Stored Since ’78: 1961 Nash Metropolitan

1961 Nash Metropolitan

Editor Note: This writeup comes from one of our longtime contributors who goes by the screen name “Dolphin”. If you have been following this site for long then you know that his comments are always insightful. We thank him for his dedication to this site. It really would not be what it is today without his support! Now, back to the show…

This little Nash Metropolitan isn’t every car guy’s thrill ride, but in comparison with a lot of cars that appear on Barn Finds it looks to be in very good shape despite being stored in a warehouse since 1978. The seller says it was stored on the 4th floor of the warehouse, and therefore nice and dry, which probably accounts for the lack of rust and the generally good condition. It almost looks like it could be washed, filled with gas, and driven home. The seller hasn’t actually started the engine but says that it turns freely, so it could be an easy job to make it roadworthy. The big question is: Would any of you want to own and drive this little car? Find it here on eBay or in Canton, Ohio.

1961 Nash Interior

The Nash Metropolitan was one of the first ‘personal’ cars to come out after WW2, and it beat the Ford Thunderbird into production by about a year. To be honest, my sports car and hot rod buddies weren’t too impressed with the Metropolitan back in the day, mainly because it had a tiny 4-cylinder engine and, let’s say, underwhelming ‘styling’. The car was actually the first to be marketed mainly to women in advertising, to be used for grocery getting, visiting friends, and similar uses. I think the car guys of the day noticed that and tended to stay away from Metropolitans, favoring sports and performance cars instead. But today you have a good chance of seeing a few Metropolitans at many local car shows, and many of them are owned by men, so maybe something has changed in how car fans see these affordable little runabouts.

Nash Metropolitan

The Metropolitan’s foreign sourcing—it was assembled by Austin in the UK—was another first for an American car. And nearly 95,000 were sold in North America from 1953 to 1962, so it does qualify as a success for Nash. Its leisurely acceleration doesn’t push you back in the seat, but this car seems to have minimal needs, and it is a useable vintage ’60s car with a clear Ohio title. I like the way the seller has presented the car in the listing, and he will even transport the little Metropolitan up to 250 miles from NE Ohio for the cost of gas and food. Any takers?

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Comments

  1. MH

    I’m in the market for one of these for my wife and daughter to drive around in. My son and I will be in 62′ Impala bubble top.

    • bob

      Impala bubble top?

  2. Anthony Br. Anthony Member

    This is the model that I have always wanted but could never afford. You have blessed me with a wonderful memory.
    Be truly blessed,
    Anthony

    • Mike Ramey

      Br.— I too could not afford this car. Ten years ago I had a chance to buy 3 Metros . The plan was to restore one out of three. There is a complete parts supplier located in Burbank Ca. I stopped in to pick up a catalog— they have everything for these cars. On the trip back, I looked at the prices these new parts were selling for. I was floored on how expensive it would be to do one of these and the end result isn’t worth that much. ….

  3. Don Sicura

    While it may not be a Vette or a baby bird, it is one of the first sports cars made in the US, and the price is right (for now). This would be a great start for someone looking for his first collector car.

  4. Jimbosidecar

    I’m surprised in what great shape it appears to be in. And I have seen these with big block Chevy’s squeezed into them.

  5. Greg

    This would be a great first project. It’s a car that people love now, and getting it running shouldn’t be too much of a challenge with parts available for the BMC mechanicals The sight of that Smiths speedo in an AMC product is something!

  6. Clay Bryant

    These are neat cars.I bought one 35 years ago that belonged to a lady doctor and sold it in no time flat.Even went back and sold it again for the buyer as he was moving across country and couldn’t take it with him.I’m paying for long term storage and couldn’t imagine what 35 years of long term storage would cost in a commercial setting so won’t pick anyone apart for an asking price.Good luck if this owner got it on a “Storage Wars” thing.I get a kick out of people that even worry about price.If you follow your heart(with reason)you’ll enjoy life.To be honest,personally,If you create anguish within your mind and body over “should have,could have” things in life,my personal opinion is you can trigger chemical “shocks” in your body that create cancer.RELAX……………………………………………

  7. Brian

    Woww, such a great find. It’s another car that I don’t fit well into in it’s natural state, but on this car, the seats can be unbolted from the floor and moved back with alittle fabrication. I believe that I read somewhere that Nash/AMC actually offered a seat relocation kit to assist larger owner in being more comfortable in these cars! Headroom is rarely a problem in this model. Yes you lose rear seat leg room, but it isn’t much of a sacrifice!

