The Peel P50, manufactured in the Isle of Man, is the smallest car ever to go into mass production. It’s really, really small.Here are the specs: 1.3 metres long, 1 metre tall, and 0.9 metres wide; one window wiper; one headlight; one door; one seat; three wheels; and a 49cc engine. Amazing fuel economy, though: 2.8 litres per 100km. Although at its top speed it would take you more than an hour and a half to drive that far.
The Peel P50 was originally manufactured from 1962 to 1965. It was intended to be driven around a busy city, but they only ever made fifty of them, and only 27 of the 1960s batch survive today. Presumably the others were accidentally stepped on, or fell down the back of a couch, or blew away in a stiff wind.
You couldn’t put it in reverse, but you didn’t really need to. It came with a convenient handle on the back, so you could just get out, pick it up, and turn it around yourself. Without an occupant the P50 weighed less than 60kg.
Incredibly, this car is still street-legal in the UK and the United States, although I wouldn’t try driving it anywhere near an SUV. You can even buy replicas now, in regular or electric.
I live in Auckland, New Zealand, and am curious about most things.