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British mechanic builds roadworthy version of classic kids car

Brit John Bitmead has come up with a novel answer to revisiting his youth: he’s built a fully working, roadworthy version of the plastic Cozy Coupe kids car to drive around the streets of the UK in. Starting off with a Daewoo Matiz, Bitmead modded the car to closely match the look and feel of the children’s toy, even down to the oversized drinks holder and push-button ignition.

With its yellow roof and lack of windows, the full-sized replica looks just like the real thing — but this one has got a tax disc, runs on unleaded petrol and can reach speeds of 70mph. “We took it on the motorway once, but I’m too scared to do it again in case we cause an accident,” says Bitmead. “People were taking photos of us driving past at the wheel and swerving all over the place when they saw us drive past.”

The vehicle was constructed with the help of Geoff Bitmead, John’s brother, and Nigel Douglas, who manages the Attitude Autos garage where John and Geoff work. “We tried to create our version of a classic car,” says Douglas. “We saw so many of them in people’s front gardens, we thought it would be great to make one for grown ups wanting to relive their youth.”

John Bitmead is hoping to raise money for children’s charities with his new creation, which took over 1,000 hours of hard labor to build. “We want to do a John O’Groats to Land’s End run in 30 days,” he told the BBC. “Every day, stopping at a big town to see what we can raise.”

There’s some debate about the cost of the project: the BBC says £4,000 (about $6,500), other sources say £35,000 (about $57,500), which seems to include the original car, the parts and the cost of labor. Whatever the figure, it’s a unique way of getting from A to B.

[Image courtesy of Attitude Autos]