3 for 1: Trio of Metropolitans

The Metropolitan was a small economy car, a subcompact before the term was even invented. It was built in England for American Motors between 1953-61. Early editions would be badged as both Nash and Hudson automobiles and later as a marque of its own. The seller has managed to accumulate three of the little cars, which have been stored for several decades. 1955, 1956, and 1959 are their respective model years. The trio is in Portland, Oregon, and available here on craigslist and $4,500 takes all three. Thanks, Matt H, for a heads-up on one of my favorite AMC cars!

These little automobiles have always fascinated me, although I can’t put my finger on why. While most of the production was destined to North America, some were also distributed in the UK and Europe. The car was first powered by a 1200 cc B-Series I-4 but was quickly upgraded to a 1500cc, which should be in the seller’s three cars if one is present. The Metropolitan would see nearly 95,000 units distributed by AMC in North America, with 1959 being the car’s biggest year at 22,000 cars. After that, production would trickle off as AMC became more interested in peddling their domestic-built new compact, the American.

These three machines are all clustered together in an Oregon barn but how they came to be there isn’t mentioned. Two of the cars look identical, with white tops and turquoise bottom sections. Perhaps these are the 1955-56 editions. The third car looks to be white over black and white. It’s hard to tell the condition of the cars in terms of rust and other deterioration, so my first thought is to ponder whether there is enough here to take the best one or two and rebuild them using parts of the rest. The seller says the titles are clean, but also describes the cars as “salvage”. One Metropolitan is said to have been in running condition before it was stored, perhaps the white/back one, for which an old photo is provided showing it back in the day.

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Comments

  1. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    I remember many years ago when these ran across the block at Barrett-Jackson and brought insane amounts of money. I wouldn’t drive an MGB on the road much less one of these Metropolitans with all the soccer moms talking on their cell phones while piloting over 3 ton SUVs.

    Like 8
  2. Rodney - GSM

    I think when three of these are parked together it is called “A Neapolitan of Metropolitans”.

    Like 31
    • Willie

      Only when the one in the middle one is red with a white one on one side and a brown one on the other :)

      Like 4
  3. Al

    A few years ago someone brought a Met to the Syracuse, NY Nats with a BBC neatly installed and the biggest rear meats I’d ever seen. Beautiful!

    Like 1
  4. Bamapoppy

    As an 11-year old kid I rode in the back seat of my uncle’s turquoise and white one in Houston back in 1964. I found it to be quirky and interesting. A tip of the hat to Russ about piecing them together and Rodney for his neopolitan trio idea!

    Like 4
  5. Bunky

    Years ago a friend of mine bought a turquoise and white ‘59. Quirky, yes. Dependable, not so much. The Lucas electrics got the best of him and he bought a car he could actually drive.

  6. Wd62vette

    What a way to sell 3 cars. 3 really bad pictures. Two of the cars have the 54 – 55 scooped hood, which is incorrect on the black and white car. Best car is the turquoise and white 59.

    Like 2
  7. Metropolitan Historian

    Just another article by Barn finds that lacks proper facts. The first motors were 1200a and manual non hydraulic clutch for the 1953/54 production year. 1955 was a 1200B with Hydraulic clutch introduced as an upgrade. These were marketed to woman and found to be to hard without the upgrade. There are two versions of the 1500 motor. Low compression till 1959 when the external trunk lid was introduced with wing vents in mid 1959. In 1960 the High Compression heads were introduced with the motor. The production of the Car stopped in late 1960. Left over production cars were then sold as 1961/62 models. The very last documented car sold was in 1964.

    As a friend of the designer and also a Historian of this car. I am an authority on the Nash/ Hudson / AMC metropolitan Car offered in both a hard top and convertible.

    Like 8
  8. AMCFAN

    I have thought about building a custom Metropolitan. I have been looking for the right car for quite awhile. It cannot be too nice.

    I have a complete running 1997 Geo Metro 5 speed and working a/c with a badly damaged roof. The plan was to incorporate the two by simply cutting the body off leaving the firewall forward rockers and the rear structure. Sit the Metropolitan body over top of the Geo. The Geo has 4 X 100 mm bolt pattern so wheel choices would be unlimited. Not sure if I would leave the rusty patina. That seems over done since I thought of this.

    What I would have when done is a collector car that would run 70 mph if needed with a/c and achieve 49+ mpg. Anyone that knows a Geo Metro they are very reliable.

    The best part would be: It’s still a Metro. Sorry no room for a Chevy motor here.

    Like 2
    • Bamapoppy

      AMCFAN, you are to be complimented on your idea. That sounds like a mammoth undertaking. I am not mechanically inclined so I supremely admire your thinking. A friend of mine has a Geo Metro he still drives and he says he gets 50mpg. Great little car.

      Like 1
      • AMCFAN

        Bamapop, Thanks. Actually sounds harder than it really is. I have been planning to do this for quite awhile but like everything else life gets in the way.

        I have the perfect Geo for the donor which is the hard part……I think. Non running Metropolitans in project form or a former parts car should be easy. Taking two hopeless cars destined for the scrap yard and making one sounds productive. I guess I should get more serious.

        Like 1
  9. Allan

    Ditch the engine and go electric conversion. Small and lightweight, seems like a perfect match for battery power.

    Like 1
    • Robert L Haworth

      Ca. 2004 I got a ’59 Met hardtop out of Canada that had been slated for electric conversion, but had too much rust for them to consider, so they passed it on. That’s right, there was a company up there converting them almost 20 years ago.

  10. grant

    I really like these and it’s tempting I’m very near Portland… My mother’s first car was a Metropolitan. It was passed down through her brother and sister to her. I believe it was wrecked by her youngest brother. I always thought it would be cool to stuff a turbo Buick V6 into one of these and build a 3/4 scale shoebox hotrod…

  11. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    My wife had a serious girl crush on a Metro after seeing one in a local car museum. She liked the size and the colors, not thrilled about the MT.

    After I explained that it would have a hard time getting up the hill in front of our development, she eased back a little. Plus, without a real perimeter frame underneath, the whole car is a crumple zone.

    So I got her a Miata. Some day she’ll stop enjoying being a passenger, and learn to shift.

    Like 1

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