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#FathersDay: 5 best buys for a petrolhead dad

2017-06-15 15:01

Lance Branquinho

South Africa - Don’t get him stuff he doesn’t want. If your dad likes cars, we know what he’d like. 

He knows where everything is in the garage in and come December, he amazingly manages to make all the stuff piled in the living room fit into a car – ready for the holiday road trip. 

Dad is a good guy. He’s also a car guy – and as a car guy myself, trust me when I say this, dad doesn’t want a chamois for Father’s Day. You buy a chamois for someone who runs a car wash, not a car enthusiast. 

Fear not, though, for we know what would make petrolhead dad truly happy this Father’s Day. And we’ve listed the five best-buy items below. 

1) A proper tool set


No. Definitely not the stuff you buy at local hardware store. For automotive fiddling, you want dad to work with proper forged tools, not the toy stuff they cast. And for it all to come in a neat case, with sliding trays that are spring loaded to prevent a crashing sound each time he closes a drawer and sealed compartments, to prevent dust and contaminants. 

For the dedicated home mechanic, there is only one choice: a Snap-on 113 piece topchest. It’s not cheap at R17k, but it will last forever. You could even add some bits from Snap-on’s amazing catalogue of automotive specific tools, such as fuel injection system cleaners. Best of all? Snap-on is proudly South African. 

2) Hydraulic lift


Sliding around on his back, Ninja Turtle-style, with your skateboard, to get in under the car is no dignified way for dad to spend a Saturday morning wrenching. There’s little space between a parked car and the garage floor, which means it’s claustrophobic and be either stiflingly hot or bitterly cold down there, depending on the season. 

The solution. Cash in your World of Warcraft character and buy dad a proper electrically powered car lift. Most of them fit in a suburban garage and are rated to hoist 4t. Best of all, they run off a 220v power supply. Cost? Between R30- and R40k. But dad’s worth that, right? Best of all, the investment can be calculated against the chiropractor savings in future, because a dad who isn’t required to be sliding around under a car, is a dad with a back that’s not going to require surgery. 

3) Mini racers - Scalextric


When the family is out for a weekend and dad has some me-time, with all his chores done, you don’t want him to relax. You want him to race. 

And the best place to race is through the living room and down the corridor. It’s why dad will really love some Scalextric, the real-world racing simulation that will never be bested by console gaming. Enable dad to build his best interpretation what the FIA should be doing with global racing circuits and best of all, the latest Scalextric sets have an App and Smartphone timing too. 

If dad wishes to indulge his Ford/Chevrolet or BMW/AMG rivalry, this is the safest possible way of helping him indulge in that petrolhead fantasy. 

4) Model cars

Nobody is ever too old to start, or revive, a model car collection. The quality of fabrication and detailing on contemporary model cars quality them as anything but toys. They are true renditions of the real thing, the only difference is that you cannot fuel them, start-up the engine and drive. 

Prices for quality models hover just under R5000, so best make sure you know exactly whether dad is Porsche or Ferrari guy before you buy. Truth be told, these model cars, if kept in impeccable condition, do appreciate in value over time – especially if you do not toss out the original packaging. 

Part investment. Part mancave ornament. Dad will love his favourite fantasy car in 1:18 scale. 

5) Racing shoes

They think the third world war will be about water, but it won’t. The conflict to end humanity will certainly be about shoes, because whether it’s fashion obsession or sports functionality, we think nothing of spending nearly a fifth of our income on shoes. 

Dad loves driving, but most sneakers or trainers are not what is required to have a truly rewarding drive. You need something shapes of unparalleled suppleness. Something that can enable a bit of heel-and-toeing, or the last touch in pedal dexterity. 

What dad needs is a pair of proper driving shoes. The test is that is they are terrible for walking, they’re excellent for driving. Puma do an excellent series of driving shoes, even branding them to dad’s bias, provided that is AMG, BMW or Ferrari. 

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