By on May 22, 2013

13 - 1960 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI find 1960s cars in self-service wrecking yards all the time, but the last time I saw a Nash Metropolitan in this type of yard was, I think, in 1983, at the long-defunct U-Pull in east Oakland. I went back to the East Bay last weekend to visit family and decided to visit some of my favorite yards while I was there. I thought maybe I was hallucinating from the 90-degree heat and the endless rows of Tauruses, but no— this is a rust-free, complete Metropolitan!
19 - 1960 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen cars like this end up high-turnover self-serve yards such as this one in Newark, California, most often they’ve been through an auction process and no bidder was willing to pay a price likely to be barely better than scrap value. This particular junkyard chain will attempt to sell complete collectible cars before placing them out for parts sales… and nobody was interested in this Nash at that point, either. What I’m trying to say is that this car had at least two (and probably more) chances for a reprieve, hundreds of car freaks took a look at it, and nobody cared.
07 - 1960 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThat tends to call into question the common perception that rough-but-restorable examples of these little Nashes are worth big bucks in the real world. This one looks like a solid car, no rust that I could see, all the glass and most of the trim still present, and the drivetrain pretty much intact.
15 - 1960 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe interior is trashed, of course, and perhaps there’s suspension or frame damage that I didn’t see. But still, how is this possible?
05 - 1960 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, MGB (and early Hindustan Ambassador) owners, this engine sure looks familiar.
14 - 1960 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOver the years, I have known three non-car-expert individuals who took on Nash Metropolitan projects (because they were “cute”) only to give up a year or so later when it turned out that cute old cars require just as much work to get running as rusty old pickups… especially when they were built in England (one of these was a guy who had some idea he could convert his basket-case Metro to electric power). I assume that there is a large population of fixer-upper Metropolitans being passed around from clueless owner to clueless owner; some wind up in the hands of those who know how to fix them, while others end up at places like this.
11 - 1960 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’ve always liked these cars, but I prefer a somewhat larger Nash.

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33 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1960 Nash Metropolitan...”


  • avatar
    Zackman

    Along Missouri state highway 94, east of Hermann, there used to be a graveyard of sorts of Metropolitans. Some guy had enough land that he collected them. Many appeared to be in the shape of this one. I doubt it’s still there, as that was many years ago in the 1980s.

    I used to think it would be cool to own one of these, but the more I would look one over, the less I actually desired ownership.

    Glad I felt that way. A Cavalier or Sunfire convertible would be a finer vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick

      Always interesting finding these one make/car guys. Over the years I’ve found people hoarding startlingly large collections of:
      - 1st gen Toronadoes
      - Hudson Hornets
      - Sunbeam Imps
      - Chevy Nomads, and
      - Kabinenrollers (I kid you not)

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Actually ;

    It prolly wasn’t offered for sale as I occasionally find one just like this in a self service junkyard and they rarely have titles so they simply get put in the rows where , as you can see , some one rapidly cherry picks them rendering the remains worthless .

    You are correct , this is a very nice car ~ most have serious rust issues and I can clearly see nice floors in this one .

    It’s a doggone shame as Metropolitans are in fact , very good drivers as long as you’re in no real hurry .

    The sad truth is : they were wretchedly cheap in build quality in spite of an amazingly clever design .

    The cuteness factor is why so many are still stashed away in garages or , more often rusting to junk in the grassy back yard .

    I wish I had the time to go grab some parts off this one as I can see plenty of good stuff left .

    The 1500 C.C. engine was an MGA engine , also used in Austin A50 & A55′s .

    I’ll be flogging my ’59 Metropolitan FHC through the Central California Farm to Market back roads this weekend .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      As soon as I saw this headline and accompanying photo, I thought of you.

      This sort of persuades me that the Nash is one of the most distinctive vehicles to have ever been hatched.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Nash much like hudson had stellar design work. I saw a dutch derring original at a show maybe a decade ago. The cars were great but aging in appaearance vs the Ford/Buick/Chevy/Pontiac onslaught. They kept the 30s/40s body style too long. The metropolitan is a fun example of niche vehicles that were advertised as city cars for women. The only issue I ever saw eith them was they have no room for modern adults. Weight besides if you’re over 5’10 you’re doomed in those vehicles.

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          Wrong ~

          I’m 6′ tall and over 200 # , have a broken back and serious sciatica problems and I fit in there just fine and find it very comfy .

          I replaced the crappo soft shocks (remember please : American car ride back then was all about plush) with Bilstein HD’s in back and white KYB gas in front , it handles pretty dang well , I run away from many Sports Cars in the twisty bits once I get it up to speed ~ that’s the real rub : they have a 50 HP +/- engine and very low gearing , I now have 3.72 final drive and the biggest Michelins I could squeeze under the back end to make it cruise @ 65 ~ 70 MPH .

          Sadly , most junkyards look at everything from a dollar / pound scrap value so they wind up crushing all manner of nice old and new vehicles .

