By on July 25, 2013

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One of the things that makes Murilee Martin’s Junkyard Find series so engaging is not just his fine writing and photography, it’s the elegiac nature of the subjects and their settings. As with any elegy it’s hard to come away without a sense of sadness, at what was and is no longer and at what could have been and never was. I was uploading some images for a post that I was writing and I noticed that Murilee was working on another Nash Metropolitan Junkyard Find. The “little Nash Rambler” is such a cheerful, happy looking car, one that never fails to bring a smile to faces of both their drivers and those who see those drivers motoring around in their Metropolitans, that they look particularly forlorn sitting waiting to get recycled into scrap steel. I thought that some of you might enjoy seeing some Metropolitans that are treasured, not trashed.

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That 1960 Metropolitan that Murilee featured back in May was a very solid looking candidate for restoration, but the truth is that while the car may be cute and while the model may be collectible enough that you see them at car shows, they just aren’t very valuable.

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Right now there are 15 Metropolitans for sale listed at Hemmings, and it looks like you can have your choice of restored stock ones for somewhere between $7,000 and $15,000. It’d probably cost you more than that to restore that solid ’60 in the junkyard.

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Perhaps if the Metropolitans were really small, their owners might be enjoying the current microcar bubble, no pun intended. When Bruce Weiner sold off his museum of microcars recently, they fetched really serious (or really silly from a different perspective) money.

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I suppose, though, that Nash Metropolitans are in a never never land. Not small enough to be a microcar and not as hip as an early Mini Cooper or Fiat 500. Still, like I said, you see them at car shows and their owners love them.

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These Nash Metropolitans were shot at the Orphan Car Show held in Ypsilanti every fall. If you want to find out more about the little Anglo-American car, Aaron Severson does his usual comprehensive job looking at the history of the Nash Metropolitan over at Ate Up With Motor.

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 Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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26 Comments on “Beep Beep! Nash Metropolitans That Are Not Waiting for the Crusher...”


  • avatar
    -Nate

    A car for the times , then and now ~

    When new no one really cared about a two seater that got 40 miles per gallon .

    I’m still driving my ’59 Nash Met Coupe and it still gets 35 MPG’s .

    They were built by BMC , the parent company of MG’s and use many MG drivetrain parts , this makes then easy and cheap to maintain plus they handle far better than most folks realize .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    It must have taken a lot of guts to build and market a car which might be considered the antithesis of everything ’50′s and a strong self-image to drive one. Where the VW was quirky this was just odd

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      AMC then was run by George Romney, who famously derided the finned behemoths of the big three as “gas guzzling dinosaurs”. AMC’s Rambler was the sensible car of the era, and the sporty Metro was cheap enough to offer, since AMC invested no money into plant and equipment.

  • avatar
    Summicron

    American university communities have always been eager to buck the dominant paradigm and they initiated the vast acceptance of the Beetle a few years after the Metro failed. Why didn’t the Metro catch the same wave? Only a 2-seater?

    • 0 avatar
      rnc

      Not just being a two seater, not being “counter” culture enough, my mom said that they had hippies in the 50′s, just called them beet(sp)-necks, where as the beetle screamed “counter”, the Nash screamed “chevy, chopped in half, damn you must be poor and not value your life in a collision”, having a goofy song that pointed it out didn’t help (goofy gold has it).

      • 0 avatar
        Summicron

        I think that’s it…just a weenie American car but still American.

        American universities are to this day shamelessly Eurocentric in most departments and for the great liberal arts cattle-drive beginning in the 60′s *anything* of European manufacture had some panache, even something from those nasty Germermans.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        ‘RNC’ :

        Actually no ~

        They were marketed and sold to the Middle Class Americans , Women specifically as an In Town run about , a thing they were particularly good at .

        Beatniks were a whole ‘nother kettle of fish and they’d not touch a Metropolitan any more than they’d touch a bar of soap or a metronome .

        When new , Mets were very conservative and not ‘ goofy ‘ at ll , just small . staunchly conservative in design and appearance .

        _ALL_ oldies are death traps , the Mighty Met no more , no less .

        I rolled a ’53 VW Beetle @ 85 + MPH and survived , no seat belts either ~ my lucky day I guess as so many died in minor collisions back then .

        Yes , it was the rare ” Zwitter ” Model)

        -Nate

        • 0 avatar
          Summicron

          Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of their period advertising and they were definitely targeted at women. But I still would have thought they’d gain some traction in cramped little university cloisters.

          But the student population then especially in the big state schools wasn’t anything like it would be by the late 60′s so I guess it wouldn’t have been much of a factor even if Metros were popular there.

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    Such nice little cars, at that price I’m tempted to get one myself. If I had a place to put it anyway, which I also need to work on.

    Couldn’t get better pics of the dashes? Love classic dashboards.

  • avatar
    Summicron

    That photo of the engine compartment is uplifting.