    I’m really surprised that these cars never became more popular, then and now! Just imagine if they had tossed a Nash 6 into them! I had the chance to grab one of these about 10 years ago, but I had neither the extra cash nor storage space at the time. Story of my life!

  8. That Guy

    Chick car then, chick magnet now. Forget your $350K Hemi-powered Murderer GT50000 (one of only 42 equipped from the factory with polished magnesium window cranks, woodgrain-trim console AND limited-edition beveled glass ventwings, per the Guido Sarducci Report), THIS car is what will get you some cutie action.

    But don’t expect it to drive like an MG. The handling is as roly-poly as the styling, from what I understand. And my 4′ 10″, 85-pound grandmother was nearly killed in hers when she was t-boned by a pickup; despite having been a professional chauffeur in the 1920’s, the incident spooked her so much she never drove again the rest of her life. So I have a complicated mix of feelings about these cars, some of which I freely admit is leftover family-induced childhood fear. They are cute as the proverbial button, and exactly the kind of thing I normally gravitate toward, but I will probably never own one.

  9. geomechs geomechs Member

    My dad bought his first Met, a ’60 model, from the local postmaster for $85.00 in 1970. Dad’s idea was to buy 3 or 4 of them and put them all into a parade at one time. His first car was in as good a condition as it could be with one dent along the right front fender that nicely missed the trim. I kept it running and had thoughts of fixing it up completely. Dad eventually bought 2 more, a blue/white ’60 and a beige/white ’61, and my younger brother looked after all (3) when I headed out into the work force. They were typical Chinook Belt cars, with no rust. Lots of potential but Dad tired of having them in his shed and he sold them when he sold out the farm in ’79. The two ’60 models each brought $1500.00 and the ’61 brought $1400.00 (a little rougher than the other two). The total return on his investment was close to 20 times. He thought he did OK. Today, I’d love to have that red/white ’60 back.

  10. gearheadengineering

    First car I restored was a 1956 Metropolitan ragtop. Back in the mid eighties. These are cute and fun. NOT a sports car. Crazy amounts of understeer and body roll that feels like the door handles are dragging. Manage highway speeds with no problem.

    “That Guy” is right on. Total magnet for the ladies. My friend’s brother had a fairly new Porsche at the time, and bragged about how girls liked it. We drove down by the beach in my Met and he was ready to sell the Porsche.

    This one looks nice, although I’m pretty sure that’s not a stock color. In ’78 this was already an old car, and they rusted like crazy. So if interested, take a really good look underneath, particularly the rockers and fender corners.

  11. jim s

    i could see this as an intown daily driver if the price does not go to high. be a lot of fun, maybe try an autocross. but not sure i would want to be on the highway with big and fast vehicles. this car is now located in the rust belt so a PI would be wise. very nice find

  12. DT

    Looks repainted to me and weird reflectors, pretty sure M on hubcaps was originally red. Looks like a solid car though.

  13. Nick

    Lots of performance parts for an Austin A series engine.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      There are a few of these running around with MGB engines in them too! Now that would make things interesting. There is even one that runs at vintage race events over in Europe. Josh and I looked at a nice example the other day that was sitting on a used car lot. It looked very British and very small. They also wanted $7k so we passed.

