Cyril Cannell started Peel Engineering on the Isle of Man in the late 1940's. He initially worked on boats and marine equipment but was soon to discover the then relatively new material, fibreglass. He used this material to create a number of things including streamline bodies for pre-war Fords and motorbike fairings which were used for the famous TT race bikes. He also produced a prototype 3 wheeled car called the Manxcar designed to circumvent car purchase tax, but only one example was ever made after protests from the tax authorities.

By the early 1960's, the Peel car family consisted of two vehicles, the three wheeled Peel P50, officially the world's smallest car and the quirky, bubble-roofed Peel Trident. These cars emerged during a boom time for microcars that was created by both post war austerity and the Suez crisis, however, as Britain began to swing in the 60's, Cyril decided to put his expertise in GRP design and fabrication into the construction of an attractive and aerodynamic Mini based coupe. His words are reproduced in the paragraph below.

"The quality of the GRP materials had greatly improved over the years and small boat production was our mainstay occupation.

However, the BMC ‘Mini’ was now well established and a very popular car. A sports car based on the Mini seemed worth considering and a design was evolved but using the longer Minivan wheelbase.

The entire body shell was moulded in GRP and as many of the original Mini fittings and components utilised, but with the addition of a raised central floor tunnel to give longitudinal stiffness. A light steel tube frame was bonded internally to connect all the important stress points, termed the ‘bird cage’, the overall appearance reasonably attractive with a rear ‘spoiler’ and the road handling was superb.

The prototype car was exhibited at the London Racing Car Show and this was a great opportunity to meet some of the most prominent designers and builders in the racing a sports car field, at least one of whom subsequently produced a car using virtually the same technology."

Cyril Cannell 2006