Gearhead Gift Ideas 2012

11/2/2012 9:35 PM

Apparently, the day after Halloween is the new beginning of the Christmas season. Given that, and the fact that I'm already getting requests for my list, I thought I would do a write-up on gift ideas. While I think most readers have a special part at the top of their wish list, friends and family inevitably request “something smaller”. Here are a few items to pass on the next time someone asks.


1.  Screw outs/stripped bolt extractors – Relatively inexpensive, these simple accessories are great to have in the toolbox. They provide a great solution to one of the most frustrating moments in automotive maintenance.


Hot Wheels

2.  Miniature versions of your car – With a little searching, it shouldn't be too hard to turn up a scale model of your ride. These are great for the desk, or just to add to your collection.


3.  Original advertisements/vintage racing posters – A few years ago I found an original, full-page magazine ad for my father's first car. All it took was a simple frame to make a unique gift. A far cry from the Lamborghini poster we all had in our bedroom when we were ten, many old advertisements have great period style that make them easy to display anywhere.


4.  Mechanix gloves – These gloves make a lot of jobs easier. They fit well while still affording some protection, so they don't complicate detail work. A lot of work gloves might as well be mittens when you're trying to pick up a dropped screw – these don't have that problem. They also have a great gripping surface, which makes holding on to oily and greasy parts easier than bare-handed. The next time you're watching a race on TV, I guarantee you'll see someone on the pit crew wearing these.


Vintage Dodge Tie Clip

5.  Vintage keychains/tie clips/cuff links – Tie clips and cufflinks are back, so if you have to wear a shirt and tie every now and then, these vintage pieces are a stylish but subtle way to represent your favorite brand. A simple search of eBay should turn up plenty of options.


6.  Factory service manual – This is a more expensive item than the others, but it can be a life-saver for big jobs. These are the manuals used by the dealer mechanics, written by the people who designed the car, so they have more details, diagrams, and specifcations than the standard manuals you can find at the auto parts store.


City Survivor - Triumph Spitfire

10/18/2012 9:39 PM

Triumph Spitfire


Chicago is coming into fall, and temperatures are starting to drop. It won't be long before anyone with the means will be putting their vintage iron into long-term storage, so I was glad to come across this Triumph Spitfire in the Loop a few days ago.


Cars like this are a big part of why I started this blog. British roadsters are a labor of love on the best days, but maybe that's why they have such devoted fans. Take this Spitfire - these cars can really bite back if not cared for, and even a late production model would have been built during the Carter administration. Not only has the owner taken good care of this one (look at the shine on the hood!), but they also drove it into the heart of the Chicago and parked it on the street. Some collectors would cringe, but Urban Gear Works salutes the owner for enjoying this car as it was meant to be.

Porsche Sport Turismo Concept - The Only Porsche You'll Ever Need

9/30/2012 8:34 PM

Porsche Sport Turismo Concept


Last week, Porsche unveiled this Sport Turismo concept at the Paris Motor Show. As a fan of the Panamera and wagons in general, I couldn't be more excited at the prospect of a vehicle like this. While many have been quite vocal with their disdain for the design of Porsche's first sedan, particularly from the rear, I've always had an inexplicable attraction to the similar fastback sedan design of American classics from the late 1940s, like the Hudson Hornet. Wagons, on the other hand, are perfectly suited to city life. It's a matter of chicken-or-egg whether wagons are so popular in Europe because they are suited well to the tight confines of cities, or that they are so well suited to cities because they are popular in Europe. Regardless, wagons can match the cargo space and versatility of an SUV with major advantages in fuel economy and maneuverability. Plus, at least in Chicago, an SUV nets you an extra fee when it comes time to renew your city sticker.


While some Porsche purists are already screaming heresy, I couldn't be more full of anticipation. I've already tried to work out if I can hold off replacing my current car until this concept (hopefully) reaches production. The utility of an all-wheel-drive wagon with the style, performance, and reputation of a Porsche puts the Sport Turismo in an exceptionally small category that is so crucial to a car-loving city dweller: it's one car that fits every single role with virtually no compromises!


  • Bad weather capability? Check.
  • Ability to move an average-size piece of furniture? Check.
  • Top-level driving dynamics? Check.
  • Style? Check. (At least I think so.)
  • Seating for more than two people? Check.


This is a car that can genuinely be everything you need. The only competition I can think of is Cadillac's gloriously insane CTS-V wagon. I can only hope that if (when?) the Sport Turismo reaches production, some publication runs a proper head-to-head comparison.


Please, Porsche, build this car!


Image Credit: Porsche


Official Press Information

City Survivor - The Halas Hauler

9/24/2012 8:22 PM

The Halas Hauler


This post introduces what should become a frequent segment on Urban Gear Works. I'm always amazed when I find a piece of classic machinery parked on the street. These are cars that have held up against all odds, owned by people who've chosen to keep a vehicle that is certainly less practical because they appreciate it as more than an appliance.


Since the Bears won yesterday, I decided to launch the segment with this fan-mobile I discovered a while back. What started out as a 1960's Dodge A-Series camper van has been turned into the centerpiece of an awesome tailgate party.

Urban Gear Works is live!

9/16/2012 8:14 PM

Srt-4 and Chicago skyline


After months of work, I'm proud to announce the launch of Urban Gear Works. Like a primered Ford coupe with no hood, no mufflers, and a lawn chair where the driver's seat should be, this site isn't quite finished. But, like the early hot-rodders of the Fifties who made black primer an icon, I couldn't wait until my creation was finished to take it out for a drive.


What is Urban Gear Works? Urban Gear Works is a blog based around what it means to be a car guy (or lady) in the city of Chicago. In a place where a single parking space can cost more than the average new car, and most people care more about the specs of the latest smart phone than the latest sport sedan, it's hard to find an outlet for the constant flood of automotive thoughts flowing through my mind. I've spent my whole life in junkyards, garages, and car shows, but I'm a software engineer by trade, so I turned to the web. This site is my project car.


I know there are other people in this city that share my passion, and anyone who cares enough to hold on to their automotive hobby in this land of five-dollar gasoline, traffic jams, buses, taxis, and roads that look like the surface of the moon, is someone truly dedicated. This site will be a salute to all of those people, and like the city itself, a representation of the whole spectrum of our automotive culture.


9/16/2012 7:14 PM

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