The Peel P50 recently tested by Autocar has a 49cc engine, but that's OK too because the P50 is so small you don't so much get in it as wear it.
What's annoying is the car that promises a lot but delivers little. Dressing disasters up as good ideas is an art form in which the auto industry used to excel. A while back Autocar famously ran a picture of the then-new Range Rover Sport being towed off the test track. Turned out it wasn't a breakdown at all, though. In fact, according to an LR spokesman, it was "the Sport's towhook being tested". See what they did there?
In the industry's defence, most of motoring's major letdowns - Ford Edsel, Chevrolet Corvair, Jaguar Polecat (you may have missed that one) - are long since forgotten. There have been more recent ones though. Like the Alfa Romeo 166 Ti.
The key-tosser's motives were soon revealed. As the tossee, I found it difficult to detect much difference between the Ti's 'standing still' and 'going along' modes. Even with one's big toe firmly embedded in the carpet, the Alfa struggled to shake off a pizza delivery moped, a well-driven double-decker bus and an OAP on a circus unicycle.
Only by peering under the Alfa's bonnet did I discover the awful truth. Not the 'awesome' (to quote Alfa's website at the time) majesty of the 243hp 3.2-litre V6. Not even the 'mighty' vision of the 223hp 3.0-litre. No, this dandied-up mountebank featured the 'unique' disappointment of the 152hp 2.0. It was hard to imagine how a dealer test drive of any 2.0 166 Ti would convert into a sale, even to the most masochistic company car tax dodger.
That mechanic might have been impressed by the Alfa 166 Ti. Generally though, it's not a good idea to put a titchy engine in a big vehicle. I could easily be persuaded to eat a blue loaf, or even to drink bacon-flavoured milk, but I'd never buy a small-engined big car.
A big-engined small car, now that's different. Who wouldn't pay £45k or more for a 444hp RS4-engined Audi A1? How much would you pay for a 500hp Aston V8-engined Fiesta, a 600hp AMG S 63-powered A-Class Merc, or an Alfa Mito (yes, they still sell them) with a 700hp Ferrari 488 GTO lump shoved up its miniskirt? Soon, if the market continues in the way it's going, we may have the chance to test out this sort of proposition.