A Castaway? 1958 Nash Metropolitan

What a hoot! This 1958 Nash Metropolitan by the name of “The Minnow” (Gilligan’s Island, anyone?) is running, driving, licensed and insured for street use. It’s listed for sale here on eBay, with a buy it now of $3,000 but bidding starting at $500 with a reserve. You can pick it up and sail it home from Savannah, Georgia, which conveniently enough is a seaport.

image courtesy of oldcarmanualproject.com

As you can see, Nash has some huge plans for the Metropolitan. It was actually manufactured by the British under contract, and you can find a lot of Austin and Morris parts under the skin, including a derivative of the B-Series engine that was used in the MGA and MGB. While 1959 was the best selling year for the little Nash, 13,128 were sold in 1958, with this one being produced in March of that year according to the VIN.

The seller tells us that the bottoms of the doors are the main rust issue, but the car comes with some extras (presumably in better shape). The ad also states that many spares come with the car from a scrapped Metro such as bumpers, doors, glass, door handles, trim, and seats, and that the seller has removed the rear seat of this car to fit their dogs in (but it’s included as well) as they drive around the neighborhood.

The seller also mentions some recent maintenance work, including a fuel pump, shifting bushes and spark plugs, but tells us the brakes are currently “grabbing somewhat.” I did look and find a complete disc brake conversion setup from a Metropolitan restoration parts place, but it’s about half of what this car is going for. There was another setup on eBay that had sold already for $661, and I’m wondering looking at the setup whether or not most of it is straight MG Midget/Austin Healey Sprite parts, in which case you could buy a tired car for what the setups are going for! In any case, I think I’d look at what was there first, because I’m not even sure discs are necessary if you get the drum system working well–you’re not going to set any speed records in “The Minnow” anyway! Do you want to be a castaway?

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Rich Truesdell

    First off, it’s not a Nash. Nash, as a marque/brand, died at the end of the 1957 model year. In 1958 it was known simply as a Metropolitan 1500 by American Motors. The data plate under the hood says American Motors, not Nash nor Austin, the Manufacturer.

    While recognize the post 1957 cars are often referred to as a Nash, this is incorrect. Period literature from the period verifies this fact.

    Posted below is a link to the 1958 Metropolitan 1500 X-Ray booklet, the sales tool for AMC salesmen to sell the car. Attached is the cover. Nowhere in this booklet is the word “NASH” used.

    Here’s the link.

    http://photos.imageevent.com/mmm_mag/newcarbrochures/1958%20Metropolitan%20X-Ray%20Booklet.pdf

  2. packrat

    For beginners: These things were advanced for the time by being produced without the heavy extra frame many other cars had. As noted on the free Metropolitan forum, these things ‘rust from the inside out’. As Jamie noted, this thing is at a (muggy, salty)
    seaport. Lift pictures would be a plus. A professional inspection is in order before purchasing at anything but parts car level.

  3. madbrit

    The disc brake conversion utilizes parts from an MG Midget or Sprite. Since the Midget has its kingpin upside down when compared to the Met, the bushes have to be custom machined. Using the Met steering arms and switching the stub axles left to right, so the caliper is facing forward to clear the Met’s rear steering, completes the conversion. Installing a VW Beetle master cylinder will also give you much safer dual circuit brakes,

  4. Howard A Member

    The poor little Met had so many identity issues. 1st, I believe, the Met was originally the “Hudson Metropolitan”.( Nash merged with Hudson in ’54) American Pickers ran across the “hubcap” lady in Indiana, that had a 1955 Met badged as a Hudson. http://95octane.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/1955_hudson_metropolitan_1.jpg
    2nd, what’s all the hub-bub about disc brakes? Top speed might be 50 ( downhill) with this car and the drum brakes are adequate. Drum brakes worked fine for 75 years, I think you people are being a bit paranoid. Sure, if you are going 75 mph in rush hour traffic, and panic stops are a way of life, then yes, disc brakes are superior. Not on the old putt-putt Met, though. I would, however, convert to a dual circuit master, but drum brakes work just fine.

