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Honey, Toyota shrunk the sports car

Sawatte: Children will be able to build Toyota’s latest concept car in the loungeroom.

Kid-friendly Camatte57s concept puts the ‘toy’ back into Toyota


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14 Jun 2013

MOST children like to play with cars, but Toyota wants them to take it up a level – by allowing them to build and drive their own sportscar.

The Toyota Camatte57s concept, based on the Camatte concept unveiled at last year’s Tokyo toy show, is a toy car with 57 interchangeable panels that can create different body designs.

Customising the radical three-metre long, 1.5-metre wide and one-metre tall Toyota is made simple by using colour-coded racecar-style fasteners and even bicycle wheel-type quick-release skewers to fit suspension components.

Toyota unveiled the original Camatte concept, featuring a two-door coupe styling, featuring only a few removable panels. In contrast, the many small panels covering the Camatte57s offer more colour combinations and are far easier for children to handle.

Once the design is complete the driver’s seat and pedals can be adjusted to fit the proportions of a child. An adult can assist with steering and braking from the rear seat.

While the whole family can enjoy building the car, they might not all get to enjoy riding in it, as the new concept is only a three-seater.

Toyota says the triangular configuration with just one front seat “emphasizes family intimacy and facilitates communication”.

The Camatte part of the name is derived from the Japanese word ‘kamau’ meaning ‘care’ and the ‘s’ stands for the word ‘sawaru’, meaning ‘touch’.

Building a family car at home may be a new concept, but the Camatte’s idea of user-interchangeable panels is not.

The Mercedes-built Smart ForTwo city car has removable panels, allowing technicians to change its colour when the car comes in for a service.

In 2004, Citroen launched the C3 Pluriel that owners could convert at home to one of five body configurations – three-door hatchback, two-door cabriolet or even a ute.

The Toyota Camatte57s is on show at the International Tokyo Toy Show until June 16.

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