Christmas Wish List 2018

In the midst of the current political climate where it seems the entire population of this country is split right down the middle (are you a carfan or SUVfan?), we thought it would be a good idea to publish a list of sure-fire gift ideas that should work for both sides of that spectrum.  And since we did not send out cards this year, please allow me to reuse this card from 20 years ago designed by Chris Horning (with some input) as published by Autoweek Magazine.  The caption inside?  “It must be Christmas”, it has 900 HP.


Since this list is returning after a couple of years in hiding, it might also be a good idea to review the rules of The Wish List.

1) No item can be listed more than once.  If it is on a previous year’s list it won’t be on this year’s, or next year’s either.  Even if none of you took the thinly veiled hint and bought it for me!

2) Exception to rule #1 – Die cast cars will ALWAYS be on the list. And Lego. And Porsche stuff, with special emphasis on 917’s.

3) While I may say ‘Merry Christmas’, you are welcome to hear ‘Happy Holidays’, ‘Happy Hanukkah’, ‘Kwanza’ or any other celebration you will enjoy this holiday season.  My reason for saying Merry Christmas is that is what I believe, but I am also a firm believer that for each person there is a truth that they follow and I respect everyone’s beliefs equally.

4) This is all for fun and maybe gives you some ideas for the car person in your life.  If you really want to get me something, make a donation to The Alzheimer’s Association where we have raised over $4,000 this year in honor of Brian Fioritto’s father.  Let’s see if we can get to 5 before New Year’s Eve.

Enough with the rules, on to the list:

#10 iRacing Content

iRacing UpdateIf you know me personally, you know I have been a fan of iRacing since before it began (read the story on its beginnings here).  Every few months the team releases new car and track content (latest notes here) like last year when they released racing on dirt bullrings.  What is great is the fact you can buy people credits in advance of the new content.  It took me until this past September to get the dirt cars and tracks and I promptly won 2 of my first 3 races.  If you guys had gotten me a gift card last year I would have 20 or 30 wins by now.  So let’s get on the bandwagon for 2019 and give someone the gift that keeps on giving at iRacing’s Memebership Site$5-500.

#9 – Helmet and HANS Bag

httpmurrayprod.isobar.ninjapubimportomp-helmet-and-hans-bagNothing is better for you at the race track than a nice helmet whether you do autocrosses, track days, PRX or full on wheel-2-wheel racing.  Unfortunately a few weekends of travels to the track, getting in and out of the car and banging your head will leave your beautiful helmet looking like Cr@p.  A proper bag for the helmet and HANS device will keep them looking beaytiful longer.  My preference is for the one from OMP and it can be found here. $90

#8 Porsche 917 Die Cast

GUEST_fa9f27a4-2b8b-4113-ab52-eb39b81653caNot much will trigger a racing fan’s interest more than the words, Steve McQueen, Porsche 917 and die cast.  This model from Greenlight hits all 3.  Available at Target and online everywhere. $20

#7 A great DVD

GarnerThere are many good racing movies and documentaries, along side a score of bad ones.  But you cannot go wrong with any of the ones carried by Winding Road Racing.  My personal favorite is Grand Prix, which can easily be found on Amazon.  While not quite the aural and visual masterpiece LeMans, has a much better story.

#6 Racing School

41517442_10217707627110678_8988827751175684096_nThere are numerous arrive and drive schools around the country but we highly recommend the school locally at Waterford Hills Race Track.  The school is split into 2 weekends, one in the classroom and 1 at the track , which we think is the industry ideal.  Don’t have a race car?  Then rent one from Honda Ron Racing Rentals or one of the other people who do this across the country.  We believe in this so much we organize a race car  rental from Ron every spring as a door prize for our Design Night at the Races Charity events.   Track days are fun buy THEY DO NOT COMPARE to wheel-2-wheel racing.  $400-500

#5 Paint a Helmet

17Pyrotech-FSchwartz3Once your race car is performing well and looking good, the next goal is to get yourself looking as good as the car.  A properly painted helmet is the crowning achievement.  It is getting harder and harder to find a proper painter who does not have a 3-6 month waiting list but at the recent PRI event I bumped into Brian at Brian’s Kustom Paint, and they will be painting my new Bell purchased from Averill Racing Stuff shortly. (And let us not forget the awesome design work done by Dean at Arrowz Art. $400-900

#4 – Lego Speed Champions Dodge Charger/Challenger

LEGO-75893-Speed-Champions-2018-Dodge-Challenger-SRT-Demon-and-1970-Dodge-Charger-RTThis was a tough choice as the Lego Speed Champions are a huge favorite in this household, and the annual announcement of new sets is as eagerly awaited as notification you have been accepted into the Sketchbattle.  This year’s sets include a classic Mini, McLaren Senna, Camaro ZL-1 and F40.  The Charger wins because, deep in my soul, I have always been a MOPAR fan.  $15-40

#3 – Art

46633768_218667975713049_1583511169569302129_nHere at AACS, we are HUGE supporters of the “A” in STEAM.  So much so that we have provided a display area at Sketchbattle 15 Detroit for local automotive artists to showcase their work.  One  of the artists we will be showcasing is Rachael Robinson, a designer at Ford.  You can see some of her work here or come to the event and see it in person.  Tickets to the Sketchbattle event are available here.

48027323_789114161426195_2703405170909249536_nIf you prefer to buy your art online, then I suggest this awesome serious of prints from Michael Castigilione at CastiWorx (I have several).

#2 – RaceTrackMaps

B&W reduced sizeFull disclosure on this one – AACS developed the concept and Middlecott Design did the design work, so really, we are asking you to line our pockets.  Seriously though, what can be better than a map, coffee cup or mouse pad that shows 90- different road courses across the United States.  And we even have a version that allows you to show which ones you have been to.  $15-75

#1 – Porsche 917 Driving Experience

racing-legend-car-porsche-917-replica-a-vendre-détouré--1024x237This one is clearly on the bucket list of I ever win the lottery – driving a 917.   Until then, please pool your money and send me the gift certificate before I get too old to really enjoy it.  Yes they are replicas and yes the series is a bit contrived.  Doesn’t matter, just driving a 917 would be the thrill of a lifetime, much less racing one.  Who am I kidding?  I would do this is I were 100!. Details here.  13,500 Euros

On a final, more serious and somber note.  Don’t buy me any of these, I have a great life and live my dreams almost daily.  If you are so inclined, we appreciate donations here.  

Please visit my fundraising page and give today. Thank you!

My page:


About Frank Schwartz

Frank Schwartz is the founder of and Advanced Automotive Consulting Services, partner in The Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment and serial entrepeneur. A long time automotive enthusiast, Frank started reading car magazines at the age of 8 and has spent 30+ years working inside the automotive industry. In his spare time Frank races with the Sports Car Club of America, spends time working on his numerous project cars and supports many local charities.
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