Then & Now: Little Tikes Cozy Coupe

Then: The first Cozy Coupe rolled off Little Tikes’ Hudson, Ohio toy-car assembly line in 1979. The sunshine-yellow and candy-apple-red model was one of the first molded plastic toy cars sold in the United States. Designed by Jim Mariol, a former car parts designer at Chrysler, it weighed roughly 19lbs and stood 32-inches tall.

Unlike many toy cars of its time, the Cozy Coupe eschewed peddles for foot power. This design decision resulted in a two-fold sales advantage for Little Tikes. First, it allowed the car to be marketed to a much younger (two-years and up) demographic. Second, it meant that the engineering team could use its design budget to add other features – like working doors, rear storage, and a roof.

Now: Over the past three-plus decades, the Cozy Coupe has retained much of the simple style and classic look of the original.

In 1998-99, Little Tikes released the Cozy Coupe II, which featured thicker roof poles and sturdier ride.

A 30th-anniversary edition launched in 2009 and featured some minor design upgrades, including a front grill sporting a cartoon face, a handle on the roof, and now-ubiquitous cup holders for both children and parents.

Several new versions of the car were also produced over the years, including a Princess Edition, Fire Truck, Classic Pickup Truck, and Cozy Coupe Cab.

Fun Fact: In 1991, the Cozy Coupe was the top-selling car of any kind in the United States with over 500,000 units sold. Its sales topped other popular full-sized cars of the day, the Honda Accord and Ford Taurus.