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12 'Gear Head' Gift Ideas from Old Cars Weekly

People say I'm horrible to shop for, and that's true — most of the things I am looking for come from swap meets and junkyards, the places where mothers and wives usually don't shop. Other gearheads are equally hard to shop for, but there are gift ideas available out there for the car guy and gal (as long as you know where to look). If you're looking for car-related gifts for that hard-to-shop-for gear head, check out a few of these items that crossed our desks this year. Best part is, you won't have to get your nails dirty to buy them.

1. BOOK: Ford Total Performance

Automotive journalist Martyn L. Schorr lived the heyday of Ford’s Total Performance period of the 1960s and early 1970s. He not only worked with the Ford folks to get the details behind the program and its cars, he drove the cars when they were fresh out of the wrapper. Now, he’s taken all of that experience and knowledge and channeled it into this beautiful hardcover, 208-page book, "Ford Total Performace: Ford's Legendary High-Performance Street and Race Cars."
Not only was Schorr taking notes of Ford’s performance program, he was taking pictures. Many of his original images join Ford archival images to complement the story for the complete package on Ford Total Performance.
Get a copy for $45 through bookstores or Motorbooks at

GFT15 Ford Total Performance

2. TOPPER: Dress up your vehicle's rear end

Old Cars Weekly had these vintage-style license plate toppers built especially for Old Cars Weekly readers. The porcelainized toppers are made of heavy 18-gage steel and are slotted to fit today’s license plates and many year-of-manufacture license plates. Each topper is 10 inches wide by 3.5 inches tall.
Available from Old Cars Weekly for $35. Visit or call 855-842-5268.

GFT15 Topper

3. BOOK: Operation Mexico! Carl Kiekhaefer vs the 1951-1953 Pan American Road Race

GFT15 Operation Mexico

Fans of Chrysler, Carl Kiekhaefer or the Carrera Panamericana (Mexican Road Race) will not be able to put down “Operation Mexico! Carl Kiekhaefer vs the 1951-1953 Pan American Road Race” — we certainly could not.
Author Karl Pippart III goes back to the early 1950s, when Carl Kiekhaefer was an outboard motor builder with a dream to develop and race cars to notable wins. In his book, Pippart shows with great detail the uphill battle fought by Kiekhaefer against the road race officials and the big money backing Ford Motor Co.'s entries. Suspecting Ford was cheating, Kiekhaefer undertook his own secret tests and submitted the results to road race officials — the officials’ reactions are just part of this interesting tale.
Owners of 1951-’53 Chryslers will especially enjoy reading about the modifications the Kiekhaefer team undertook to make their cars competitive in the road race. However, everyone will love the insight into the personalities behind the cars (and while in the cars), from Kiekhaefer to several team employees.
The 122-page soft cover book includes many images of the Keikhaefer cars and team, and a story that is hard to put down. Order from for $24.95.

4. CALENDAR: 2016 Old Cars Weekly Reader Rides Calendar

Enjoy timeless automobiles year round and plan next year’s show season with the popular 2016 Old Cars Weekly Reader Rides Calendar. This 12-month wall calendar features a variety of fabulous machines owned by OCW readers, and it has become an institution for thousands of old car lovers. The calendar shows all major holidays as well as car shows and swap meets from around the country so you can plan ahead. Ideal for your home, garage or office — and it makes the perfect gift!
Available from Old Cars Weekly for $9.95 at or 855-842-5268.

GFT15 2016 old cars calendar

5. MODEL: 1948 Tucker

Tuckers aren’t new to the Brooklin 1:43 line — they’ve already been offered in a rainbow of colors by the model maker. However, the latest handmade 1948 Tucker 48 (BRK.222a) to torpedo out of Brooklin’s doors is a new white-metal casting that is an enormous cut above the modeler’s earliest version.
The fastback roof now elegantly flows into the rear deck, the rear fenders accurately replicate the original’s shape and the headlamp-capped nose is just as Alex Tremulis designed it for the “production” Tucker. Plated trim abounds on this new Code 400 beige example.
While the earliest 1:43 Brooklin Tuckers were toys, the latest is a model that the most discerning collector will treasure. With so few built, order soon.
Find a list of Brooklin dealers at The price is around $135.

