Home » Why An Amphibious Cozy Coupe Is As Genius An Idea As It Is Terrible

Why An Amphibious Cozy Coupe Is As Genius An Idea As It Is Terrible

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Like most people, I’m convinced that my demise will take place in a self-driving car someday. Maybe the autonymous machine I’m in will turn left in front of some guy running a very orange yellow light. Possibly my vehicle’s camera will see a big STOP sign in a personal injury lawyer’s billboard, throw out the anchor, and I’ll flattened from behind by a semi. I’m not exactly sure how, but I feel like there are a bunch of ways I could die.

Though a less likely cause of death (in my mind, anyway), I think my biggest automotive fear might be water, which I will somehow be full-self-driven into. Maybe the car mistakes a lake for a puddle, or ignores a raging two-foot-deep rapids that appear in the middle of a street after a monsoon-like rain. Anyway: it sure would be nice if one’s car could just boat in these situations.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

So clearly, we need amphibious cars. But how to convince the general populace that amphi-cars are wonderful, not weird? I think I have the perfect way to normalize amphibious cars, and it doesn’t even involve cars or boats. Not for adults, anyway.

CarBoatHydrating

Our man Jason Torchinsky will wax endlessly about the perceived benefits of being able to enjoy time on the water near your home without having some type of boat that sits ninety-nine percent of the time taking up valuable driveway space (and needed maintenance when it inevitably doesn’t start from disuse).

Torch has proposed ideas for mainstream amphibious vehicles such as one based on the ever-popular Ford Maverick, where you pilot the thing in boat mode from the bed:

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Maverick Amphi 3 32
The Autopian/Jason Torchinsky/Ford

I’ve vomited up a few silly concepts myself for things like an amphibious camper that looks like the Shuttle Craft from Star Trek, with inflatable outriggers that pop out for the lower sides of the camper and a ladder to a sundeck on top. Dammit Jim, it’s a camper and a houseboat in one!

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The Autopian

I’ve also had a hallucination of a sports car/sports boat combination that would be a replacement for the Vector W-8 with seats that rise through the roof panels which turn into a windshield for the boat. The rear of the roof slides open to the back of the car, allowing a “radar bar” to pivot up. I think there was a refrigerator involved as well, but the healing powers of time have erased it from my memory; you can read about here if you’re dumb enough:

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The Autopian

Why does there seem to be such prejudice and snickering when the idea of an amphibious car ever arises? Maybe it’s because most of the examples produced over the years have been a bit unwieldy neither fish-nor-fowl (sorry for the pun) like the DUKW “Ducks” from World War II that are nonetheless still in use at some vacation resorts across the country (most famously for me the ones in the Wisconsin Dells):

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Wikipedia, Wisconsin Dells Ducks

As far as traditional cars, the only one that came close to being a “mass market” proposition was the German Amphicar. This Triumph Herald-powered amphibian might have been a poor performer but it did indeed delivery on it’s dual use promise. Too bad it wasn’t fiberglass since rust claimed many examples; you can drive a car with rust holes in it but a rusty boat? Not so much.

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Beverly Hills Car Club

We often hear people saying that any amphibious machine will be a “spork” like combination, meaning it will be a compromise object where the elements needed for it to function well as a car will adversely affect its ability to be a boat, and vice versa. Admittedly, that could be old-school thinking; it’s 2024 and we have things like crossovers that combine cars and off-roaders in a way we were told years back was impossible. The mindset that any amphibious car would be like an Amphicar is the same mindset that thinks an electric car is still a Ford Fairmont full of lead acid batteries that go about 30 miles after a 36-hour charge.

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There have been more recent attempts at amphibious vehicles that never got very far, likely because of this old-school thinking. Some ideas were produced by smaller firms, such as one that uses a Suzuki Jimny as the mechanicals (the Dutton company), but others were conceptual products of big automakers (Isuzu):

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Dutton, Isuzu

These next-generation amphibians solved some of the initial problems of the old-school poster vehicles of the idea. Besides, what if you don’t care if your amphibious ride is a spectacular car or a Donzi-competitive boat rolled into one? You just want both in one machine. How can we make more people see why that’s not a bad idea?

Don’t Do It, Dad

Prejudices are typically taught; you’re not born with them. Parents might tell their kids that other cultures are “bad” (if they’re bigoted losers) or don’t work hard enough (if they’re racist jerks), or they tell children that certain cars are “cool” and others are overrated crap (if they’re, well, me with my kids). The idea of a car that can turn into a boat is still mocked and seen with great skepticism, but what if children didn’t grow up seeing it that way?

The other day, my kid sent me a picture from Super Everything Store of an item he saw on the shelves:

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Jr. Bishop

The object floating in the pool looks very much like a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe, a toy that by 1991 had become the undisputed world’s best-selling car with over 500,000 units moved in that year alone. For those under the age of forty, many have put some serious miles on one of these as a first vehicle. Supposedly there’s another version of the floating Cozy Coupe more complex than the one my kid sent the picture of that a parent could control by a remote to pilot the baby all over the pool (or the remote mounts to the dash for the child to drive themselves).

