HomeCar CultureEye Candy: The Little Car Show gently invades Pacific Grove

Eye Candy: The Little Car Show gently invades Pacific Grove


There were big crowds for The Little Car Show on Wednesday | Bob Golfen photos

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.

Dick Tuttle lifts his Peel Trident, which is an actual car driven on streets

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 



More coverage of Monterey Car Week 2015

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. The Little Car Show is one of the best charity events anywhere. My 1972 Austin Mini Clubman saloon won two awards in 2014, a merchant award for Favorite color and the Veterans Choice Award for 1000cc and under cars (the latter was especially pleasing as I am a Vietnam Veteran myself). I came again in 2015 and encouraged more of my classic Mini friends to come along. Two of their cars are in the photos above and two others took home many awards. The organizers are all volunteers and do a great job. We all had so much fun we’ll be back in 2016 again!

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