GFT15 1948 Tucker Brooklin

6. MODEL: Duesenberg Murphy Model J convertible coupe

GFT15 Duesenberg Murphy Automodello

Just six Disappearing Top Torpedo Convertible Coupes were built by coachbuilder Walter M. Murphy for the Duesenberg Model J chassis, and now three of them have been replicated by Automodello in 1:43 scale.
Perhaps the most famous of the surviving Torpedo Convertible Coupes is J-476, the green-gray example that welcomes visitors to the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum. This is the Torpedo Convertible Coupe that Automodello has modeled, with variations painted red to match J-249 and painted violet to match J-198 (pictured).
Each version varies: J-476 is green-gray with a tan removable convertible top and blackwall tires; J-249 is red with whitewalls and a black removable convertible top; and J-198 is violet with whitewalls and a rose removable convertible top.
Like the originals, production of each Automodello resin miniature is limited. Just 85 red Tribute Editions of J-249 were built and priced at $149.95; another 85 violet Tribute Editions were built and priced at $149.95; and more than 300 Museum Editions of J-476, the gray-green Duesenberg in the ACD Automobile Museum, were built and priced at $119.95.
Order from or by calling 877-343-2276.

7. BOOK: David Kimble’s Cutaways

GFT15 Kimble Cutaways

Artist David Kimble’s famous cut-away illustrations could be found here and there and just about everywhere, but never in one location — until now. In his new hardcover book “David Kimble’s Cutaways,” Kimble has assembled more than 100 of those x-ray illustrations in one go-to, 190-page book.
Anyone who wants a peek under the skin of a Duesenberg, Miller, Chevy small-block, Harley, Corvette, early Ford plant, Ferrari or dozens of other makes deserves to crack open this book.
This x-ray view of hundreds of more than 100 cars and engines is priced at $39.95 plus $6.95 shipping and handling; order from CarTech Books at 800-551-4754 or

8. MODEL: Swiss Duesenberg

GFT15 Duesenberg J246 Automodello

Swiss coachbuilder Hermann Graber’s first of three bodies for the Duesenberg Model J chassis was a racy convertible coupe. His second, an elegant convertible victoria. The third body was both a racy and elegant convertible coupe fitted to chassis 2254 with engine J-246 around 1937. Perhaps because of its beauty, J-246 has survived, and it is believed to be the only Graber-bodied Duesenberg to have done so.
Just as with the original Graber Duesenberg, the Automodello 1:24-scale resin model is beautiful at every angle. Automodello has painted its model in two color combinations, one of them its current blue-on-blue shades, and a second version the car’s former black-and-silver colors (pictured).
Production of this resin model is limited to fewer than 579 models: up to 499 models in the car’s current blue-and-black scheme, and a paltry 80 in the silver-and-black scheme it wore during the 1950s. The blue-and-black Graber Duesenberg is available for $299.95, and the pictured silver-and-black Graber Duesenberg Tribute Edition is available for slightly more.
Order by calling 877-343-2276 or through

9. MODEL: 1942 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight

Just like the real thing, scale 1942 Oldsmobiles are scarcer than a peace treaty in 1942. Heck, they may have been non-existent until Brooklin recently released this white-metal, handmade model in 1:43 scale.
When selecting an Olds from the 1942 B-44 line, Brooklin went right to the top and selected the sleek Ninety-Eight Club Coupe, and the company didn’t shy away from dressing it well. Plating of this pre-black-out-era model extends to the bumpers, the grille and all of the hood trim, from the 1942 Olds’ bomber-inspired ornament to the leading nose emblem to the hood-side panel emblems.
Overall, Brooklin’s 1942 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight (BRK.210) is a beautifully executed example of a little-seen and often-forgotten slice of American automotive history.
Find a list of Brooklin dealers at The price is about $135.

GFT15 1942 Oldsmobile Brooklin

10 & 11. BOOK: Bugatti Type 46 & 50 and Bugatti Type 57

GFT15 Bugatti Type 46 50 57

Bugatti lovers, rejoice — two of the most coveted books on Ettore and Jean Bugatti’s masterpieces have returned.
Veloce has just re-released “Bugatti Type 46 & 50” and “Bugatti 57: The Last French Bugatti,” both by Barrie Price.
These hardcover volumes are the go-to source for mechanical and historical information on Type 46 & 50 and Type 57 Bugattis. Author Barrie Price has also included hundreds of images of these works of art to show how coachbuilders dressed the magnificent chassis of these Bugatti types. Many of the illustrations are period and are accompanied by chassis number data with a few more modern images to show how some of the cars are presented today.
Libraries of new and experienced Bugattists alike require these volumes. Order the Type 46 & 50 volume (ISBN978-1-845848-72-9) for $60 and the Type 57 volume (ISBN 978-1-845848-71-2) for $75 from Veloce at or request each book by ISBN from your local bookseller.

12. BOOK: Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942

GFT15 Standard Catalog 1805 1942

ID old car photos from your family album and get the scoop on more than 5,000 American automobile makes, from the “Big Three” to one-car wonders, in the exhaustive “Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942.” The softcover book has more than 1,600 pages (yes, 1,600) featuring historical data and images of thousands of cars, which have made this book the end-all, be-all source for prewar car knowledge.
Order from for $74.99.

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