The Hidden Beauty Of The Bottom Of Toy CarsS

Like most car-obsessed folks, I have many more toy cars around than a reasonable person with a mortgage should. It's a limited way of satisfying car-ownership urges without turning your yard into an oil-soaked scrapyard. Well, turning it into more of one, I mean.

Having a kid provides a great excuse to get even more toy cars. So, with all these toy cars around, I've now started becoming very interested in their bottoms. Here's what I found.

The bottoms of toy cars are fascinating because it's a revealing insight into the mind of the toy designer. Generally, you don't really have to do anything at all, but most toy cars have at least some attempt made to have some measure of detail or accuracy. On many models, there is a genuine attempt to get the mechanicals shown below as accurate as possible, and often the results are quite good. You can see corrugated oil pans, suspension arms, mufflers, differentials, driveshafts, and more. It's clear the designer actually looked at the original car.

Other times, even if the body is accurate, the bottom can be this sort of collage of parts the designer knows should be there– most often propshaft and some kind of exhaust– but the locations and sizes are placed with a certain casual whimsy. I like these as well, as they give a nice view of what someone who may not know much about cars thinks a car underside should look like.

View gallery »


My favorite ones, though, are ones I've only discovered since I had a kid: unrealistic cars, cartoonish and exaggerated, but with a genuine attempt made, on the bottom, to convey some manner of mechanical plausibility. There's one in particular in the gallery that clearly shows the designer had the entire chassis of this very cartoonish car all planned out in his head. That's great, and as a kid, I think I'd have appreciated that. I know I do as an adult.

Click through the gallery to check out all the toy car bottoms.