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Monday, 19 November 2018 22:55

On the Lighter Side: 22 Of The Smallest Vehicles in the World

Written by Christopher McFadden, Interesting Engineering

Index

What's the smallest vehicle in the world? The Ford KA or original Mini might spring to mind but there are many more little vehicles that are much smaller than those.

 

In the following list, we've compiled 22 of some of the world's smallest vehicles. Some of these are even record-breakers. This list is sorted into order of length and is not exhaustive.

 

1. Austin Coulson's DIY car

 

Year of first production: 2014

 

Length (meters): 1.26

 

 

worlds smallest roadworthy car web

Source: Guinness World Records

 

Unbelievably this is a real car despite it looking like a "pimped up" child's toy. But you shouldn't 'judge a book by its cover' as they say.

 

This is a fully driveable, licensed and registered tiny built by Arizona's Austin Coulson. It earned the Guinness Record for World's smallest roadworthy car in 2014.

 

2. The Peel P50 looks like half a car

 

Year of first production: 1962

 

Length (meters): 1.372

 

Peel P50 blue web

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Vauxford 

 

The Peel P50 looks more like a car cut in half than a fully functional personal transport. It is so small, in fact, that it held the Guinness Book of World Records title for "Smallest Production Car" for more than 50 years.

 

3. The Fuldamobil N was called "The Silver Flea"


Year of first production: 1950

 

Length (meters): 1.397

worlds smallest cars fuldamobil web

Source: Buch-t/Wikimedia Commons

 

Elektromaschinenbau Fulda GmbH produced the Fuldamobil from 1950 to 1969. The early models had handmade wooden frames that were clad in aluminum skins over plywood body panels.

 

Later the Fuldamobil switched metal for wood in their S series and joined forces with Nordwestdeutscher Fahrzeugbau (NWF) to make a more routine microcar.

 

4. Only 14 Brutsch Mopetta's were ever produced

 

Year of first production: 1956

 

Length (meters): 1.7

 

 Worlds smallest cars Mopetta web

Source: Buch-t/Wikimedia Commons

 

Built by Egon Brutsch this one-seater small car was built for the 1956 International Bicycle and Motorcycle Exhibition. After a great response, Egon went on to make 13 more of them.

 

It has a one-cylinder ILO 2-stroke engine and rumbles along at 2.3 horsepower. The Mopetta is one of the smallest cars ever made.

 


 

5. The Goggomobil Dart looks like a toy car

 

Year of first production: 1959

 

Length (meters): 1.8

 

Worlds smallest cars Goggomobil Dart web

Source: Stephen Foskett/Wikimedia Commons

 

The Goggomobil Dart was a fiberglass-body micro-car convertible that was produced in Australia by Buckle Motors. The Dart was based on the chassis and mechanical components of the German Goggomobil microcar.

 

It was powered by a rear-mounted twin-cylinder two-stroke motor available in both 300 cc and 400 cc variants.

 

6. The Peel Trident is the P50's bigger brother

 

Year of first production: 1964

 

Length (meters): 1.9

 

Worlds smallest cars Trident web

 Source: David Hunter/Wikimedia Commons

 

The Peel Trident was the P50's big brother (sister?). It was produced by Peel Engineering Company who were based on the Isle of Man.

 

It was a redesigned version of the sidecar version of the P50 to include two, not one, seats. Production of the Trident was relaunched in 2011 with each one hand-built.

 

7. The Pasquali Riscio is small but feisty


Year of first production: 1990-1999

 

Length (meters): 2.19

 

Worlds smallest cars Pasquali Riscio web

Source: Lucarelli/Wikimedia Commons

 

The Pasquali Riscio is a small Italian three-wheeled electric car named after an Indian Rickshaw in Italian. It is an all-electric micro-car with a total range of around 50 km on a single charge.

 

The Riscio comes in two variants - the one seater and two-seaters and has a top speed of 40 km/h.

