WHO DIDN'T wish their Cozy Coupe toy car had had an engine that would propel them effortlessly down the garden path and away to who knows where?
John Bitmead (48) not only wished for such a miracle, he has made it happen, converting a Daewoo Matiz SE into an oversized replica of the popular toy. Together with his brother Geoff and his friend and boss Nigel Douglas, the managing director of Attitude Autos in Oxfordshire where the pair work, the trio of car enthusiasts spent 1,000 hours over the course of five months on the project, running up a bill of £35,000.
To create it, they took one X-registered Daewoo Matiz and stripped out the interior, leaving only the steering wheel and pedals. Then they removed the roof along with the rear doors and front passenger door.
Next, they cut the driver’s door to shape before sawing the Matiz in two, shortening and re-joining it to produce the classic Cozy Coupe profile, with solid passenger-side panel. They fitted a seating mould made of fibreglass, followed by steel roof pillars topped off with the toy car's classic yellow roof.
Explaining why they decided to make a working Cozy Coupe, John Bitmead said, “We were chatting one day about how more people have probably driven a Cozy Coupe than any other kind of car, and it snowballed from there.”
The road-legal replica has a 0.8-litre 3-cylinder engine, good for 0-60mph in 17sec, but Bitmead is in no rush to go for an extended drive: “We took it on the motorway once but I’m too scared to do it again in case we cause an accident.”
It’s not the first time a Daewoo Matiz has been turned into a fantasy car. Last year, Driving reported how Alan Dennett converted his into a Batmobile.