Now that you know the backstory, don’t you find it funny how much Valentine’s Day has changed since it was nothing more than a feast in the Western Christian world? Aside from giving a run-of-the-mill card, flowers, or chocolate to your significant other, February 14th is the perfect opportunity to surprise your other half with something a little more special.
No, I’m not referring to the latest iPhone or a shopping spree at the mall, but something a little more personal. If your partner has a thing for cars – and he or she better would because you’re reading autoevolution – then consider yourself lucky. In no particular order, here are ten worthwhile ideas for you to make this day an unforgettable one for your lover and yourself:
1 - Weekend’s Road Trip
As a car lover, the man or woman you like and cherish likely owns a means of personal transportation in which you shared a kiss and countless hours together. Be it a humdrum Corolla or a luxurious S-Class, one of the best things you can do as a couple on Valentine’s Day is to travel for the weekend to the mountains or seaside as long as the route includes corners.
Everyone can go fast in a straight line, and it’s easy to understand why it’s exciting. But twisties are much more thrilling because they engage the driver like nothing else. That level of satisfaction is certain to set the mood for the entire weekend, regardless of your destination and accommodation.
2 - Track Day
Similar to the first entry on this list, a track day is a great opportunity to spend precious time with your partner while feeding his or her affinity for all things with four wheels. Locate an interesting road course or drag strip, glance over the schedule of events, be sure to read the rules and requirements, then estimate your budget for a day of fun on the blacktop.
If you’re in a more-month-than-money scenario, don’t worry too much because go-karts are very fun as well. A suspensionless machine with racing slicks enjoyed in the safety of a controlled environment is all you need for tail-happy shenanigans or more serious feats such as breaking the lap record.
3 - Off-Road Experience
The appeal of driving off the beaten path is relatively straightforward. It’s hugely enjoyable to conquer a rocky trail or a muddy slope, and people who disagree with that are probably dead inside. Hardcore off-road enthusiasts also take pleasure from getting stuck, but that’s a story for a different time.
This sort of experience for two people isn’t exactly affordable if the package includes one-on-one coaching and a vehicle such as a side-by-side or a buggy. But on the upside, you can always rent a proper 4x4 such as a Jeep Wrangler for exploring the beautiful wilderness alongside your lover.
4 - Car Museum
Many states have a car museum of sorts, and they’re usually located in the capital city because that’s where tourists like to hang out. Aviation, railway, and even law enforcement museums are great alternatives because they feature exhibits that are related to your boyfriend’s or gal’s area of interest.
You also have to remember that museum entry fees don’t cost an arm and a leg. This, in turn, translates to expendable cash for a casual lunch at a homely diner or a lavish dinner at a fancy restaurant with raving reviews.
5 - Engine Model Kit
We can all agree that V8s are beyond the grasp of many people because they’re not ideal for daily driving. Heaven forbid V10s and V12s because they’re notoriously expensive to service. Gas-guzzling dinosaurs are undeniably cool, but they’re obsolete if you remember Tesla’s current market capitalization and how EVs have taken center stage in Detroit.
This brings us to engine model kits, which range from the small-block V8 we all know and love to rotaries, turboprops, flat twins, V4s, and steam engines. Best of all? You can put the engine together as a couple, piece by piece, and admire in awe the marvels of internal combustion in miniature.
6 - LEGO Car Set
Classic American muscle cars and Italian exotics are notoriously expensive to purchase and a bit of a headache to restore. That said, LEGO comes to the rescue on Valentine’s Day with a virtually endless variety of sets that range from the Speed Champions to the Technic and Creator series.
If both of you have watched The Fast and the Furious, your S.O. will give you top marks for Dom’s Charger from the first movie in the franchise. Priced at $99 on the Danish toy manufacturer’s website, this kit consists of 1,077 pieces that include nitrous bottles in the trunk and a supercharger.
7 - Racing Game
Following more than a year of lockdowns across the nation, I’m pretty sure that both of you know that a gaming console or a gaming PC are a godsend in times like these. Given your partner’s interest in motor vehicles, a racing game with Triple-A classification is a pretty inspired choice in my book.
Forza Horizon 4 is a great all-rounder, iRacing is as close as you’ll get to real-world racing without putting a helmet on, Project Cars 3 is beginner-friendly, Wreckfest boils down to derby-style crashing, and RaceRoom is a free-to-play game with ADAC GT Masters, DTM, WTCR, and WTCC cars.
8 - Automotive-Inspired Watch
In the day and age of smartwatches and bands, a conventional timepiece is more about style than utility. And boy, you sure have a lot of car-inspired watches to choose from, ranging from sub-$100 options such as the Timex Weekender Chronograph to the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona and beyond.
The only thing I advise you to remember when picking a watch is to stay away from big-face watches because they’re garish. Oh, and by the way, minimalist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe once said that less is more.
9 - Dash Cam
In stark contrast to what I said earlier, a dashboard camera is a soulless piece of hardware and software that only exists for a single - and rather utilitarian - purpose. Many insurers in the United States, including State Farm, accept dash-cam footage as part of the claims process, and the footage in question has a powerful impact on the outcome of a split-liability insurance claim.
You can’t go wrong with dashboard cameras as long as you go for a well-rated brand that utilizes high-quality sensors and wide-angle lenses that don’t distort. I, for example, am very pleased with my Xiaomi 70mai 1S camera.
10 - OBD2 Scan Tool
Last but not least, a failproof gift idea for your car-loving Valentine is the humble OBD2 scan tool. Even if your partner isn’t the kind to spend weekends wrenching away in a garage, a scanner is the best way to stay on top of what’s going on inside the vehicle's innards and possibly save a few bucks.
The market is absolutely flooded with options, and I wouldn’t splurge on a dedicated scanner if your significant other doesn’t pop the hood for anything other than topping the windshield washer fluid. A Bluetooth code reader is more than adequate, and some of these scanners can also clear codes.