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Little Tikes

I texted my kid back to ask if this was an amphibious toy, and he responded that it was just an inflatable thing for a baby to take into the pool that happens to look like a Cozy Coupe. There was a slight pause, followed by the expected text from an eleven-year-old cursed with a dad like me: “I know what you’re thinking. DO NOT draw an amphibious Cozy Coupe, that would be stupid, kids will drown.” Naturally, I was already drawing it.

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Little Tikes

I mean, why not an AquaCoupe? I see a lot of reasons why it would be a great idea, one of which is the same one that Jason brought up about real cars and boats. Why have a big ride-around toy and some leaky inflatable thing cluttering up the house when you can have both in one?

How can it float? That’s really the easy part; there are floating motorhomes out there that simply have inflatable ballasts on the sides (like my Star Trek tribute), so one would expect that filling the lower parts of the Cozy Coupe with Styrofoam or things you could blow up would do the same thing. The Cozy Coupe famously has a big hole in the floor since designers realized that most kids don’t use pedals and instead want to mosey around Flintstones-style with their feet. Consequently, there’s no need to seal the one opening door on the side; plus the kid could do little kicking motions to move the thing around.

By the way, Cozy Coupes offer a removable floor for younger children that we could use here as well, though it wouldn’t be designed to stop water from getting in (or need to in order for the thing to keep floating). I do think that Styrofoam in the upper sections would be good as well; if the thing ends up turning over will still remain buoyant (by the way, the version in the pics below is one that Torch will take great issue with since the headlights are not the eyes and they damn well should be).

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Little Tikes

Another thing I’ve seen recently is many kiddie pools are moving towards “zero depth” entry, or a beach-like perimeter where kids can easily walk in. That’s ideal for doing the amphibious car trick of causing people to lose their shit thinking you’re going to submerge your car and then just safely float away.

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The Dream Goes To Sink

Sure, this thing has lawsuits written all over it; regardless of if I cover the thing in warning notices I wouldn’t doubt that accidents could occur that the personal injury lawyer mentioned in the billboard above would have a field day with.

That’s a shame, since I think any kid would love one of these things – I know that I would. It’s also too bad that the AquaCoupe didn’t come out closer to the time of the Cozy Coupe’s introduction in 1979, a time when we played with cast-iron lawn darts that could penetrate your skull, cooled off with Water Wiggle (the summer-fun toy that could strangle you), ate Pop Rocks with carbonated soda, and our parents just gave no shits. Something like the Aquacoupe would make us think that the 1976 Esprit in The Spy Who Loved Me could be a real thing (we were too young to watch it, but had the toy).

If we had amphibious toys growing up, mark my words: GenXers and Millennials would be demanding amphibious cars from every manufacturer, and getting them.

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How Have I Not Known That There’s A French Company Making Amphibious Boats With Caterpillar Treads – The Autopian

Finally, The Galileo Shuttlecraft Amphibious Camper You’ve Waited Years For – The Autopian

Our Daydreaming Designer Re-Imagines Vector If They Made Amphibious Supercars – The Autopian

The Entire Dutton Amphibious Car Company Is Up For Sale And You Could Buy It – The Autopian

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Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
13 days ago

“You can drive a car with rust holes in it but a rusty boat? Not so much.”
David Tracy: “SEND IT!!!”

I think we can get there eventually w/ amphibious cars- it would cost a lot but what about one that’s like a transformer? When it’s a car- it’s a car all the time…then somehow it transforms into a boat- then its a boat all the time (Would just need a ton of sophisticated mechanicals/seals/etc)

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
14 days ago

At The Autopian’s 30th March 32nd party, I can just imagine the various writers’ progeny in a tight little group comparing therapy bills

IDM3
IDM3
14 days ago

I need that camper shuttle craft thingy. I can cruise up and down the Tombigbee River to Mobile, AL and Columbus, MS and on the Black Warrior River from Demopolis to Tuscaloosa, AL. and avoid the highways along the way. And I can see myself trolling the spectators at the Demopolis River Basin during Christmas On The River.

Space
Space
14 days ago

This isn’t that crazy, as sub 10 year olds we would drive Cozy Coupes into my neighbors pool on purpose, usually one in the cab and one on the roof. Also we drove it down the slide, nobody broke anything.
Just market it for ages 5+

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
14 days ago

I need an Amphicar.

That is all.

N E E D.

