Peel P50

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Peel P50
Manufacturer Peel Engineering Company
Production 1963-64
50 produced[1]
Assembly Isle of Man
Class Microcar
Body style(s) One-door coupe
Layout side engine, rear wheel drive [2]
Engine(s) DKW 49 cc, 4.2 hp, fan-cooled (61 km/h (38 mph) top speed)
Transmission(s) 3-speed manual, no reverse[1]
Wheelbase 1,270 mm (50.0 in)
Length 134 cm (52.8 in)
Width 99 cm (39.0 in)
Height 120 cm (47.2 in)
Curb weight 59 kg (130 lb)
Related Peel Trident
Designer Cyril Cannell

The Peel P50 is a three-wheeled microcar manufactured in 1962 and 1965 by the Manx Peel Engineering Company. It retailed for £199 when new, and currently holds the record for the smallest-ever automobile to go into production.[1]

Designed as a city car, it was advertised 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 only one headlight. Standard colours were Daytona White, Dragon Red and Dark Blue.


[edit] Statistics

Peel P50

At just 134 cm (52.8 in) long and 99 cm (39.0 in) wide, with a weight of only 59 kg (130 lb), the car holds the record as the smallest automobile ever to go into production.

The P50 used a 49 cc (3.0 cu in) DKW engine which gave it a top speed of approximately 61 kilometres per hour (38 mph), and was equipped with a three-speed manual transmission that had no reverse gear. Consequently, turning in a confined area could only be achieved by pushing, or lifting the car using the handle on the rear and physically pulling it round. The makers claimed it was capable of an impressive 100 mpg-imp (2.8 L/100 km; 83 mpg-US).[1]

At least one prototype, the Peel P55 Saloon Scooter, has also survived. Unlike the production Peel P50 (along with all developments and replicas thereof), this prototype used the less stable layout of a single wheel at the front and two at the back.

[edit] Availability

The approximately 50 original Peel P50s were sold at £199 each.[1] Only about twenty of these highly collectable items survive, commanding prices variously said to be "up to £25,000" or £35,000 to £50,000. The unfilled demand is catered for by replicas, including developments of the original eg the Trident "bubble" version. Andy Carter of Nottingham UK sells kits and made-to-order from £9,999 upwards.[3]

[edit] Legal status

The Peel P50 was and is road-legal in the UK, being in the "three-wheeler" category, less than 8 cwt (406Kg). Cars were exported to other countries[4] sometimes being classified as a motorcycle, eg the P50 that went to Finland.[5]

[edit] Top Gear feature

On 28 October 2007, the car was featured in a segment of the semi-humorous BBC motoring programme Top Gear on BBC Two, during which the 6 ft 5 in (196 cm) presenter Jeremy Clarkson is seen squeezing himself into the car and driving through central London to work. He drives it straight past the car-parks, between bollards, into the reception and into the lift. Then he drives around the hallways and offices of the BBC. Only the fact that Fiona Bruce has had to push him backwards out of the lift stops him from classifying it the best car ever made. Top Gear staff fawn over it as they've never drooled over anything else, Radio 4 presenter John Humphreys takes it for a spin without a "by your leave" and Clarkson attends an enormously long and boring meeting on political correctness while still sitting in it. As he leaves the building another presenter comes up behind him, picking up the back of this very light car and spinning him round.[6]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

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