Peel P50; The World’s Smallest Car You Should Know

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Peel P50 – The British-built two-seater is 1,372mm long, 1,041mm wide, and 1,200mm high. This concept of a city car for one person (plus shopping) was conceived by Cyril Cannell, the founder of Peel Engineering Company which was a glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) specialist producing boats and motorcycle fairings designed for the likes of Nortons and BMWs.

This humble, charming, and frankly ridiculous 40mph city car was unveiled at the 1962 Earl’s Court Motor Show with one wheel at the front and two at the rear. It did not take long as the layout was changed with a 49cc two-stroke Zweirad Union/DKW engine driving the rear wheel via a three-speed manual gearbox the production model was launched in 1963. The traditional petrol version of the P50 is more popular in the UK and is priced at £14,879 while the car’s biggest market is the US, where the electric model (£13,679) circumvents emissions regulations. Grab a seat as we explore this single-seat, single-cylinder three-wheeler car.

The Exterior Design of Peel P50
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The Peel P50 was designed as an urban vehicle to accommodate one person and a small shopping bag. This minuscule three-wheeled microcar is 1,372mm long, 1,041mm wide, and 1,200mm high. Some of its features include a central headlight with a single windshield wiper, Single wishbones and dampers suspend the front, and there’s a rear trailing arm with Coil over. Cable-operated drum brakes contain the P50’s 78kg mass. The only entry point into the car for the driver is by the car’s left side. Peel claimed the P50 would accommodate one individual 6’6″ or shorter, with no room for a second passenger.

The Interior
Smaller cars are easier to navigate on city streets, and considering that 80% of a car’s interior space is completely empty when being driven by just one person, the potential for even smaller cars is significant. The interior may not be as juicy as you may think of considering the size of the car. The headroom isn’t great, although there is space for shopping to the right, under the leather seat, and under the dashboard. The oversized three-spoke steering wheel is set at around 45deg, yet feels almost horizontal. Straight through it sits the speedo, which goes up to 160mph. The switchgear is rudimentary. You will also find a spindly handbrake lever, tiny brake, accelerator pedals, and a chunky metal gear selector with choke, lights, and starter button.

Engine and performance
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This single-seat three-wheeler of 1962 to 1966 featured a naturally aspirated 49cc two-stroke single-cylinder 3.0 cu. DKW engine accompanied by a three-speed manual transmission. The car makes 4.8bhp at 10,000rpm with a top speed of 28mph, delivered to the rear wheel via a CVT and chain drive. The luxury of reverse gear comes in as part of the car’s upgrade as the original P50 did not come with a reverse gear hence the car was always dragged or pulled by passers-by who had the love to assist the driver whenever he needs to reverse.

Guinness World Record
The 1962 to 1965 Peel P50 made it to the Guinness World Records in 2010 as the smallest (tiniest) Production Car Ever Made.
Via: Wikipedia

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