The check engine light — that enigmatic indicator that can signal anything from a loose gas cap or old spark plugs, to a worn out catalytic converter or an empty windshield fluid reservoir — is hardly an effective way of remaining in-tune with your car. But with Automatic you can finally decode that uninformative light, letting you know what kind of help your car needs and potentially saving a trip to the mechanic. And that's not all it does: helping improve your car's fuel economy, alerting emergency response in case of a crash, and automatically remembering where you parked are just a few incredibly-useful features. Add in that its beautifully-designed iOS and Android apps are constantly updated with new functionality, and you get the partner your car always needed.
Presented by Automatic.
All too often any glove you find that also works with your smartphone ends up looking technical and a bit geeky — but not the Mujjo Leather Crochet Touchscreen Gloves ($100). They give you the best of both worlds, combing the ability to interact with just about every touchscreen out, while still looking sharp. Made from fine Ethiopian lambskin leather, the underside of these gloves gives you the comfort, warmth, and style you expect from a leather glove. The top side, made from Egyptian crocheted cotton, gives you plenty of flexibility, whether you're driving or fumbling in your pocket to take a call. Inside you'll find Mongolian cashmere lining, perfect for keeping away the chill, while still light weight enough to be comfortable.
So maybe you own a bike — even a couple — and if you're lucky, you might have yourself a small collection of bikes. But odds are, you'll never own a complete collection of the 100 most-desired bikes of the last 100 or so years. That said, you can at least ogle them in book form with the Impossible Collection of Motorcycles: The 100 Most Coveted Motorcycles of the Twentieth Century ($600). It covers everything from the 1903 Harley-Davidson Serial #1 to the 1999 Honda NSR500 GP, with gorgeous photographs and information on each model. While it may not be as good as riding the real things, it's a pretty decent place to start.
Keep your look on the track old-school, while still giving your feet all the comfort and protection of a modern boot, with these Sparco Classic Racing Shoes ($280). These shoes are made with a full leather upper, giving them a handsome retro look with a comfortable fit. The sole is still made to resist fuel and oil — just like any other FIA-approved shoe — while providing plenty of grip whether you're walking the pits or pushing the pedal down. The only challenge now will be finding a racing suit that still looks the part.
Imagine a motorcycle helmet that not only protects your head, but keeps you safe by providing real-time information and video with a simple voice command. The makers of the Skully Heads Up Display Helmet ($TBA) plan on bringing riders exactly that. While still equipped with all the standard safety features the Department of Transportation requires, the helmet also includes a host of Android-powered technology — technology like a rear-facing 180-degree camera, GPS navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a compass, and a rechargeable battery. All of this gets projected non-obtrusively on the visor of the helmet, and can be controlled completely hands-free thanks to voice recognition software.
In case you've forgotten, at one point watches actually served a purpose beyond status symbol or menswear accessory — people actually used them to keep track of time. The Autodromo Prototipo Chronograph Watch ($625-$775) pays homage to an era when the wristwatch was a tool that made the difference between winning and losing, the era of prototype sports car racing (think 24 Hours of LeMans or Daytona). These watches feature the sorts of tools race drivers need: with subregisters on the right and left to measure seconds and hours up to 24, a tachymeter to determine average speed, and a pulsometer to calculate heart rate. Perforated watch bands, styling suggesting the curves of a race car, and color schemes commemorating motorsports legends (on the limited edition Vic Elford variant) complete the package.
Show your solidarity with the original Compton crew when you deck out your rearview with these Hangin' With The Homies Air Fresheners ($10). This first run comes with three air fresheners, featuring Eazy-E and Dr. Dre of N.W.A., and Darlene Ortiz (in her famous pose from Ice-T's Power), scented in apple, black ice, and vanilla, respectively. Even if you aren't from the mean streets of South Central LA, that doesn't mean you can't represent with three of Hip hop's most iconic personalities — and make your '64 smell as fresh as possible.
Anki Drive ($200) is a new kind of racing game — part new-aged slot car, part iOS video game, part exercise in artificial intelligence — it brings the sort of racing interaction usually relegated to the virtual world, into (quasi-)reality. Each set includes two slot cars (designed by the Hollywood automotive artist who brought us the 1996 Batmobile), a vinyl racing mat embedded with special ink the cars can sense, and an iOS app that lets you control and customize your vehicles. The cars are powered by artificial intelligence, with the option for users to steer or fire upgradable weapons. Each car develops a unique character over time, depending on what skills and attributes you choose to upgrade, giving them advantages out on the track. It's the perfect combination of racing, robotics, and interactivity you look for in a game on the screen, but you can play it right on the floor of your apartment.
Whether you want to repurpose your existing garage, or just make more room in your off-street parking area, you can safely stow your car underground with the Cardok ($TBA). This galvanized steel, electro-hydraulic lift system can store two cars — one underneath, and one on top — thanks to a lift capacity of 10 tons and a working load of three tons per deck. Installation is relatively simple, it takes up very little space, and can even be customized to match the surface of the surrounding area. It operates using a convenient remote control, makes virtually no noise at all, and opens in just thirty seconds.
