The Peel P50 Road Test: A Large Man Crammed Into a Tiny Car
It was a segment that was so popular that Rutledge Wood recreated it in an episode of Top Gear US, and honestly, it deserves the recognition. There are only a handful of classic comedy tropes throughout the entertainment world, and one of, them is the clown in the undersized car. Jeremy is a very large man, and the Peel P50 is a tiny, tiny car; put them together and you get instant comedy.
The amazing thing about the Peel P50, other than the fact that it exists at all), was the fact that Jeremy A) survived his commute through the busy London streets, and B) when he got to work, he simply pulled his car into the building and continued on his merry way. There was no need to park the car in a garage; the Peel P50 was small enough (barely) to fit through the narrow corridors of the BBC offices and also into an elevator (“Her shirt is made of cotton”).
The third episode of Series 10 features the Peel P50, a car developed in 1963 that’s only 54 inches long and 41 inches wide. I’m pretty sure I’m longer than the car if I were to lay down next to it (I am). The car features a 49cc engine from a moped and did an impressive 100 miles to the gallon (take that, Prius). The top speed is a not so impressive 35 mph on a good day, and in the segment, I’m having a hard time believing that Jeremy was doing that speed.
The highlight of the episode, of course, is when Jeremy gets to work. As mentioned earlier, he doesn’t need to park the car; in fact, at one point he even uses the crosswalk! Once he arrived at the front doors, Jeremy simply turned the car off, flipped it around, and carried the thing in by hand. To this day after seeing the episode probably a good 100 times, it still boggles the mind. Obviously, the workplace is not going to really let you drive around with the car and the whole piece was scripted, but the fact that it could happen at all was still pretty entertaining.
The segment is capped off by Jeremy driving behind a live BBC News broadcast, a sight that’s hilarious to see whether it was real or not, and a top level BBC meeting parody that could have only come from Jeremy’s mind.