If you are a regular RFD reader, well thanks! But if you are, you’ll recall that we test more than just cars. If you peruse our “Parts” section under reviews, you’ll see that review traditional modifications like big brake kits, as well as more non-traditional stuff like Waze. Basically if it can go in or on you, or your car, we’ll take a look. Please avoid combinations of “in” and you”, depending on the product. That brings us to our inaugural RFD Holiday Gear Guide. This is a mix of our favorites from 2015, along with some stuff that came in just in time for “Cyber Monday”. Which apparently started yesterday.
While the right t-shirt won’t make your car faster, it’ll still give you some enjoyment and make sure everyone knows you’re an enthusiast. I’ve made small-talk in line with random people wearing obscure enthusiast shirts. It’s sort of like an exclusive club, where the price of admission is around $25 or so. Up this year are submissions from Hoonigan and Enthusiast Apparel.
The fact that Ken Block’s race team has an apparel line shouldn’t be surprising. Block founded DC Shoes, one of the largest “action-sports apparel companies”. So naturally, when he and Brian Scotto of 0-60 magazine founded the Monster World Rally Team, there was bound to be an apparel tie-in. Now known as Hoonigan, they destroy tires and sell stuff. Mostly t-shirts, but also some outerwear, head gear, and a very entertaining line of accessories. They’ll even sell you a dog collar! Beyond that, they just put a toe in the aftermarket—something they have undoubtedly spent quite a bit of their own money in—by selling Hoonigan branded Auto Meter gauges.
So what’s in the box? Well, once I got through the very strong Hoonigan tape, I found a couple of things, including their Crew Fleece and a Tire Slayer Snapback hat. If you take a look, they’re not cheap, but comparably priced compared to other enthusiast gear out there. It’s $50 for the fleece and $30 for the hat. However, the fleece changes color under UV light. Gimmicky, but kinda cool. Plus it’s warm, there is an inner layer of fleece that gives it a higher quality feel. The hat is pretty nice as well, with raised embroidered lettering on the front, as well as the Hoonigan logo on the side. I’m almost 40 so I wanted to start working the brim into a nice curve, but that’s not how you wear this hat.
Want a cool story? How about a guy, just like you, who was into cars and said “man the clothing out there sucks” and just started making his own. Meet Jon Gilliatt of Enthusiast Apparel, who did just that. Not only that, he makes each order by hand as they come in. Talk about just-in-time inventory. He features a mix of car-related clothing primarily with a Euro-slant/feel including t-shirts, hoodies, prints, and accessories. I’ve ordered from EA before and was pretty impressed, so I reached out to Jon to see what was new. He sent us some stuff to try out. What did we think?
We got two packages from EA, a small envelope containing three t-shirts, Apex-It, The Office, and Save Our Manuals. Another package arrived in tube form and included the Piston Print and the Legends Print. First, the shirts. This stuff is quality, even before you consider the price point. At $22 each, they’re very reasonable. Toss in the fact that each shirt was made just for you, and that’s even cooler. Shirts are a slim cut fashion fit, made of lightweight pre-shrunk 60/40 Cotton/Polyester blend, and the site states that you “may require a size up for a comfortable fit”. I’m 6’0″ 180lbs and can vary between medium and large. In this instance, the large fit just fine and was quite comfortable.
The second package contained the prints. I promise that I didn’t set this one up, we just asked Jon to send us some cool stuff. I own the Legends t-shirt, got it for Christmas last year from my sister. So I thought it relevant to take a picture of me in the shirt holding up the $28 print. It’s quality kit, measuring 18″x24″ and printed on heavy duty matte paper. We also got the smaller $26, 12″x16″ Piston print which would look damn good in any non-rotary fan’s house.
All-in-all, an impressive bit of gear, good quality and priced well. If you are in the market for some cool enthusiast stuff, go check out Jon’s site at Enthusiast Apparel.
Car Wash Gear
I’ll admit, when I was younger I really enjoyed washing my car. It’s a semi-intimate moment between man and machine. You take the time to rinse away all the dirt and grime, soap up the washing mit and go over every inch of your pride and joy, then rinse, dry and wax to perfection. But I’m older now and really don’t have time to devote to this, sort of creepy-sounding, ritual. So I need help, I need gear that can help me get it done faster and better. So take a look at our 2015 car wash gear and find out if its worth adding to your garage.
We are always on the lookout for something new and interesting and this is both. The Brush Hero is the solution to a problem we have all had, cleaning wheels. Automotive wheels, particularly of enthusiast ilk, are almost never easy to clean. And depending on your choice of brake pad, you’re going to have a lot of brake or a ridiculous amount of brake dust. Ever tried those brush attachments for your cordless drill? Yeah, me too. If I still own it, it’s buried in my garage somewhere because it didn’t work that well. The Brush Hero was developed by a car guy who was tired of trying to wash his wheels using the old methods. So he built something better. You screw it onto your hose and the water turns the brush. So no need for batteries or cords, it does what it says it does. We tried it on a few cars from the RFD Garage and were impressed. Stay tuned to RFD for a full review once the weather warms up here in DC.
AMMO NYC Car Care
If you are a regular reader, you saw our man Danny Korecki’s review of the AMMO NYC car care line. If you missed it, here’s a quick summary of the line. Spoiler alert, it’s really good.
- AMMO Foam Paint Cleanser – I use AMMO Foam Paint Cleanser when I am giving my car a full wash. Per Larry’s videos, I squirt three big gulps into my “body-only” bucket. I also squirt a bunch in my foam cannon. I like to cover my car completely in AMMO Foam then use a microfiber sponge in my bucket to clean the car with.
- AMMO Spit Emergency Shine – I use AMMO Spit Emergency Shine to clean up some water spots and any dirty spots on my car in between washes. This product is basically spray wax. I spray it on a circle microfiber applicator and work it on my car then use a microfiber towel to clean off the wax. It’s quick and easy to use.
- AMMO Plum Wheel Cleaner – This is my favorite AMMO product. I like to wet my wheels, then spray the wheel cleaner on and let it sit for like 15 seconds. Then I use my “wheels-only” bucket with a wheel brush to agitate the wheel cleaner while it is on my wheels. The cool part about the wheel cleaner is it turns all brake dust purple and helps release it from your wheels.
- AMMO Mud Tire Gel –I am a firm believer that too much tire shine can ruin your tires over time, but since AMMO’s Mud Tire Gel is water-based, it will not crack your tires. I only need to use the Mud Tire Gel every 2-3 car washes because it lasts.
- AMMO Citrus AP Cleaner –This is the product I use the least, not because it is lower quality, because of its intended purposes. I only use the Citrus AP Cleaner when I clean my engine bay. I like to squirt it on a shop rag and work on all the road grime all in my engine bay.
Billy Club Shift Knob
You’ve seen our friends at Sneed Speed on RFD a bunch of times, whether it was our first visit or featuring some of their cool projects. We also go to sample their wares, testing their Billy Club Shift Knob on both our long-term Focus ST and our…well not very long term Subaru WRX. RFD founder Josh put about forty miles on his (previously owned) WRX with this knob through plenty of side streets, back roads and stop and go traffic. He found the knob to be so tall and close to the steering wheel that he spent less time with his hands off of the wheel to shift. As added value, the Billy Club shift knob is tall enough to double as an arm (well, wrist) rest. His only real complaint with this knob installed is that the throws were a bit on the long side but as he said, the Billy Club shift knob installed on a short shifter would be absolutely perfect. If your car already has a short throw shifter or if you installed a short throw shifter only to find that the throws are too short, give this knob a try. It may look funny but if performance driving is your thing then Sneed4Speed has your shift knob.