World's smallest car sells for £120,000

A British motor which originally cost less than £200 and holds the title of world's smallest production car has been sold for a record-breaking £120,000.

The pint-sized Peel P50 is just 52-inches long - making it around a third of the length of a new Ford Fiesta.

It is so compact and light that Peel Engineering Company didn’t need to give it a reverse gear with the driver simply getting out and turning it around by hand.

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Just 47 were built between 1963 and 1964 - and is thought only 26 of the Isle of Man-built cars remain in existence.

This red Peel P50, from 1964, is one of the “nicest” to survive.

It went under the hammer at RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island sale in Florida with a guide price of £52,000 to £70,000.

But the little motor shattered its pre-sale estimate, selling for a staggering £122,700 - the same price as a second-hand Ferrari 458 Italia.

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The car was thrust into the limelight in 2007 when 6ft 5in Jeremy Clarkson managed to squeeze inside one to drive around London for an episode of Top Gear.

He managed to drive it into Television Centre, negotiating lifts and corridors before sitting inside the blue car during a meeting.

Power comes from a 49cc engine which develops just 4.5bhp, giving it a claimed top speed of 28mph.

When it went on sale in the 1960s, the Peel P50 cost between £179 and £199 and could do a staggering 118mpg. It was marketed as being “almost cheaper than walking”.

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RM Sotheby’s called the P50 the “ultimate collector’s conversation piece”.

The auction house said: “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.

“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.

“Because of its diminutive size it can literally go anywhere that cars are not supposed to go.”

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