 

8. The Velam Isetta looks like a helmet from Star Wars

 

Year of first production: 1953

 

Length (meters): 2.29

 

Worlds smallest cars Isetta web

Source: Thesupermat/Wikimedia Commons

 

The Velam Isetta was a small two-seater car, four-wheeled, car powered by a motorcycle engine. Its entire front end was hinged to open outwards for entry and exit.

 

The roof was also made of canvas to act as an emergency exit in the event of a crash. Initially manufactured by the Italian firm Iso SpA, the name Isetta is the Italian diminutive form of Iso, meaning "little Iso."

 


 

9. The Renault Twizy is a technically a heavy quadricycle'

 

Year of first production: 2012

 

Length (meters): 2.32

 

Worlds smallest cars Twizy web

 Source: Jwh/Wikimedia Commons

 

The Renault Twizy is an all-electric micro-car, technically 'heavy quadricycle' originally built as a concept car in 2009. It went into full production in 2012 and is still being built.

 

Its 6.1 kWh lithium-ion battery provides the tiny vehicle with a range of 100 km on a full charge. During its first year of production, it was the top-selling electric car of 2012.

 

10. The Corbin Sparrow has some nice lines


Year of first production: 1996

 

Length (meters): 2.438

 

Worlds smallest cars Sparrow web

 Source: Canuckle/Wikimedia Commons

 

The Corbin Sparrow, now known as the Myers Motor NmG is a single-seat, three-wheeled, battery-powered all-electric micro-car. It was specifically designed for pottering around the city.

 

It has a range of between 32 and 64 km, top speed of 112 km/h with a 'fuel efficiency' of 130 W.h/km (equivalent to 162 mpg US). It comes in two variants; the original "Jelly Bean" and "Pizza Butt".

 

Several of them appeared in the Austin Powers movies.

 

11. The EIBil Norge Buddy Car


Year of first production: 1991

 

Length (meters): 2.44

 

Worlds smallest cars Buddy web

Source: Detectandpreserve/Wikimedia Commons

 

The EIBil Norge Buddy Car was a Norwegian built electric car. It is the 6th generation for the Kewet and was first produced in 1991. As of 2007 the Buddy and Kewet made up around 20% of all-electric cars in Norway.

 

During the first five generations, over 1000 electric vehicles were produced. The vehicle was sold in eighteen countries.

 

12. The Mirai is the world's lowest car


Year of first production: 2010

 

Length (meters): 2.48

 

 

Not to be confused with the much larger Toyota Mirai, the littler Miria was developed by students at the Okayama Sanyo High School. This was an all-electric roadster style little car that stands at no more than 45.2 cm.

 

It's not only small but rather poky with a top speed of 50 km/h. It has a range of around 80 km per charge at a more sensible speed of 30 km/h.


 

13. The Heinkel Kabine was another post-war german micro-car

 

Year of first production: 1956

 

Length (meters): 2.55

 

Bonhams 2013 Heinkel kabine micro car web

 Source: Thesupermat/Wikimedia Commons

 

The Kabine was another micro-car built by a former German military aircraft company - Heinkel Flugzeugwerke. They are most famed for their iconic Luftwaffe bomber planes notably the Heinkel HE 111.

 

The Heinkel Kabine was built between 1956 and 1958 with it built under license in Ireland in 1958. This was later withdrawn due to poor production quality with production restarting in 1960 under the Trojan 200 brand name.

 

14. The Tango was the prettiest of little cars


Year of first production: 2005

 

Length (meters): 2.59

 

TangoFront web

Source: Wikimedia

Designed and built by Commuter Cars, the Tango is one of the smallest cars in the world. It was designed to tackle congestion in cities the world over.

 

When you look at an image of it you would be forgiven for thinking the file has been skewed a little. This is not the case, it actually looks like that!

 

15. REVAi (G-Wiz) was pretty ugly


Year of first production: 2001

 

Length (meters): 2.6

 

Reva i silver web

 Source: RevaNorge/Wikimedia Commons

 

Produced by the India-based Reva Electric Car Company, the REVAi, known as G-Wiz in the UK, sold more than 4,500 units worldwide. For many countries it was sold to it didn't quite meet the minimum requirements as a highway-capable vehicle and, instead, was considered a neighborhood electric vehicle or heavy quadricycle in Europe.

