A few weekends ago, we had a really nice family picnic in a park with amazing views of the city skyline. It was a Saturday night just before bedtime, and as we drove back down the hill toward our place, I saw this super dingy, dirty cozy coupe car sitting out on the sidewalk with a sign that said “free!” Don’t mind if I do!
My husband jumped out to grab it and then turned around and said, “No way. This thing is disgusting.” I told him to grab it anyway and that I was willing to hose it down and scrub it clean. And in this moment I officially became my mother.
Click through to see how we fixed up this dirty old broken car, and made it almost as good as new for Cullen! He can’t get enough!
Beep beep! 1 of 11
Click through to see how a dirty, broken curbside pickup became a fun new toddler toy!
Trash or treasure? 2 of 11
I'm not usually one for roadside pickups, but I just couldn't resist this. I've been looking at backyard toys, playhouses, sandboxes, etc. online for weeks, and all those things really add up -- even on Craigslist! So I was thrilled to see an opportunity to try one out for FREE!
Paying the price 3 of 11
Of course "free" usually comes with some sort of price. In this case, that meant a few hours of scrubbing and cleaning - something I was more than willing to do. I told my husband to throw it in the back of the car and promised I'd do all the detailing. He was skeptical.
Vroom vroom 4 of 11
As soon as we got home, Cullen laid eyes on the car and totally freaked out. "Vrooom vroom!" he squealed with delight as Casey rolled it to the corner of the yard to be cleaned up later. Poor guy, he was so excited and so desperately wanted to crawl inside immediately, but it was bedtime and more importantly - the car was filthy and filled with lots of scary mold and spider webs. No way was I going to let him in there! He was devastated and sobbed the whole way up the steps. It was sad, but I knew we'd make it up to him in the morning.
Elbow grease 5 of 11
Once Cullen was in bed, I parked it out on the back porch with a few cleaning rags, some hard core cleaners, and the garden hose. What I wouldn't have given for a pressure washer! I scrubbed and scoured, and had it looking more than driveable within about an hour. I did my best to remove some of the peeling stickers, but was mostly focused on just getting off all the dirt and grime. At the end of the night we wheeled it inside so we could surprise Cullen in the morning.
Good morning, indeed! 6 of 11
The minute Cullen woke up in the morning he started saying "vroooom vroooooooom!" again. His feet hit the hardwoods and he ran into the sunroom without missing a beat. He spent the next few hours discovering all the ins and outs and fun of having his new car.
In and out 7 of 11
The funny thing about the car is that I didn't notice immediately that it was missing the steering wheel. Now I know why they didn't try to sell it, and just gave it away for free! But Cullen didn't seem to mind or notice, as he was totally consumed by the fun of opening and closing the door and climbing in and out over and over and over again.
Non stop fun 8 of 11
The first few days we had the car in the sunroom, Cullen seriously played with it non stop. Now that he's used to having it, he's definitely still excited about it, but thankfully doesn't feel he needs to spend every waking minute in the seat. We've been alternating between bringing it inside for playtime, and taking out into the yard when we have friends over. Such a fun treat!
Wheelin’ and dealin’ 9 of 11
Once I saw how much Cullen loved the car, I knew I wanted to fix it up properly for him. I started hunting online to try to find the exact model of what he had. I discovered that our set of wheels is actually the Van For Two made by Step 2, and has been discontinued for several years now (it's also a hot item on Ebay!). Since replacement parts were no longer available, I took a gamble and ordered a replacement steering wheel for the original Cozy Coupe car made by Little Tikes. It was only $4.99 and had free shipping, so I figured it was worth the chance.
It spins! 10 of 11
After a bit of handiwork (and some cursing), my husband had pried the old broken piece of steering wheel out of the frame, and was able to attach our new replacement steering wheel in it's place. It spins, it honks, and it has made the car feel brand new and exciting for Cullen all over again.
Riding in style 11 of 11
I think it's pretty safe to say he's happy with his new set of wheels. I added the Washington State sticker as a fun touch, and am planning to get a few more from local places like the zoo, our favorite donut shop, and some vacation spots. The fun of having something old and fixing it up is that it's fun to make it your own! I'll definitely be looking a little harder and yard sales and piles on the curb now that we've had some fun with this little project.