Amelia Island

12 March 2016


Lot 198

1964 Peel P50

  • Chassis no. D535

Sold for $176,000

4.5 hp, 49 cc two-stroke single-cylinder Zweirad-Union engine, three-speed manual transmission, coil-spring front and rear suspension, and cable-operated three-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 50 in.

  • The world’s smallest production automobile
  • One of 26 original examples known to survive
  • Formerly of the famed Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum
  • The ultimate collector’s conversation piece

The Peel Engineering Company is the only noteworthy automaker to have ever emerged on the Isle of Man, located between England and Ireland. Their most famous product was the smallest production automobile ever built, the Peel P50, which originated as a project to evaluate the minimum possible dimensions needed for a functional car. At first it was nothing more than a fiberglass box on wheels displayed at the 1962 Cycle and Motorcycle Show at Earls Court, but the publicity that the prototype attracted allowed Peel to develop an actual product.

The P50 featured a molded fiberglass cabin enclosing a single beach-chair-like seat for one, with two tiny wheels in the front and a third driven tiny wheel in the back. It was amazingly simple and minimal in its construction, described as being “almost cheaper than walking.” Because of its diminutive size—roughly that of a small refrigerator—it can literally go anywhere that cars are not supposed to go. The fuel economy is hard to beat, as well, with 100 miles to the gallon. There was no reverse gear; the P50 was so light that the owner could simply grab a handle mounted at the rear and turn the car around and then hop in and drive away.

Only 47 original examples of the Peel P50 were made; 26 are known to exist today. The example here is an original, which was formerly part of the renowned Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum in Madison, Georgia. Renowned as the foremost expert in microcars, Mr. Weiner had his team perform an exquisite restoration of the Peel. Today, its bright red paint exhibits a deep shine with only minor bubbling appearing on the right fender. All of the chrome pieces were re-plated and still show well, with only minor pitting and flaws, while the natural white rubber bumper strips on all four corners show only slight aging. The interior is clean, as is the nicely refinished steering wheel, and the fuel system has recently been serviced.

Certainly one of the nicest P50s to survive today, this car benefits from a quality restoration and notable provenance in the Weiner collection. However, its highest value is as incredible entertainment, as seen in use by Jeremy Clarkson during an episode of Top Gear featuring the model. It is the conversation piece to end all conversation pieces, and its fun factor is as astounding as its fuel economy. There is nothing else quite like it—or quite as small!

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

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

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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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

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

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more