11 Eensy-Weensy Automobiles

When people think of small cars, one of the first that comes to mind is the Mini Cooper. It’s got its size right in the name, after all, even if some of the newer models, like the Mini Countryman, are less mini and more, say, fun-size.

Of course, the Mini Cooper is hardly the most miniature car on the market these days. And there are lots of cars smaller than a modern Mini that were built in the 1950s and 1960s, when car designers seemed to collectively ask themselves, “What other crazy car design stunts can we pull?” Some went big and added fins and chrome, while others got small and added a dollop of quirkiness.

For the car curious, here are the dimensions of the modern-day Mini Cooper plus ten other cars from today and yesterday that make this dwarf look like a giant.

1. 2013 Mini Cooper

Length: 144 inches
Width: 66 inches (including mirrors)
Height: 55 inches
Weight: 2855 pounds

Our standard for small will be the latest Mini flagship (or maybe, at this size, flag-dinghy), which has been on the market for more than a decade now. When it first appeared in 2002, it was surrounded by SUVs and king-cab pickup trucks. What was to keep these little guys from blowing right off the road every time a Humvee passed? When the bottom fell out of the economy and gas prices soared in 2008, small cars seemed a lot smarter, and the Mini got some pint-sized company on the road.

2. 2013 Fiat 500

Length: 140 inches
Width: 64 inches
Height: 60 inches
Weight: 2400 pounds

The latest entry into the American micro-car market is also Fiat’s first U.S. model in 20 years. These little guys are based on a classic Fiat design from the 1960s, but with modern tweaks and J. Lo-worthy amenities. Believe it or not, the new Fiat 500 is nearly two feet longer than the old one and a full foot wider.

3. 2013 Tata Nano

Length: 122 inches
Width: 59 inches
Height: 65 inches
Weight: 1322 pounds

When Tata introduced this car in India, the manufacturer trumpeted the fact that the Nano would be the world’s cheapest car, not that it’s also one of the smallest. It’s not exactly the hot seller Tata had hoped for (the Indian company also owns Land Rover and Jaguar, in a nice twist of post-colonial fate), given some labor disputes and its pokey 37-hp engine. But now that the small car segment is so big in America, a more powerful version that meets U.S. safety standards could arrive in the next three years.

4. 1961 Mini Cooper

Length: 120 inches
Width: 55 inches
Height: 53 inches
Weight: 1287 pounds

This is the Cooper made famous by the original The Italian Job. Design-wise, the newest Mini Coopers are a distant echo of the originals, but the originals were seriously small—a full foot shorter and half the weight of the modern Mini. It was launched in 1959 as the answer to an engineering challenge to create a car four feet high, ten feet long, and with room for four adults and their luggage. During the 1960s, surprisingly, the Mini proved its mettle as a rally racer, a feat the Mini Countryman is trying to repeat today.

5. 2012 Scion iQ

Length: 120 inches
Width: 66 inches
Height: 59 inches
Weight: 2127 pounds

Japan has long loved tiny cars, which are far easier to maneuver and park in crowded cities. Every once in a while, when the United States is in a small-car mood, Japanese companies allow one of their Hello-Kitty-cute cars to be sold in North America. This time around, it’s the Scion iQ, which seems to have driven straight from the pages of manga without changing its dimensions.

6. 1962 Fiat Jolly

Length: 117 inches
Width: 52 inches
Height: n/a; the top, as on a European bikini, was removable
Weight: 1069 pounds

The Fiat 500 Jolly is the kind of car swinging playboys of the 1960s would keep on board their yachts to drive from the dock to the casino at Monte Carlo. Because who wants to cart a Lamborghini Miura around on a boat? The Jolly had wicker seats and an infamously fringed top to keep the Mediterranean sun from burning a blonde bombshell’s delicate skin.

7. 1956 Messerschmitt KR 200

Wikimedia Commons

Length: 111 inches
Width: 48 inches
Height: 49 inches
Weight: 507 pounds

This wee three-wheeler was invented as a way for disabled WWII vets to get around, though it found a modicum of popularity as a “bubble car,” with its available Plexiglas roof. But the strangest thing about the Messerschmitt isn’t, surprisingly, its looks—it’s what you had to do to drive in reverse. The engine had to be turned off and a switch flipped, which reversed the direction the engine ran. When you started the engine back up, you’d go backward.

8. smart fortwo

Wikimedia Commons

Length: 106 inches
Width: 61 inches
Height: 61 inches
Weight: 1808

For modern drivers, smart cars are the most micro of the microcar segment. Though they’ve only been in the United States since 2008, they’ve been popular on the narrow cobblestone streets of Europe since their debut 1997. That’s when Mercedes-Benz teamed up with the watch design wizards at Swatch to come up with a drivable fashion accessory.

