The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum

15-16 February 2013

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Lot 258

1964 Peel P50

  • ID No. D535

Sold for $120,750


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.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+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

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+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

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+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 9... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

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

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
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

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
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

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
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

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
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

Jonathan Sierakowski

jonathan@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
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

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
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

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+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

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
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

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
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

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+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. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+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

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
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