot Wheels sled - really?

Editor's pick

best car advent calendarsVia Franzis.

While one of the genuine 1,580 911 2.7 RS' would be preferable, any car fan would be happy with a brand-new model car this Christmas. This set combines two of our favourite things into one amazing gift idea; model cars and gifts.

The main attraction here is the scale model 2.7 RS that you assemble from several different pieces to make a 1:43 scale model. The calendar also includes a plastic display plinth that includes a speaker that plays the engine note at the press of a button. The instruction manual is fleshed out with the history and development of the car and is printed in both German and English. Franzis also include some tools for assembling the model as well as some surprises that will be welcomed by any Porsche fan.

Pros

  • Ideal for any Porsche fan
  • You learn lots of 911 history throughout the build

Cons

  • Franzis builds aren't as intuitive as they could be

Best large advent calendar

best car advent calendarsVia Revell
Price: $46.82

One of the most charming sets on this list is Revell's answer to the advent calendar game. Over a 24-day period, you can build your very own Porsche 356 B hardtop.

It comes in 127 pieces and is a great gift for Porsche lovers or just for yourself to obsess over in the run-up to Christmas.

Pros

  • Detailed and accurate model
  • Engaging to build

Cons

  • Red is the only colour option

Best advent calendar for supercar fans

best car advent calendarVia Franzis
Price: $86.00

Introduced as the softer, less aggressive successor to the timeless SLS, the AMG GT became Merc's fighter to the dominant Porsche 911. Instead of the raging 6.2 litre storm-starter, it instead had a tamer 4.0 litre Biturbo V8.

Nevertheless, it proved to be a successful recipe for Mercedes, and one that's perhaps a little more underappreciated than it should be. You can learn about and build an AMG GT for yourself. As well as the fun of assembly, the history of the AMG tuning house is included in the pack.

Pros

  • Lovely gift for a Mercedes fan
  • A great quality model

Cons

  • We would've preferred an AMG GTR

Best hot hatch advent calendar

best car advent calendarsVia Franzis

The original MK1 VW Golf GTI disrupted the sports car market and ran away with it. Launched in 1976, it was the epitome of the hot hatchback, combining a practical body with a powerful 1.6 or 1.8-litre fuel-injected engine.

Legends would follow in the form of the Peugeot 205 GTI, Ford Escort XR3i, and Renault 5 GT Turbo. But it was the VW that kicked it off, and every hot hatch you know and love owes its existence to the GTI. Much of its history is documented in the pack of this Franzis advent calendar, and you get to build a 1:43 model of your own.

Pros

  • History of the Golf GTI presented
  • A great quality model once finished

Cons

  • These things always leave you wanting more

Best for young petrolheads

best car advent calendarsVia Disney
Price: $39.95
Alternative retailers
Walmart$49.99View offer

Cars (not to be confused with CAR), is a genuine masterpiece and is probably responsible for a whole generation of young petrolheads. With cars including Lightning McQueen, Mater and Mack, it's perfect for getting a young child interested in cars. This advent calendar is suitable for ages three and up.

The standout gifts are diecast models including Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater. The set also includes billboards and road signs. Finally, you also get small sections of track to race on making this a great gift for children.

For a fan of the film series, this advent calendar is a novel no-brainer. While it's a pity family favourites like Doc Hudson aren't included, the cars that are featured in this set are of excellent quality and look great. The roadside accessories are plastic but are perfect for children.

Pros

  • Great set for younger petrolheads
  • Easy to follow for children

Cons

  • It's a slight shame little of the characters are included

On sale

best car advent calendarsVia Franzis

The legendary Citroen 2CV arrived in 1948 and changed the French automotive industry for good. It was cheap, easy to maintain, and endlessly dependable. It was capable off the beaten track too, which was useful for miles of country roads and farmlands.

Franzis celebrates the joy and simplicity of France's most distinctive vehicles, and you can build one yourself over a period of 24 days. A lovely alternative if you don't fancy yourself chocolate this December.

Pros

  • A wonderful model
  • Deep delve into 2CV history

Cons

  • We wish an earlier car had been represented

Best Matchbox advent calendar

best car advent calendarsVia Matchbox
Price: $14.22

There are days when you'll be opening a cone in this set, but Matchbox's advent calendar is full of charming little surprises over the course of 24 days.

The set includes anything from a snowmobile to a Porsche Panamera. There is a Mercedes G-Wagon included as well, which makes this a wonderful winter-themed set.

Pros

  • Nice array of items
  • The ability to build a neat little diorama

Cons

  • There aren't many actual cars inside

Best model kit calendar

best car advent calendarsVia Revell
Price: $69.00

The Volkswagen Type 2 never received the same amount of love as the iconic Type 1 split screen, but it still captures the hearts of many camping enthusiasts in its own unique way. Revell offers something slightly different in the advent calendar market and will sell you a click-on model kit to build over 24 days.

It's a very nicely detailed set with a number of decals and accessories that add nice touches throughout the van. One look at the interior and engine bay is tempting us ever so much in the run-up to the festive season.

Pros

  • Very progressive build over 24 days
  • Immense detail on the parts

Cons

  • Revell doesn't offer much choice in different car models

Best tool set advent calendar

best car advent calendarsVia Draper Tools
Price: $101.72

If building a model car isn't for you, then perhaps a neat set of tools might be the answer. Draper is happy to oblige with this rather nice toolset integrated into an advent calendar.

Included in the set is a bottle opener, a magnetic screwdriver with a number of different screw attachments, and a neat set of 5-13mm sockets. It's especially nice that a storage case is included to keep everything organised.

Pros

  • Lovely present for a tools enthusiast
  • Comprehensive equipment

Cons

  • Normal, individual tool sets are slightly better value

Are car advent calendars the thing my loved one wants?

Thankfully, we at CAR have a bank of gift guides to help you decide which car-related item would suit your loved ones. Our Lamborghini gift guide for example includes everything from posters to model cars and everything in between.

Even something as simple and silly as Car Christmas jumpers might be more than enough to make your recipient smile. The key to someone's heart is to study which area of car culture they like the most and check out the web accordingly.

If your loved one is a rallying enthusiast, then a Subaru Impreza gift might be the answer. Car advent calendars offer something incredibly sweet and different though. Some may be more comprehensive than others in terms of what you get, but the thought is amazing. Building a 911 or a Type 2 Camper is more involving than swallowing a small block of chocolate each December morning. They may cost a little more than a Cadbury's calendar from Tesco, but the rewards are so much more satisfying.

Aaron Hussain is a commercial content writer at Bauer Media writing for Parkers and CAR. He is obsessed with classic cars and anything with a fascinating story to tell.

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