This site is an affectionate tribute to the unique Peel Cars from the Isle of Man.
Years ahead of their time, and produced in the context of the ‘lean years’ of post-war Britain, there is still nothing quite like a Peel on the road today.
When WW2 ended there was a great shortage of private cars in the UK, all new ones being reserved for export. Several small firms set up to produce ‘runabout’ cars to fill this gap –
the Bond ‘Minicar’, ‘Frisky’, ‘Berkeley’ and others. Even some large concerns joined in – Short & Harland at Belfast, BMW and Messerschmitt in Germany.
Kit cars were also being offered by some small firms for self assembly to offset the purchase tax than being levied on
assembled vehicles. This seemed an attractive option for producing in the Isle of Man and a simple 3-wheeler design was evolved, as this could be driven by holders of a motorcycle driving licence.
It comprised of a light tubular T-type chassis with a rear mounted twin cylinder 350cc Anzani engine, a GRP panelled body with novel quarter circular flush side doors and a large luggage space in the rear. However, there were severe objections from the then UK based Customs & Excise and payment of purchase tax would have greatly reduced the sales potential so the project was abandoned with regret.
The name ‘Manxman’ was chosen but conflicted with an Excelsior motorcycle so would probably have changed to
‘Manxcar’ if it had gone ahead.
Cyril Cannell 2006
In 1955 Peel Engineering, previously specialising in car parts, motorcycle fairings and boat hulls, decided the time was right to move into kit car production. The end of World War II had seen a shortage of cars in the UK as most of those being built were reserved for export. ‘The Manxman’, as it was known, though provisonally named 'Manxcar' (see above), could be purchased fully assembled or in kit form, thus avoiding the purchase tax being levied on assembled vehicles.
The Manxcar was a three wheeler on a light tubular T-type chassis with a fibreglass panelled body. It was driven by a British Anzani
twin cylinder two stroke fan-cooled engine of 322cc capacity. Initially a BSA stationary engine was tried but was no good.
A prototype was shown to staff from ‘Motor Cycling’ magazine during the June 1955 TT races and again in January 1956, but objections from the then UK Customs and Excise meant that purchase tax might have been payable, making the project
unviable and so it was abandoned.
The doors were pivoted in the bottom rear corner and lifted flush with the side of the car through 90 degrees. A third door gave access to a flat 16 cubic feet boot space that included a trap door for access to the engine, and had a foot well fitted to allow two children to be carried behind the main seats.
The vehicle had hammock style seats, similar to that later fitted into the P50.
The prototype vehicle was registered UMN1O, the registration description being a threewheeler saloon with four seats in red, and both the chassis and engine numbers showing as 10. Registered to C Cannell and G H Kissack, trading as Peel Engineering for trade purposes on 17th September 1955. The registration was cancelled on 1st October 1962.
Please open an image and browse the gallery using the arrrows at the edges of the pictures. We welcome images submitted from Peel fans to add to the site. Enjoy...