Funky 4WD: 1961 Nash Metropolitan 4×4

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m normally a purist by heart. I normally prefer vehicles that are either original or restored to original specs. In the case of this 1961 Nash Metropolitan 4×4, I would have to say that I amend my purist status – I love this thing! This funky 4×4 is listed here on craigslist with an asking price of $8,995 and I believe that it’s in Wilder, Idaho? The seller only gives a city, Wilder, and the area code is 208. Thanks to Rocco B for submitting this fantastic 4×4!

This will be a love it or hate it vehicle, and I’m surprised that I’m in the love-it camp on this Met. It looks like it was well done, very well done, in fact.

Ok, the front bumper could have been done a little better with more of a rounded shape, but other than that I think it’s a bang-up job! This fun 4WD is sitting on a Suzuki Samurai drivetrain but it’s registered (yes, it’s registered and street legal) as a Metropolitan and the seller mentions that it’ll do 70+ mph!

This is a Series IV car, the last of its kind, in fact. Or, the last of its kind for the regular Met. The trunk was new for this generation and there were just under 970 cars sold in 1961.

The interior is even cool! Again, normally I’m a bone-stock sort of guy, but this really looks like a nice piece of work here. Well, other than some errant wires hanging under the dash. I’m not sure why those weren’t routed more carefully given the nice craftsmanship and finished appearance on the rest of this l’il rig. The front seats definitely look more comfortable than the standard issue Met seats, but it would have been nice to have the black and white diamond pattern that ’61s would have had; I would definitely do that if I owned this one. There’s also a nicely-upholstered spot behind the seats for stashing some luggage or groceries, or for a shovel and some sand for winter duties.

This isn’t the 55-hp, 1.5L inline-four from the Austin A50 Cambridge that a person would usually find in a post-1955 Met. This is actually Suzuki’s 1.3L inline-four with around 66-hp. Again, there are some wires under the hood and it would have been nice if they were tucked away or at least routed in a flexible, black wire conduit. But, other than that, it looks like a nice job in fabricating and changing out the engines. What do you think of this custom 4×4? Are you a purist when it comes to unique cars like the Metropolitan or do you like this one as much as I do? Have you ever made a custom 4×4 like this?

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Comments

  1. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    Finally, a good use for all those Metropolitans I keep finding!

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    • JCW Jr. Member

      Where and how much. Would like to do a v8 Met pending wife approval.

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      • Michael

        JC Whitney offered an engine conversion kit for a Metro to use the V6 Buick, back in the 70’s.

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  2. Rustytech

    Scotty. I agree with you 100%. I would never have thought to do this to a Metropolitan, but I like it! Bet you could go to Metropolitan shows for decades and not se another. It looks well thought out and professionally done too. Great find, thanks for posting it even if it wasn’t found in a barn.

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    • peter

      Looking at the snow photos, it is not a barn find but an Igloo find!

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  3. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    Well, for anyone who knows what a Metropolitan is, this should shake things up both on the road and out in the boonies.

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  4. CapNemo

    I’m diggin it! Had a Pinto on a Jeep chassis years ago with a V8. I’ll bet this Metro handles better!

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  5. Wayne

    Let’s hope those wire running through the holes under the hood are all fused, as it wouldn’t take long for them to rub through the insulation. Especially on the rough terrain this was built for.

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  6. Benjamin

    I absolutely love this! Well thought out, and very well built.

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  7. JW

    Love it and an awesome build.

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  8. Leon

    70+ mph ??? I thought Samarai topped out under 70 !!????

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    • terry

      Better aerodynamics.

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  9. Fred W.

    Metro on steroids- with a much tighter turning radius!

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  10. Dairymen

    Sorry I can’t get excited about this. Like putting a flag on a manure hauler. But I guess to each their own.

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    • tugdoc

      I agree, cartoon car or when do the clowns come out!

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  11. Coventrycat

    First one I’ve seen that looks in proportion – no wheels sticking out past the fenders. Like it a lot.

