Friday, 27 August 2010

Peel microcars to make comeback

Peel microcars to make comeback

Back in the 1950s at the height of the Suez crisis microcars were considered the future of personal travel. The likes of the BMW Isetta, the Heinkel Kabine/Trojan, the Messerschmitt KR-series and the wonderfully-named and conceived Zundapp Janus were all popular for around ten years from the mid-fifties as the fuel prices began to bite and small became cool.

The smallest of all the microcars, however, came from the Isle of Man in the form of the Peel Engineering P50 (above) and the delightfully jet-age Trident (right), both of which still hold the record for the smallest production car. To modern eyes the may look toy-like to the point of ridiculousness but at the time they were a genuine attempt to provide cheap motoring to the individual.

Now, thanks to the popular B.B.C. programme Dragon's Den, they look to making something of a small return. Sadly not, it would seem, with a new model as a serious alternative to the small cars of today (the original Peels would fail modern crash test regulations abysmally) but rather more as a limited-production plaything for the well-off car enthusiast (and at c.£12,500 a pop, you'd have to be both seriously well-off and seriously enthusiastic). Still, if it means a new audience for and a heightened awareness of this amazing little car and its history, then so much the better.

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