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Automotive gift guide

When I sat down to write my gift guide this year, I instinctively recommended a few of my favorite cars as the ideal holiday gifts. When I sat back and realized I advocated the purchase of $5.78 million worth of sports and super cars, I went back to the drawing board. And what I dug up, while slightly cheaper, is nonetheless exciting. So let me, Nick Jaynes, Digital Trends Automotive Editor, welcome you to the nine greatest car-related gifts I could think up. Yes, these items might not be as wondrous as an Aston Martin Vanquish Volante. But an iPhone case, unlike an Aston, never gets old.

License Plate Flipper ($450)

License-plate-flipper-(1)James Bond ain’t got nothin’ on your Lexus. That is, after you add this highly illegal gadget to your rear trunk lid. Although clearly contraband, the thing is pretty clever.

The rig holds two license plates. One, presumably, is your legal license plate. The other is a fraudulent unit. Push a button and in 1.2 seconds, the cleverly named License Plate Flipper flips 180 degrees, displaying the plate on the opposite side.

Now, Digital Trends is in no way encouraging anyone to bolt this to his or her car and go out and do some crimes. Instead, the License Plate Flipper perfect for someone who wishes to display a custom license plate at, say, car club meetings but hates unbolting and rebolting of the rear plate over and over.

Autodromo Prototipo Chronograph – Vic Elford Edition ($800)

Autodromo-(1)Let’s face it; the only real jewelry men can wear is watches. Sure, you could follow the likes of Kayne and Liberace and get something real gaudy and ruby encrusted. Or you could get a Rolex like every other SOB on the planet. Why not be a bit more distinctive with your watch choice?

If you’re a motoring enthusiast like me who appreciates the finer things, there’s no more appealing watchmaker in the world than Autodromo. And its latest creation, the Prototipo Vic Elford Edition, is tops.

This watch was designed as a limited-run unit to commemorate Elford’s “legendary victory at the 1968 Targa Florio race in Sicily, remembered as one of the great drives of all time,” brags Autodromo.

Yes, this watch is a bit garish in its own right, with bright yellow and red accents. But your wife won’t let you get that yellow Land Rover Defender or that bright red Alfa Romeo anyhow. So why not get this instead?

Porsche 918 Spyder iPhone 5S Case ($90)

Porsche-918-iPhone-5-case-(1)One million dollars: that’s how much the Porsche 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid supercar will cost you. Or for a measly $85 you can cocoon your iPhone 5 or 5S in the same leather that would cocoon you if you could afford the 918.

The interior of the case, much like the car, is soft padded on the interior, embossed with the 918 Spyder typeface on the outside, and finished with acid green accents on the perimeter.

I had to search high and low to find an accessory collection item from an automaker that wasn’t downright dorky. After long last, however, I found this. While I detest phone cases of any kind, I find this one rather keen.

Maserati Driving Gloves ($170)

Maserati-glovesWhen you buy a brand-new Maserati, after you’ve signed on the dotted line, the dealer hands you a thin little box. Inside is a pair of your very own Maserati leather driving gloves.

While some people might shrug off the gesture as a dealer nicety, they will eventually find solace in the thin leather gloves. Maserati owners can hold and caress the gloves, as they weep softly while their Maserati makes its umpteenth flatbed tow truck return to the dealership for repairs.

Historically, dropping $100,000 on a Maserati was the only way to get these gloves. Luckily, Maserati has opened up its doors to us cretins and is openly offering the gloves for sale. Yes, it’s not as illustrious as owning a Maserati. But what you’ll miss in motoring nirvana, you’ll more than make up for in unshed tears.

noLimits noPhoto Pro ($400)

noPhoto-(1)While the License Plate Flipper can be used for non-nefarious reasons, the noPhoto cannot. It is unabashedly designed to escape speed cameras. Just stop over to the noLimits website, maker of the noPhoto, and you’ll see what I mean. The “Our Beliefs” section reads more like a Tea Party manifesto than it does a salient sales pitch.

Despite noLimits political leanings, I think its product is kind of neat. noPhoto detects the flash of the speed or red light camera and generates its own flash at the right moment, as to overexpose the law enforcement camera, thereby making your license plate unreadable.

Yes, it’s very clever. And I acknowledge the fine folks and noLimits believe they’re standing up for American freedom. What they don’t seem to be willing to swallow is that they’re promoting reckless behavior. Sure, perhaps speed cameras are annoying but maybe people should be ticketed for running red lights.

Valentine V1connection LE ($50)

Valentine-V1-(1)Radar detectors have been around for years. And they’ve always been a bit hard to understand and effectively use without hours of user manual study. Now, however, Valentine – perhaps the most popular radar detector maker – has a clever Bluetooth smartphone integration offering, the V1connection LE add-on.

The new V1connection LE allows users to connect their smartphone to the radar detector and monitor far more data than before. With several screens that are easily scrolled between, it can show number of bogies, threat strength and location, and frequency.

Not only does this scratch my tech itch, it also allows me to keep an eye out for those who wish to keep an eye on me. Double whammy!

Garmin HUD (Head-Up Display) ($150)

GarminI recently covered a clever new iPhone app called HUDWAY that can turn your phone into a head-up display for free. While the app is great in low light settings, it’s less than ideal during the blazing daytime sun.

So if you’re the kind of guy who wants a head-up display in your car without wanting to buy a brand-new GM or BMW, or to glue your iPhone to your dash, the Garmin HUD is your best next option.

The HUD pairs with your Garmin smartphone app and clearly displays turn-by-turn directions – and even lane assist – onto your windshield, allowing you to safely keep your eyes on the road.

Sure, it might not be free like HUDWAY but I figure you’ve got to pay to play with the big boys.

Carcoon Drive-in Extra Large ($1,800)

Carcoon-(1)Are you so protective of your automotive baby that you wish you could safeguard it from even the dust and water particles in your garage? The Australians have just the answer to your irrational prayers.

The Carcoon is a big plastic environment, large enough to house even the most massive of American sedans. Drive your car in, seal it up, and you can rest easy knowing not even a stray skin cell is harming your paintjob.

Sure, you might scare away friends and loved ones with this kind of obsessive investment. But who needs love when you have a pristine 1963 Ford Galaxie 500?

2014 Audi R8 V10 S tronic ($190,000 and up)

Audi-R8For the last item on my list, I am going with my favorite car of the year: the Audi R8 V10 S tronic. It has two seats, two doors, a normally aspirated 525 horsepower V10 engine, a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, and all-wheel drive. It’ll do 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds and onto a top speed of 193.

While it might look like a tame Teutonic toy, underneath it’s a Lamborghini Gallardo. Oh, and that V10 is borrowed from Lambo as well. This means you can stealthily sneak around your city in German supercar subdued luxury but also hammer the hell out of the thing like you’re late to a date with your 26-year-old gymnast mistress.

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