 

It is a small three-door hatchback with enough room for two adults comfortably and, in theory, two children in the rear.

 

16. Smart Fortwo actually looks the business


Year of first production: 1998

 

Length (meters): 2.69

 

Worlds smallest cars Fortwo web

Source: Smart

 

 

Smart's Fortwo is a good looking little runaround. This little two-seater 'car' offers automatic and manual mode with hill start assist.

 

It also comes packed with many standard safety features as well as no less than eight full-size airbags.


 

17. The classic Messerschmitt KR200


Year of first production: 1955

 

Length (meters): 2.819

 

Worlds smallest cars KR200 web

 Source: Stefan Kühn/Wikimedia Commons

 

The Messerschmitt KR200, aka or Kabinenroller (Cabin Scooter), was three-wheeled 'bubble car' designed by the same company who made some of the fiercest fighters of WW2. After the conclusion of the war, the company was banned from making any further aircraft and turned their attention to vehicles.

 

The KR200 was designed by Fritz Fend and was built by Messerschmitt between 1955 and 1964. It had a rear mounted 191 cc two-stroke, single cylinder engine with four speeds and reverse gear.

 

18. Piaggio Vespa 400 is pretty cute


Year of first production: 1957

 

Length (meters): 2.86

 

Worlds smallest cars Vespa web

Source: BlueBreezeWiki/7Wikimedia Commons

This diminutive four-wheeled micro-car was produced by ACMA who are more famous for their scooters. It has enough room for two adults with some room in the back for luggage and tiny humans.

 

The 400 came in three variants the Luxe, Tourisme, and GT. Most had a two-cylinder, two-stroke air-cooled rear-mounted engine with a top speed of 80 to 90 km/h.

 

19. Presenting the Mia Electric


Year of first production: 2011

 

Length (meters): 2.87

 

Worlds smallest cars Mia Electric web

 Source: Kevin.B/Wikimedia Commons

 

The French made Mia Electric is a tiny three-seater all electric-vehicle with two sliding-doors and centrally placed driver's seat. It was their first all-electric vehicle on the market but production stopped in 2013 when it hit financial issues.

 

It had a 9.7 kW electric motor engine powered by an 8 kWh lithium iron phosphate battery pack. The Mia Electric had a range of 90 km and a top speed of 100 km/h.


 

20. Uniti One is a new fancy microcar


Year of first production: 2018

 

Length (meters): 2.91

 

Worlds smallest cars Uniti One web

Source: Uniti

 

The Uniti One is a small all-electric microcar with two seats. It has a top range of 300 km on a single charge powered by a 15-24 kWh Lithium-Ion battery.

 

According to the manufacturer, Uniti (A 2016 Swedish startup) it has a 0-80 km/m in 4 seconds and a top speed of 130 km/h. The company plans to roll-out 50,000 units a year when full production is achieved.

 

21. The Fiat 500 is a classic


Year of first production: 1957

 

Length (meters): 2.97

 

Worlds smallest cars Fiat 500 web

Source: IFCAR/Wikimedia Commons

 

The Fiat 500 is something of a celebrity in the small car market. It has recently experienced something of a renaissance.

 

The original was built between 1957 and 1975 and was powered by a rear-mounted 479-594 cc, two-cylinder, air-cooled engine. Originally it was called the Nuova when it first launched in 1957 and was one of the world's first purpose-built cars for urban use.

 

22. The Reliant Robin is famous


Year of first production: 1973

 

Length (meters): 3.327

 

Worlds smallest cars Reliant Robin web

Source: Dennis Elzinga/Wikimedia Commons

 

Although one of the larger small cars on the list it wouldn't be complete without the infamous Reliant Robin. Known primarily for its starring role in "Only Fools and Horses", the Robin is an iconic three-wheeled car in its own right.

 

It was produced by the Reliant Motor Company, based in Tamworth, UK, over a thirty year period. The Robin is the second-most popular fiberglass car in history.

 

We thank Interesting Engineering for reprint permission. 

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