World's Tiniest Car Is Terrifying, Fantastic, Makes You Look Like a LEGO Astronaut

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Feb. 4 2013 6:50 PM

World's Tiniest Car Is Terrifying, Fantastic, Makes You Look Like a LEGO Astronaut

Jeremy Clarkson p45 Top Gear
Probably not the future of automobiles

Screenshot / YouTube

In the latest episode of the BBC show Top Gear, host Jeremy Clarkson unveils the world's tiniest car, the P45, which he apparently designed himself. A takeoff on the Peel P50, the P45 has the drivetrain of a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle, but all the turn signals, lights, and license plates needed to make it street-legal in the United Kingdom. With a helmet for a roof, a visor for a windshield, and no side doors, the contraption calls to mind a Cozy Coupe crossed with a LEGO spaceman, and turns out to be only slightly more roadworthy.

"I promise it's a real car," Clarkson says, before making the ill-advised decision to attempt to prove it by taking the thing onto a public highway. The trip starts out auspiciously enough, save for some bone-jostling potholes. ("Edit that out!", Clarkson pleads after crying out in agony when he runs over one.) And the host ably demonstrates some of the benefits to an automobile that makes a Smart car look like a fortress by comparison. (You can fill it up with gas without getting out.) But by the end, when Clarkson steers onto the A3, the trip devolves into... well, just watch.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer.

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