How To Furnish Your Desk, Car Guy Edition

You might not write the Great American Novel, but your thank-you notes will have real flair.

Many writers have ritualistic quirks. James Joyce wrote lying facedown on his bed in a white coat with either a large blue pencil or a crayon. Agatha Christie sought inspiration while chewing on apple cores in the bath. Vladimir Nobokov liked best to type in a parked car. Some less illustrious scribes, lacking the luxury of a kooky haunt, smoke their way to creativity.

Wide-ranging and highly personal though these habits may be, it’s easy to draw a hypothesis: To create, you need the right environment and, realistically, that environment will be a desk. Buy one. It will center you and improve your work, whether high prose, dirty limericks, or ConEd bills. And, as a microcosm of your home, your desk deserves ornament. Fill it with the things that comfort and please you, not just a green banker’s lamp and a rolodex. Personalize. You’re a car guy, and your desk should reflect as much. These are the goods. On the Road doesn’t necessarily need a sequel, but why not try?

Pininfarina Pen, $119

Brookstone

Modeled after the design house’s Cambiano concept car, this Pininfarina pen is about the cheapest way to sample the company’s style. It marks smoothly, like a pencil, and is handmade in Italy. The second cheapest Pininfarina product? Probably a Cadillac Allante.

Desk Clock, fashioned from a Caterham F1 gear, $59

Nathan O'Dell

British shop Ledon Gifts buys busted F1 parts by the box and fashions fantastic lamps and clocks. This little charmer started life as a gear in Caterham’s 2012 Formula 1 car.

Bentley Heritage Goggles, $178

Bentley Motors

The great thing about paperweights? Anything can be a paperweight, should it have the requisite heft. These chrome, leather and glass vintage-style goggles from Bentley do the trick. They’ll also come in handy once you climb the ladder and succumb to buying that Morgan 3 Wheeler.

Antica Cartotecnica Notebooks, $30

Mr. Porter

With three convenient sizes, keep one Cartotecnica notebook in your jacket, one in the car and one on the desk. No matter where you are, you’ll have paper to jot down ideas; one of them is bound to be gold.

Industrial Desk Lamp, $100

Vintage Ironworks

This classic steel electrical box has been remade into a desk lamp that, handily, retains its charging abilities. No more tripping over phone-charging cords—praise be. The reproduction Edison bulb casts a warm glow, and its twisted filaments are ripe for pondering.

Mac’s Automotive Chemicals Ashtray, $16

Vintage Gypsies

Tobacco isn’t a means to great work, but it is a superb catalyst to procrastination, which is. If you’re going to puff, set down your cig in this antique Mac’s Chemicals ashtray, for a hint of the thrill of smoking in a chemical processing plant with none of the risk of combustion.