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After seeing this car, I couldn’t not write about it.  Before I say anything, take a look at this Top Gear video.  Absolutely priceless.

Really, what more do you need to know?  The Peel P50 was the smallest production car in the world and likely one of the cheapest.

The story of this minuscule auto began in the early 1950s when Cyril Cannell of the Isle of Man started the Peel Engineering Company.  Peel primarily made fiberglass boats, glass-reinforced plastic, go-karts, and motorcycle fairings.  In the 1960s, the Isle of Man produced both the Bee Gees and the Peel P50, changing the course of history as we know it.

Peel P50

It might not set any land speed records, but it's a heck of a machine.

The P50, which debuted in 1962, had a welded tubular steel chassis and measured in at 4’5″ tall, 3’3″ wide, and 3’5″ high.  It should be noted that records of these dimensions vary a bit, as all the cars were handmade by Peel, which employed about 40 people at maximum capacity.  Without a passenger, the car weighed just over 130 pounds (I never thought I would weigh almost as much as a car).  Today, the car could be driven not even as a motorcycle, but as a moped with its 49cc two stroke engine that put out less than 5hp.  The body was naturally made out of fiberglass and was available in three stunning colors: Dragon Red, Daytona White, and Capri Blue.

This tiny car’s fuel efficiency almost puts other microcars to shame.  The P50 is claimed to get about 100 mpg.  Its top speed (at best) was about 40 mph, although this certainly depended on who was driving the thing.  Like other microcars, the P50 lacked a reverse gear.  Most drivers dealt with this by hopping out, picking up the car, and placing it in the desired direction.

Peel P50

I'm lifting a car! I must be superhuman...

A few other quirks of the P50: it had only one headlight, one windshield wiper, and only one door.  It was advertised as seating “one adult and one shopping bag.”

The P50 retailed for about 199 GBP.  At the time, a motorcycle went for about 250 quid.  Only about 50 Peel P50s were produced, and today the diminutive car is quite a collectible.

Peel stopped production of the P50 in 1964 and produced a few more microcars before the company folded in 1974.

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April 2010