A Jump Ahead
Maybe you're an expert in using jumper cables, but is that special someone in your life? Michelin's new Smart Jumper Cables take all the guesswork -- and the potential risk -- out of jump-starting a car. Boasting patented technology, the Michelin cables automatically adjust each cable's polarity, eliminating the confusion of figuring out which connection goes where. Built-in LEDs confirm when the connections are correct, and a surge protector safeguards each car's electrical system. The cables are specially designed to remain flexible even in cold weather, and include textured grips for easy handling. Toss a set in the trunk of that special someone (a neat travel case is available), and know that they'll be traveling safe.
Give the gift of stealth. This Christmas, Escort offers a range of products to help the speed demon on your Christmas list fly under the local radar (and laser) -- with no fussy pigtail cords, windshield suction-cup hickies, or theft-prone detectors to mount and dismount when parking in public. Want all the bells and whistles and 360-degree protection? Check out the Passport 9500ci, with triple laser detection -- two sensors in front, one in back -- plus built-in GPS. Knowing where the car is and how fast it's going allows the unit to tailor its sensitivity with speed (low in parking lots, maximum at highway speeds), and to learn the location of stationary radar units -- helps keep the 9500ci from crying wolf. A USB port allows for uploading of speed and red-light camera locations from the Escort Web site, and the unit is undetectable to all radar-detector detectors. It's mighty pricey, but worth it for moneyed maniacs whose driver's license might otherwise be imperiled.
MSRP: $1599 ($1999 installed)
Time For Reflection
For the gadget fiend who's in love with an aging car but covets 21st Century conveniences, Escort's easily installed SmartMirror brings navigation, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, and even a backup camera to any car. The GPS antenna is integrated in the unit, so it only requires a 12-volt lead and a ground (most modern cars have a 12-volt supply in the headliner). The backup camera requires its own cable routed to the rear. SmartMirror is over an inch wider and a bit taller than a standard mirror to accommodate the four-inch (diagonal) navigation touchscreen. Also included are two expandable video inputs (one for the optional backup camera) and an SD Card slot for the 2GB card (preloaded with an updatable map database).
MSRP: $799, plus $49 for installation (backup camera: $75)
Commercials You Won't Skip
Remember (or heard about) the Jordan Playboy's classic "West of Laramie" campaign? Or the Volkswagen Beetle ads from the 1960s and 1970s? Writer Phil Patton's "20th Century Classic Cars: 100 Years of Automotive Ads," a beautiful, 480-page color hardcover coffee-table book, includes them -- and many more of the most iconic automotive print advertisements from the last century. You'll also find vintage ads from oil and tire companies, plus a few gems for cars not sold in the U.S. Inside are celebrity sightings, too: Marlene Dietrich! Bing Crosby! Clark Gable! Wilt Chamberlain! Hall and Oates! Ricardo Montalban! A must for any auto-fan's bookshelf.