While someone might prefer to have a big car, that is intimidating to see on the road; others may enjoy smaller, compact vehicles that are easy to maintain and don’t take up much space in the garage. Both small and big cars have their advantages, and whichever type you prefer, there is a big offer of them on the market.
Today we decided to dive into the history of car-making and see the furthest that car manufacturers went when it comes to the size of the cars they produced. We did extensive research and compiled an intriguing list of smallest and biggest cars ever made that we are sure you’ll find very interesting. So, let’s dive into it.
Smallest Cars Ever Made
BMW Isetta – 380 cm
Isetta, also nicknamed bubble car, was originally conceived and manufactured by an Italian company Iso SpA between 1953 and 1956. Since then, the company sold the license to several other car manufacturers all over the world, including BMW. The car was the first massively produced vehicle that managed to achieve 3 L/100 km fuel consumption and remains the highest-selling car in the world with a single-cylinder motor with 161,728 units sold to date.
Over the years, Isetta made its way into popular culture, having been featured in numerous TV shows and films, as well as being part of blockbuster video games like Forza Horizon.
Crosley – 368 cm
Crosley was a car manufacturer from the United States that was active between 1939 and 1952, being specialized in making subcompact cars. The founder of the company Powel Crosley, Jr., produced radios and other appliances, so he intended to sell the cars he designed in department stores, which is one of the reasons he made them that small. Although the company also produced other types of vehicles, like sedans and pick-up trucks, their small cars were the ones that made them popular among Americans.
Despite the fact that Crosley cars were compact in size and lightweight, they still had impressive performance compared to the competition. Majority of the models had 6.7 L/100 km consumption and could reach 80 km/h speed.
Daihatsu Mira – 339 cm
Daihatsu Mira belongs to the Kei-car category, which is the smallest street-legal car you can drive in Japan. While there were several different models of the car presented in the past, the one that is the most interesting to us is L275, which was the seventh generation of the car, released in 2006.
The L275 model came in different packages, so the customers could choose between a 5-speed manual and 3-speed automatic, as well as 658 cc KF I3 or 996 cc 1KR-FE I3 engine. The car was produced for 12 years before being discontinued in 2018.
Fiat 126 – 305 cm
Interesting thing about Fiat 126 is that this rear-engine car was first introduced in 1972, and was manufactured without stops until 2000 thanks to its popularity in Poland. While the size of the car remained constant at 3.05 m, the model received continuous upgrades with the most powerful iteration 704 cc engine with 26 hp. To date, more than 4.7 million Fiat 126 units have been sold all over the world.
Honda N360 – 299 cm
Another member of Japanese Kei-car category, Honda N360, was originally manufactured for just around three years, from 1967 to 1970. The car had a front-wheel drive and space for two passengers. It featured 354 cc engine with two cylinders and had a maximum speed of 105 km/h.
In 1970, Honda introduced an improved model called NIII360, which featured a more powerful engine and a redesigned exterior.
Messerschmitt Kabinenroller – 281 cm
Messerschmitt Kabinenroller was first introduced in 1953 as a three-wheeled Messerschmitt KR175 designed by aeronautical engineer Fritz Fend. The car featured tandem seating with one door that opened upwards. It ran on a 173 cc engine with two cylinders, featuring four-speed drive. It was able to achieve a speed of 80 km/h with fuel consumption of 3.7 L/100 km. It is estimated that 15,000 to 19,600 units were manufactured until 1956.
In the following years, two more models were built, featuring the same frame but with numerous added modifications. A four-wheeled FMR Tg500 model also found its way to the market in 1957.
Bond Bug – 279 cm
This British-produced three-wheeler features an interesting design having a wedge shape and featuring side screens instead of doors. Bond Bug was initially manufactured for about four years, with the first unit introduced in 1970. A total of 2,270 units were produced until 1974.
