The P50, The World's Smallest Car

Contributed by Manx National Heritage

The P50, The Worldâ??s Smallest Car

In the 1960s Peel Engineering in the Isle of Man made a record breaking, design classic; the P50, the world's smallest road worthy car.

The P50 micro car was designed and built by Cyril Cannell and Henry Kissack and was launched at the Earl's Court Motor Show in 1962.

The P50's appeal lay in its simple design features. The windscreen wash was housed in a bottle which was squeezed to force the water out, and the petrol tank gauge was simply a transparent panel.

At the launch the car was marketed as 'almost cheaper than walking', doing 100 miles to the gallon it was certainly economical to run and retailed for £179 to £199.

Aimed at urban use for one person and one shopping bag, its size made it a dream to park. There was no reverse gear, instead a chrome handle was fitted to the back of the car and weighing only 130lbs it was easy enough to pick up and turn round.

As one of the first companies in the world to work with fibre glass, Cyril and his team were pioneers. Works were secretive and few people were allowed to visit the factory.

This P50 Car can also be seen at the Manx Transport Group Museum in Peel from Easter to October.

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