Doane Yawyer: Cars

Doane Yawger: Gift ideas for car lovers

I’m not sure where Santa Claus stands as far as old cars or trucks are concerned. For years I’ve entreated the Jolly Old Elf in hopes of having a 1950 Studebaker Champion or maybe a new Mustang convertible show up under the Christmas tree. So far it hasn’t happened, and my confidence in the North Pole is progressively waning. But I keep trying.

Still, it’s the time of the year where auto enthusiasts need to come up with Christmas gifts for like-minded individuals. Folks who like old cars and trucks aren’t the easiest to buy stuff for; their tastes are pretty specific and others don’t share the same vision.

The other day I actually found T-shirts of old Ford and Chevrolet trucks in a Merced department store which would make cool Christmas gifts. Usually car shirts have generic representations of vehicles which aren’t that compelling or worth buying, but those trucks look like the real thing. Once in a while I spot a Hawaiian shirt with cars on it, usually old surf woodies.

Calendars will work in a pinch as Christmas gifts, and there usually are decent coffee-table books on cars or trucks at bookstores. A number of local stores carry car and truck magazines which also would do the trick.

For the mechanically inclined autophile, there are all sorts of places to buy gifts. Auto parts stores and tool outlets are all over Merced, with everything imaginable tool-wise to work on that old Ford. A case of oil might make a good gift for someone on your Christmas list. It wouldn’t amuse me particularly, but I’m not a petroleum aficionado.

An even better present might be a year’s membership in a local car club or an expenses-paid trip to a big car show or swap meet. Taking one’s grandson, nephew or neighbor to a street rod event or custom car show in the Bay Area or Southern California could be quite some present. There are associations all over the country for people who like certain makes of cars or trucks, and a donated membership could be just the ticket.

I do get a warm and fuzzy feeling when I see the television commercials with new cars and red ribbons on their roofs. I’m not sure Santa is involved in these purchases, but St. Nick has to have deep pockets with all of the gift requests to be fulfilled. I’m told it might be a logistics issue; an old car just won’t fit into a stocking.

It’s the thought that counts. I’m sure anyone whose world revolves around four wheels will appreciate the extra effort expended to give him or her that extra-special gift at Christmas.

Sun-Star staff writer Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or