The Cozy Coupe was designed by former Chrysler designer, Jim Mariol, in 1979 and manufactured by The Little Tikes Company in Hudson, Ohio.
The red and yellow plastic vehicle was designed like a tiny Mini (it was a tad over 32″ high) for one child to squeeze into. It had a fuel cap on the side, a single door that opened and a small seat inside.
There was no engine or pedals inside – the Cozy Coupe was powered by the driver’s eager feet pushing along the ground through a small gap in the bottom of the car, Flintstones style. Not only did this make the car available to younger children, it also helped keep manufacturing costs down.
The toy car proved extremely popular because it was well-built, making it the safest choice for parents who wanted to buy a play vehicle for their children. It was sturdy and felt like it would survive a direct meteor crash, let alone the minor bumps and scrapes a child gets into.
It proved so popular that in 1991, Cozy Coupe was the biggest-selling car in the United States, outselling the Honda Accord and Ford Taurus!
While the Cozy Coupe you’re buying for your kids today might look just like the one you remember unwrapping yourself 40 years ago, it has actually undergone three revisions in that time. The modern versions (such as the Little Tikes 30th Anniversary Crazy Coupe released in 2009) have new features, such as a pretend ignition switch that turns and even a small boot (trunk to our Stateside visitors) to store toys in.
Over the years, Little Tikes has attempted to capitalise on the success of the Crazy Coupe by expanding its range of vehicles to include pick-up trucks, convertibles and larger models. The original design remains timeless, though.
The Cozy Coupe’s iconic design has earned it a place in the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum in Cleveland, USA, where it sits proudly alongside the DeLorean, the Corvette and the Model-T Ford.