Disclosure: This site may receive compensation when you click on some links and make purchases.

30-Year Barn Dweller: 1959 AMC Metropolitan

The Metropolitan was an English car intended for the U.S. market. Nearly 100,000 were imported between 1953 and 1961, giving the VW Beetle some competition. They were interesting little cars that fascinated me for some reason back in the day (but less so now). This 1959 Metropolitan with Nash badging is one of at least 14 vintage cars being sold out of a bar in Valley Center, California. The asking price is $2,850 here on craigslist and you may have to help dig it out. Thanks for this pint-sized tip, T.J.!

These cars may have been the first imports to be sold at dealerships that catered to U.S.-built automobiles. The Metropolitan had seating for just two people and was built on AMC’s behalf by Austin Motor Co. At first, they were sold with either Nash or Hudson badging, but just Rambler later on. Earlier examples used 1,200-cc inline-4 engines which were upgraded to 1,500-cc in subsequent years. The seller’s car is from 1959, the maker’s best year in terms of sales (22,000 units).

The sketchy information provided by the seller of this Metropolitan has a list of at least 13 other cars that are in the barn. They include 2 MGs, 3 Fords, 2 VWs, and one each of a Porsche, Jensen-Healy, Sunbeam, Fiat, Jaguar, and Austin Healy. They all seem to be on the block as the result of a probate sale. This Nash and the others may have been in storage for 30 years and have layer upon layer of dust and dirt on them.

One photo of the Metropolitan shows that it was once white and yellow in color and could have once been a display car. But it likely has fallen on hard times ever since and may need a complete restoration. It was last registered in 1974, so its hibernation might be longer than the others.


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    $50. I could use the engine.

    Like 5
  2. bagadonuts

    The other cars in the barn?
    One appears to be a Porsche 914. Can’t make out what the rest are.

    Like 1
    • Mark Ruggiero Member

      According to the list and the listing, there are a variety. The interesting thing to me is, other than the 914, this Metro is the most expensive car in the list!

      Like 1
    • FrankD Member

      The first car looks like a Alfa or Ferrari.

      Like 0
    • TM

      I believe the car in the foreground is a Jensen Healey.

      Like 2
  3. Boatman Member

    It’s not an AMC Metropolitan, Russ. NASH.

    Like 9
    • Joe

      I’ll go with Russ. Nash and Hudson were gone by 1959. AMC makes more sense.

      Like 6
      • Boatman Member

        It might make sense, but it’s not what the car was called.

        Like 2
      • TheOldRanger

        From 1958 to 1962, the Metropolitan was under the AMC banner. 1954-1957 it was Nash. When I was a kid, we called this a “kiddy car”.

        Like 2
      • tadah23 Member

        The NASH Metropolitan that I owned in the mid 90s wasn’t titled as an AMC. It’s 1500 cl engine was taken from the MGA (of 1956)(72hp) and has the same transmission (with the first gear missing). The rear gear is a 4.11:1. It’ll zoom up to 60 (which is it’s top speed) mph in only 22 seconds. However, it’s time to go time to get the quarter mile is only 21.9 seconds. During the time I had one, parts were available at a reasonable price

        Like 4
      • Bob19116

        The Metropolitan was created by Nash, as the Nash Metropolitan. When they merged to form AMC the Nash & Hudson names continued for a couple years so AMC also marketed the car as the Hudson Metropolitan. When the brands Nash & Hudson were discontinued in late 1950’s, AMC dealers sold it just as the Metropolitan (by AMC) as its own make, not as an AMC model. Same as Chevys are GMC products but you do not say you have a GMC Chevy as Chevy was a make name but it is Chevy by GMC.

        Like 1
    • MikeH

      From 54 to 57 it was a Nash or Hudson Metropolitan, depending on the dealership from which you bought the car. After that Metropolitan was a stand alone brand with no Hudson, Nash or AMC in front of it.

      Like 1
  4. John

    The other red car is a Jensen-Healey Roadster. 74.5 or 75 model.

    Like 4
    • FrankD Member

      Gold Star, you are correct! I was thinking Alfa or Ferrari only because of that black bumper, small trunk fairing and round tail lights.

      Like 0
  5. JustPassinThru

    American Motors’ permanent search for the perfect City Car.

