Father’s Day for the Car Lovin’ Dad

Dave Kunz and his father Robert many, many years ago.

Dave Kunz and his father Robert many, many years ago.

As Father’s Day approaches this year, gift ideas for your dad will come from all directions. Perhaps he’s into sports, or has a hobby that makes it easy to find a gift for him. Or there’s always the good old necktie … if you’re out of ideas and your father just loves getting ties as gifts.

For dads who love cars, gift ideas abound, especially here in car-crazy Southern California. For example, how about renting Pop a classic car? While there are lots of places that rent exotics (for exotic prices, obviously), I found out that Beverly Hills Rent-a-Car also keeps classics on hand for rent at its various locations around town.

Starting at $399 a day, you can arrange to rent your dad a ride like a classic Corvette, an old Cadillac convertible, or one of several others. Keep in mind though that these old beauties tend to drink a lot of fuel, so perhaps you should also throw in a gas card for a fill-up.

If Dad likes “car stuff” of various kinds, one of my favorite local showrooms is California Car Cover in Chatsworth. They’re stocked with many types of great car gifts, some of which you might not have even thought of. From cool shirts with cars on them to barstools and clocks for his “man cave,” lots to choose from here. And of course, you can pick up a gift certificate so he can shop for what he likes.

Spending some time with your father is the best gift of all, even if it doesn’t cost much, or even nothing. I’d like to suggest spending a day at the world-class Nethercutt Museum and Collection in Sylmar. You didn’t know there was such a place? You’re not alone, as the Nethercutt tends to kind of fly under the radar sometimes.

But make your way to the complex of buildings adjacent to the Merle Norman cosmetics factory (the Nethercutt was started — and is still run by — the family that owns the firm), and you and Dad will be in awe of what you see. Gorgeous cars from the grand era of huge classics, plus lavish settings, and even an entire floor filled with over-the-top vintage musical contraptions.

The Nethercutt won’t be open on Father’s Day, but you can plan an outing there any Tuesday through Saturday as a gift to your dad. I’m guessing the place will be pretty busy the Saturday of the big weekend. And, admission is free.

If you’d like to do a museum experience on Father’s Day itself, The Petersen Automotive Museum will be open, and is always worth a visit. One of their current exhibits is a salute to tailfins, so be sure to bring the camera. There’s also a great gift shop and even a restaurant right on site, so you can make a real day of it.

Also happening on Father’s Day is the annual Concours on Rodeo classic car show in Beverly Hills. As its name implies, the show takes place right on Rodeo Drive, one of the most famous shopping locations in the world. The entire street from Wilshire to Santa Monica is blocked off, and cars from spectacular private collections will be on display.

This year’s special theme on Rodeo is a tribute to the “jet age.” There will even be a Lear Jet parked right on the street! I’ll be attending that show with my father, just as I’ve done for many years in a row. It’s great to be out there with lots of families, letting Dad ooh and aah at all the great vehicles.

There’s no charge to attend the Rodeo Drive car show, as it’s free and open to the public. But as I said, sometimes the best Father’s Day gift is just spending time with your dad. As the saying goes, that in itself is priceless.

I’ll see you down the road.

Dave Kunz is the automotive reporter at KABC-TV Channel 7 and can be heard on “The Car Show” Saturdays at 9 a.m. on KPFK, 90.7 FM. E-mail Dave at TVCarz @ pacbell.net Twitter: @dave_kunz, Facebook: ABC7Dave