Famous American professional golfer, Walter Charles Hagen once said: “You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” In addition, Greek storyteller Aesop is credited with the well-known adage: “Slow but steady wins the race.” If wise men and women recommend taking it slow, then perhaps car buyers should evaluate both ends of the automobile speed and performance spectrum.
Most of today’s media attention goes to the latest supercars, the sub-two-second acceleration times, and top speeds well over 200 mph. The available options in the high-performance category are endless. Speed is even a significant criterion for evaluating hybrid and electric vehicles.
But what about slow cars?
Many of them have unique characteristics, and some of these slowpokes are a bit quirky. Others were built for comfort and convenience only, with just enough power to get from point A to point B. Surprisingly, a few have become classics and bring a much higher price than their original MSRP.
Here are twenty of the slowest cars of all time, and how much they’re worth today.
20 – Peel P50, Slowest Car In History, $176,000
At only 54 inches in length, the Peel P50 holds the Guinness World Record for the smallest car ever made. The quirky-looking three-wheeler also holds the title as the slowest car ever produced with a top speed of only 28 mph.
The original P50 features a single door on the left side and only one headlight. With no reverse gear, the driver is required to grab a rear handle, lift, and lug the car around to change direction.
19 – 1958 Berkeley Sports, $23,000
Created by Laurie Bond, a successful English mini-car designer, the Berkeley Sports, equipped with a 692-cc transverse four-stroke twin, air-cooled engine, managed to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in a painstakingly slow 30.6 seconds. Despite the turtle’s pace, the sports car, made entirely of fiberglass, won the Monza 12-hour race in 1958.
18 – 2013 Aixam Coupe, $4,300
Although the Aixam Coupe has the appearance of a small car, in France it is classified as a two-seater “quadricycle.” The vehicle is so slow, a driver must only be 16-years-old and is not required to have a driver’s license.
A 400 cc two-cylinder diesel engine that produces a mere 5.6 horsepower pushes the Aixam to an electronically limited maximum speed of 30 mph.
17 – 1946 Triumph 1800, $32,500
The Triumph 1800, built for four years after the end of WWII, was a stylish British roadster that had the looks of a performance car of the era. The sleek soft-top with a long hood suggested a powerful engine beneath.
However, the 1776 cc engine only produced 63 horsepower. A speed test conducted by Autocar magazine in 1947 revealed a top speed of 75 mph, but an acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in 34.4 seconds.
16 – 2012 Renault Twizy, 6,400 Euros ($7,120)
The Twizy is so slow it would be no challenge for a typical golf cart. The electric two-seater city car produces only five hp, reaches a top speed of 28 mph, and has a total range up to 62 miles.
The bare-bones vehicle requires the driver to carry a plug-in electric blanket to keep warm in the winter. The air conditioning is provided by outside air since the “quadricycle” has no windows.
15 – 1973 Volkswagen Super Beetle Convertible, $12,500
Often referred to as a “chick’s car,” the first-generation VW Beetle was cute, stylish, and a fun car to drive.
While the 1973 Volkswagen Super Beetle Convertible seems faster than other “slowmobiles” in the category, it still requires 23.7 seconds to reach 60 mph. With the top down and hair blowing in the breeze (once the car finally reaches speed), a driver seldom worries about exceeding the speed limit.
14 – 2008 Tata Nano, 35,000 RS ($464)
The Nano, manufactured by Tata Motors of India, holds the distinction of the world’s least expensive car. Where else can a four-door vehicle be purchased for about $460?
The Nano requires no license to drive and is powered by a 0.624-liter two-cylinder engine producing 37 hp and 38 lb-ft of torque. The miniature car with a miniature engine takes 29.4 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph.
13 – 2011 MIA Electric Car, 4,000 Euros ($4,446)
A lack of power with resultant slow acceleration can sometimes doom a vehicle. Although the MIA Electric Car has been discontinued for reasons of speed and other issues, the three-door hatchback-type van did achieve a full charge in a respectable three hours and could last up to 80 miles on a single charge.
The MIA was one of the slowest four-wheeled cars around with an acceleration of 0-60 in a painfully slow 30 seconds.
12 – 1960 Triumph Herald 948, £5,950 ($7,395)
The attractive Triumph Herald, designed by the Italian stylist Michelotti, was launched in April 1959 and had a successful twelve-year production run. The two-door vehicle was offered in several body types, from a basic two-door coupe to a luxurious, sporty cabriolet.
Despite its outward appearance, the underpowered Herald was capable of a 90-mph top speed, but the car required 30 seconds to reach 60 mph from a standing start.
