The idea of small mass-produced cars dates back to the 1910s. But few would argue that the "Golden Age" of such cars arrived right after World War II, bringing with it "bubble"-licious designs.
For decades, people have been trying to come up with ingenious cars for various reasons; to save the environment, to make parking easier, to ease congestion in built up areas. But the world's smallest car, designed in the 1960s by Peel Engineering, is yet to be beaten in the size stakes.
The P50 was designed in 1962 by Cyril Cannell and Henry Kissack, and had appeal due to its really simple and cheap design. At its launch at the Earls court motor show, it was marketed as ‘almost cheaper than walking', and retailed for between £179 to £199, a snip at today's car prices.
It was aimed at people who would travel alone, as it only had space for one person and a shopping back. The size made it perfect for fitting into the last space in the car park, and it didn't even offer a reverse option, as it was light enough to pick up.
It was made of fibreglass, and had simple features like a manual windscreen wash, operated by a bottle inside the car, that when squeezed, distributed the water to the windscreen, and the petrol tank gauge was a transparent sheet of plastic, so you could simply see when you were running low. It also had three wheels, to make it lighter, and only one door.
It was, and is still roadworthy in the UK, although being able to only achieve speeds of 38 miles per hour, it would be best suited to the congested roads of London.
Imagine, if a car like this was in circulation now, the cost of your road tax and Car Insurance? You could save a great deal.
The car can be seen at the Manx Transport Museum until October.
- The first Ka premiered in 1996, and was considered to be a modern day Volkswagen Beetle.
- The Bolloré Blue Car is only available in France. The BlueCar is an electric vehicle from France that offers an operating range of 155 miles and a top speed of 84 mph. A full recharge requires 6 hours, while a two-hour rapid charge will recover 50% capacity.
- The Think City - Norwegian car maker Think was launched the all-electric City model in the US. A 2009 release was planned, but the company was forced to halt production because
of financial distress.
- The Daihatsu Copen is a Japanese two-seater that only available in Japan and Europe. It has been around since 2001.