A Man Is Driving the World’s Smallest Car Across Britain

It sounds ridiculous, but a Sussex man is packing up his Peel P50 and driving across Britain. Granted, in a car that’s roughly four feet long and just over three feet high, the only essentials Alex Orchin can bring is a navigation device and a water bottle. But nonetheless, Alex is folding himself inside the world’s smallest car to support the Children in Need charity. Let’s follow Alex’s adventure, and look at some of the challenges he’ll face driving across Britain in the Peel P50.

What’s it like driving the world’s smallest car across Britain?

Alex described the sensations of the experience to CBC, explaining “If you were to literally just sit on the floor right now and notice where your knees are, imagine you’ve got a steering wheel in between them and then your right foot is pointing up to the sky, trying to control the throttle. It gives you a good idea of what the driving position is like in this car.”

His back is pressed against the rear of the vehicle, and he only has a couple of inches of headroom. And he’ll be in this tiny environment for 896 miles (or 1400 km). But if he does it, Alex will be the first man to cross the country in a Peel P50. But as interesting as Alex’s adventure is sure to be, the story of the world’s smallest car is fascinating by itself.

A brief history and some facts of the Peel P50

A Peel P50, the world's smallest car, on display
A Peel P50, the world’s smallest car, on display | Michel Porro/Getty Images

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Released in 1962, the Peel P50 was advertised to be able to carry one full-grown man and a shopping bag. It was built to make short trips, with a top speed of just 23 mph. And the five-inch tires keep the car low to the ground and the amount of road noise remarkably high.

Now, let’s do a little math. The top speed of the Peel P50 is 23 mph, though Alex has stated that the car can do 30. So if he does 30 mph across all 869 miles of Britain, Alex will spend 28 hours in a car the size of a washing machine. But luckily for Alex, he hasn’t been making the trip alone.

Alex has support from others as he supports a good cause

Alex Orchin driving across Britain in the Peel P50, the world's smallest car, to support the Children in Need charity
Alex Orchin driving across Britain in the Peel P50, the world’s smallest car, to support the Children in Need charity | Alex Orchin, Facebook

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Other than a ridiculous automotive feat, Alex is driving across the country in the world’s smallest car to raise money for the British charity Children in Need. And because of this, he’s had plenty of support to make it happen. For starters, his friend is traveling alongside Alex in a camper van. In fact, the Peel P50 was put in the back of the camper van and transported to the starting location of John O’Groats.

But even more incredible, when Peel itself caught wind of Alex’s crazy idea, they slapped a brand new engine in his Peel P50. At the start of the trip, the engine had a mere 360 miles. And local residents of the places he stops admire the charitable notion. Alex explains, “you can see it in their faces and they’re taking photographs, they’re asking questions, so it just keeps me going.”

It’s a memorable adventure that’ll stick with Alex and everyone who was a part of it for their entire lives. But more than that, it’ll impact the lives of many children in need. So far Alex has raised over £6,000, and you can continue to follow and support the journey by going to the P50 Website. But let’s just hope he remembers to stretch as he’s driving across Britain in the world’s smallest car.

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