11 – 2009 Mitsubishi I-Miev, $6,300
While the Tesla Model S has become famous for speeds rivaling those of the world’s most expensive and exotic supercars, other EVs claim performance numbers that wouldn’t compete with 1950’s gas-powered vehicles. The i-Miev is one of those cars.
With a top speed of around 80 mph, the Mitsubishi manages an acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in 13.4 seconds.
10 – 2010 Fiat Qubo Natural Power 1.4, $4,500
The most appealing feature of the Fiat Qubo is the spacious storage area. The high roof-line and vertical rear tailgate give the Qubo a relatively compact footprint, and the wide tailgate opens to a horizontal level for easy loading.
Designers at Fiat, no doubt, thought Qubo buyers would be more interested in hauling cargo and passengers than reaching a destination quickly. The car accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 17.7 seconds.
9 – 2012 Smart CDI, £3,600 ($4,470)
The Smart car is ideal for parking in narrow and crowded European city streets. The short body even allows the car to be oriented perpendicular to the curb without blocking passing cars.
The fuel economy of 36 mpg combined makes the Smart attractive for the budget-minded owner, but the anemic 70 hp of power is disappointing. The CDI takes 19.5 seconds to reach 60 mph.
8 – 1968 Fiat 850 Idromatic, £7,350 ($9,130)
The 850 is a rear-engine, rear-wheel drive car produced by Italian car manufacturer Fiat from 1964 to 1973. Fiat produced two versions of the small car for 1968: the standard (normale) fitted with a 34 hp engine and the super, equipped with a 37 hp mill.
According to ProfessCars, the 850 accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 15.4 seconds and reached the quarter-mile in 20.1 sec.
7 – Chevrolet CMV 1,400,000 Colones ($2,550)
The small and utilitarian van design was initially conceived by Suzuki back in 1961. Since then, the CMV has worn many badges, Nissan, Vauxhall, Autozam, Mitsubishi, Ford, and others.
Now a Chevrolet, the Japanese Kei utility truck has cargo space to haul an impressive load for such a small footprint vehicle, but getting to its destination takes some time. The little carryall takes 27 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph.
6 – 1959 Austin Mini Cooper 850 MK 1, $31,000
Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, and Jason Statham did most of their own stunt driving in Mini Coopers for the movie, The Italian Job. The car-chase scenes filmed in Los Angeles required high-performance Minis, two of which were electric-powered.
Charlize Theron claimed she got two speeding tickets while filming. However, she wouldn’t have been ticketed had she been she driving the 1959 Mini Cooper 850 MK1. The older version Mini had a pathetic acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in 24.9 seconds.
5 – Hindustan Ambassador 1.5 DSZ, $2,625
India’s longest running production car (1958 to 2014), the Hindustan Ambassador, was designated the “King of Indian Roads” for its durability and comfortable ride. The first diesel car of India, the 1,5 DSZ was voted as the world’s best taxi by the global automotive program Top Gear in 2013.
However, none of the accolades refer to the car’s performance and for a good reason. The Ambassador accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 28 seconds.
4 – 1979 MG Midget, $11,500
The British automaker, MG, helped create the affordable convertible with the MG Midget and the MGB. Despite claims the Midget was built without any consideration for safety, the two-seater had a successful production run exceeding twenty years.
While the MG was a fun car to drive, the acceleration was lackluster, from 0 to 60 mph in 14.3 seconds and a maximum speed of 70 mph.
3 – 1950 Crosley HotShot Roadster, $9,900
In 1949, Crosley introduced America’s first postwar sports car, the HotShot. The tiny 2-passenger roadster, equipped with a 724cc OHC 4-cylinder engine mated to a 3-speed manual transmission, needed 26.4 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph.
Despite its poor acceleration, the Hotshot won the Index of Performance at the Six Hours of Sebring in 1950.
2 – 1954 Triumph Renown, £14,000.00 ($17,400)
While the Renown was generally known for its quality materials and assembly, the aluminum bodywork was subject to corrosion, and the body’s wooden framing was inclined to rot.
The stylish vehicle was equipped with a 2,088-cc engine that produced a measly 68 horsepower propelled the car from 0 to 60 mph in an excruciatingly long time of 30 seconds.
1 – 2019 Tata Sumo Gold 4X4, 27.6 Seconds (62 Mph)
The Sumo is an SUV produced by Tata Motors of India from 1994 to 2020 that features a seating capacity of 7 passengers. Despite the vehicle’s poor acceleration of 27 seconds to reach 62 mph, the Sumo is used by the police in India.
The SUV has plenty of room to haul captured criminals, but chasing them down is a challenge in the slow-moving car.
Sources: carfromjapan.com, motor1.com, drivetribe.com, jalopnik.com