Preschool Classics – Introducing Young Minds To The Joy Of Cars


I’ve been taking my youngest to preschool for almost two years now and while I was aware of all of the toys they have access to during recess, I just recently noticed the wide variety of “Cozy Coupe” toy cars on the paved area.

While we owned a Cozy Coupe ourselves, we handed it off to our neighbors who have even smaller children, and I was never really aware that there is now such a wide variety of competitors in the marketplace. When I saw this one with the Di-Noc wood applique in the kids’ lot, I knew I had to share it with you. Armed with my camera and permission from the principal (thanks, Mary!), I took some shots to share.

The wood grain on this blue one really makes it stand out from the herd; obviously it is more upmarket than the rest. As opposed to most of these, both doors appear to open.  On the others, in particular the Cozy Coupe, I wonder how they are marketed in countries with right-hand drive. Does it confuse their children?

Here is the one most commonly found in the wild, the Cozy Coupe, manufactured by Little Tikes. In the early ’90s, this was the highest volume selling car in the United States, selling over half a million a year; more on an annual basis than either the Ford Taurus or the Honda Accord. I believe this is a first-generation model due to the slim A-pillars. Later models had wider A-pillars (impeding visibility but presumably increasing roof crush strength) and were fully redesigned recently. There are three of these first-generation ones scattered about this lot, but I only shot one.

Next up is this sporty red and black model. It has a long front overhang (due to the hood) and if anything, seems more car-like than the Cozy Coupe.  The windshield wiper is a nice touch, as are the racy three-spoke wheels.

There seem to be three main manufactures of these types of cars, but this one was not identifiable due to its missing badges. The shape of the cutout on the rear fender suggests that it may have been a Fisher-Price, though.

Of course these makers don’t miss a trick, marketing a model that is clearly in the idiom of the Dodge LaFemme with its overly pink theme. Either that or it is the Mary Kay version for aspiring door-to-door makeup sales representatives. Gotta get ’em started young!

I imagine it gets less use than the others due to its color; even in preschool, sadly, some themes quickly present themselves. It is made by Step2, a manufacturer founded by the same person that started Little Tikes, the maker of the Cozy Coupe.

Should the little ones display a reckless turn of speed on the playground, here is the Johnny Law model to take down the young offenders.

This is based on the second generation Cozy Coupe by Little Tikes (note the thicker A-pillars), and like the basic model, displays the Continental Kit rear end and the storage compartment for afternoon snacks or other little treasures. Something may have happened to this one as the door does not fully close anymore. Either a structural deficiency from hopping over one too many curbs or maybe just one too many days left in the blazing sunshine.

Ah, here is just the thing for some fun in the sun, a droptop version with a low “speedster”-style windscreen made by a company called Today’s Kids. This one does not even have doors, probably in order to increase the “wind in the hair” factor!


It does have a very prominent side view mirror, probably to better see the police model coming up fast in the passing lane! It also has an ignition key to even better recreate the feeling of true motoring. No new-fangled push-button starters on these classics!

This is the same as the last car, but in a white and purple color scheme, which gives off a very different vibe; less racy and more cruiser-ish.

It’s also missing its ragtop as compared to the red one, however this lets us see its large trunk. It appears that the stacked top flips up to allow access.

Here is another one by Step2. If anything, this one reminds me of the Dustbuster-style minivans of the early ’90s. It’s in very good condition and seems to be a bit more spacious than the rest. The large wraparound headlights are a nice touch.

The rear 3/4 view shows us that there is much more cargo capacity in this one with a long roof and a total of three sets of pillars making it look quite strong. The door did still open and close very well.

Ooh, the back hatch even opens! And the gas cap is still attached–on most of the other cars, they were missing.

Here is a group shot of them all, with a couple more Cozy Coupes (one with black A-pillars) and a wide variety of two and three wheeled contraptions in the background.  Hopefully this was an informative excursion into many of our children’s first experiences piloting a vehicle these days.

Okay, one more, another view of the woodgrain one, my favorite!