Best Father’s Day gifts for car lovers

The best Father's Day gifts for car lovers. We cover car care, toys, tech, tool, and books.

A toy car next to some tools

by Ryan Gilmore |

There are some utterly terrible car-themed Father's Day gifts for sale all over the world. Look through the gift section in a garden centre or reasonably-luxurious department store and you'll find a selection of utter rubbish aimed at car fans. T-shirts emblazoned with cars that just-about get away with copyright infringement, weird car-themed aftershaves and overpriced fudge with a picture of a Jaguar E-Type on the front.

And that's before you get the chequered flag/gear knob/three-spoke steering wheel novelty rubbish. I mean who would actually want a generic gear knob mug set? Hope you got a gift receipt...

Thankfully, there are a lot of excellent, genuinely useful gifts for car lovers available. We've put together our selection based on our own humble expertise.

Quick links

1. Car care

2. Toys

3. Tech

4. Tools

5. Books

Car care

The go-to department for car-oriented Father's Day gifts. Allow us to help you select quality car care products your father will enjoy using.

Autogylm Complete Car Cleaning Kit

Best car cleaning kit
Autogylm Complete Car Cleaning Kit
Amazon

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Autoglym invariably makes it to our lists of best car care products. We like a lot of its gear because they simply work. No fuss, just effectiveness, and at a reasonable price. The Autoglym Collection includes products for interior, exterior, and wheels plus applicators:

Contents:

Interior - 500ml Interior Shampoo, 500ml Fast Glass, 500ml Vinyl & Rubber Care

Exterior - 325ml Bodywork Shampoo Conditioner, 325ml Super Resin Polish, 325ml Extra Gloss Protection

Wheels - 500ml Clean Wheels, 500ml Instant Tyre Dressing, 300ml Wheel Protector

Applicators - Sponge, Hi-Tech Finishing Cloth, Hi-Tech Microfibre Drying Towel

Read CAR's full guide on the best car cleaning kits.

Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Wash & Wax

Best car shampoo
Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Wash & Wax
Amazon

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Employing the relatively new and effective protection of ceramics, this shampoo is a terrific two-in-one. The shampoo cleans very well and ceramic protection works better than wax. It is very hydrophobic and long-lasting. The liquid itself should last, too, because all you need is one capful per litre.

Check out our full guide to ceramic coating products and CAR's guide to the best car shampoo.

Hozelock Professional Car Brush

Best car cleaning brush
Hozelock Professional Car Brush

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The Hozelock brush incorporates a number of useful features. Naturally, you can attach it to the garden hose, but near the handle, there is a container for a car wash or shampoo - you can direct the shampoo through the on/off rinsing jet or via the brush bristles. There is also a knob that gives you full water flow control. The bristles on the head are very soft and designed for use of cars. Meanwhile, the head itself can be rotated into one of seven positions and locked in place.

Read CAR's full guide to the best car cleaning brushes.

Meguiar's Wheel Brush

Meguiar's Wheel Brush
Amazon

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Our top pick for cleaning your wheels is this fluffy microfibre option from Meguiar's. The thick microfibre head effectively cleans wheels and is a durable option. It also lacks metal in its construction so you won't leave any nasty marks on your freshly cleaned alloys.

Check out CAR's full guide on the best wheel brushes.

Meguiar's Drying Towel

Large drying towel
Meguiar's Drying Towel

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Sometimes nothing beats sheer size when it comes to drying. This XL towel from Meguiar's measures 55 x 85cm making it the largest drying towel we could find. It also features near unrivalled absorbency with a gsm of 1050 (which means it's very fluffy). The soft edges are safe for paintwork and the softness will help protect delicate paintwork. Dimensions: 55 x 85cm, 1050gsm.

Read CAR's guide to drying towels for further information and advice.

26JPN Ultra-Soft Detail Brushes

Best detailing brushes
26JPN Ultra-Soft Detail Brushes
Amazon

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This is a product from a British company that uses a Japanese ethos and whose detailing brushes are made in China. There are a number of reasons why we rate 26JPN's detailing brushes, other than the multiculturalism. Firstly, the bristles are boar's hair and are wonderfully soft and don't scratch surfaces. Secondly, we like the slightly textured grip and the lack of any metal parts that could mark surfaces. If you want a pair of detailing brushes you can uses on car interiors or exteriors, it's hard to past this quality pair.

Read CAR's full guide to the best car detailing brushes.

Toys

Sometimes mini versions of cars are genuinely just as fun as a full-size machine. Check out CAR's recommended Father's Day motoring-flavoured toys.

