2006 Holiday Gift Guide

If you’re like the staff here at VWvortex, the holidays bring mixed emotions. Sure, we all love to open gifts, but how much thought really goes into socks or pajamas? What car enthusiasts really want can’t always be wrapped or bought at the mall. As we travel the world to cover shows and events, we are constantly on the lookout for cool things to fill our own offices and garages. We’ve assembled a list of some of the best stuff we’ve come across in the past year. And they all beat the hell out of PJ’s.

Volkswagen Race-Touareg 1/10 Scale Radio Controlled Car by Tamiya

Remote control cars are a great way for kids to drive before they’re legal, as well as a guilty pleasure for even us licensed drivers. Tamiya, one of the biggest R/C car manufacturers out there, now offers a 1/10 scale Volkswagen Race-Touareg modeled after the successful Paris-to-Dakar competitor. Complete with the blue, red and silver Red Bull livery used by the Volkswagen team, this Touareg will allow you to relive the last year’s Paris to Dakar in the comfort of your own back yard.


VW Driver Gear Interlagos Scarf

So, you own a new GTI and you’re just dying to work more Interlagos cloth into your wardrobe? Well, you’re in luck. VW’s signature plaid pattern is now available on a scarf, and just in time for winter. Wear it proudly, like all the Burberry snobs on the morning express.

The scarf is part of the current Driver Gear lineup available through any VW dealer. Or you can skip the trip and order it online instead. At just fifteen bucks, it’s easily the coolest stocking stuffer you’re likely to get this year.


Simpson Pit Shoe

We’ve featured a variety of driving shoes in our past gift guides. This year we’re recommending the Pit Shoe by racing gear staple Simpson. Oil resistant and with a toe cap for added protection, this shoe is perfect for turning wrenches in the garage or as an alterantive to kicking around in beat up Reeboks. Stylistically, the tire tread sole is a great touch that makes a statement about your automotive affliction.

As with the Model T, you can have the Simpson Pit Shoe in any color so long as it’s black. A one-shade model this may be, but black is perfect for hiding grease and other stains that come along with garage work. And, at $44.95 the Pit Shoe won’t break the bank.


Volkswagen Posters and Prints

Prints and posters for the garage or office wall are a classic gift, especially when the subject matter is Volkswagen. Our search this year had us browsing sources outside the USA. One online store we stumbled across was Parc.de from Germany.

Simply put, if you’re a fan of virtually any European marque, this website likely has more print and poster selection to suit your interests than you’ve ever seen. You could spend hours just perusing their stock. No matter what era, from vintage to modern, this store seems to have it all. The website is available in English. Pricing is in Euros.


Matchbox Cars

For a car guy or girl, the most staple of all automotive staples is the Matchbox. Consider it the enthusiast’s equivalent of training wheels – we all grew up with them. Today, Matchbox cars could be either budget-rate desk décor or simply a stocking stuffer for the kids.

Looking over the latest offerings from Matchbox, we found the new GTI, the original Beetle and Microbus. If that’s not enough, there are also S4 Avant and TT Audi offerings.

Matchbox cars are widely available at most local toy stores and general wares stores such as Target, Sears or Walmart. Cars are also available on Ebay.com and various other online outlets.


Metro Vacuum Vac-N-Blo and Jumbo Vac-N-Blo

For the auto enthusiast who has everything, we’re guessing this vacuum may be an unknown. One of the most powerful vacuums on the market, this vacuum is ideal for automotive and garage uses. Blow dry your car, inflate a raft, blow leaves or vacuum your car’s interior with specially-designed car attachments.

The standard Vac-N-Blo offers portability, allowing you to take it remotely for on-location detailing at a car show or keep it in the garage for home use. The Jumbo Vac-N-Blo isn’t portable, but mounts on the wall and features five times the bag capacity of the standard unit.


Road Rage Flip Book

In recent years, aggressive drivers have gotten a bad name. Sure, there are some complete psychopaths on the road, and we’ve all encountered them. But, 9 times out of 10, we’re guessing most drivers are passive aggressive, getting irritated but not postal when drivers with no sense of etiquette insist on riding in the left lane.

For these people, we may have found the answer with the book of Road Rage cards. Warning, some of these messages are a bit vulgar, but this flip book will help you rapidly get your point across to other drivers… if you can get them to look over. Even if you never actually use it on the road, you’ll have good laugh flipping through it.


Forever Flashlight

Murphy’s Law states that the one time you need that glovebox flashlight, the batteries will be dead. Perhaps the folks at ThinkGeek.com think Murphy and his laws should go jump in a dark lake as they now offer the Forever Flashlight. Simply shake the flashlight for about 30 seconds and, using Faraday’s Principle of Induction, the light charges the built-in capacitor by passing a magnet through a metal coil and creating enough juice to light the LED light source for about five minutes.


NINCO N-Digital Slot Car Track

If you want to take your large-scale slot car racing to the next level, NINCO has the answer. Introduced earlier this year, the NINCO N-Digital system utilizes digital control technology to deliver more features and a more realistic racing experience.

By going digital, drivers can keep track of lap times and do things like changing lanes and turning lights off and on while driving. But more importantly, NINCO N-Digital allows for different racing modes. GP (Grand Prix) mode allows you to program either for a set race time or number of laps. FL (Fastest Lap) mode is great for qualifying to determine race position. PS (Pit Strategy) mode requires the driver to watch fuel level while racing- an empty tank leaves a dead car on the track! There are many, many more features available with this setup.

Any existing NINCO Track can be converted with a Digital Conversion Kit. Any manufacturer’s 1/32 slot car can be converted to NINCO N-Digital with the simple addition of a Digital Control Chip, which measures about an inch square. Most better hobby stores carry the NINCO system.


Last Open Road Novel Series

Don’t worry if you’re not normally the type who curls up with a good book before bed. Burt “BS” Levy is such a colorful storyteller that you’ll soon find it difficult to put down his Last Open Road books. The series revolves around the road racing scene of the early 1950’s, perhaps the most glorious period in racing history. If you’ve ever wondered where some of the stereotypes about certain cars and their (badgewhore) owners were born, The Last Open Road and its subsequent volumes should paint a pretty clear picture.

Levy is amazing at intertwining a genuine historical perspective on the cars, drivers, and attitudes of the day with a lighthearted and entertaining storyline. Adding to the authenticity of each of the stories is Levy’s own experience as an SCCA road racer and all-around car enthusiast.

There are four books in the series: The Last Open Road, Montezuma’s Ferrari, The Fabulous Trashwagon, and Toly’s Ghost. If you don’t think you have time for a novel, start with Levy’s short-form book, The Potside Companion, intended specifically for time-out reading spells. Many racetrack souvenir shops carry these books, but don’t expect to find them at your local Borders. Your best bet is to shop online directly.



Put your OBDII port to work for you. DashDAQ is part diagnostic tool, part gauge panel, and part data acquisition computer. Using a Linux operating system and proprietary software, DashDAQ can be used as a performance meter, a diagnostic scan tool, or a custom dash display. It can also be adapted for satellite navigation and custom video displays.

The DashDAQ was the recipient of the Best New Product award at this year’s SEMA Show. A full description, including video demonstration, is available on the DashDAQ website.


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