Increasingly stringent automotive safety regulations mean the humble Peel P50 will forever hold the record of being the smallest production car ever built. While they don’t appear often on the second-hand market, this cute little 1964 model is set to be auctioned this weekend and could fetch as much as $120,000 (£93,276).
This particular P50, which is being sold at the annual RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction that coincides with the Concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach, California, is one of the few P50’s to make its way across the pond to the United States and has been fully restored to showroom condition.
It is believed that there are less than 30 P50’s still in existence from the original 47 that were built, making it not only incredibly small but incredibly rare.
Although the model on sale comes in Daytona White, it was originally adorned in Sunshine Yellow, before being restored into another of the original production colours.
The Peel P50 shot to fame when Jeremy Clarkson drove the single-seater around BBC Television Centre back in Series 10 Episode 3. It is powered by a 3kW (4.5hp) two-stroke 1-cylinder engine and features cable-operated drum brakes like you’d find on a motorcycle.
The P50 has coil springs front and rear, plus a three-speed gearbox – which unfortunately doesn’t have a reverse gear. Instead, Peel ingeniously provided a handle on the rear of the car that you can use to drag the car backward. It can also be used as a carry handle of sorts, depending on how strong you are.
Another version of the P50 was sold at a Sotheby’s auction last year for $176,000 (£136,800), and this model could go for a similar price with the bottom estimate set at $90,000 (£70,000).
Despite its size and the fact it has no safety equipment whatsoever, it is still road legal and has impressive fuel economy – up to 100mpg. It was famously advertised as being “almost cheaper than walking”.