Back in 2018, Alanis King and I co-hosted a Jalopnik meet-up event during the Formula One Grand Prix weekend. We turned up a few minutes late to our own event instead of a half an hour early, as we’d planned. Why, you ask? Well—we were trying to parallel park. (Okay, well, we were also a little late leaving the track, but the whole parking situation certainly did not help.)
For me, parallel parking was a skill I learned exclusively for the sake of taking my driver’s license test, at which point I fully forgot everything and proceeded to move on with my life. I’ve never lived anywhere that requires me to street park, and I have no plans to do so in the future. If I’m parking in the city, I will happily walk an extra half a mile if it means I can avoid parallel parking.
But there are people who are actually really good at the whole ‘parallel parking’ thing—and British stunt driver Alastair Moffatt is undoubtedly the best.
On April 22, 2015, the Guinness Book of World Records confirmed that Moffatt had done it: he had beaten the record for the tightest parallel parking job. Driving a Fiat 500C 1.2 Cult, Moffatt slid into a parking space that was 2.95 inches (7.5 cm) longer than his car. The previous record was set at eight centimeters (or 3.15 inches).
“Being a Guinness World Record holder for the tightest parallel park is a dream come true,” said Moffatt said at the time. “I can remember watching ‘Record Breakers’ on TV as a child and hoping I would be able to hold a record someday. This record is one of the more prestigious driving records and I’m delighted to be part of the story of this record!”
Later that year, Moffatt nabbed another record, this time for the tightest reverse parallel parking job:
If you’re looking to compare sizes, 2.95 inches is small. Your kid’s well-loved crayons might be about 2.95 inches. If you cut a dollar bill in half, it would still be longer than the combined gap between Moffatt and the cars around him. It’s about the width of a tie. It is incredibly Not Large.
I have known many a man boast about his parallel parking skills. I have ridden along with many men who have assessed a small gap and said, “Yes, I can make this.” I have not known many men who were as good as he claimed. So, the next time you’re looking to boast about your skills—check it against Moffatt’s record first.