Peel P50 - a micro car that still 'appeals' today
In these days of soaring fuel prices, imagine a car that can accomplish 100 miles per gallon.
Well, this is it! Meet the Peel P50, the three-wheeler which is reputed to be the smallest production car ever made.
At just 137cm long, 99cm high and 104cm wide and with a top speed of 38mph, it was made by the Peel Engineering Company on the Isle of Man between 1962-1965 and retailed at £200.
The Peel P50 was designed as a city car capable of seating one adult and a small amount of luggage or shopping. It boasted one single windscreen wiper, one headlight and a three-speed gearbox.
👁️ Take the driver's seat - use your mouse/finger to take a look around the interior of our Peel P50
Interestingly, these were all forward gears with no reverse so, if you wished to move backwards, you simply used the metal handle provided on the back of the vehicle to manually spin it in the direction you wished to travel.
The P50 gained notoriety after Jeremy Clarkson drove it around the BBC studio in series 10 of Top Gear whilst reviewing its practicality in everyday life. The footage is reportedly amongst the top ten great moments from the show’s history.
In 2021, Alex Orchin achieved the incredible feat of driving the length of Britain in his Peel P50, taking three weeks to travel from John O’Groats to Land’s End. Some highlights of the trip included driving to the top of Blackpool Tower via an elevator and taking a ‘spin’ through the state rooms of Warwick Castle.
At 1.8 metres tall, Alex made the entire journey with knees jammed either side of the steering wheel and was duly rewarded when his thousand-mile trip raised more than £11,000 for Children in Need.
It’s believed that only 26 Peel P50s remain in existence today, making them very sought after and collectible vehicles. Early in 2022, a 1963 model was sold at a UK online auction and secured an eye-watering £111,000 bid.
This particular model was loaned to Lakeland Motor Museum by the late Gordon Fitzgerald of Kendal who was an avid collector of three-wheel vehicles and a longtime supporter of the Museum.You can see our example in our ground floor exhibition hall towards the rear of the building.