Hooniverse Asks- What's the Worst Car-Related Gift Ever?

100 watts, 425 cubic inches.
100 watts, 425 cubic inches.

We’re car people. Because of that, loved ones, well-meaning friends and acquaintances choose that door when bereft of gift ideas. Sometimes that means a cool vintage Zippo with a Porsche badge on the side. Sometimes that means a Shamwow Auto Detailing Kit with Dirt-Lifting Action.
Have you been the recipient of an auto-related gift which left you speechless in the blinding light of its craptitude? Was it a set of rubber floor mats with Yosemite Sam on them? Or maybe a sandbag car ashtray, from your friend the cigar smoker?
Car Mouse
Car Mouse

Regardless, you, as a car guy/gal, may have been the receiver of a well-meaning gift that you wouldn’t be caught dead using. Or, maybe you have given someone else a gift that on further reflection, would have been better left on that shelf at Big Lots.
So, what’s the story? What’s the worst Car-gift you’ve ever given/received?
Image source: [JCWhitney]

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48 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- What's the Worst Car-Related Gift Ever?”

  1. Alff Avatar

    Worst: Sheepskin steering wheel cover. Even though it was years ago, I still think WTF?
    Best: A tossup between the factory service manual for the Alfa Spider, lovingly photocopied by someone at one of the last remaining US Alfa dealerships, and the three editions of The Car Spotter's Guides by Tad Burness. Grandma gave me those when I was 12 and I'm still getting mileage from them.

    1. engineerd Avatar

      Sheepskin should only be used for condoms.

    2. Alff Avatar

      Oh, my wife and mother-in-law joined forces to buy me progressive springs and Konis one year. Karma demands that I acknowledge that as a truly awesome gift as well.

  2. Jo_Schmo Avatar

    You just had to go with the car mouse didn't you Graverobber? You will totally be getting one in your stocking this year mister!
    /shakes fist

  3. P161911 Avatar

    Spark plug cleaner that had little leads to connect it to the car battery. It was some sort of contraption that sand blasted the electrode end of a spark plug.

    1. CptSevere Avatar

      I actually want one of those. Yeah, I'm so cheap that I actually clean and regap spark plugs.

  4. engineerd Avatar

    First, as a lover of the Ford GT I want that car mouse! Skaykog and I, over at the other site, used to trade Ford GT-related stuff like that. It was fun. I miss some of those people sometimes. Tell them hi for me, someone, please?
    Second, why all the Ford hate there Mr. Graverobber? I'm sure there is plenty of tacky GM-branded stuff.
    Finally, the worst car-related gift is still better than a sweater. Just think about that when your mom/wife/grandma/aunt tries to be cool and gets you a [insert favorite make here] cell phone skin.

    1. Jo_Schmo Avatar

      Speaking of Skaykog, we need to get her over to the darkside with us.

      1. engineerd Avatar

        Yes we do. I miss her chipper attitude. Plus, this place is kind of a sausage fest. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

        1. Deartháir Avatar

          Rumour has it she reads Hooniverse on a fairly regular basis, she's just too damn stubborn to actually comment.

          1. engineerd Avatar

            Well that's good to know.

        2. joshuman Avatar

          I thought you two were going steady.

    2. Jo_Schmo Avatar

      I will have all the skinny on the car mouse on an upcoming article for you.

  5. LTDScott Avatar

    I got mudflaps for Xmas in my early driving years. Not exactly the best gift for driving in SoCal.
    On the flip side of things, I got my parents a new intake manifold for their car last year. They were pretty down on their luck when the intake on their Crown Vic cracked and puked coolant everywhere as they were prone to do. They couldn't afford the repair so I bought and installed a new intake for them.

    1. engineerd Avatar

      And now you're the favorite child, right?

      1. LTDScott Avatar

        I'm the only child, so that goes without saying.

        1. FЯeeMan Avatar

          Not necessarily…

    2. Charles_Barrett Avatar

      What a kind and thoughtful man you've grown up to be. I am sure they are very proud.

    3. CptSevere Avatar

      That's very cool. I installed an air horn on my folks' VW trike one Christmas because I hated the little stock VW bleater that it had.

  6. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

    Probably the worst automotive related gift I've ever received was a lame t-shirt, but even that was fine to wear while working on the car/truck.
    As Engineerd said, I love it when family and friends buy me car stuff, shows that they tried to think of something cool, and always infinately better then a sweater or a new socks, or whatever else that I don't care about.
    p.s. I love that lamp, it may just become a Christmas present for a buddy of mine!

    1. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

      Damn, $104.99 for that lamp? DAMN!

  7. muthalovin Avatar

    Worst, and this happens every year, is the Harley Davidson calender I get from my aunt. Without fail, there is a flat, elongated gift, waiting for me under the tree every year. I have no love for HD, and never had. I think the thought process must be "oh, he likes motorbikes, just get a calender and be done with it."