  14. Graham Lloyd

    I’ve always had cars that were out of the mainstream. Both collector and daily drivers. The Met variants have always intrigued me. I’ve been in the market to add to my collection lately and have been pondering this find in Toronto. Link is below. Looks like a fun little car.

    http://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details.html?adId=1028565821

    • Dolphin Dolphin Member

      If the Met in your link is as good as it looks it should be a better buy than the one on this page, even if it costs a couple of thousand more. The safety check cerificate from Ontario that it comes with is definitely worth having for assurance about roadability and minimal needs.

      If you buy it I think we would all like to know how it turns out.

  15. Barry Thomas

    Dolphin, you must be blushing from that great intro to this story. Looks like a neat find in relatively good shape. I always liked these Metro’s and my Dad drummed it into me that the Americans couldn’t build small cars, so they had to turn to British Leyland for assistance (we had an Austin at the time). And Graham, you should buy the Metro that you mentioned (it would look good next to your GTO).
    Barry Thomas’ “Wheel to Wheel” blog

  16. Alan (Michigan)

    Just under $4200, and with 5 days left in the auction, this might get a tad expensive before the dust is washed off of the car….
    Something I have never seen before is what appears to be a push-button lock at the top of the back seat, which presumably opend down for trunk access. Funny, being so tiny, I had always assumed that these cars were 2-seaters, and never imagined room for anyone behind the front seats anyway.
    Based on the photos, the car was certainly resprayed, and not really carefully either. Witness the covering of things which should not be painted, and the heavy runs in the door jamb. But it might look quite presentable when washed, and perhaps wet-sanded and buffed.
    In any case, it looks like a solid car that could be driven and enjoyed after the standard fluids and rubber parts replacements.
    As far as it being possibly a “Storage Wars” type of find, kudos to the eBay lister if that is the case. Many years ago I bought a motorcycle out of a storage locker, and the attorney for the storage place was required by the state of Ohio to obtain and furnish me with a title for it. Rode it for a little while, and sold it for a profit. Monthly fees for garage #29, which was apparently large enough to have other items and not just the car, could have run $80 – 100 per month. All kinds of reasons for failure to pay or clear out the locker can beset people. Life can be tough. But now this little car gets back out into the sunshine, and hopefully on the road! A good thing indeed.

  17. skibum2

    Brings back memories of my father-in-law, who bought a new one in 1960..had it till he passed away. He talked me into looking for one.. Found a first year car in Everett Washington, in a broken down garage, paid $75.00 for it. Brought it home and discovered that it had a makers I.D. tag that said..Nash-Kelvinator. Kept it a while and when my father in law passed sold it with all his cars. nice memories.

  18. pauline

    want

  19. jimmyrk3

    How do you get two different plates on a car? That couldn’t be legal, even in Ohio in 1961. Pretty solid looking car, Would be fun for cars and coffee….

  20. Dutch 1960

    Stored a car (with some parts and furniture and things) for a bit over 20 years in one of those places. Figured I spent about 20k in that time, on a car that is now worth…about $20k. But I am glad I kept the car, it was worth it.

  21. Scott Allison

    No one’s said it… so I will

    BEEP BEEP! His horn went beep…beep…beep

    • Alan (Michigan)

      We were all thinking it, thanks for doing the deed!

      I’m remembering an “entertainment” article from one of the car magazines, at least 30, probably 40+ years ago, which had one of these competing (and winning) against real race cars. As the story went, no one could figure out how it made enough power, until someone noticed that it sucked some popcorn up the tailpipe! Some sort of forced induction was at work, (hidden in the muffler?) via a reversed flow through the engine. No real explanation was given for how the intake functioned as an exhaust, but it was fun fiction, anyway, and the artist’s graphics were good for grins as well.

  22. krash

    …always liked these…

    ….used to see a black/white Met occasionally cruise by my childhood home with

    the vanity plate “SKUNKS”…

  23. Dolphin Dolphin Member

    50 bids, sold for $8,008

  24. Alan (Michigan)

    I can’t resist posting this here:

    https://www.mecum.com/lot-detail/SC0515-214261/0/1960-Nash-Metropolitan/Automatic/

    What to do when you find a Metropolitan…..

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