Multi-Colored: 1954 Nash Metropolitan Convertible

By Andrew Tanner

There’s something about tiny cars that almost everyone loves. It seems like they always have more personality! Besides, what could be more fun than owning a car made by a company that also made refrigerators? Although Crosley pretty well had the small car/appliance market cornered, that didn’t stop Nash Kelvinator from making an attempt! Although its been (poorly) repainted at some point, this little Metropolitan is complete, intact, and in need of a loving restoration. Off the road since 1971, this Nash can be found¬†here on craigslist in Indiana with an asking price of $3,750.

The current color scheme of this car is not the best. Though it was originally Caribbean Blue, someone in the past applied a “a very amateurish paint job” over top of the original paint, and left the original interior colors. Though the red and white doesn’t look terrible, Caribbean Blue was a very iconic Nash Metropolitan color and once restored it would look fantastic on this car. This car has all 2 options available: heat and a radio. I don’t know what the original seat color was, but I would hazard a guess that medium brown was not it. However, the seats, dash, and interior panels are all present and intact, and this would be a great candidate for a small restoration (pun intended).

This Nash is not only from the first model year of production, but it is actually one of the first 10,000 units commissioned by Nash from Austin Motor Company, at least according to the ad. Under the hood is the Austin A40 1,200CC inline four cylinder engine producing a whopping 42 horsepower. The seller states that the engine runs, but will need the gas tank cleaned out before it will be operating properly. Although it runs, if one were to restore this car it would probably be a good idea to go through the engine at some point during the process.

As shown here, the home-cooked paint job is peeling in various places, and there is rust visible in the rockers on both sides. If it weren’t in need of rust repair, I would be curious to see if the paint could be scuffed or buffed off down to the original finish. Regardless, this car is in need of a full restoration, and based on the condition of other Metropolitan projects I have seen, this is a good starting point. According to the seller, it needs floor pans, but new ones are included in the sale. Would you attempt this project? Or wait for a better one to come along?

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Comments

  1. S Ryan

    Isn’t the Nash hood ornament worth more than the car?
    Worked on one years ago and remember it being positive ground. Is that correct?
    Thanks

    2+
    • dan

      google says yes

      2+
    • Tony L

      Positive ground was common back then. I’ve owned a couple cars with that. Not a problem.

      0
  2. Righteous Bob

    Electrics by the Prince of Darkness, Lucas

    7+
    • Rabbit

      Loose Unsoldered Connections And Splices.

      5+
    • Pat A

      Why do the British drink warm beer? Because Lucas made refrigerators, too.

      10+
      • Britcarguy

        Not to forget the scariest:

        0
      • Rabbit

        I like yours better, Pat!

        0
  3. Bob

    It has an Austin A40 engine, not the greatest the British had to offer. They are not a bad engine, but they were outdated, and you have to wonder why Nash chose it when there were so many better candidates available.
    These cars were not taken seriously even back when they were being produced.

    1+
    • DweezilAZ

      Because they were built by Austin for Nash.

      0
  4. Peter S. R.

    Weren’t some early cars branded Hudson ?

    0
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Yes, they were. And I believe some were branded “Metropolitan” without the Nash connection as well.

      1+
      • Loco Mikado

        They were produced through 1962, the last 5 years they were just Metropolitan. AMC dropped both Hudson and Nash names in Sept of 1957.

        0
  5. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    Agree with Bob about the problem with taking these Metropolitans seriously, but around my area there’s a lot of car hobbies and car collectors, and I see probably a half dozen of these a year, and most of them are perfect.

    I can understand a personal connection to a car that’s been in the family, but other than that I can’t see the attraction. If someone could explain that to me I’d be much obliged.

    1+
    • JCW Jr. Member

      They are fun. Especially the Convertables

      0
  6. Irish Bill

    These cars have nice engineering but parts are expensive and you get upside down pretty quickly. The horn button which also controls the turn signals cost over $500. Lots of other parts or also very pricey. They are positive ground. I restored a 1961 hardtop as kind of a lark that cost me more than the car is worth and I did most of the work myself.

    5+
  7. AMCFAN

    I think you would have a perfect combination if you cut the body off a Geo Metro and cut the rusty underside of the Met and combine the two.

    You would have a much faster then stock Met making it fun reliable little car that would still get huge economy.

    Bonus, It would still be a Metro too!

    4+
  8. Milt

    Seller states: “Doors all open and close.”

    I sure hope so. It’s kinda important.