    1. LTDScott Avatar

      I get a car calendar from my parents every year. Some years they pick well. Other years (like last year), not so much. My wall is currently adorned with a calendar full of tacky mono-chrome painted, Boyd Coddington three spoke wheeled pre-war hot rods. Not my style.

      1. DeadinSide Avatar

        I usually get 1-3 of those as well.
        My favourite is are the generic 'SUPERCAR' calendars with picture, shot in 1995, of Vector W8s and Vipers.

        1. LTDScott Avatar

          haha yup, I know that one well.

  8. joshuman Avatar

    Last year I got an impact wrench, a die grinder, and some air fittings. That was nice.

  9. BGW Avatar

    Does the personal escort outside and request to only use the other dealership across town I received several years ago from a Saturn dealer count?

    1. lilwillie Avatar

      Oh, I want to hear that story.

      1. BGW Avatar

        I was driving a 2000 Saturn LS2- this would have been October 2003. En route to a job interview that had taken almost 3 months to arrange, it died. Managed to coast into a parking lot- couldn't refire it. It didn't seem to be battery, alternator, starter, any of the usual suspects, so I had it towed to the dealer and tried to postpone my interview. After 90 minutes or so, Service Manager comes out and tells me it's fixed and ready, tells me it's a bad alternator and it wouldn't have happened if I'd brought it in for the 30k service. Now, having
        fallen victim to several bad alternators over the years, I knew that wasn't what happened, and I knew that a voltage check wasn't part of the 30k service, but whatever, I didn't feel like arguing- I just wanted to get to my interview, so I paid the $200 or whatever it was and left. 15 minutes later, and 10 minutes before my rescheduled interview time, it died again. Same behavior as before. I had it towed in again and proceeded to explain the saga to one of the poor techs. Another hour passes and the company at which I was trying to interview gives me the "don't call us, we'll call you" treatment. Service tech comes out and says he wants to ride along on a test drive. We took a 20 minute trouble-free ride, after which he tells me it was the neutral safety switch. Apparently he'd seen a lot of bad ones on this model and suggested that to the tech who worked on it the first time but was ignored. After returning to the service counter, my friend the Service Manager presented me with another bill for a couple hundred bucks. I relayed the tech's story and informed him I was not paying for this, and if AAA charged me for the 2nd tow, he'd be getting that bill too. He laughed at me, at which point I turned bright red in the face and went off, yelling about my twice-missed interview and how I can accept that people make mistakes but I cannot and will not be treated the way he treated me, etc, etc. He grabbed my arm and basically yanked me outside, where he agreed to eat the charges if I A) shut the hell up B) got the hell out of his sight and C) used the other Saturn dealer from now on.
        6 months later, both dealers merged and I declined to visit either again.

        1. muthalovin Avatar

          SUCK! GAWD
          Fucking Stealerships!

        2. lilwillie Avatar

          ouch. massive ball drop by the dealer that is for sure. Ya, I can see why you would justifiability would go off on them.

      2. Alff Avatar


  10. DeadinSide Avatar

    R/C car that would only turn (to the left) in reverse
    Slot cars that were powered by D batteries which would go flat after 3 laps (cars were Firebirds).
    I had auto-traumatic childhood Christmases.

  11. Maymar Avatar

    I got a book of NASCAR pictures once, in spite of it being, well, NASCAR. But, it was from an aunt who works for a publishing company, so I suspect that was part of the motivator. Still, I’m pretty vague about what I want most years, so it doesn’t really bother me. I kind of expect lots of car related items.

  12. scroggzilla Avatar

    Hmmmnnn? The last auto related gift that I received was a slot car track set, with a Porsche 906 Carrera 6 and a Ferrari Dino 206 SP. That was 36 years ago. Since then…..not a book, calender, model, video game, article of clothing, VHS/DVD or tool. Not even a stinkin' "free oil-change" gift certificate.
    Worst Car-Realted Gift Ever? No Car-Related Gifts…….EVER!
    Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to curl up in a fetal position and weep for a while.

    1. muthalovin Avatar

      I am sorry Scroggzilla. No gift is definitely the worst gift. The good news is that you have Hooniverse this Christmas!

      1. Sparky_Pete Avatar

        Welcome to the Island of Misfit toys. Have some breafass scotch.

    2. jeremy! Avatar

      could have been worse. at least sauto claus did not put carbon buildup in you stocking

  13. citroen67 Avatar

    The worst car-related gift…AIR FRESHENERS!!! If I want my truck to smell like pine trees, I'll get them my damn self!

    1. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

      …. had to reply as I just got back from Christmas tree shopping, and the car smells, well, exactly like a pine tree!

  14. guptil Avatar

    Oh wow, that's the least self-aware quote I've ever read. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a quote from that very same day advocating the opposite for a cop.
    Fuck man, these assholes think this party'll never end, but the longer it goes the worse it's gonna be.