Whether he was acting, racing motorcycles, or driving very fast cars, Steve McQueen undeniably ranks among the coolest guys to ever live. You may never rise to his level, but you can still channel your inner Steve with the Porsche Steve McQueen Jacket ($500). Modeled after 70s-era race wear, the inside of the jacket features an iconic image of Steve outside his Porsche 908 (which he drove in, and nearly won, the 12 Hours of Sebring with a broken foot). Whether you wear it to the track, or out for a cruise, drive fast — he certainly would have.
You never know when the worst could happen on the road, whether you wind up trapped in your car, or you witness an accident and need to play hero — the CRKT M.A.K.-1 Knife ($120) could be just the tool you need to help save a life. Designed by a Canadian firefighter, this knife gives you multiple methods by which to gain access to a vehicle. The handle has a prying mechanism and a punch, both great for opening or breaking windows. The blade features a blunt tip for opening doors, and a sharpened edge to cut away webbing or belts.
Can't find a babysitter for the track weekend you've been planning for months? No problem — take junior along for the ride with this Recaro ProRide Convertible Car Seat ($220). With side-impact protection inspired by racing technology, this car seat features enhanced head wings and reinforcement at the sides, hips, and thighs. An easily-adjustable five-point harness (just like the one you're probably wearing) means this seat can adjust with your kid as he grows, while a comfortable, ergonomic seat molds to fit his body. Available in range of colors and fabrics, this seat is easy to clean in case the Gs start to get to the little guy.
Safely navigate in your car without taking your eyes off the road using the Garmin Head-Up Display ($135). This portable projector beams navigation information from your bluetooth-equipped smartphone onto a reflective film on your windshield, allowing you to see turn-by-turn directions, time of arrival, distance to the next turn, your speed, the speed limit, traffic information, and more. Just wirelessly pair it with your phone, put your destination into one of the compatible apps, and go. Availability pending approval by the FCC.
America's answer to the previously-dominant German carmakers, the 2014 Cadillac CTS ($45,000-$72,000) simultaneously boasts beauty and braun. The third-generation mid-sized sedan brings the brand's flagship model up to speed with its German competition — with aggressive front styling, a trio of engine options — a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder good for 272 hp, a 3.6-liter V6 cranking out 321 hp, or an all-new twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 that blasts out 420 hp — and either a six- or new eight-speed automatic transmission. Other highlights include a body that's longer, shorter, and lighter, Caddy's Magnetic Ride Control real-time damping system — the first time it's popped up on a non V version — available all-wheel drive, front-wheel Brembo brakes in the vSport, the CUE infotainment system (which utilizes Bose Active Noise Cancellation to monitor powertrain noise and sends out opposing non-audible frequencies to counteract these sounds), and an interior that's among the best GM has ever produced. Available early 2014.
Who says you can't look cool and still ride safely? The guys at Biltwell make both possible with the Gringo Helmet ($150). This motorcycle helmet is styled simply without sacrificing any of the necessary safety features. An injection-molded ABS outer shell and EPS inner shell protect that precious brain of yours, while several color options keep you looking good (available in flat black and titanium, gloss black, orange, and white). Snaps let you attach a bubble shield to protect your eyes, but we think a pair of goggles will suit you better.
Giving "exhaust notes" a whole new meaning, iXoost ($6548-$8906) combines the form of an automotive header with the function of a stereo iPod dock. Milled from aluminum and available in a range of customizable color combinations, it's an entertainment system, centerpiece and conversation-starter perfect for your garage or man cave. The eight- and 10-cylinder models have two tweeters, two midrange speakers and two subwoofers, while the 12-cylinder model adds two speakers — making it sound even better than it looks. We don't care what you play through it, just so long as you turn it up.
Looking for a racing movie to whet your appetite before the upcoming stretch of big races? Forget garbage like Driven and skip straight to Le Mans ($17). Hailed by some as the greatest racing flick of all time, it stars Steve McQueen and Siegfried Rauch, was filmed during the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans, and tells a story that goes beyond the track to show the toll the risky, high-stakes profession can take on a person physically and emotionally. Also, it's easy to watch, because there's no chance of Kyle Busch winning.
Most "racing" watches sport nothing more than a fancy chronograph to count lap times. But the Halda Race Pilot Watch ($TBA) isn't most watches. This unique timepiece features two interchangeable modules that allow you to switch between a traditional or digital face as you please. The mechanical module is an automatic chronograph with a Zenith movement and a 50-hour power reserve, while the digital race module packs info about 150 of the world's best-known race tracks inside, and uses that into to calculate average speed, measure lap times down to 1/100th of a second, and a stainless steel case back that's designed to work as a resonance system, letting you hear your alarms above the din of the engine.
Driving is fun. Driving in the snow and cold can be fun. But driving with cold hands? Never fun. This Tanner Driver Glove ($75) keeps the fun factor high and your digits warm with authentic deerskin that starts out supple — to give you better feel behind the wheel — and further and softens and conforms to your hands over time, until it's almost a part of you. A part that you can take off when the weather gets warm. Which is good, because you'd look rather suspicious rolling around with gloves on during the summer.
If you've ever read an issue, you know the chaps at Top Gear Magazine know their cars. So who better to pick out the best of all time? Top Gear: The Cool 500: The Coolest Cars Ever Made ($30) is penned by long-time writer and road tester Matt Master, this bible of bad-ass rides covers cars from the advent of the automobile through to futuristic supercars, each placed in the proper context and joined by fantastic photography and commentary. Perfect coffee table fodder for your garage, den, or motoring-themed man cave.