Tamiya Hornet RC Kit

Best RC car
Tamiya Electric Hornet RC car
Amazon

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Tamiya is a brand synonymous with car culture, and an important part in the development of a petrolhead. The Hornet is a good Tamiya kit to start out with. It's easy to assemble, includes most of what you'd need and features a independent front suspension and rolling rigid rear axle suspension with oil-filled dampers. The Hornet is only 2WD, but that does allow for some exciting handling. It's a great car to show beginners the ropes and there are things you can do to upgrade it; whether that's changing the motor, the battery or even the suspension components.

Read CAR's full article on Tamiya RC kits.

LEGO Technic Land Rover Defender

Best lego car set
LEGO 42110 Technic Land Rover Defender
Amazon

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This is a must-have kit for any motoring fan. The hype for Land Rover's new Defender shows no sign of slowing down even after we drove it. But if you can't afford to stump up for the real thing, Lego's version is the next best thing. But be warned, it's a challenge, as we found out.

It's a tricky build, with 2,573 pieces in total. The Defender has the most advanced gearbox of any Lego model so far, according to the brick brand, and comes with three differentials, high- and low-ratios, independent suspension for each wheel, accessories and plenty of moving parts. The build process caught us out a couple of times when we built it ourselves, but the end product is one of the most detailed, feature-filled and visually similar kits Lego has made to date.

Read CAR's article on the best Lego car sets.

Airifx Aston Martin DB5

Best starter Airfix model
Airifx Aston Martin DB5
Amazon

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Airfix is a fantastic, if not frustrating analogue form of entertainment in a digital world. This set is Level 1 (of four), so is easy for beginners. Everything you need is included. A perfect gift for a dad who's hands on.

Playmobil Volkswagen T1 Camping Bus

Best Playmobil set
Playmobil Volkswagen T1 Camping Bus
Amazon

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We took this set for a spin and loved its attention to detail. The handling wasn't so flash but that's forgivable. Packed full of fun extras and impressively detailed for its price, this is an ideal gift for dad interested in old VWs.

Read CAR's full article on the best Playmobil sets.

Scalextric ARC PRO 24h Le Mans

Best Scalextric set
Scalextric ARC PRO 24h Le Mans
Amazon

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Scalextric has become rather high-tech these days. You can read about modern Scalextric in our in-depth review, but put simply, it's rather good fun and this set is our pick. This 24h Le Mans set utilises the ARC PRO tech in a more basic set that you can build upon yourself. This set includes a pair of Ginetta Le Mans racers to get you going but thanks to ARC PRO you can have up to six cars on the track. Load up the grid with your favourite machines. In line with proper racing, youu2019ll be able to enjoy pit stops, post-race data, and KERS. You get 532cm of track included.

Read CAR's full article on the best Scalextric sets.

Technology

From dash cams to racing games, there's plenty of rich pickings here.

APEMAN Dual Dash Cam C550

Best budget dash cam
APEMAN Dual Dash Cam C550
Amazon

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There are hundreds of dash cams available, but this is one of the best you can buy. With its compact form, this Apeman cam ticks all the boxes. With 170 degree wide angle lens, great night vision, a 720p HD rear camera (130 degrees wide angle), micro-SD card, and all the necessary basics from G-sensor and motion detection to loop recording, this is a sound choice and feels slick. It's the most compact cam in the Apeman range being around the size of an egg, it's our favourite if your priority is finding something discreet. Bear in mind though, that the viewing screen therefore also smaller, but large enough to make sure you've got the lens angled correctly.

For more high-tech dash cams, read our review of the Nextbase 522GW and 622GW.

Read CAR's full article on the best budget dash cams.

Garmin DriveSmart 65 MT-S Sat Nav

Best sat nav with smart features
Garmin DriveSmart 65 MT-S Smart Sat Nav
Amazon

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The large-screened Garmin is a double-act like the top-end Nextbase dash cams. The DriveSmart 65 MT-S combines smart technology and navigation to become your in-car control device as well as the navigator. Through Garminu2019s Drive app, you can launch Alexa and get the sat nav to play music, make hands-free calls, give you information on the weather, and all that carry on.

In terms of its navigating capabilities, the DriveSmart 65 MT-S is first class. The 6.95-inch screen is about as large as is practical in a car and the graphics are crisp and smooth. If you need directions on the move, you can use the Garmin voice control – which actually works – and with the Garmin Traffic function, you don’t have to fret about congestion and constipation (hang on, that’s not right).

