Of all the little cars at The Little Car Show on Wednesday in Pacific Grove, Dick Tuttle’s Peel Trident bubble car was the littlest. How little is it? So little that Tuttle easily lifted one side of it to show its undercarriage.
“It weighs 200 pounds,” Tuttle said with a shrug.
The tiny Trident with its distinctive clear bubble roof was one of the stars of the annual Little Car Show, a free and family friendly event held on Lighthouse Avenue in the coastal town near Monterey.
One of many car shows, auctions, races and concours taking place during Monterey Classic Car Week, the show attracted hundreds of people to enjoy the little cars, the balmy weather and the beautiful venue.
Children seemed particularly excited by the car show, perhaps because for once, many of the cars seemed to be their size. Or maybe it was the general quirkiness and genial humor of the show that appealed to the kids, and everybody else.
About 100 small cars and so-called arcane vehicles lined Pacific Grove’s main street, with the rules stipulating that they must be at least 40 years old and powered by engines smaller than 1,601 cc or else electric motors.
The Trident is powered by undoubtedly the smallest gas engine on the scene, a 50 cc two-stroke that would be more suitable running a moped.
So what’s it like to drive?
“It’s kind of daffy,” said Tuttle, who restored the Peel by hand. “It doesn’t always go where you think it’s going to go.”
Top speed? Another shrug.
Most of the cars, trucks and cyclecars at the show were more or less “normal,” mostly British, French, Italian or German, and such American brands as Crosley and Bantam. Minis, BMW Isettas, Fiats, Citroen CVs, Volkswagen beetles, MGs, Triumphs, Morris Minors and three-wheeled Reliant Regals were on hand, among others.
Another daunting feature of the Peel Trident is its clear bubble roof and a miniscule interior with practically no ventilation. Tuttle also takes that in stride, although he notes that he keeps a thermometer inside just to keep track.
“I’ve seen it at 130 in there,” he said, although on this day, the reading only reached 106.
Photos by Bob Golfen