1962

Peel P50

Peel Engineering Company: Microcar

The Peel 50 holds the distinction of being the smallest car every to go in to production, and is listed in the 2010 Guinness Book of Records. Unveiled at the 1962 Earls Court Motorcycle Show, the Peel 50 measures half the length of the original Mini. The prototype Peel 50 was designed with two wheels at the rear, and a single wheel at the front. However, this design was unstable so production models were fitted with four wheels. Less than 50 Peel 50 microcars were produced, and surviving examples are very rare. The brand was resurrected in 2011 by two entrepreneur investors, with backing from a BBC Dragon's Den "Dragon". Peel Engineering Company also produced the Trident, a futuristic designed coupe with a clear bubble domed roof.

Front illustration of Peel P50 PEEL 50

Specification

Peel P50

  • 1,341Length (mm)
  • 1,270Wheelbase (mm)
  • 991Width (mm)
  • 1,001Height (mm)
  • 49.0LPetrol
  • 37Speed (mph)
  • 3Wheels
  • 3Speed manual

Production

  • P50Microcar
  • 1962Start of vehicle production
  • 1966End of vehicle production
  • 47Total production run

History

The Peel 50 was produced by the Peel Engineering Company at their factory on the Isle Man, in the village of Peel that gave the company its name. The microcar was designed by company owner Cyril Cannell. Manufactured in very small numbers between 1962 amd 1965 the Peel 50 began as a 3-wheeled prototype. Known as the Peel P55 Saloon Scooter it was soon re-designed to have four wheels to improve its stability, and the production model was named the Peel 50.

Powered by a tiny 49cc engine, giving a top speed of just 35 mph, the Peel 50 holds the record for the smallest car to enter production. It is a single-seat micro car with a door on the left only, and a single central headlight and a pair of brake lights at the rear.

Introduced at the Earls Court Motorcycle Show the Peel 50 cost £199, around half the price of a BMC Mini. Under fifty examples were produced in three years of production. The Peel 50 was followed by the Peel Trident two-seater coupe, with a "Thunderbirds FAB 1"-style bubble canopy roof.

A new version of the Peel 50 was introduced in 2011, keeping the spirit of the original design but with uprated engines, steering, suspension and brakes.

Tags: 3 Wheeler, Microcar, Prototype  |  Permalink

Photographs