The DriveSmart 65 MT-S asks for high-end money but you’re effectively getting two devices in one. It’s a superb option for those who love and use gadgets and connectivity.

Naturally, there is Wi-Fi for easy update downloads, but one of the other features we really approve of is the use of TripAdvisor, which allows you to see ratings of places you’re planning to visit. This is a neat idea and goes well with the Trip Planner function, provided that you are someone who takes any notice of TripAdvisor ratings.

Read CAR's full article on the best aftermarket sat navs.

Auto-Vox Solar 1

Best aftermarket reversing camera
Auto-Vox Solar 1
Amazon

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The Solar 1 set from Auto-Vox is the easiest reversing camera to fit. The camera is solar-powered, so you donu2019t have to wire it to the reversing light for power. Furthermore, the connection between the camera and dashboard display screen is wireless.

The solar panel is perfectly adequate for charging the 2.8Ah battery, which, in turn, powers the camera. Auto-Vox says that if the solar panel gets 30 minutes of sunlight per day on average, you need only top up the battery (via USB) once a year. The screen needs to be powered by plugging it into the 12V plug in your car, but the charger has a USB port so you can still use it for phones or other devices.

One of the reasons we like the Solar 1 beyond the easy setup, is the strong and uninterrupted signal. In many cheaper wireless units, the transmission can be sketchy. But not here.

Read CAR's full article on the best aftermarket reversing cameras.

Beeasy Wireless Car Phone Charger

Best wireless phone car charger
Beeasy Wireless Car Charger
Amazon

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A great mount for also using your phone as a sat-nav, this wireless charger sticks to your dashboard without leaving any marks or damage. This charger also offers a great 10w fast charge.

Read CAR's full article on the best wireless car chargers.

DiRT Rally 2.0

Best rally racing game
DiRT Rally 2.0
Amazon

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If your dad prefers handbrake turns to points of downforce, and gets more excited by stages than circuits, DiRT a must-buy. It offers the best total package for rally fans on any platform. When running in full 4K-stride, it looks great, and it also has a full licence for the World Rallycross series u2013 so itu2019s not all fictional. Like the F1 series u2013 also by Codemasters u2013 DiRT rally can be customised to suit your skill level. In the harder modes, DiRT will require patience and time u00adu2013 but mastering is very worthwhile. Itu2019s also easy to play with a pad u2013 when the assists are on, of course.

Read CAR's full review of DiRT 2.0 and our full article on the best racing games.

Tools

Got a handy dad? Check out our recommended car-related tools for Father's Day gifts.

Turtle Wax TW110 Pressure Washer

Best pressure washer for cars
Turtle Wax TW110 Pressure Washer
Amazon

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Turtle Wax have a produced a great compact machine with the TW110 for people who want a portable machine for cars and light domestic use. It also comes with the useful cannister attachments for foam cleaning, in addition to the regular lance.

Output is 335 litres per hour (l/h) flow rate, 110 bar maximum pressure, and 1400W - ideal for car cleaning. Not too much, not too little. It will therefore make quick work of lighter jobs. While the Norse TW110 is indeed nice and light at under six kilograms, bear in the mind the hose length is only five metres.

Read CAR's full article on the best car pressure washers.

Leatherman Skeletool

Best glovebox tool
Leatherman Skeletool
Amazon

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Seven tools, all of them handy and therefore makes the Skeletool the perfect tool to keep in the glovebox. Plus, you get Leatherman's fantastic reputation for quality, unlike the cheap knockoffs.

Tools: needlenose pliers, regular pliers, hard wire cutters, wire cutters, combo knife, carabiner/bottle opener, large bit driver.

Gtech Multi MK2 Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Best car vacuum cleaner
Gtech Multi MK2 Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
Amazon

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The Gtech Multi Mk2 is a brilliant little vacuum cleaner for car cleaning and will satisfy clean-keen dad no end. It's powerful, well made, light at 1.5kg, and comes with the bits you need - power brush for hair, dusting brush, and crevice tool.

Read CAR's full verdict on the Gtech Multi MK2 and the best car vacuum cleaners.

CTEK MXS 5.0 Battery Charger

Best battery charger
CTEK MXS 5.0 Battery Charger
Amazon

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CTEK is one of our favourite brands of car battery chargers. The Swedish company produces a range of robust charging units for cars, motorcycles, boats and lorries, so you can be sure that a CTEK charger will do a good job of keeping your family hatchback on the road. The CTEK MXS 5.0 is simple to connect and includes an eight-step display to allow you to keep tabs on the charging process. Once the battery is charged, the MXS 5.0 maintains it to 95-100 percent capacity to prolong its life by up to three times.