    • Rich Truesdell

      Howard, your information is incorrect, with regard the Hudson Metropolitan. The Metropolitan was introduced in October 1953 for the the 1954 model year as the Nash Metropolitan prior to the merger of the Nash and Hudson on May 1, 1954. The Hudson Metropolitan got different trim and hubcaps and was sold by Hudson’s dealers. Like with Nash, the Hudson Metropolitan was eliminated at the end of the 1957 model year when the Hudson marque/brand was dropped by AMC when it concentrated on just the Rambler by CEO George Romney.

      Further, the Metropolitan was a Nash design and the first prototype was shown by Nash Motors in 1950. Production ceased in the UK — it was built by Austin for Nash and American Motors — in April 1961 and was sold into 1962 when it was discontinued due to sliding sales. A full four-seat Rambler American (and other US compacts like the Ford Falcon, Plymouth Valiant and the Chevy II) were available for just $100 more.

      Above is the cover for the 1962 Metropolitan, used to sell the leftover models produced in 1961, well into 1962.

    • JCW Jr.

      The drum brakes do a good job of stopping. I do not know where you evet got information that a Met will barely do 50, I have had mine over 70 many times. It is really happy about 50 to 55, but can do 70 with no problem. A few years ago I took the speedometer needle past the end mph and broke it.

  5. Rich Truesdell

    The image didn’t upload for my previous post so I’m posting it here. The brochure was used to sell the final Metropolitans manufactured the previous year. Photos of AMC dealerships in the post 1957 period show Metropolitan signage indication that AMC management, in the wake of the end of the Nash and Hudson lines, saw the Metropolitan as a standalone product. Again no mention in the brochure of it being a Nash and the hubcaps show an “M” not a “N” or “H.”

  6. Ed P

    I think we are splitting hairs here. Most folks remember these with the Nash Hudson Rambler moniker attached. In 56 Packard sold Clippers not Packard Clippers but most do not remember them that way.

    • Rich Truesdell

      Ed P., we’re not splitting hairs, this misconception has gained traction over the years and it’s simply not accurate. After the end of 1957, Nash did not exist.

      With this 1959 Metropolitan, the owner went to the effort to put Nash badges and hubcaps on the car. That is wrong at at a high-end concours, the car should be docked a major number of points as he’s obviously falsified the presentation of his car. I pointed out to him last year when he displayed it, the underhood tag that clearly said American Motors, not Nash.

      It’s pretty simple, if you are being accurate, a 1958 Nash Metropolitan simply doesn’t exist as one was never marketed or sold by AMC that way.

      • Tony

        January 1958 was the introduction of the one piece rear window. The above car has one,,,,,,,,,original.
        January 1959 saw the addition of door wing vents and a trunk lid. The above car doesn’t have one.
        Birth certificate from the heritage trust museum in the UK says ‘Date Of Build’
        November 3 1958

  7. Ron D.

    I know as a boy I have rode in a few,had a couple of relatives that owned them.would be interested in this one, but not one picture of the interior, I’m afraid of what else the dogs did.

  8. JCW Jr.

    Funny there is a 59 Convertable in the local paper tonight.

  9. LAB3

    Minnow? Mud Puppy is a better name or maybe Creek Chub.

  10. DavidL Member

    Some of you all may remember the little Metro that was customized back in the late 50’s to hold a huge Cadillac V-8. I think I saw it run on the White City Drag Strip in Oregon. Flew like a Big ***** Bird though w/ that wheel base I wouldn’t’ have wanted to be riding it. Don’t know how they got everything to fit in it but they did and it seemed to work.

  11. Chuck Foster 55chevy Chuck Foster

    A local guy I know has a coupe converted to a vert, it seems pretty solid, it needs the top clips put on the windshield to finish the conversion, he was wanting $2k, I don’t remember what year it was, but it seemed pretty solid.

  12. MRE2ME

    Had one back in the 80’s,a 61 vert. It would cruise at 70 all day & the gearing got it there pretty quick for a 55 horsepower car. The real weak link on these is the door posts. If those are o.k. it is a fun little car to own & parts available at the met. pit stop in Cal.

  13. Ian Munro

    I am expecting to see several of these metropolitans at our annual “Old Cars in the Park” show this coming Sunday on Father’s Day here in Mission, British Columbia.
    The owners stay in their little group.
    I could be wrong, but I think there is a yellow & white one that pulls a small matching trailer.
    Ian.

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.