Peel is a city located on the Isle of Man located between England and Ireland where the famous motorcycle TT course is run every year. The main business of Peel Engineering Company (PEC), was making fiberglass molds for motorcycle fairings and boat hulls. The company entered the car market in 1955 with the P50. Peel's best-known car, the P50, is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the smallest road-legal car ever produced. It is also the only car ever manufactured on the Isle of Man.
The engine is a 49cc 2-stroke Zweirad Union DKW single Moped cylinder unit that provides adequate power (4.2 horsepower) to the 250 pound P50. The top speed was in the neighborhood of 38 to 40 mph. The fuel consumption was claimed to be around 100 miles per gallon.
The P50 is a very small vehicle, measuring just 4 feet 5 inches long, 3 feet 3 inches wide and four feet tall. The three-wheeled vehicle used 5-inch wide Avon Kart wheels and tyres. There is a single headlight and the body is basically just a one-piece fiberglass shell. The chassis was constructed from welded tubular steel. Inside, there is seating for just one individual. The company offered three standard colors of Dragon Red, Daytona White and Capri Blue.
The P50 had no starter motor on the ignition; instead, a cranking lever was provided. There was no speedometer or other traditional instrumentation as the designers believed the car would never exceed any road speed limit, thus it was deemed unnecessary. There were, however, normal pedals to brake, accelerate and change gears.
When the need arose for going in reverse, there is a 'reversing handle' attached to the rear body. This allows the operator to simply pick-up the rear of the car and move it as needed.
In total, there were around 50 examples produced between 1962 and 1966. Though extremely creative, the P50 was cramped, noisy, uncomfortable, and unstable. Its acceleration was not very fast and it did not provide adequate protection to the driver in the case of an accident.
Despite their shortcomings, they were economical and easy to repair and maintain. Finding a parking space would never pose a challenge, as the P50 could literally be picked up and placed into the smallest of spaces.
The Peel Company produced a second model called the Peel Trident. This was a more successful endeavor, with around 100 examples produced. This was a two seater car that had a bubble canopy allowing ease of access. By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2016