The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum

15 - 16 February 2013

Lot 258

1964 Peel P50

To be auctioned on Friday, February 15, 2013

Sold for $120,750

  • ID No. D535


The smallest production car ever built.

SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Peel Engineering Co.
Origin: Peel, Isle of Man
Production: est. 47
Motor: Zweirad-Union 1-cyl, 2-stroke
Displacement: 49 cc
Power: 4.5 hp
Length: 4 ft. 6 in.
Identification No. D535

The Isle of Man, located between England and Ireland, was home to the Peel Engineering Company, which produced the only cars ever to originate from there. Known as "The Smallest Production Car Ever Built," the Peel P50 began as a project to evaluate minimum possible dimensions needed to build a car, and it was originally nothing more than a fiberglass box on wheels. No engine was fitted to the car when it was exhibited at the 1962 Cycle and Motorcycle Show at Earls Court, but the publicity that resulted allowed Peel to move forward with an actual product. Approximately 47 production models were eventually produced, with the major change from the prototype being that it now had two wheels in the front and one driven wheel in the rear.

Since the car is so simple and minimal in its construction, it was inevitable that copies would emerge as it became a popular collectible, especially given that only 26 of the original 47 examples are known to survive, and even one of the replicas can cost upward of $20,000 to acquire.

Said to be “almost cheaper than walking,” perhaps the manufacture of the Peel P50 would only be known by the exclusive group of owners and microcar enthusiasts who truly appreciate its superlative place in the world of tiny cars. This changed, however, when in the 10th series of the popular BBC television show Top Gear, presenter Jeremy Clarkson introduced the car by asking, “What makes the Volkswagen Polo, Suzuki Swift, and Citroën C1 look massive?” The Peel P50 then participated in a series of antics, which included driving through downtown London and into the BBC studios. In one scene it is even seen driven through the background of the BBC News studio during a live broadcast.

It is true though that because of its diminutive size it can literally go anywhere that cars are not supposed to go; the fuel economy is hard to beat too, as it is at 100 miles per gallon. With a minimal cost of £199, it is impossible to complain about the lack of a reverse gear, especially since a handle is affixed to the back to remedy any directional irregularities.

This example has been exquisitely restored by the museum to an astounding standard. Its bright red paint exhibits a deep shine, while all chrome pieces have been replated and exhibit a deep shine. The finish is further enhanced by the natural white rubber bumper strips on all four corners, which are brand new, as are the black window gaskets that hold in unblemished, new Plexiglas windows. The interior is clean and sanitary, as is the nicely refinished steering wheel. This P50 was restored as a showpiece, and it requires only proper mechanical and cosmetic maintenance to be displayed as such into the future.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alex Classick

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Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

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Alexander Weaver joined RM Auctions in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born into ... read more

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With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Dan Warrener

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Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

Don Rose

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Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

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Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Gord joined RM Auctions in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and restora... read more

Ian Kelleher

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Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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Jack Boxstrom joined RM Auctions in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in Monte... read more

Max Girardo

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United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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As one of the three founding partners of RM Auctions, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Graduati... read more

Peter Wallman

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United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

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Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, USA

Shelby Myers literally grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to w... read more

Vinnie Mandzak

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California, USA

Vinnie Mandzak joined RM Auctions’ California office in 2012 as a car specialist, following more than 30 years’ experience... read more