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Finding the perfect gift for your favorite female co-driver is as simple as consulting our guide. There’s much more to car culture than gas and grease, so we at VWvortex have scoured the Internet to find the best gifts influenced and inspired by all things automotive, with a special emphasis on the fairer sex.
Harveys Seat Belt Bag
It’s hard to believe that, after ten years, Harveys woven seat belt bags are still head-turners. Originally available in just a handful of styles and colors (named after cars, of course), today’s lineup boasts a dizzying array of patterns, prints, and limited editions. The seat belt weave holds its shape well, a cute contrasting cotton lining cushions belongings, and many styles feature small metal feet which keep the bag (and its contents) upright. The classic solid colors can be coordinated with just about any sartorial preferences. We recommend the Large Tote Zip ($118) because the straps are long enough to fit comfortably on the shoulder, and the bag’s roomy enough for all the essentials (including the latest issue of Automobile).
Retail: $38 (for Coin Purse) to $224 (for Carriage Large Satchel), seatbeltbags.com
Demeter Pick-Me-Up Sprays in Glue, Paint, Leather, Rubber and Vinyl
We’re not sure if these are intended for gearheads or fetishists, but at least the Demeter Fragrance Collection can’t be accused of misleading advertising. The scent of each minimalist bottle is remarkably true-to-life, which might leave your girl wondering how much she really loves the smell of a new car interior or a fresh burnout. If you think the concept is more scary than sexy, there are other options worth exploring. Demeter’s full line features plenty of florals and fruits (some more traditional than others). Pumpkin Pie and Hot Mulled Cider are mouthwatering and spicy, perfect for the holiday season; Pomegranate and Altoids are all-time favorites.
Retail: $20 for 1 oz Cologne Spray, demeterfragrance.com
Gil Elvgren Pin Up Wall Calendar
It’s about time women recognized pin-ups for what they really are—a beautiful and praiseworthy celebration of all that is feminine. Elvgren is recognized as one of the most talented pin-up illustrators of the 20th century, with a vast and impressive portfolio. This influential art form has long been associated with (perhaps integral to) hot rod and racing culture; for evidence, one need only browse amongst the many “chicks and cars” threads on the VWvortex forums. Although this calendar flaunts the hot rod theme on the cover, viewers are treated to a wider scope of Elvgren’s art.
Retail: About $15, amazon.com
Adidas Originals Race Lo
Adidas partnered with Goodyear to develop this line of racing-inspired shoes, complete with a two-tone, tire tread sole and raised Goodyear logo. Although the Race Lo hasn’t evolved much since its introduction, the current color palette is fresh and lively, and even if your favorite driver won’t be performing quick shifts, these shoes are comfortable enough for everyday casual wear.
Retail: $78.95, zappos.com
Bugatti Queen: In Search of a French Racing Legend, by Miranda Seymour
Bugatti Queen challenges the notion that today’s female racers are as groundbreaking as they’d like us to believe; amongst the tightly-woven clique of 1930s drivers, Hélène Delangle was an enigma. Known to an adoring public as Hellé Nice, this Frenchwoman was as admired for her prowess as a dancer and showgirl as for her moxie behind the wheel. Author Miranda Seymour has an impressive track record as a biographer, but we suspect Bugatti Queen is prime evidence of her research skills. She probes beyond her subject’s carefully cultivated public persona and treats with respect Nice’s insatiable appetite for fame, fast cars, and well-connected men. It’s engaging, solidly paced, and gracefully devoid of superfluous racing jargon.
Editor’s note: This book has recently gone out of print, but can be found in hardcover and paperback with a little searching—it’s well worth the effort.
VW DriverGear and Audi Collection Accessories
The Ladies Black Tech Jacket is a perfect way to for the VW girl to show Driver pride. Although this zip-up has a slender silhouette, there’s ample allowance for steering and quick shifts. The three-layer construction is breathable, wind-resistant, and water-resistant with a warm micro fleece lining. A shock cord drawstring tightens the hem, and most important, the back is adorned with a VW logo at the neck. For tastes more sophisticated than sporty, Audi’s accessories rise to the occasion. The Ladies Classic Leather Watch is slim and clean, reminiscent of the cars’ body lines. The dark strap and face are a perfect backdrop to the requisite four rings logo. Check out the collections at your local dealership, or shop online at VW and Audi’s easy-to-browse sites.
VW Ladies Black Tech Jacket, $150, drivergear.vw.com
Audi Ladies Classic Leather Watch, $89, audi-collection.com
And last but not least… Tools
Although we steered away from filling this guide with handyman paraphernalia and tech toys, we’d be remiss if we didn’t pay our respects to the female mechanics of all experience levels. Building a quality tool collection is expensive and the product selection can be overwhelming, especially for a novice, but several companies are trying to make the process more welcoming. Mechanix Original Women’s Gloves are among the most basic of necessities. They’re available in female-specific form-fitting sizes to provide a better grip on tools and protect hands from abrasion. For the woman who’s inclined to get more involved in repair work, a pair of Mechanix Kevlar Sleeves might not be glamorous, but they’ll shield arms from heat and fluids. To carry the essentials, check out the 18” nylon Girlgear Industries 65 Pink Tool Bag. A reinforced hard bottom floor keeps the bag sturdy, and the pockets hold everything from hand tools to power tools. For those side-of-the-road fiascos, we suggest throwing in a lug wrench and a container of assorted zip ties—the women in your life deserve nothing less.
Mechanix Original Women’s Gloves, Retail: About $20, amazon.com
Mechanix Kevlar Sleeves, Retail: About $20, amazon.com
Girlgear Industries 65 Pink Tool Bag, $29.99, amazon.com
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