Strange: the Nash Metropolitan

Nash Metropolitan
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The Nash Metropolitan was designed by the Americans, built in England and is less than 4 meters long. Production started in October 1953, with the first shipment of cars arriving in the US a few months later. Over the next eight years, more than 95.000 Metropolitans were produced and sold under the Hudson, Nash, Rambler, and AMC brands.

1954-1956 Metropolitan (1e series)

The Nash Metropolitan had the front and rear-wheel drive engine, but a self-supporting body. This unibody design, produced by Fisher and Ludlow from England, was developed at a time when many manufacturers were still working with a load-bearing chassis with the carriage bolted on top. The drive and suspension were supplied by the Austin Motor Company, which also did the final assembly.

Little compression

The 1,2 liter four-cylinder engine was from an OHV with a compression ratio of 7,2: 1. This low compression allowed the Metropolitan to run on low-grade petrol. The car had a manual three-speed gearbox, with the lever mounted on the steering column.

Also as a convertible

Metropolitans were offered as convertible and hardtop models, with standard features that were optional on most cars of the era, including power wipers, cigarette lighter, interior map lighting and a deluxe continental rear-mounted spare wheel. The trunk was accessible through the rear seat. While an AM radio, heaters and whitewall tires were listed as optional extras, it appears that all Metropolitans were factory fitted with these luxuries.

The fusion

Shortly before the Metropolitan was launched, Nash-Kelvinator merged with the Hudson Motor Car Company to form American Motors Corporation. Halfway through 1954, the metro was launched as both Hudson Metropolitan and Nash Metropolitan. When sold by Hudson dealers, hood and grille emblems and horn caps identified them as such.

1956-1959 Metropolitan (2e series)

In January 1956 the Metrpolitan was fitted with Austin's 50 cc A1500 engine. A higher 8.3: 1 compression resulted in an increase in power to 52 hp. A heavier clutch was also fitted. The hood, grille and stainless steel side strips that separated the two-tone body colors were also new. The interior received a facelift, with a black dashboard replacing the previous body-colored dashboard. In 1957 the names of Nash Metropolitan and Hudson Metropolitan were discontinued as the Metropolitan became a standalone model.

The Austin Motor Company acquired 1956 in December the rights to sell the Metropolitan in non-North American markets. By adapting the interior and the engine compartment, both left and right-hand drive models could be made.

1958-1962 Metropolitan (3e series)

There were a number of changes for 1959, including a glove box door, seat adjusters and window openings. Halfway through the year, models had a boot lid for the trunk and tubeless tires. The last Metropolitans were equipped with the A55 Austin engine with 55 hp. Although production stopped in 1960, store daughters were sold two years later.

Competition from Detroit's Big Three, and also from their own compact American model, led Rambler to halt production in 1962.

The survivors

With a fairly high survival rate out of the 95.000 copies produced, even good Metropolitans are still fairly easy to find. Our very neat fashion model is at Venema Classics in Drempt.

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