    4+
    • JCW Jr. Member

      On a met if the doors do not open and close it is because of major rust. A sign of a good car or a lot of junk.

      0
      • RS

        There is always a day where one or both doors opened yesterday, but don’t today… I would look for a car with a lot less rust than this looks to have.

        0
  9. Windy Lawyer George

    Another case of decimal point misplacement. 2 far to the right by at least 1 or 2 digits.

    0
  10. chris

    I have always liked these things though I have owned and loved a geo metro convertible so I may be a little off (just ask my wife). If it were about half the price, it might be worth the project with the clear understanding that you would never get your money out even doing all the work yourself. You would end up with a fun little car to drive around town.

    I’m curious what is behind the fence in the last side photo just to the left of the trailered MGB. Looks like an old kit car body….

    1+
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Looks like a Volkaro to me (the kit car, not the Nash).

      1+
  11. Chebby

    Weld some pontoons to the sides, add an outboard motor, and head for the lake,

    0
  12. Rustytech

    It looks a little rough, but then so would I had I been abandoned in a barn for 45 years. It looks complete, and should be an easy restoration. As noted above, it will be a labor of love, cause it’s going to cost more then it’s worth.

    1+
  13. Pat A

    There’s a guy in North Hollywood, Ca., that sells NOS and repro parts for these. And has nifty museum collection. And some say that these were the best made British cars of the period, because they were so important to their export market.

    2+
    • DweezilAZ

      Yes. The Pit Stop. They used to sell some Metros as well.

      0
  14. charlie

    GM made refrigerators, too. Frigidaire was a GM product. I had a Kelvinator in college, it had a motor and compressor connected by a fan belt, which would last about a year, I found that the MG B fan belt was the right size and went through three of them in 4 years.

    2+
    • DweezilAZ

      I finally got rid of an old Kelvinator refrigerator. The plaque on it said “Kelvinator” and in small script underneath “Product Of American Motors”. So it was built some time between 1954 and 1967-8 when AMC sold off Kelvinator for so ready cash.

      I refurbished it with new paint and a good clean up. It had been in the shack I bought in Van Nuys and I had kept it. Moved it to AZ with me and used it as a spare.

      It had to go once it started freezing everything and beer and cokes started exploding.

      0
  15. Alexander

    The Metropolitan museum is a treasure. I haven’t been in over 15 years, but it was quite a sight when I went sometime around 1998.

    0
  16. GearHead Engineering

    This is an early car, with the ’56 and later paint scheme added. Can’t tell if they added the stainless trim, but it doesn’t look like it.

    I restored a ’56 ragtop when I was in high school and college. Fun car, and the girls loved it.

    Restored convertibles go for decent money, so this price may not be too bad. Like many British cars, if you see a little rust on the outside, you will find lots of rust on the inside. Be prepared for a lot of welding. I think sheet metal parts are now available – when I did mine we had to fabricate the sills and fender bottoms.

    I would love to have another one. Mine could do 65 all day, and didn’t use much fuel while doing it. Just slow down for corners – these things understeer like crazy.

    The comment about the doors opening is valid. When I first got mine, you couldn’t open the doors if two people were sitting in it. The rust was so bad it would sag in the middle.

    – John

    0
  17. MRE2ME

    The earlier mention of doors open & close is more important than you think as they tend to rot in the door posts,mine did. The place for parts in N.hollywood is called The Metropolitan Pit Stop. A good resource. My 61 ran like a top as a daily driver throughout Canadian winters for 5 years in the eighties. The Lord of Darkness never paid me a visit.

    1+
  18. Pat A

    What’s the resale value on restored Little Tykes cars these days?

    0
  19. Dan

    Drove one in high school….a real piece of junk……but it ran.

    1+
  20. Ron D.

    I guess this one is sold, found one right down the road from me for sale, just like the picture of Bill’s. But the wife has threatened bodily harm if I come home with it.but I do like it.

    0
  21. -Nate

    You actually have to _drive_ one in good nick to understand them .

    This car was originaly Groton Green, not Caribbean Blue .

    I have a battered 1959 Model 562 FHC that’s mostly stock, I blue printed the engine so it flies right along as was closed @ 85 MPH once .

    NO ONE ever paid $500 for even a N.O.S. horn button/trafficator switch .

    met parts are the same as old British Austin/MG parts under the skin and so are _dirt_cheap_ .

    Jimmy Valentine created The Metropolitan Pit Stop in the 1970’s and it’s still going strong .

    We lost him recently but it’s still a family business, tell ’em Nate sentcha .

    -Nate

    0

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