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  12. JCW Jr. Member

    I have a 57 Met Conv. I have had it past 70 even had the 8t mph speedometer so far past 85 that it broke the speedometer. It as well as the new are about 10 mph off. So lets just say I was moving. Fastest Met I have ever had. I do not mind the conversion although I do not think the bumpers and chrome tubes look good and the wheels look akward. If these somehow were redone, so it looked better, I would approve.

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  13. Woodie Man

    Hate to admit it but I think this would be great to own in the mountains…….let the proletariat drive their AWD SUV’s…..I too would change out the bumpers , wheels and seats or at least reupholster the seats a la Metro.

    Kudos to the builder

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  14. Eric Gerren

    This is actually my next door neighbors car. Pretty cute. Wilder is about 45 miles west of Boise.

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  15. Howard A Member

    I get the feeling, the whole room turns around and looks at me,,,,What? The idea of a 4×4 Metropolitan is pure good ol’ US ingenuity ( I wonder how this would be received at the AMC reunion? There, they had a “corral” of maybe 20 Met’s, nothing like this, tho) however, the tires screeched when I read the Samari was used. I believe, the Samari was rated the worst 4×4 to come down the pike. A friend bought one new, and blew 2 motors in 2 years, 2nd one Suzuki refused to replace. Someone did a great job on this. I’d think a limited market, and being a 4×4, someone will undoubtedly use it in the snow, and will begin to rust. That would be a shame. Met’s, in any form, are like Bugeye Sprites, you can’t help but smile when you see one. Just don’t take a corner too fast with this one. They were very easy to rollover.

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  16. Rocko

    What a laugh , thanks .

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  17. Alan

    Cute! I guess. I will cut him some slack on the wiring. It’s gotta be an ongoing source of gremlins, let the next guy figure it out.

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  18. MRE2ME

    Had a 61 convert.-Same colour combo. Almost as much fun as my Miata & would cruise at 70 mph all day. I really like this- If it was the drop top I couldn’t say no. Any body know if the Suzuki parts are becoming unobtainium?

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    • Howard A Member

      Yeah, good luck with that. Suzuki isn’t exactly known for it’s parts network. They couldn’t get parts in the 80’s. The friend of mine that bought one in the 80’s ( see above) when the 1st motor blew after like a year, the dealer had it a long time, claiming the replacement engine was on “back order”. After the 2nd motor blew, they claimed, they couldn’t get the parts, and refused to replace the 2nd motor. It’s probably still decaying behind her garage. In all fairness, I think hers was the 1.0 4 speed, and this is the 1.3 5 speed, which is probably a better unit.

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  19. Tom hetrick

    It was a dark and stormy night when someone yelled “hey I have an idea”! Then we got this!

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    • JCWJr Member

      Had to be beer and or drugs also involved

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  20. Bob C.

    Safety wise, I really don’t think you would want to push that thing past 70.

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  21. Loco Mikado

    Like it. One of the very few modified from original cars that actually looks better than in original form. Got me thinking, bathtub Nash + 4×4 frame =, oh the possibilties.

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  22. John

    It’s a damn good thing this is all the way across the country from me.

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  23. KevinW

    Looks like the wheels were pirated from a couple of boat trailers. Safety issue maybe?

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    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Actually, those are the original Samurai wheels…although yes, they look like trailer wheels. I believe they were called “spokers” in the day.

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      • Loco Mikado

        “White Spokes” and were manufactured for a wide variety of wheel sizes.

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  24. Paul Woods

    Thanks to whoever put our Metro on this site. My neighbor told me about it.
    This car turns more heads than anything I’ve ever seen, both young and old.
    It’s been invited to be at the Treasure Valley AMC Club Show & Shine on May 7th, 2017. If we still have it we plan to be there. If “you” have it they want you there with it!
    Have enjoyed reading the comments.
    Thank you,
    Paul & Marie Woods
    208-283-8727

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