The Bishop
The Bishop
14 days ago
Reply to  Stef Schrader

If I recall you have a Type 4, which has a boat-like shape and is airtight

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
14 days ago
Reply to  The Bishop

Yes. I don’t think mine is airtight anymore, though.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
14 days ago
Reply to  Stef Schrader

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VbI5zcB8Ac

All that and an amphibious vehicle… and that’s all I need.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
14 days ago

What you want are Bumper Boats
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bumper_boats

W124
W124
14 days ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

There were bumper boats in our local small amusement park, as well as small motocross bikes and quadbikes. And there was no ticket sales during the last hour, so it was possible to enter the park for free for an hour. We spent many great summer afrernoons tossing around with all those vehicles with my friend free of charge in our childhood. Good times, great memories.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
14 days ago

Ah, you forgot about one of the most awesome amphiRVs around – the Landmaster from Damnation Alley:

https://www.autoevolution.com/news/the-landmaster-12-wheel-amphibious-articulated-rig-hollywoods-most-functional-prop-209149.html

Cerberus
Cerberus
14 days ago

Two doors on parallelogram hinges so they can extend outwards to act as outriggers. That would require more metal parts, though, and probably some frame reinforcement due to the second door, though buoyancy foam within the structure would probably stiffen it back up enough.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
14 days ago

Hydrofoil with jet drive or GTFO.

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
14 days ago

Without the Cozy Coupe Amphibious Landing Craft, my concept of Saving Private Ryan: Kidz-Bop edition will never be greenlighted!

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
14 days ago

“ The hardest thing about combat is the noise. A birthday party sounds like nothing you’re used to in civilian toddler life. The landing craft’s foam filled plastic hull had shielded some of the shrill shrieks and the awful music. Now I heard them fully, and felt the reverberations in my spine. Nerf darts and water balloons rained across the shallow surf. The water percolated, as if the earth were furious with us—not just us, but all of mankind.”

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
14 days ago
Reply to  The Bishop

“I heard the cries of another fallen comrade nearby and checked my med kit.
Nothing left but a few old Sponge Bob bandaids.
He’s not gonna like it. But it will have to do.”

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
14 days ago

I’ll take a Big Wheel version.

https://aquacycles.com/aqua-cycle-water-trikes/
(but for kids)

Last edited 14 days ago by Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Checkyourbeesfordrinks
Checkyourbeesfordrinks
14 days ago

The park in the city I grew up in had these! Looks like no more though. They didn’t steer very well.

Chronometric
Chronometric
14 days ago

When you discover it doesn’t float, I present the Little Tikes AquaSub!

Seriously, Bishop, I can’t fathom how you’ll escape being keelhauled for this one.

Chronometric
Chronometric
14 days ago
Reply to  The Bishop

It’ll sell better in the Pacific Islands.

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
14 days ago
Reply to  Chronometric

There’s no depth the Autopian won’t explore.

BoneBrothOutback
BoneBrothOutback
14 days ago

This wouldn’t work with mine, since I had to dril several dozen holes in the bottom to let the water out when we invariably left it out in the rain

BoneBrothOutback
BoneBrothOutback
14 days ago
Reply to  The Bishop

She’s also filled it with rocks, so i may have several issues

Viking Longcar
Viking Longcar
14 days ago

Ballast

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
14 days ago

As the parent of a 2 and 5 year old, and the owner of a pool, just looking at this thing gave me hives.

But once the Benadryl kicks in I’m sure I would come around and give it a purchase.

Tim Beamer
Tim Beamer
14 days ago

People in my office are wondering if I’ve lost my mind as I hysterically laugh at this idea. And yes, I would have totally put my daughter in one when she was small enough…

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
14 days ago

This will win a Darwin Award, for sure.

I think it would be hilarious if, instead of using rubber ducks, we threw a bunch of kids in your little Cozy Sloupes into a river and bet on which one would make it down to the finish line first. It could be for charity, so no social ramifications.

The Matts
The Matts
14 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Cozy Sloupe. You need to trademark that, stat.

Brockstar
Brockstar
14 days ago

“Simplify and add buoyancy.” – Lotus of Waterworld.

The Bishop
The Bishop
14 days ago
Reply to  Brockstar

Anything can be made to float. For a little while at least

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
14 days ago
Reply to  Brockstar

Ah.. Colin Chapman.
The Sun Tzu of auto racing.
Well played Brockstar.
Well played.

10001010
10001010
14 days ago

I don’t have any kids, coupes, or a pool, but I think this is a great idea.

Gilbert Wham
Gilbert Wham
14 days ago

I’m pretty sure a prototype could be attempted just by hot gluing up any holes in the base model and seeing if it floats. Do you not have a smaller kid you can test this with?

Mercedes Streeter
Mercedes Streeter
14 days ago
Reply to  The Bishop

Positive buoyancy, baybee! Make an adult version and I’ll be your test pilot. lol Wait, also give it a space for an outboard. I hear Honda makes a V8 nowadays…Hmmm…

Cerberus
Cerberus
14 days ago
Reply to  The Bishop

You’ll want actual buoyancy foam they use in boats. GS absorbs water.

Cerberus
Cerberus
14 days ago
Reply to  The Bishop

That’s the truth—it’s like it’s specially formulated to bond to human skin! They might make one that’s waterproof, IDK, but the standard stuff is merely resistant. Used the wrong way, it can accelerate rot (one of those things I had to learn the hard way).

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
14 days ago
Reply to  Gilbert Wham

Just cover it in Flex Seal and see what happens.

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