Despite its size, the car was quite powerful, having a 700 cc and being able to speed up to 122 km/h, which was more than standard British small saloon cars could do. Bond Bug, however, wasn’t a commercial success, as it came with a price tag that was in the range of more practical and commonly used vehicles. Still, the car is an important part of the British popular culture, having been featured in numerous reality and automotive shows.
Peel Trident – 190 cm
We’re getting smaller with each step we take down our list of smallest cars ever made. Compared to the previous entry, Peel Trident with its flip-top and 190 cm really feels like a proper microcar.
Another three-wheeler, this car was produced between 1965 and 1966, and approximately 45 units were made during that time span. The model had a 49 cc rear-engine and rear-wheel drive with three-speed manual transmission. It was able to do 45 km/h, with 2.8 L/100 km fuel consumption. This lead to the company advertising the use of the car as “cheaper than walking.”
Brütsch Mopetta – 179 cm
Egon Brütsch is a well-known name in the automotive business, having designed several models of microcars. Brütsch Mopetta, however, is the smallest one of them all.
Mopetta is a single-seat three-wheeler that has been produced between 1956 and 1958, with only 14 units being made available to the public. It came with 50 cc engine and three-speed gearbox while featuring a recoil start. The fuel consumption was 2.5 L/100 km, while the fastest speed someone was able to push Mopetta to was 35 km/h.
It is estimated that only five units of Brütsch Mopetta survived to date.
Heinkel Kabine – 137 cm
If you have watched the comedy I’m All Right Jack then you’ll definitely recognize the next car on our list. Designed and manufactured by German company Heinkel Flugzeugwerke, Heinkel Kabine was first introduced in 1956 and was available both as a three-wheeler and four-wheeler, featuring door on the front of the car and fabric sunroof acting like an emergency escape. The two models initially featured a 204 cc 1-cylinder engine but were later toned down to 198 cc, reportedly due to insurance purposes.
The fuel consumption of both cars was 4 L/100 km, with three-wheeler being able to achieve a top speed of 87 km/h, while the four-wheeler managed to do 90 km/h in tests.
Heinkel Flugzeugwerke initially manufactured the cars until 1958, before handing over the license to Dundalk Engineering Company in the same year. The license was suspended shortly after due to poor quality of production and was then transferred to British company Trojan, which built Kabine between 1960 and 1966. The model was also manufactured in Argentina by Los Cedros S.A.
Peel P50 – 134 cm
You will now finally meet the smallest car ever made. At 134 cm length, Peel P50 officially holds this title, as it was recognized by Guinness World Records in 2010.
Introduced in 1960 by a British company Peel Engineering Ltd., P50 model was advertised as the ultimate city car. This was due to its 2.8 L/100 km fuel consumption and the fact that it could fit in one adult and a shopping bag. This three-wheeler was all about number one, as it came only with one door, on the left side, single headlight and one windscreen wiper.
The car also didn’t have a reverse gear. Instead, the driver would use a handle on the back to physically maneuver the car. Although this might seem too much, note that the car weighed only 59 kilograms.
Peel P50 was run by a 49 cc, 4.2 hp, fan-cooled engine and was able to achieve an impressive speed of 60 km/h.
It is estimated that only 47 units of the car were sold until production stopped in 1965. Approximately 27 P50s survived to date, and are now considered to be a collector’s item. One model was sold in 2016 at an auction for a whopping price of $176,000.
In 2010, Peel Engineering Ltd. restarted the production of the car, keeping the original dimensions and similar exterior. However, a number of mechanical modifications was made including enhanced suspension and steering, as well as added reverse gear.
Biggest Cars Ever Made
Rolls-Royce Phantom Sedan – 5.6 m
Rolls-Royce was always a synonym for luxury, so it isn’t surprising that they make their cars big and intimidating. The Phantom Sedan is their biggest and most prized model, with the latest iteration of the car being presented in 2019.
It comes with a V12, 6.8 L engine that offers 571 hp and 250 km/h top speed with fuel consumption clocking at 13.9 L/100 km. But the real appeal of the car is in its exterior and interior.
