Peel Trident

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Peel Trident
Manufacturer Peel Engineering Company
Production 1965-1966
Approximately 45 produced[1]
Designer Cyril Cannell
Body and chassis
Class Microcar
Body style Flip-top (no-door) coupe
Layout Rear-engine, rear-wheel drive
Related Peel P50
Engine DKW 49 cc, 4.2 hp + some cars made with Triumph Tina 99 cc
Transmission 3-speed manual
Length 183 cm (72.0 in)
Width 99 cm (39.0 in)
Kerb weight 90 kg (198 lb)
Trident, showing how the shell opened to permit entry, unlike the P50 which had a side-door, and the three-pronged Trident motif

The Peel Trident was the second three-wheeled microcar made by the Peel Engineering Company on the Isle of Man. It was launched at the 1964 British motorcycle Show held at Earls Court. The seat, stated as being 2ft 7 in [31 in (787.4 mm)] wide, was intended to provide for use as an occasional two-seater.[2]

Manufactured in 1965 and 1966 and a completely new design from the earlier side-engined Peel P50 microcar, the glass-fibre shell was a monocoque with coil-sprung, undamped wheels.[2]

The Trident featured a clear bubble top and either two seats or one seat with a detachable shopping basket.

The Lakeland Motor Museum observes that the Trident's bubble top constituted grounds for its sobriquet "The Terrestrial Flying Saucer."[3] Like its predecessor it was marketed as a "shopping car" or a "Saloon Scooter".[citation needed]


The car is 72 in (1,829 mm) long and 42 in (1,067 mm) wide, with a weight of 198 lb (90 kg). Like the P50, it uses a 49 cc (3.0 cu in) DKW engine, and a top speed at 28 mph. It was advertised that the Trident got 100 miles per imperial gallon (2.8 L/100 km; 83 mpg-US), "almost cheaper than walking". The original retail price was £190.[1]

All engines supplied to Peel from Zweirad Union (for both the P50 and Trident) were of the 49 cc 3-speed 4.2 horsepower 804-1600 type. Uniquely, however, the Peel engines had the 8th digit as a 4, thus being of the form 80416004***.[citation needed] This car is one of the smallest in the world.[4]

Media appearances[edit]

The Trident made a late transatlantic media appearance in the American television series Monster Garage, when a team of engineers and fabricators attempted to fit a high-performance Suzuki Hayabusa superbike engine into the bodywork of a Trident, mounted onto a conventional go-kart frame. The project was a failure, and the unfinished car was destroyed by the show's host, Jesse James, with a single shot from a .50 caliber sniper rifle.[5] This car was actually a replica built by Andy Carter in Nottingham, UK.[6]

It also made a brief appearance in the BBC motoring programme Top Gear on BBC Two, when the P50 was featured more extensively and the Trident was introduced as a "sports version". Co-presenter James May described the Peel Trident as "something out of The Jetsons" and co-presenter Jeremy Clarkson described the Trident and the P50 as his perfect two-car garage. The Trident appeared on the BBC business programme Dragons Den in August 2010. The Trident made another appearance, driven by Rutledge Wood, on the second episode of the third season of Top Gear US.


The Trident, along with its sister car the P50, has been on many of the world's Worst Car lists. TIME[7] has it on its 50 Worst Cars of All Time.


  1. ^ a b "Lane Motor Museum - 1965 Peel Trident". 
  2. ^ a b Motor Cycle, 10 November 1964, pp.858-859 Earls Court Parade. Accessed and added 15 November 2014
  3. ^ "Meet The World's Smallest Two Seater: The Peel Trident". News. Lakeland Motor Museum. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "Meet the World's smallest motor cars". News. Lakeland Motor Museum. Retrieved 30 October 2013. The Peel Trident has its own claim to fame as being accredited as the World's smallest two seat motor car. 
  5. ^ Monster Garage Season 3 Episode 58[dead link]
  6. ^ "Modern Microcars". Modern Microcars. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  7. ^ "The 50 Worst Cars Of All Time". Time. 7 September 2007. 

External links[edit]