In 2012, Peel Engineering, “home of the World’s Smallest Car,” is releasing two tiny, hand-built, retro-looking cars. These shiny new microcars are perfect for anglophiles, environmentalists, hitchhiker-haters, Mr. Bean’s runty illegitimate son, attention-starved hipsters, anti-social dwarves, those annoying guys who ride unicycles, or if you’re the last man on Earth like Charlton Heston in The Omega Man.
The two cars are the:
Recognized by Guinness World Records as the “World’s Smallest Production Car,” the original P50 was manufactured on the Isle of Man in 1962 and 1965. Only fifty original Peel P50s were released. So the P50 is considered one of the rarest autos in the world. Original price: £199 ($316 CDN).
Now Peel is back in the business of making wee weird cars. To mark their 50th anniversary, Peel Engineering Ltd is producing a limited number of P50s.
Billed as an ‘ultracompact’, their new P50 has three wheels, one headlight, one door, and achieves a maximum speed of 65 kmh. It’s also available in gas or electric. The gas-powered 49cc 4-stroke engine gets an incredible 50 km/litre (116 mpg), while the electric model goes 30 kmh before needing a fresh battery pack.
Billed as the ‘Original Terrestrial Flying Saucer,’ the Trident is a two-seater with an “iconic bubble domed roof”. It’s 72 inches long ( 6′ or 183 cm), making it signficantly longer than its “sister car” the P50, which is 54 inches short (137 cm).
That said, the Trident is still the “World’s Smallest Two Seater”. It was originally designed as a shopping car but legally classed as a ‘saloon scooter’. I guess when you’re driving home from drinking at the saloon, you want a light fibreglass car that would lose, BADLY, if you collided with an SUV, mailbox, or bush.
The gas version gets 50km/Litre (118 mpg) and the electric version goes 30 km before recharging.
Both the P50 and the Trident are automatics that come in red or blue. They’re fully road legal in the UK, EU, and the USA, and Peel says they’ll custom-build both cars to make them street-legit in other countries.
Parking a Peel is no doubt way easier than your big behemoth of a Ford. And since you can drive one of these onto an elevator, you could even park it in your hotel room. One problem though: the car doesn’t come with a reverse gear. So…good luck with that.
As for price, the P50 starts at $12,676 US ($12,660.63 CDN) and I presume that doesn’t include shipping. To get on their wait list, visit Peel at http://www.peelengineering.co.uk or write the company here.
Curious about how Peel got the cash to make their tiny cars again? Hint: they may have crept into the Dragons Den. Watch how they did it here.
What about you — would you ever buy a car this small? And if you wanted to take it on a roadtrip, would you try to attach a luggage trailer or roof rack…or would you just mail your clothes and toothbrush to your destination?
— Ken Hegan
Photos: Peel Engineering