Gift-giving made easy

A 1969 Pontiac GTO 2-door hardtop rolls onto the auction block at Barrett Jackson Auction in Scottsdale. Barrett-Jackson photo
A 1969 Pontiac GTO 2-door hardtop rolls onto the auction block at Barrett Jackson Auction in Scottsdale. Barrett-Jackson photo

Shopping for the gearhead in your life can be pretty simple.

You can always head to the local auto parts store and put together a wash/detail kit. Car soap, interior cleaner, polish and wax, plus some microfiber towels or maybe a chamois, and you’ve got a great start. Detail brushes, wheel cleaner and tire dressing or maybe an orbital polisher and you’re going big! It can be simple or elaborate, and will always be appreciated.

Books or calendars are also nice, and easy to come by. Most bookstores have a nice selection of both, or you click away online to find lots of auto books and calendars ready for shipping. A visit to Amazon with the search words automotive books yields more than 60 new releases providing a wide variety for all types of car lovers. Search automotive calendars and there are more than 300 for 2017.

If your gearhead is a wrench turner, maybe this is the year for a new tool chest. Wheels did a little research for a nice bench-top chest and came up with an eight- or nine-drawer model comparison.

With two local locations, Harbor Freight offers the 44-inch, eight-drawer glossy red cabinet tool chest by US General. It’s a powder-coated finish with ball-bearing drawer slides and comes complete with drawer liners, labels and keys for only $279.

Craftsman offers a similar chest, a 40-inch, eight-drawer unit finished in black. It also features Dynaglide ball bearing slides, a secure griplatch feature to keep drawers closed and a variety of size drawers that hold more than 11,000 cubic inches of tools. The all-steel unit has a lifetime warranty. List priced at $569, it is frequently on sale for only $249 and available either in stores or online.

If you want the Porsche of the tool storage line, look no further than Snap-On Tools. The nine-drawer, 26-inch unit is available in four colors, including the signature red, but also black, blue or orange. Featuring Lock’N Roll, which prevents drawers from drifting open during transport, rolled drawer edges for strength and safety and the signature easy-glide drawer rollers, this is the best of the best. Consider it furniture for the garage. It’s available online from and will set you back $1,245.

Maybe your driver needs some cool driving shoes. The Geox Monet driving moccasin is a leather driving shoe that features contrast stitching with the exclusive Geox sole that protects against inclement weather. Easy to slip on, with a nice rolled heel, it’s at Nordstrom for about $170. But Wheels has also found great leather driving mocs in a variety of styles and colors at the Nordstrom Rack store at The Greene for less than $70. If your driver is autocrossing or racing, they might like the Piloti Prototypo driving shoe. Authentic shoes with special padding on the sides and a special heel made to protect and cushion during heel and toe braking and downshifting, these come in a variety of colors and styles. Priced at $155, you can order them at and they recommend to go about a half size larger than normal shoe since they are very snug.

If you want to get away from the winter blues and possibly purchase a stunning car, plan a trip to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area for the third week of January. It’s classic car auction central with five major auctions taking place. The granddaddy is Barrett-Jackson, now in its 45th year at Westworld in Scottsdale.

More than a thousand cars will cross the block between Jan. 14 and 22, but the good stuff goes from the 20th to the 22nd. You can find muscle cars, customs, exotics and classics in many different price points.

You can also hit Russo & Steele Jan. 18-22, Gooding & Co. Jan. 20-21, Bonham’s Jan. 19 and RM Sotheby’s in Phoenix Jan. 19-20. Barrett-Jackson tickets can be purchased in advance, $175 for an all-week pass, and daily tickets range from $20 per day early in the week to $60 a day on the weekend. You can find more information at each auction company’s website.

If you’d like to add to the thrill of the trip to Scottsdale, you can also take in the Bondurant Driving School in nearby Chandler, where you can learn high-performance driving, open-wheel racing or high-speed karting on one of four tracks that Bondurant operates. Professional drivers can teach a rookie or coach a seasoned veteran with one-day classes starting at $1,299. Visit their website, to see all the classes they offer. Gift certificates are also available.