Coventry University students have designed the world’s smallest car, showcased on BBC’s Top Gear.
Thirteen undergraduates from the School of Art and Design’s car styling course were commissioned by Clarkson and co to produce a range of detailed design concepts to meet Top Gear’s vision for a road legal microcar.
Named the “P45” was featured in a recent Top Gear show after the budding designers had just a week to produce the material and present it to the show’s team.
21-year-old students Thomas Lumley and Mike Antoniazzi were the designers, who saw their lightweight vehicle driven under current quadricycle rules.
Thomas said: “It was incredibly exciting and a real privilege to work on a project for the Top Gear team. To be involved with this kind of opportunity has been an ambition of mine ever since I attended an open day at the School of Art and Design when I was thirteen years old. From that point onwards, everything I did was geared towards studying automotive design.
“To say this project was a challenge would be an understatement, as we had a very tight timescale to work to and had to complete it alongside University coursework.
“Quite a lot of background research went into it, as we were asked to make the car comply with microcar regulations but also design it so it fitted with the comedy element of Top Gear. It was a great chance to show off what we could do, and it’s a real honour that they chose one of my designs to work with.”
Brian Clough, senior lecturer in automotive and industrial design at Coventry University, said: “I was immensely impressed with the way all of the students rose to the challenge set by the Top Gear team, particularly since many of them were in different countries when they first heard and only had a week to pull their ideas together.
“It wasn’t an easy brief as they had to strike the right balance with a design that was both authentic and humorous. Although Thomas’s and Mike’s design were ultimately chosen, this was a great team effort by all those involved, and an unforgettable experience.”