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Peel Trident- 2013
Cyril Cannell was a talented engineer, and started Peel Engineering on the Isle of Man in the late 1940s.Cyril was fascinated with the new material called fiberglass (sometimes called glass fibre) and started a small factory making boats and motorcycle fairings out of fiberglass.
In the early 1960s Cyril became interested in making cars out of this same material, and made a fiberglass-bodied car that used Mini components for the suspension and drivetrain. This car was called the Peel Viking. Between 1962 and 1966, Peel produced the now famous P-50 which is recognized as the world’s smallest production car; the Peel Trident remains the smallest 2-seater ever produced. Peel Engineering was always a small company, with only about 10 employees. Only 55 P-50s and 86 Tridents were made. In 1974 the original Peel Engineering went out of business.
The tiny cars have always been in demand, and in 2010 several people joined forces and again began producing both the P-50 and Trident.They were able to use the original Peel name because the trademark had lapsed. The 2013 Trident seen here is from the new Peel Engineering Company in England. At a quick glance it appears to be a copy of the original, but underneath it is a very different car. The new Trident has a steel frame; the original Trident is a monocoque of which the fiberglass tub serves as the frame. It also has hydraulic disc brakes; the old Trident had cable drum brakes, although quite honestly, one doesn’t need a lot of brakes for a 250lb., 25 MPH car! The new Trident is also powered by a 4-stroke 49cc Benelli scooter engine, with a CVT (automatic) transmission; the original Trident had a 49cc DKW 2-stroke scooter motor with a 3-speed manual transmission.
So, with all these improvements, how does driving and handling compare? The new Trident actually handles much better, and with the 4-stroke engine and CVT transmission, it is much smoother and quieter. Peel Engineering is also remaking the P-50; both models are available in electric versions if one does not favor gas power.
Manufacturer: Peel Engineering
Country of Origin: England
Drivetrain Configuration: Rear-engine, real-wheel drive
Engine: 49cc air-cooled Benelli, single cylinder
Transmission: CVT (automatic)
Top Speed: 28 MPH
Years of Production: 2012-present
Number Produced: unknown
Original Cost: $13,805