Usually we don't recommend letting children drive cars, but this week Toyota is showing off a concept car specifically designed for teaching youngsters to drive. Called the Camatte, the new concept car makes its public debut at the International Tokyo Toy Show 2012.
At just 106.3 inches long and 51.2 inches wide, the Toyota Camatte seems more like a toy that a real vehicle, making its debut at a toy fair in Tokyo perhaps even more appropriate. The name apparently stems from the Japanese word for "care", and in this case connotes both caring for other people, and caring for vehicles. The stated goal of the concept vehicle? "For parents and children to experience together the fun of driving, car customization, and car enthusiasm," says Toyota.
As the video below shows, every single body panel can easily be removed, as well as the lights, wheels, clamshell roof, and rear seats. Toyota says this facilitates changing the design and color of the Camatte -- note that photos show both the standard light-blue Camatte Sora and a brown version called the Camatte Daichi. It also is supposed to help children and their parents become better acquainted with the inner workings of a car.
The entire front canopy lifts up to allow access to the car's interior. There are three seats inside: the two passengers sit behind and to either side of the central driver's side. That seating layout was also used in the McLaren F1 supercar -- and that's about the only similarity between the Camatte and a McLaren.
Toyota notes that children can drive the Camatte to learn to drive -- but advises only to let them drive in places like empty fields or go-kart tracks. The seat and pedals can be adjusted so that a child can easily control the car from the driver's seat; a parent in the right-rear seat can also reach to "assist" steering and braking.
Unsurprisingly, there are no plans to put this bizarre vehicle into production.