Pint Sized Project: 1954 Nash Metropolitan

pint-size-find-1954-nash-metropolitan

Americans have always loved their big vehicles, but after WWII a few companies saw the need for smaller affordable cars. One company saw some success with what they labeled as “Personal Transport” vehicles. That company was Nash and the car was the Metropolitan. This 1954 Nash Metropolitan has been parked in this barn for the past 10 years. It hasn’t been run in the past three years, but should make for a fun pint sized project. Take a look here on eBay where bidding starts at $3,900.

pint-size-find-1954-nash-metropolitan-engine

The Metropolitan was often called the “Baby Nash”, which is an accurate description, as Nash designers based the design off of their bigger cars, just scaled down. Automotive journalist of the time were often surprised by the brisk performance the 1.2 liter straight-four provided. It wasn’t blistering fast, but for a compact car that was capable of 40 mpg, it was surprisingly fun to drive. With a little work, this one could be fun for quick trips to the store or those Sunday drives!

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Comments

  1. Matt

    somewhere I have an article on the Metropolitan… clipped it out of Motor Trend I think, back in the 70s… funniest car article I ever read. Now I’m gonna have to go find it :-) This one is good too… http://www.macsmotorcitygarage.com/2013/02/05/another-look-at-the-nash-metropolitan/

  2. Richard V.

    Interesting read, Matt – thanks for the link! I used to work on these when I owned British Car Service in Southern California, then in Eureka, Northern California, cool little cars.

  3. paul

    Funny, I don’t recall ever seeing these with the hood scoop & over the years I’ve have seen many. Maybe the scoop was on an early year & then removed for the later years.

    • twwokc

      Paul, I think the very early ones had the scoop, Don’t see too many of them.

  4. rancho bella

    Funny how many of these survive today. I reckon people felt guilty about crushing a cute car……

  5. skibum2

    Bought a Nash-Kelvinator in Everett Washington and truly found it in a barn downtown. My father-in -law bought a new 1960 and he helped me figure out mine. When he passed , we found two complete cars in parts in his attic. What a guy..

  6. Grant

    We had one for many years as an everyday car here in SOUTH AFRICA where it was called an AUSTIN METROPOLITAN. It had the 1500 BMC B series engine, and was “dangerously Quick” in the handling department! We simply used all our classic cars (mostly British and French cars) as every day cars, and only some 5 years ago, did we venture into the new car market (2003 CITROEN BERLINGO and CITROEN C1) since the parts for our older cars are getting very hard to come by, and almost as expensive as new car parts! Our collection of classics are now used sparingly as weekend fun cars. I still have the idea to take my 1949 FORD PREFECT on a 2000+km drive back to Port Elizabeth harbour to photograph it 64+ years after it first landed in this country. I am the second owner, and have had the car for almost 30 years, and it still only shows just over 50 000 miles on the clock! It has however had quite a few engine changes over the years, as the little side valves were not very long lived if services were not done every 1000 miles, as this one which came from the dusty desert region of South Africa.

  7. David G

    Drove one of these in the 1980s as a daily driver. Just as others mention, loads of ‘cute fun’. My mistake was attempting to use it as a daily driver since out here on the speedy *hot* freeways of CA, its little 1500 Austin engine just couldn’t remain durable. Did 2 valve jobs within 10000 miles due to a vulnerability in the cylinder head design – 2 exhaust valves side-by-side in the center! At modern driving speeds, handled like a wet noodle around curves due to its high-centered center-of-gravity, NARROW tire footprint distance side-to-side, and NO anti-sway bars, by design. But those were still really good days since at that time in my youth, having a car that charmed dang-near every lady i came in contact with definitely a good thing…

    • Grant

      A little trick here in South Africa, was to exchange the cylinder head with a Datsun 1500 head which was freely available, and had a slightly better design, and was more durable and with less tendency to overheat and burn valves. It was a straight swop, since the Datsun engine was pretty much a copy of the AUSTIN unit, and with little difficulty, the whole engine could be made to fit. The Austin unit gave about 50 hp, while the Datsun unit gave about 56 hp, and was a little more flexable at speed….not that you wanted too much power in a Metropolitan any way, but it did solve the problem of motorway cruising to some extent. All one really should do with everyday classics, is to use them within their capabilities…. they were never designed to travel at the sustained speeds we expect today. I suppose, as the name implies, the METROPOLITAN was meant to be a town car!! P.S. here in ZA the later cars did have the option of anti roll bars from the Austin A55.

  8. MGDOC

    My wife wanted one badly when she was in high-school but her dad said tha they were too small and therefore dangerous. Strange, as I have never seen one in any kind of accident. The hood scoop was standard on the very early models. Interesting story, I read somewhere that the Metro was imported into the USA without the windshield wipers installed. they were sent to the dealer separatlly, therefore not officially a “complete” car and exempt from import duty. I do not know if it was true.

    • twwokc

      Frank Spring was killed in one on what is now I-44 in Oklahoma in 1959. Mr. Spring was with Hudson for many years and was responsible for the Hudson Italia.

  9. Richard L Gugenberger

    in 1964 a girl offered me hers for $ 300 .00 it had 23000 k on it . I bought an 1958 Buick in stead . wish I had either one now ! Cars that is not the girl !! lol

  10. DanaPointJohn

    When I was a kid living in La Jolla we had a Yellow/White Metropolitan. What a fun little car!

  11. Chris A.

    Fellow across the street bought one of these as he had a real thing against anything german. Their son and I were small then so his sister had to sit on our laps when their mom drove us to school. Four people in a Metro really was pretty funny at the stop light. Tiny wheels and tires if i remember right. But it was a tough little creature and it actually had a heater and defroster for winter. You could park it anywhere.

  12. Gerry

    My mother must have been real sporty in her Metro as she drove around Gilbert SC. She and my dad went from “met” to “married” in about five weeks and stayed together until my father passed away in 2010. My mother, who had Alzheimer’s, died a year later.

    My father really disliked that car! Anyway, here’s a picture from way back when.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v239/k7lro/Leon%20Edwin%20Elam/GetawayCar001.jpg

    • David G

      Priceless photo Gerry, thanks for linking it. Love the ‘Slow, watch for curves’ addition to the car’s Just Married regalia so oft seen in those days. -A very astute caution for a Met-powered getaway since they were so dang roll-y!!!

    • paul

      Very cool.

  13. Chris A.

    Great pictures, good memories. I miss seeing cars all decked out with the wedding decorations. Look at those baby buggy wheels and white walls. Still a cute car that’ll bring smiles.

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