In America, the general rule is the bigger the better. But, ever since BMW introduced the retooled Mini Cooper in 2000, we’ve found a soft spot for tiny cars.
Cars like the Fiat 500, smart fortwo, and BMW i3 are great for city driving… and, more importantly, city parking (and a few of them are available via a car subscription). But, as diminutive as they are, these micro machines aren’t the smallest cars in the world.
Walk with us (it’s good for the Earth) as we take a look at the tiniest cars to ever grace the streets.
The 7 Smallest Cars in the World
1. Peel P50
The smallest car in the world is the Peel P50. This one-seater 130-pound vehicle is slightly bigger than a Barbie convertible. Good news: Parking at Costco will never be a problem. Bad news: Buying anything will.
Production Years: 1962-1965, 2010-now
Dimensions: 4′ 4″ long by 3′ 3″ wide
Top Speed: 38 mph
Cost: New P50s start at $10,800. Want an original? The Peel Engineering company originally made 47 P50s microcars, and 26 are still in existence. Sotheby’s sold one in 2016 for $146k.
2. Austin-Healey Sprite, Mark I
The Austin-Healy Sprite was affectionately dubbed the Bugeye because of the protruding headlights, but this charming British roadster brought micro convertible coupes to the masses in the late 1950s.
Its beauty alone will turn that frown upside down. But, as with any classic British car, you’ll need a lot of patience and a good repair shop. We suggest solving both of these problems by dating a Buddhist mechanic.
Production Years: 1958-1961
Dimensions: 11′ 5″ long by 4′ 5″ wide
Top Speed: 82.9 mph
Cost: Around $20,000
3. BMW Isetta 250
A desire for cheap inner city transportation in post-WWII Europe got the wheels moving to transform this egg-shaped concept car into a reality. With only one door on the front of this small car, the BMW Isetta is kind of like your own private submarine.
However, you can’t roll down the windows. So, on hot summer days you feel less like driving down the highway, and more like you’re driving into the sun.
Production Years: 1955-1957
Dimensions: 7′ 6″ long by 4′ 6″ wide
Top Speed: 53 mph
Cost: $30k – $50k
4. Paul Vallée Chantecler
Some French dude — whose name sounds like he should be ballooning around the world — produced 200 of these three-wheeled oddities that have a whopping 5 hp.
The Chantecler’s compact size, bench seat, and tent-like top makes it the only car on the list that might allow for heavy petting. The car has a “Gyrostarter.” Good luck getting it out of park.
Production Years: 1956-1957
Dimensions: 10′ 2″ long by 4′ 3″ wide
Top Speed: 47 mph
Cost: Well, there are only two left in the world, so start by wishing, then move on to praying. The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles auctioned one in 2018 for $53,200
5. Fiat 500 Topolino
This precursor to the Fiat 500 was affectionately nicknamed it Topolino or “Mickey Mouse” because of the slight similarity between the headlights and the mouse’s ears. And if we squint really hard, our paycheck looks like it has an extra 0 at the end.
The Topolino looks like a more badass version of a Rolls Royce and costs a fraction of the clams. You’ll continually be mistaken for one half of Bonnie and Clyde.
Production Years: 1936-1955
Dimensions: 10′ 6″ long by 4′ 2″ wide
Top Speed: 60 mph
Cost: Expect to pay around $40k.
6. Corbin Sparrow
This electric car is basically a motorcycle with an extra wheel and a fiberglass body. You get to drive a car that’s good for the environment and was featured in Austin Powers in Goldmember. It also looks like you’re driving around in a shoe.
Production Years: 1999-now
Dimensions: 8′ long by 4′ wide
Top Speed: 70 mph
Cost: New Corbin Sparrows sell for $32,500, originals around $10k.
7. Fuji Cabin
Japan may be the granddaddy of small cars today, but this one is a baby picture they probably want kept in the album. Minimal internal moving parts means minimal maintenance. With a one-cylinder 2-stroke engine, the Fuji Cabin makes a deck chair tied to your lawnmower looks like a Ferrari.
Production Years: 1955-1958
Dimensions: 9′ 7″ long by 4′ 2″ wide.
Top Speed: 28 mph
Where can I find one? There’s three Fuji Cabins left in the world and the last one sold for $126k. If you just want to see it in real life, the Petersen has one.
- The 7 Smallest Cars in the World - January 5, 2019
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