By G.R. Whale
Here at PickupTrucks.com we strive to get you what you want. However, with Father's Day upon us (June 16) that duty falls to others. Of course, we don't think anyone's going to get us a new race-car engine or 300-horsepower outboard motor — and the oil-resistant necktie is yet to be invented — but here are some gift ideas to share with your loved ones. Our hope is that these ideas will improve your odds of experiencing a Father's Day you'll appreciate.
For Garage Guys
If your garage door faces any direction but north, the sun hits it at some point each day. In my southern clime that's more heat than needed, but in the winter keeping some car heat inside makes it a much nicer place to work. This insulation kit is quick and easy enough that gift-givers could install it before Father's Day. California Car Cover, 800-423-5525, www.calcarcover.com.
Put a Shine on It
I've been polishing things by hand since I bought my first road bike as a 13-year-old, but 20-pound bikes take much less effort than 20-inch wheels, big chrome bumpers, diamond-plate aluminum toolboxes, fogged plastic light covers, acres of two-tone paint or cleaning upmarket leather interiors. Mothers' line of polishes, waxes and cleaners offers plenty of choices whether your pickup truck is new or in need. With some instruction, the kids can polish it for you, and they will find their black hands mesmerizing. Mothers Polish, 714-891-3364, www.mothers.com.
Light Up Your Life
LED units are popping up everywhere, and while your truck may not yet have them you probably have an LED flashlight. Think bigger. LED garage lighting produces much better illumination, is closer to daylight temperatures (5,500 kilowatts for this tube) for easier painting, costs much less to operate, isn't hard on tires like mercury vapor lamps, doesn't flutter 60 times a second and there's no noise to interfere with your talk- or sports-radio listening. Titan LED Inc., 805-523-7500, www.TitanLED.net.
Have a Seat
If you're restoring a truck or the diet didn't work out and you've flattened a seat, TMI Products offers a selection of seats — both original style and upgraded — that use factory seat frames and attachment points. For classic El Camino owners, the Sport R series replaces the foam and upholstery on your factory frame (bucket or bench) with better bolstering and is available with suede inserts, contrast stitching and custom colors. Not a Recaro or ISRI maybe, but not thousands each, either. TMI Products, 888-460-0640, www.tmiproducts.com.
The Bolt Series lets you key locks to the key that came with your truck for most modern pickups, vans and some SUVs. That means you can lock the hitch pin (1/2 or 5/8 inch), trailer spare tire, toolbox latch and miscellaneous padlocked gear and use just one key to unlock them. Bolt, 877-251-8798, www.boltlock.com.
Your classic truck may still have its sewing-machine six but there's no reason it can't have a fully modern sound system that blends in. Available with chrome or black face and chrome or ivory pushbuttons, this RetroSound Model Two AM/FM radio (shown in a 1968 Chevy pickup) has USB input, iPod integration, Bluetooth wireless streaming and an LCD display with 32,000 backlit color choices. RetroSound, 909-364-1372, www.retrosoundusa.com.
Speed Demon's Friend
My friends with extensive experience with speed-enforcement detectors swear by Valentine 1. It's not cheap ($399) unless you compare the cost to fines, traffic school and insurance hikes. The front-and-rear radar laser detector also offers an available Android Bluetooth link, low-speed alert attenuation, remote audio for use on your motorcycle and concealed display. Valentine 1, 800-331-3030, www.valentine1.com.
Plate batteries get clogged just like fuel filters, and the problem is worse for seldom-used vehicles or those that are parked partially charged. The BatteryMINDer can be used regularly between two vehicles, used once a quarter to charge and unclog a smaller car battery and a bigger one. For vehicles you drive every day, consider a Canadus high frequency battery energizer, which mounts on board. BatteryMINDer, 800-379-5579, www.batteryminders.com.
Everyone needs a pry bar and often it's the size you don't have. A GearWrench indexing pry bar head is adjustable up to 14 locking positions and the 82220 model shown is extendable. We've seen them as short as 8 inches and an extendable one that goes from 24 to 48 inches. GearWrench, 800-688-8949, www.gearwrench.com.
Jack Be Nimble
Your project may not look great yet, but working on it parked on aluminum jack stands may inspire you to finish it. You also can carry these lighter-weight jacks from JEGS in your truck or trailer or move them from place to place in your garage, shop or service area. They come in 3-ton and 5-ton (per pair, per axle) ratings. JEGS, 800-345-4545, www.jegs.com.
If you like to keep your truck clean, you probably wash it year-round, even when it's cold outside. I hate cold fingers, so I bought a set of rubber gloves for a few bucks and I can still immerse my hands without getting wet. Thicker and stronger than latex but not as cumbersome as some industrial gloves, they're the easy way to clean things in moderate conditions. Check your local hardware and automotive stores.
If your dad likes looking at other significant rides, or you do and want him to take you, get some tickets for a car museum or car show. We found automotive museums in 46 of 50 states and car-show listings in all of them, many at a nominal fee or free. Alternately, buy tickets to a diesel drag race, sled pull competition, NASCAR truck series or the local dirt track where mini-pickups might run in compact, four-cylinder classes. Just remember the goggles and earplugs.
Last but by no means least, a good book on Dad's favorite automotive brand, truck, engine or racing series might be appreciated. If he wants to go racing, check out "Fast Guys, Rich Guys and Idiots" by Sam Moses or peruse the Motorbooks catalog for techniques to build your own small-block to beat your neighbor's other-brand big-block. Heck, we've even enjoyed just reading the catalog. Motorbooks, 800-458-0454, www.motorbooks.com.