          -Nate

  • avatar

    Wow. I can’t believe someone would junk this instead of putting it on ebay.

  • avatar
    I've got a Jaaaaag

    Personally I think it is better for a car like this to end up in a Self Service Junkyard instead of some automotive hoarder’s back 40 to rust away to dust because he will get to it someday.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    This post reminds me of classic dementia. “I’ll show him that a Cadillac is not a car to scorn.”

  • avatar
    GTL

    That one is the same color as the one I had in high school in the late ’60s…but newer in that it sports a trunk lid (access to the trunk in mine was through the rear “seat” back).

    My father had a succession of these he restored to some degree, but these do not command high dollar. The last one he had, I sold it for him, was a relatively rare ’58 model that looked and ran good,with a nice interior, although it was far from perfect. Tried to get $5k, but finally let it go for $3200.

    These cars were made in England for the American market through Nash and they combined the worst of American and British cars of the time. Overly soft suspension and extreme body roll, bench seat and shifter on the column (actually in the dash) to fit American preferences of the time and all the joys of Brit electrical systems and sad build quality of British Leyland.

    Interesting cars, but not what you would consider very desirable.

    • 0 avatar
      ExPatBrit

      The Metropolitan was a British Motor Corporation product , BMC was not part of Leyland at that time.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s a fairly desirable car from Nash in that period. Frankly the folks that love these wouldn’t find a Hemi Cuda all that desirable. They are quite desirable to the right people and one like this (even without a title) would be worth more than scrape value. I hope it is able to save a couple of other ones that are more appreciated by their owners.

  • avatar
    mechimike

    I’ve got a Metroplitan in my backyard…resting in pieces. A previous owner sliced the car in half for a project that apparently became aborted. The engine and trans were long gone, and floor pans rusted out. I gave the remaining shell a place to sit next to our fire pit, where it serves as a neat conversation piece and a seating bench for the fire. My wife painted it two-tone- cream over purple- and it does look pretty cool.

    Sad this car won’t be restored, or used as a body donor for a much rustier car. As I recall, these cars returned nearly 40mpg, which could have made someone an interesting and economical little commuter.

  • avatar
    Neb

    I think the Metropolitan be one of those very few cars that not only gets lots of attention, but gets lots of female/not interested in cars attention. Fully restored, they are adorable, like a baby duck video on youtube.

    I’m guessing this one sat in a garage for years until whoever owned it died.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    I’d rip out the wiring, install a generic hot rod harness, and throw in a Miata drivetrain.

  • avatar

    There is an orange and white one advertized on E-Bay today in Texas with 54K at $25, 000.
    I think there is a niche market out there where the best cars demand a premium. Just my 2c worth

  • avatar
    corntrollio

    “Yes, MGB (and early Hindustan Ambassador) owners, this engine sure looks familiar.”

    Long live the infamous and famous Morris Oxford.

  • avatar
    alainrw

    i have some pictures of this exact car somewhere, i was at that yard a couple weeks ago. the geo metro-amino that was by it was also pretty sweet! diamond tuck suede dash in it haha! and yeah, not something i’d ever expect to see at that yard.

  • avatar
    wmba

    http://www.caranddriver.com/features/inside-the-nash-metropolitan-restoration-shop-feature

    From 2011

  • avatar
    PolestarBlueCobalt

    How is there already an Aveo in a junkyard??? Don’t tell me “because they’re crap” because I know, but the oldest Aveo is only 9 years old! that’s 2004 at the earliest. An aveo like that could be sold for way over 3k, unless the engine blew, or the rear end had a huge hit.

    Was someone too lazy to try and sell it? We will never know…

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      A lot of the people who buy cars like the Aveo do so because they drive a lot of miles. So it is possible that a 9 year old car could have 250K or more on it and a relatively inexpensive fix would be more than the car is worth.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    A guy here in town owns two metropolitans, a convertible and a rare 61 hardtop. I’m not sure what year the ragtop is, but both cars feature Ford Lima engine swaps. The owners says that it’s a common swap for these cars.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    FWIW ;

    Metropolitans are NOT RARE ~ the end of production was in 1961 and it took them over a year to sell off the left overs , thus is why there’s so many titled as 1962 year models .

    They made _two_ station wagons as test mules , a good idea that would have helped sell lots more ~ I know the man who saved and restored one of them .

    Engines from Pinto , Chevette and various Datsuns are all the most popular , I have a friend who shoe horned a Honda V-Tec engine into one .

    Big engines invariably make the car undrivable .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Moparman426W

      I know that metropolitans in general are not rare, but I always assumed that hardtops were because I never see one. The hardtop that I was referring to here in town is the only one that I can recall actually seeing in person.

  • avatar
    Nick

    Someone please save this car! I love these things.

  • avatar

    If my boss were to see this he will buy it in a heartbeat. I hope is not too late for the car, and that people from salvage yard take a second look and save this jewl.

    I wonder how much they will want for the entire vehicle


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