Read CAR's full article on the best car battery chargers.

NOCO Boost Sport GB20

Best portable jump starter
NOCO Boost Sport GB20
Amazon

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The main things you'll want from a good portable battery booster are compactness and power. This option from NOCO overs great power (restart a 4.0-litre engine from dead with ease) and is small in size. It also comes with an LED torch and USB slot so you can use it as a power bank too. NOCO is one of the best brands in this market.

Read CAR's full article on the best portable battery chargers.

Bahco SL25 Ratchet Socket Set

Best home mechanic's socket set
Bahco SL25 Ratchet Socket Set
Amazon

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Bahco is one of the top brands for hand tools, and it usually demands a premium for them. It's therefore unusual that this set is such a good deal. It's 1/4-inch metric drive with 25 pieces total (12 hex sockets with all the common sizes). And it comes in a hard case. Wonderful.

Read CAR's articles on the best spanner sets and screwdriver sets.

Books

Got a bookworm dad? We love motoring books too, they reveal some very obscure but wonderful stories. Check out our picks below, or head to CAR's full article on the best motoring books.

Automotive Detailing in Detail: A Guide to Enhancing, Renovating and Maintaining Your Vehicle's Appearance

Surprisingly good read
Automotive Detailing in Detail: A Guide to Enhancing, Renovating and Maintaining Your Vehicle's Appearance
Amazon

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If you'd told me that I'd enjoy reading a book about cleaning your car, I'd not hesitate to pour cold water on your foolish notion. But you'd be right and I'd be washing my mouth out with Simoniz, because this is fascinating. No, really. The authors u2013 all hands-on practitioners u2013 know WAY too much about different techniques for cleaning, restoring, buffing, preserving and pimping, but they manage to not get too dogmatic or uppity about it. The temptation to shout at idiots like me YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG has been heroically resisted, and instead they offer detailed suggestions for a variety of techniques for tackling any given aspect of maintenance. It pulls off the remarkable trick of making better results seem easily achievable.

The Science of Supercars: The technology that powers the greatest cars in the world

Best for the casual reader
The Science of Supercars: The technology that powers the greatest cars in the world
Amazon

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The evolution of supercars is a path that anyone with a curious mind will find amazing. This book looks at the the mid-engine species of car and how aerodynamics, theatrical styling, hardware, software, and other such factors have influenced the supercar over the years and how the technology has changed and is changing. You get to read contributions from some of the greatest figures in the automotive world: Adrian Newey, Gordon Murray, Achim Anscheidt (Bugatti's Design Director), Horacio Pagani, Nigel Manell, and Christian von Koenigsegg.

How to Build a Car: The Autobiography of the World's Greatest Formula 1 Designer

Best for the nerdy dad
How to Build a Car: The Autobiography of the World's Greatest Formula 1 Designer
Amazon

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One of the most successful, pioneering F1 car designers ever, Adrian Newey has become a household name u2013 despite not being a driver. Over his 35 year career, he's designed championship-winning cars for Williams, McLaren and Red Bull u2013 and work with the likes of Senna, Hakkinen and Vettel. This is his autobiography; but rather than a straightforward narrative, it focuses on key cars in his career. A must-read for F1 fans and more technically minded car enthusiasts, too.

Cars We Loved in the 1990s

Best for the '90s fan
Cars We Loved in the 1990s
Amazon

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It's hard to believe that the 1990s ended so long ago. Celebrate the best cars of the decade with this small book commemorating the very best. From the humble (but stylish) Vauxhall Calibra to the McLaren F1 there are cars to suit everyone. And if the 1990s aren't to your taste, there are also books covering the 1950s through to the '80s.

A Race with Love and Death: The Story of Richard Seaman

Best motoring story
A Race with Love and Death: The Story of Richard Seaman
Amazon

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Richard Williams has written wonderful books vividly telling the stories of Enzo Ferrari, Damon Hill and Ayrton Senna. But this latest one tops them all for drama, insight and casting fresh light on old events. "A Race with Love and Death" is the tale of Richard Seaman, Britain's first great Grand Prix driver, as the subtitle calls him, who famously won the 1938 German GP in one of the Hitler-backed Mercedes Silver Arrows, and died in a crash in 1939.

READ NEXT:

CAR's top gifts for Audi lovers

The best gift for BMW fanatics

CAR's top gifts for Jaguar fans

CAR's top gifts for Ferrari fans

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