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Fail-safe Father’s Day gift ideas for your car-loving dad

When socks simply won’t cut it (unless they’re in VW Golf plaid).

Father’s Day is around the corner (September 6, to be precise) and if you’ve left buying a gift to the last minute, you’re not alone.

Thankfully, car-loving dads are fairly well-catered for and there are a plethora of enthusiast-friendly products vying for your father’s attention.

Below, some of the CarAdvice team’s top picks for Father’s Day presents that won’t be relegated to your dad’s knick knack drawer.

Trust us – we’re dads (well, some of us are anyway).

Commission a painting of his first car

Make your dad all misty-eyed with the help of one of the many brilliant graphic designers and artists on Instagram.

One of our favourites is Car Splash Art whose incredibly detailed and life-like illustrations can be commissioned over email.

But if you know a graphic designer or painter whose style you like, why not reach out and ask if they can work off a photograph?

It will be a one-of-a-kind memento and an excellent way to support the creative industry.

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Go back to both of your childhoods with a Lego project

There are few better ways to spend a Sunday than hunched over a Lego kit, making a masterpiece.

No matter how old you are, the DIY appeal never wears off.

Get your dad in on the action by opting for a particularly tempting kit, like this elaborate mini Bugatti Chiron or Land Rover Defender.

Better yet, buy a kit for both yourself and your dad and race to see how can finish it first.

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Keep him COVID-safe in style

Let's face it – we're all going to be wearing face masks a lot this year, so we may as well make them count.

Thankfully, American company Striipe Design is churning out stylish, moisture-wicking, well-fitting face masks for men in classic car prints.

From Gulf to Martini Racing livery, plus some other classics, it's the perfect way to put a positive spin on a less-than-ideal situation.

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Turn him into a 'drift dad'

Driver training is back up and running in most states – albeit at reduced capacity and with social distancing in mind – so why not book in for a day at the track with your dad?

Whether it's a defensive driving lesson, a track day or stunt driving lesson, chances are there's a provider in your state ready to take your booking.

For a summary of some of the best operations in each state, head here. Need more convincing? Read Justin's account of his own drift experience here.

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Decorate his walls with these clever automotive posters

Perfect for any man cave, garage, or pool room, this New Zealand-based graphic designer creates awesome automotive prints.

They have a great selection ready to buy, including a generational print on the BMW M family of cars, a Land Rover history series (just for you, Sam Purcell), and even cool motorsport cars and movie cars, too.

They can even be commissions to create something custom upon your request. Maybe of dad's very own pride and joy, perhaps?

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Help him up his project car game with a detailing kit

Does your dad love spending his days tinkering away on his project car or daily driver?

Bowden's Own is an Aussie-made and owned car detailing specialist based in Queensland that makes products perfect for a bit of at-home sprucing.

Importantly, the brand's Australian chemists focus on making products 'safe for our drains' so as to not pollute our waterways, offering biodegradable 'auto body gel' wash, amongst other products.

For the budget-conscious, they offer grouped packs which help to save a bit of money if you're buying more than one item.

We recommend the snow foam cannons, as well as the 'beautiful beads pack' and the series of car washes they offer.

Shop the range here.

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Pencil in a 'father and child' road trip

If your dad's been cooped up during lockdown, put a date in the diary (one that's post-lockdown if you live in Victoria) to get away for the night, just the two of you.

Choose a regional town that's in need of some tourism love and plot out a fun route that will take you past spectacular views, local attractions, great eateries and along excellent driving roads.

If you're on a budget, just give your own car a clean and spruce up, Uber-style (mints are a nice touch), but if you have a bit more to spend, why not splash out on a fancy rental? Most rental agencies offer premium brand cars, while sites like RedBalloon provide classic cars for rent.

Of course, when in doubt, always opt for a convertible.

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Score him his next favourite t-shirt

A man can never have too many t-shirts (it's science).

Enter Blipshift: they make affordable, limited-edition t-shirts lovingly designed by a network of contributing automotive and fashion designers.

They release new designs every few days and if you've got a creative instinct, you can even submit your own shirt design to see if it gets picked up – then you'll get your self-designed shirt for free.

Shop their online store here but be aware – you may have to factor in international shipping delays and tell dad his present is worth the wait.

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Get him a wallet and socks in his favourite car print

If you can't afford to buy your dad a new BMW, then perhaps the next best thing is getting him a wallet and socks set in the German marque's recognisable M-Technic print.

American company Wallet Werks makes key chains, wallets and socks from iconic automotive prints – including Porsche's Pepita, Subaru's blue Alcantara and the Volkswagen Golf plaid.

You can shop the full range here.

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And if he’s more of an aircraft kind of guy...

PlaneTags cut the skins of leftovers, discarded machines of the sky and give them a new life – on your keys!

They even recently gained access to a ex-Qantas jet to turn into key tags – this particular plane, the Spirit of Australia 747-438, was nicknamed “City of Dubbo” and took its first flight in October 1991, joining the Qantas fleet in November 1991.

Tail number VH-OJN was withdrawn from service December 30, 2011, after having flown 94,727 hours with 11,492 cycles – exclusively with Qantas.

If your budget can stretch, or if dad has been a legend all year round, they also make cool, hangable wall mirrors made from the windows of ex-commercial planes.

Shop them here.

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