    Started with the Nash Rambler – and actually, all things considered, it was a success, running, in three (4, if you consider the 1961 reskinning a new) generations. But that wasn’t small enough for size-obsessed George Romney…liberated from George Mason’s restraints by that time.

    Even back then, AMC was short of coin. So, they turned to England, where Austin had some surplus capacity. Even then, union strife was rising and quality falling. But, however it went, a deal was struck.

    It was crafted for size and off-the-shelf small parts. The body was worked to fit around the styling of bigger Nash models. It was to be breakthrough only for size, family resemblance, and affordability – generic CAR to take to the train station in a short morning and evening commute.

    Elsewhere we saw comments on a preserved Hornet – a practical car in its time, reasonably attractive, reliable as any, but with absolutely no standout features and little public interest. This is the same, exponentially. The Metropolitan is something to point to, when one of your anti-car friends bemoans how it is that you just can’t buy a PRACTICAL SMALL CAR.

    Here’s why: They don’t sell; and when done, most times, to meet the price target – which is expected by the relatively few buyers in that market – chassis designs have to be simple, and the results underwhelming.

    Like 4
    • PaulG

      Funny, your comment on to the train station struck a nerve.
      In the early 90’s I was long distance dating my now wife who at the time lived in N. VA and commuted into DC daily. Her car was an 89 Mazda MC-6 / a terrific car but the parking lot at her apartment complex was nearly full of stripped down Toyota Corrola’s; in fact I believe more than any dealership had at one time.
      Every morning off they went either to the train station or the city, almost parade like…
      This little Metropolitan should be a fun project for someone, even as a tow behind an RV

      Like 3
  6. Big C

    From show car to barn find relic. How time marches on.

    Like 3
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      Big C,

      Not the same car as the one shown in the placard’s photos. That one is a convertible, the one featured here is a coupe, with a steel roof that looks like kids have danced on it, caving the roof inwards. Metropolitan coupe roof panels have a lot of curvature to them and it will probably be easier to brace the door openings and windshield header, then cut the top off and replace it [MIG welded] with a good used one.

      I’ve owned a few of these, and worked on many more. When I saw the side view photo I grimaced a little bit, as that rocker panel and the bottoms of the front & rear fenders should be 100% flat across. In the photo the rocker panel is too short [top to bottom], hence the fender bottoms are slanted.

      It may be a California car, but I would be very concerned about body rust, as these DO rust badly, and they are unit-body. Body parts are available, but it’s a lot of work to replace the rusted metal correctly.

      Like 1
  7. Tony K

    A little Nash Rambler was following me…
    Beep beep beep…
    Thanks for getting that tune stuck in my head 🙄

    Like 7
    • Erich

      Wow, never heard of that song before but a trip down the rabbit hole and I found it! Hopefully being stuck in my head now will relieve some of your pain. Lol

      Like 3
    • Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

      Hey Buddy, how can I get this car out of 2nd gear.

      Like 2
    • Bob19116

      The Song “Beep-Beep” was about a compact Nash Rambler, not the much smaller Austin Healey built sub-compact Nash/Hudson/Rambler/AMC Metropolitan. The Nash Rambler was the early 1950’s American built compact car with a back seat that could carry 6 people if a few were children. The Nash Rambler was upgraded to open wheel wells and became the 1st gen Rambler American in the late 1950’s.

      Like 2
  8. chrlsful

    they say 2 wagons were made, one survives. Wouldnt ming THAT~

    Like 1
  9. James Sacramona

    There is a Jaguar listed in the barn find listed with the Metropolitan what is the Jaguar thank you Jim

    Like 1
    • Chris

      James, from what the listing states it’s a Daimler 3.8 Sovereign but from what I recall from other listings this person has had it had all the looks of a 60’s 3.8S.

      Like 0
  10. Ken Fulton

    The barn needs to be in a barn.

    Like 0
  11. Healeymonster

    I restored one of these awhile back for a fella. I found a wonderful little Metropolitan museum/parts house in Los Angeles. Its run by a very nice young lady that took over the buisness that her father started. They had both new repop and used parts available. So if they are still around, getting this one back on the road should be easy enough. Simple cars really. And they were Nash Metropolitan. Nobody ever called them AMC metros.

    Like 3
  12. George

    The placard is not the same car as the pictures. The car in the pictures is a hardtop, not a convertible. Someone has been break dancing on the top and hood.

    Like 1

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.