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Monday, June 1, 2015

Surprise! The Smallest Car in the World Isn’t a Peel P50



With an original production run that spanned from 1962 to 1964, the infamous Peel P50 holds the title of the world’s smallest production car. But – surprise, surprise – did you know it isn’t the world’s smallest road-legal car?
That distinctive honor goes to this one-off creation, built by Austin Coulson of Phoenix, Arizona. The Guinness World Record certified car measures in at 25 inches tall, just over two feet wide, and a slight four feet long. And befitting its world record title, it’s licensed and registered as a low-speed vehicle, and can be driven on public roads up to a speed limit of 25 mph.

Coulson’s creation was officially certified by the record keeping body in September 2012. Since then it has been able to successfully keep its title. The starting point? Coulson describes that his car is completely custom built, with the body intended to resemble that of a ’57 Chevrolet Bel Air. Underneath, the custom frame was hand fabricated and it houses a teensy gas engine, sourced from a child’s quad bike.

Though small, it is replete with road-safety features necessary for federal approval, including windshield safety glass, wipers, a seat belt, horn, as well as Department of Transportation approved headlights, taillights, and turn signals. Its styling is pulled nicely together by the rather ironic ‘IM BIG’ Texas license plate, and additionally a paint scheme inspired by the P51 Mustang fighter plane.


One might expect the smallest car in the world to record unthinkable gains in miles per gallon. Coulson estimates his creation nets around 45 mpg. Given the car has a top speed of 33 mph and the fuel tank holds only a half gallon of gas, it’s likely an arduous figure to calculate.