9. 1955 BMW Isetta

Wikimedia Commons

Length: 89 inches
Width: 53 inches
Height: 52 inches
Weight: 778 pounds

If the oddball Messerschmitt could be said to have a direct competitor, the egg-shaped Isetta is it. Early models were three-wheeled Italian affairs, but by the time BMW bought the concept from its refrigerator-manufacturing owners it had sprouted a fourth wheel in the back. The Isetta had a reverse gear, so it had to find its weirdness elsewhere, like the front door. The whole face of the car is the door the driver uses to get in and out. If you’ve ever driven a rental car down an ancient Parisian street, you’ve probably wished for just such a feature.

10. 1964 Peel P50

Length: 54 inches
Width: 41 inches
Height: 47 inches
Weight: 130 pounds (not a typo)

For half a century, the Peel P50 has held the title of World’s Smallest Production Car, according to the list masters at Guinness World Records. The P50 gained recent fame when the very tall, very grumpy Jeremy Clarkson, host of the very popular BBC show Top Gear, did some very ridiculous things in the cyclopean car. Only 50 were ever built, but don’t let that put a damper on your small-car dreams. Peel Engineering is taking names for a new limited run of P50s.

11. Wind Up!

Length: 51 inches
Width: 26 inches
Height: 41 inches
Weight: n/a

This one is really pushing it, since it’s a one-off built by Perrywinkle Customs in the UK, but it has been recognized as the World’s Smallest Car by Guinness. It is street legal, even at this size, with a body borrowed from a coin-operated kid’s ride and a chassis from a four-wheeler.

From Snoopy to Shark Bait: The Top Slang Word in Each State

There’s a minute, and then there’s a hot minute. Defined as “a longish amount of time,” this unit of time is familiar to Alabamians but may stir up confusion beyond the state’s borders.

It’s Louisianans, though, who feel the “most misunderstood,” according to the results of a survey regarding regional slang by PlayNJ. Of the Louisiana residents surveyed, 72 percent said their fellow Americans from other states—even neighboring ones—have a hard time grasping their lingo. Some learned the hard way that ordering a burger “dressed” (with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo) isn’t universally understood, nor is the phrase “to pass a good time” (instead of “to have” a good time).

After surveying 2000 people (with proportional numbers from each state), PlayNJ created a map showing the top slang word in each state. Many are words that are unlikely to be understood beyond state lines, but others—like California’s bomb (something you really like) and New York’s deadass (to be completely serious)—have spread well beyond their respective borders thanks to memes and internet culture.

Hawaiians are also known for their distinctive slang words, with 71 percent reporting that words like shaka (hello) and poho (waste of time) are frequently misunderstood. Shark bait, one of the state’s more colorful terms, refers to tourists who are so pale that they attract sharks.

Check out the full list below and test your knowledge of regional slang words with PlayNJ’s online quiz.

A chart showing the top slang words in each state
20 States With the Highest Rates of Skin Cancer

They don’t call it the Sunshine State for nothing. Floridians get to soak up the sun year-round, but that exposure to harmful UV rays also comes with consequences. Prevention magazine reported that Florida has the highest rate of skin cancer in the U.S., according to a survey by Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS).

BCBS surveyed 9 million of its insured members who had been diagnosed with skin cancer between 2014 and 2016 and found that Florida had the highest rate of skin cancer at 7.1 percent. People living in eastern states tend to be more prone to skin cancer, and diagnoses are more common among women.

Here are the 20 states with the highest rates of skin cancer:

1. Florida: 7.1 percent
2. Washington, D.C.: 5.8 percent
3. Connecticut: 5.6 percent
4. Maryland: 5.3 percent
5. Rhode Island: 5.3 percent
6. Vermont: 5.3 percent
7. North Carolina: 5.2 percent
8. New York: 5 percent
9. Massachusetts: 5 percent
10. Colorado: 5 percent
11. Arizona: 5 percent
12. Virginia: 5 percent
13. Delaware: 4.8 percent
14. Kentucky: 4.7 percent
15. Alabama: 4.7 percent
16. New Jersey: 4.7 percent
17. Georgia: 4.7 percent
18. West Virginia: 4.5 percent
19. Tennessee: 4.5 percent
20. South Carolina: 4.4 percent

It may come as a surprise that sunny California doesn’t make the top 20, and Hawaii is the state with the lowest rate of skin cancer at 1.8 percent. Prevention magazine explains that this could be due to the large population of senior citizens in Florida and the fact that the risk of melanoma, a rare but deadly type of skin cancer, increases with age. People living in regions with higher altitudes also face a greater risk of skin cancer due to the thinner atmosphere and greater exposure to UV radiation, which explains why Colorado is in the top 10.

The good news is that the technology used to detect skin cancer is improving, and researchers hope that AI can soon be incorporated into more skin cancer screenings. To reduce your risk, be sure to wear SPF 30+ sunscreen when you know you’ll be spending time outside, and don’t forget to reapply it every two hours. 

[h/t Prevention]


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