AJ’s Car of the Day: 1961 Nash Metropolitan
Car: Nash Metropolitan
What makes it special: Nash’s Metropolitan was sold from 1953 to 1961. It conformed both economy and subcompact car. In today’s terminology the Metropolitan is a “subcompact”, but that category had not yet come into use when the car was built. At that time, it was variously categorized, for example as a “small automobile” as well as an “economy car”. The Metropolitan was also sold as a Hudson when Nash and Hudson merged in 1954 to form the American Motors Corporation (AMC), and later as a standalone marque during the Rambler years.
What made it famous: Nicknamed the “baby Nash”, the cars were tiny. They had an 85 in wheelbase, overall length of 149.5 in and a gross weight of only 1,785 lb for the Convertible and 1,825 lb for the Hardtop, making the Metropolitan smaller than the Volkswagen Beetle. The two models, a convertible and a hardtop, were powered by the OHV 1,200 cc straight-4 Austin ‘A40’ series engine, driving the rear wheels through a 3-speed manual transmission. January 1959 saw the start of Metropolitan Series IV production. This major redesign saw the addition of an external decklid, since previous models only allowed access to the trunk through the rear seat back and vent windows. By this time, the engine had been upgraded by increasing the compression ratio from 7.2:1 to 8.3:1 giving an output of 55 bhp. The additional features added 15 lb to the weight. Exterior color options were the same as for Series III. The interior now used a diamond pattern for the seats, with white vinyl trim. The MSRP for Series IV models was $1,672.60 for a Hardtop and $1,696.80 for a Convertible.
Why I would want one: It’s cute. There. I said it. There’s nothing else like it, and these will make anyone who sees it smile. Nothing wrong with that at all.
Fun fact: It was designed as the second car in a two car family, for Mom taking the kids to school or shopping or for Dad to drive to the railroad station to ride to work. The “commuter/shopping car” with resemblance to the big Nash, but the scale was tiny as the Met’s wheelbase was shorter than the Volkswagen Beetle.
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