Cars were a common theme in early Beach Boys songs, notably "Little Deuce Coupe," which was the template for this song that envisions Santa's sleigh as a Nordic Hot Rod: candy apple red with a 4-speed stick. Brian Wilson wrote the song with Mike Love.
For The Beach Boys' Christmas Album, the first side was original Christmas songs written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, and the other side contained traditional favorites like "Frosty The Snowman" and "White Christmas." (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
This was used in a popular Coke commercial featuring a moment of Christmas cheer between animated polar bears and penguins.
Hanson recorded this for their 1997 Christmas album Snowed In.