Whether your dad is a sophisticated car buff, a wannabe NASCAR driver or a backyard mechanic, here are some gift ideas to make his Father's Day a ride to remember.
If his fantasy is to slide behind the wheel of a Dodge race car and fly around the track, check out Skip Barber's Racing School. For $1,395, your father can learn racing techniques at a oneday session. For $3,695, Dad can have three days of racing experience, including a series of high-speed lap sessions, at one of the school's locations. For more information, go to www.skipBarber.com or call (800) 221-1131.
If you want to make this a Father's Day he'll never forget, put him behind the wheel of a Ferrari 360 for three days ($4,500), at O'Gara Coach Rentals. Or, if he prefers classic cars, consider renting him one at Beverly Hills Rent-A-Car. Dad could spend Father's Day tooling around town in a 1976 Cadillac Eldorado -- tail fins and all -- for about $399.
If the old man dreams of being the proud owner of a classic vehicle, Mom and the kids could break the bank and surprise him with his very own red 1968 Pontiac GTO for $39,900, or a blue 1965 Mustang Convertible for $34,000 at Family Classic Cars in San Juan Capistrano. Check out their classic cars at www.Familyclassiccars.com.
On a little tighter budget? Who isn't? So get out together and enjoy some shows.
If Dad is a hot rod or roadster aficionado, take him to the annual Father's Day weekend extravaganza at Fairplex in Pomona. On Saturday and Sunday at Fairplex, you and Dad can eyeball more than 500 hot rods. For more information, go to www.laroadsters.com.
Another great day-trip with dad is a journey to the Petersen Automotive Museum, where you can see Hollywood Cars of the Stars, classics, hot rods and other car culture exhibits. The museum is at 6060 Wilshire Blvd. (corner of Fairfax) in Los Angeles. Cost for adults is $10. Children under 5 get in free.
Or, keep your dad safe with an emergency tool kit for his vehicle. A 30-piece kit sells for $23 at automotive shops and at www.alagiftsonline.comclick on automotive. It includes booster cables, pliers, screw drivers, tire gauge, fuses, bandages, electrical tape and signs.
Another tool that could be a lifesaver in an emergency is the Hammer, a small steel-tipped window punch that shatters auto glass if you are trapped in a vehicle in an accident or under water. It also comes with a built-in flashlight, emergency beacon and a cutting blade that can quickly cut through seat belts. It sells at Auto Zone for $5.99.
To help Dad navigate around Southern California, consider a portable global positioning system. It is less expensive than a built-in GPS and can be easily moved to other vehicles. Prices start at around $200.
Another navigation aid: David Rizzo's book "Survive the Drive," which offers tips about beating freeway traffic in Southern California and how to find the quickest commutes (Lorikeet Express, $14.95).
For dads with aching backs, check out the Back Reliever Plus, a luxury massage seat cover that can be used in a car. It has five massage motors, an AC adapter and a hand-held power control. It sells for $46 at www.a1agiftsonline.com.
If Dad is looking for a fabulous shine for his ride, Meguiar's NXT generation Insane Shine gives your car a high-gloss wet look. It's about $7 at auto shops.
Trucker dads who go for a wild look may like a mean-looking grille insert with flames for the front of a truck. They cost about $60 at Auto Zone.
For any vehicle with a stick shift, Bell has a new shift knob in the shape of a cobra head that sells for about $15. Meanwhile, Pilot offers LED Turbines, wind-powered light sets that can be mounted on the front of a vehicle that get brighter as your car goes faster. They sell for about $16 at auto supply shops.
Most fun of all might be fake spinner wheel covers sold at automotive shops. Instead of paying hundreds or thousands for flashy rims, you can get the faux spinners for $50 (a set of four) at the Auto Zone.
It's a look that'll make his head spin.
Jeanne Wright can be reached at email@example.com.\o7