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June 5, 2023

Vintage Photos of Peel P50, the Smallest Car in the World

The Peel P50 is a three-wheeled microcar originally made from 1962 to 1965 by the Peel Engineering Company on the Isle of Man, and then from 2011 to present. The original model has no reverse gear, but a handle at the rear allows the very lightweight car to be maneuvered physically when required.

Designed as a city car, it was advertised in the 1960s as capable of seating “one adult and a shopping bag.” The vehicle’s only door was on its left side and equipment included a single windscreen wiper and one headlight. The 1963 model retailed for £199 when new (about £6,600 in 2019, or US$8,500). The company produced 50 P50s, of which 27 are known to still exist, one of which was sold for a record US$176,000 at a Sotheby’s auction in March 2016.

At 54 in (137 cm) long and 39 in (99 cm) wide and with an unladen weight of 130 pounds (59 kg), as of 2021 the P50 holds the record as the smallest car ever to go into production. The Peel P50’s diminutive size and width means that it can quite easily fit through doorways and enter buildings, as demonstrated by Jeremy Clarkson during a sequence on a 2007 episode of Top Gear, where a blue P50 was driven through the BBC’s Television Centre.


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