Besides looking stunning on the road, the car looks even better from the inside. The interior can be fully personalized according to customer’s preferences and includes wooden door trims, heated steering wheel, chrome interior accents, numerous entertainment telematics and much more.
Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6 Cabriolet – 5.7 m
Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6 Cabriolet is definitely one of the most beautiful cars made in recent past, but unfortunately, you won’t be able to drive it anytime soon. Vision 6 Cabriolet is a concept car and isn’t available to the public at the moment.
The model was introduced in 2016 as a combination of elegant design, technological advancements and appeal of a sports car. It features an all-electric drive with an output of 550 kW that gives the car an ability to accelerate 0–100 km/h in under four seconds. While the top speed is limited to 249 km/h, Mercedes claims that during their tests, the car was able to do more than 500 km/h.
While Vision 6 Cabriolet is certainly a prime example of the heights that car manufacturing can achieve, there are no guarantees that this vehicle will ever be mass-produced. And even if it is, it will certainly have to undergo some modifications to make it street legal.
Bucciali TAV – 5.79 m
The cars from the 1920s and 1930s were usually elegant and long, and Bucciali TAV wasn’t any different. The car was manufactured in France by brothers Angelo and Paul-Albert Bucciali, with its first iteration being presented in 1926 at the Paris Motorshow.
The car immediately became a sensation, thanks to its mechanical innovations which included front-wheel drive, something that couldn’t be seen anywhere else.
Over the years, Bucciali brothers continuously improved the design of their car and added to its mechanical ingenuity, although they haven’t managed to find a large market for it. This is why there is only a handful of units is known to be in existence today.
Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6 – 5.8 m
It seems like Mercedes really likes to build big cars. The Benz G63 AMG 6×6 is a modified model of the six-wheel drive SUT that the manufacturer developed in 2007 for the Austrian Army. The mass-produced model, presented in 2013, featured a twin-turbo V-8 engine, seven-speed automatic transmission, and a maximum speed clocked at 160 km/h.
The car sold of a price of $511,000 and was produced for two years. After approximately 100 units of G63 AMG 6×6 were made, Mercedes decided to stop the production in order to keep the car’s exclusivity.
Bentley Mulsanne – 5.8 m
Launched in 2010, the Mulsanne model was really special for Bentley, as it was the manufacturer’s first independently designed car in almost 80 years.
As in most luxury cars, Mulsanne’s interior was fully customizable according to wishes of the customers, who could choose between 24 interior leather hides, 21 carpet colors and nine types of wood veneers. Also, 141 colors were made available for the exterior.
Under the hood, Mulsanne was run by twin-turbocharged V-8, 6.75 L engine that can achieve a speed of 306 km/h.
1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special Brougham – 5.9 m
It wouldn’t be a proper car list if it didn’t feature Cadillac, right? Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham was one of the most popular and luxurious models the company offered during the ’70s and ’80s. As with the majority of Caddy’s car, this model also saw a Sixty Special edition which came as a four-door sedan.
The 1974 rear-wheel-drive model came with a V-8 engine, 205 hp and did a maximum speed of 207 km/h.
Bugatti Type 41 La Royale – 6.7 m
And here we are, at the end of our list of biggest cars ever made with Bugatti taking the top spot. As we told you before, the 1920s and 1930s was the time when cars were really long, and La Royale is a perfect example of that.
Originally introduced in 1937, Type 41 was conceived by company’s founder Ettore Bugatti as the most luxurious car available that he intended to sell to royal families. The car had 12,763 cc straight-eight engine, and featured 3-speed manual gear box. It was able to achieve a speed of 160 km/h.
Although Bugatti intended to make 25 units, La Royale wasn’t as popular as he predicted and only seven models were sold. Six of them are known to be in existence today.
All of these cars, regardless of their size, are a tribute to innovate design and talent of their manufacturers. With that being said, we are eager to know does the size of a car matter to you? Are you siding with small and compact cars or think the car should be big enough to fit more than one adult and a shopping bag before being allowed on the road? Let us know in the comments below and also tells us which car from the lists was your favorite one.