If you look at modern vehicles and think to yourself, “Hmm, cars these days are simply too large and too safe. I’d rather drive something raw and feel at one with the road,” well, your chance to purchase your ideal vehicle – the Peel P50 is here! But already there’s an issue – the P50 is rarer than LaFerrari, with only 26 thought to have survived. That makes this P50, which will cross the RM Sotheby’s auction block at Amelia Island next month, kind of a big deal.
The Peel P50 claims the title of the world’s smallest production vehicle, which might or might not be a good thing, depending on which side of the accident you’re on. It was originally designed as a concept to see how small a car could possibly be, but the publicity it generated led Peel to put the P50 into production.
This three-wheeled single-seater box on wheels 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. It also features coil springs front and rear, and a three-speed gearbox that doesn’t have a reverse gear. In lieu of a reverse gear, Peel ingeniously provided a handle on the rear of the car, so you can get out and drag the car backwards. It can also be used as a carry handle of sorts, depending how strong you are! Jeremy Clarkson once famously drove a Peel P50 to work, then dragged the P50 into the office with him, like you would a suitcase on wheels.
The P50 will most likely sell at auction for a hefty sum, but the winning bidder really won’t receive a lot of car for their money. Inside, the P50 has an interior that can only be described as ‘spartan’. You get a steel steering wheel, 3 tiny little pedals and a triangle of rubber sheeting to rest your heels on, plus what can only be described as a camping chair to sit on.
But if you’re looking to purchase a P50, we doubt any of this matters. The example RM Sotheby’s is offering is about as nice as a P50 can be. It’s undergone a full restoration by the Bruce Weiner Microcar Musem, which claims to be the largest microcar collection in the world. IF it appeals to you for whatever reason, head to RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island auction on March 12.