The Biggest and Smallest Street-Legal Cars

Written by Carly Hallman

In an industry that’s ruled by regulation, it can be hard to design cars that are truly different. Sometimes, manufacturers design really strange options (which can fail miserably in breaking the mold). But, within the confines they’re given, there are certainly some car superlatives out there: the biggest, smallest, and fastest cars that ever went into production.

Biggest, Fastest, Smallest Street Legal Cars

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What is the fastest car in the world?

To figure out what is the world’s fastest car in production, you have to first define what is meant by “fastest.” Most people think it’s the fastest acceleration speed; for that, there’s the 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder, capable of going from zero to 62 mph in 2.2 seconds. On the other hand, a different metric would be how fast a car can go; the Bugatti Veyron Super Spot clocks in at 268 mph, which is a little more than four times legal limit of most of the U.S. and nearly a third of the speed needed to break the sound barrier.

When it comes to sheer power, though, you might want to instead consider pure engine power or the highest horsepower cars, like the Koenigsegg Regera (in the car category) or the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8 (in the SUV category). There’s also other factors, like the highest torque, which goes to another Bugatti, the 2016 Bugatti Chiron.

What is the biggest car in the world?

The “biggest” car is also hard to define, but the heaviest car that’s gone into production is the International XT in the pickup truck category and the 1938–43 Mercedes-Benz 770 W150 in the car category, an old-school, WWII-era car that can only really described as a beautiful monster.

You could also consider “biggest” dimensionally. The longest car is a van, the Iveco Daily. The widest car is a truck, the Dodge Ram 3500 DRW. And the tallest is the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, another van.

What is the smallest car in the world?

It’s much easier to define the world’s smallest car that ever went into production. While the lowest car is the 1956–58 Lotus Eleven, the shortest, narrowest, lightest, and essentially smallest car is the Peel P50. It’s also pretty cute.

The Peel P50 was a three-wheeled, one-seat car with one door, one windshield wiper, and one headlight. It was smaller than most golf carts. It was designed in the tiny Isle of Man in the United Kingdom. It’s also an auction favorite since only 27 are known to exist. It wasn’t exactly popular, likely because of the manual reverse functionality.

Other Car Superlatives

  • Car Engine: The largest car engine in terms of engine displacement is a tie between the 1912–18 Pierce-Arrow Model 6-66 Raceabout and the 1912–14 Peerless Model 6-60. Both cars are from a time when car technology was changing and companies were trying to really push the envelope.
  • Most Expensive: The most expensive production car ever was more than $4 million: the Koenigsegg Trevita.
  • Best MPG: Ruling out all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, the best and highest MPG is currently the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid with 58 combined MPG. For all-gas vehicles, the result may surprise you: The best all-gasoline car for MPG was the 1986 Chevrolet Sprint ER at an amazing 48 combined MPG. How did it beat out so many modern cars? It was extremely light and had a three-cylinder engine.

These are some ways that the industry has gotten exciting: from the tiny Peel P50 to that massive WWII Mercedes-Benz to the super-fast cars of today. Which superlative record will break next?

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