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Adult-sized Little Tikes hits the street

Want to relive your (very) early youth -- and your very first driving experiences? You should get in touch with British mechanic John Bitmead, who's built an adult-sized version of the popular kid's car, the Little Tikes Crazy Coupe.

As we've previously reported, the Little Tikes Crazy Coupe is the world's best-selling car, even topping the likes of the Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus (both of which claim to be world best, depending on which nameplates are counted).

And after noticing how many houseyards were garaging one of the little plastic vehicles, Bitmead got together with some friends and built his own, with a total cost of £35,000 ($66,000), which would buy you a fleet of 550 of the $120 pint-sized version.

The project took about five months, with the Oxfordshire resident working on it for about 1000 hours, with most of the time taken up with the bodywork, including replicating the rounded yellow roof and glassless windows.

Bitmead told the UK's Daily Mail he and his team worked hard on echoing the design and styling of the Crazy Coupe as closely as possible.

"I thought a (Daewoo) Matiz was the most similar in shape to the Cozy Coupe, we just needed to chop the middle out to make the dimensions correct," he said. "It was really important to me to get the details exactly right - the ignition is even a big button, and we created all kinds of moulds to get the steel roof and unique seat shape exactly right. I wear a helmet when driving it, not because I need it, but because it gets fairly windy with no windscreen."

The 'Big Tikes' is powered by the donor car's little 40kW 800cc engine -- rather than the Little Tikes' pedal power -- and can do 0-100km/h in a tidy 17 seconds and a top speed of 112km/h. That might sound a bit sluggish, but we imagine there's be no trouble overtaking other cars once they spot this in their reaerview mirror... they'd be pulling over for a quick blood-alcohol check.

"We've taken it out on a few trips, and people can't believe their eyes when we come driving down the street in this red and yellow toy car," Bitmead says. "We took it on the motorway once, but I'm too scared to do it again in case we cause an accident - people were taking photos of us driving past at the wheel and swerving all over the place."

The Specs

Engine: 800cc
Power: 40kW
0-100km/h: 17 seconds
Top speed: 112km/h
Fuel: ULP
Safety: One airbag
Cabin features: two giant drink holders

This reporter is on Twitter: @KarlaPincott