Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Book review: P50 Peel engineering's extrordinary legacy by Barry Edwards

Publisher: Lily Publications

ISBN: 9-781907-945762

Size: 210 X 210 Softback

Price: £16

At first glace, you'd think this book was about the Peel P50 microcar - known to many people from an appearance on Top Gear but very famous before this as the world's smallest proper car. That would be to do this book a disservice though as it's far, far more than that.

Starting in 1940, the firm was responsible for numerous innovative products including the famous micro-cars.

Appropriately enough for a Manx business, the first products were motorcycle fairings produced in the trademark fibreglass that was the basis for most of the future products. Before moving on to cars, there were quite a number of boats manufactured and the book includes a nice plan which would almost give enough detail for a model of the fishing vessel. There's also a hovercraft, a prototype of which is shown in photos.

Talking of models, there is a photo showing two hulls for model speedboats found in a factory clearout. I wonder what happened to those? Although designed around a small diesel engine, I bet they would fly with a modern brushless electric...

Of course, the cars are the starts and 2/3rd of the book is taken up with them. Not just the P50 and Trident, but the Manxcar, P1000 sportscar and Viking. There's lots of stuff on the fibreglass BMC Mini too, I bet there are a few classic owners who'd like to get their hands on one of these for rust-free motoring!

Packed around all this are lists of huge numbers of products including trailers and tools that were designed an produced.The most intriguing of which is the monorail system proposed to run between Douglas and Peel. It was granted a patent number and the back of the book includes an artists impression of the train. Apparently, building this was suggested to be easier than re-laying the steam railway track!

98 pages packed full of fascinating items. I've already started digging into a few and am keen to find out more. Building a Manx monorail would be an interesting project...

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