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The P50, “The World’s Smallest Car” 12 February 2008

P50Manx National Heritage has recently secured the loan of the world record breaking P50, from the Manx Transport Museum Group, and the car is now on display in the Peel Town Gallery at the House of Manannan.

The keys to this remarkable, and increasingly celebrated, P50 were officially handed over to Nicola Tooms and Howard Parkin of Manx National Heritage, by Sam Knight and Chris Machin of the Manx Transport Museum Group on Friday 8 February, 2008.

Speaking at the hand over Chris Machin, Chairman of the Manx Transport Museum, said:

“The Manx Transport Museum is closed from the end of September until Easter and it was thought that the P50 was far too interesting an exhibit to be locked away in storage throughout the winter. Manx National heritage very kindly agreed to display the P50 in the Peel Town area of the House of Manannan, where it can now be seen on display. The Manx Transport Museum would like to thank Manx National Heritage for displaying the vehicle at the House of Manannan and we look forward to welcoming the P50 home when the Manx Transport Museum re-opens on Good Friday”.

This fascinating vehicle was designed by Manxmen Cyril Cannell and Henry Kissack and manufactured by Peel Engineering, a local company owned by Cyril Cannell and once based only a few yards from the House of Manannan.

Nicola Tooms, Assistant Curator for Manx National Heritage said:

P50 handover“In the 1960s Peel Engineering made a record breaking, design classic; the P50, the world’s smallest road worthy car, measuring only 99cm wide, 134cm long and 120 cm high. Since its launch at the Earl’s Court Motor Show in 1962, the P50 has gained fans all over the world, including Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson, who was recently filmed driving a P50 inside the BBC Film Studios for BBC Two’s Top Gear Programme!”

At its launch the car was marketed as ‘almost cheaper than walking’, doing 100 miles to the gallon it was certainly economical to run and retailed for £179 to £199. Aimed at urban use for one person and one shopping bag, its size made it a dream to park. There was no reverse gear, instead a chrome handle was fitted to the back of the car and weighing only 130lbs it was easy enough to pick up and just turn round!

Peel Engineering ceased trading in 1974 and only 200 of the cars were made, one of which will remain on display in the Peel Town Gallery at the House of Manannan until Easter 2008, when it will return its home in the Manx Transport Museum which will open at Easter until October.

The House of Manannan is part of the award-winning Story of Mann and is open Daily, from 10am to 5pm. Admission to the Peel Town Gallery is free of charge.

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