    I don’t care what the car, any engine bay pristine like that and FREE OF PLASTIC is a Holie Thinge.

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      ” The strength of 50 Horses ! ” =8-) .

      Everything in and on the engine is tightly compact ~ unless you’re a Foreign Car kinda Guy , you’ll have a steep learning curve working on it , one that includes many swear words and scars on your hands .

      On the plus side ~ it’s a simple thing to swap in some MGA / Midget carbys and really wake this thing up ~

      I just bought an early three main bearing 1800 CC 1963 MGB engine and I can hardly wait to overhaul it and slap it in =8-) .

      The College Kids always seemed to like the decidedly non – American cars back in the day , I’m wrestling with the previous comments about radical College kids now , it’s prolly true in the end .

      -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Jellodyne

      I think you mean Holley.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        Nope ~

        ” Prolly ” is newspeak for ” Probably ” , it saves time when typing .

        BTW : mine has a Weber 36ICT carby with hand massaged jets if that’s what you were thinking .

        -Nate

  • avatar
    cdotson

    Metros weren’t 2-seaters, well, they were/are in the same sense a 911 is a 2-seater. My grandfather had a 57 or 58 through the mid-60s when he was a salesman in downtown D.C. My mom was little then, less than about 10 but remembered riding in the back seat and how much she hated it because she had to get out when they needed anything from the trunk (no decklid). I even think it was a pink & white one.

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      When my Son was 18 , he foolishly followed my footsteps and began dating a sexy psychotic b*tch , one time I had to give her Mother a ride home , Mom’s was Latina , about 5′ tall and 115 # soaking wet ~

      She insisted in riding in the back on the upholstered bench (it’s _NOT_ a seat !) for a good half hour .

      Poor Woman .

      -Nate

  • avatar
    ArBee

    The Richmond, Virginia police had several of these in black and white. They were used by school crossing guards and meter maids.

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      RE : RHD Mets ~

      In 1957 the decision was made by BMC to offer RHD Mets in Jolley Olde Englande under the ‘ Austin ‘ name ~ oddly , no one wanted them , I guess they’d had enough with the stodgy Austin A55 upon which the Met was based…

      So , the unsold RHD cars were shipped to America where they were sold at co$t as ‘ Meter Maid ‘ cars , many went to the Mid West , California etc. .

      -Nate

  • avatar
    red60r

    I remember R&T describing the Metropolitan as “overpowered for its handling and brakes”.
    A co-worker of mine used to have several at a time so he could keep at least one running. At least he had a hobby.

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      The Met has the cutest little brake shoes you’ve never seen .

      To help them work , it has dual leading shoes , this actually works out very well indeed , as long as you have the *special* $9.00 Austin brake adjusting tool and use it regularly .

      As mentioned , I drive my Met rather faster & harder that anyone @ Nash or BMC even imagined and I’ve yet to be able to over drive the brakes .

      I only get 10,000 miles out of the front shoes occasionally , I carry spares as they’re easy to change .

      MG Midget disc brakes are fairly simple to adapt to Mets , you need the spindles and calipers , change one spindle bushing as the Met uses a Met only king pin diameter .

      You don’t even have to replace the master cylinder due to legendary English Engineering =8-) .

      -Nate

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    “Nash Rambler” is an incorrect term for the Metropolitan.

    Rambler was Nash’s compact car, a size bigger, as shown in the imbedded You Tube video. Then, for 1958, AMC made Rambler their single brand name, in place of Nash and Hudson.

    • 0 avatar
      TTAC Staff

      I was using some literary license. If you watch the video all the way through, you’ll see that whoever compiled it, included at least one Metropolitan.

      I happen to think the song is about the Metropolitan. Ramblers, the early ’50s ones an the later Americans were known as pretty fast cars. They were smaller and lighter but had the same engine as Nash and AMC’s larger cars. The song is about a little car that’s *surprisingly* fast.

  • avatar
    KevO

    Hey Nate, I dig your love of Nashes.

    Have you ever thought about writing a piece for TTAC or perhaps Curbside Classic? Especially since you’ve been so active here on TTAC, I bet Jack or Ronnie might run an article for you if you prepped one.

    Your expertise is much appreciated and I’d be interested to hear more about your car of choice.

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      I wish I had some ability to write .

      I’m just a Journeyman Mechanic who also likes to drive as much as possible , I was lucky to grow up in a different time and having been out & on my own since an absurdly early age , I’ve done lots of stupid things that seem to amuse others if not always the Gendarmes or General Public .

      The Met is in many ways , a surprising car ~ diminutive but *very* cleverly designed , it’s also an incredibly _cheap_ car and this causes problems to the owner should you foolishly decide to press it into daily service or worse , make it a rally car or long distance touring rig .I’m guilty of all those and I still love it , it’s noisy and slow (according to me anyway) but handles pretty well , I hear from folks all around the world about ‘ some maniac in a tiny little red car who passed me on the inside corner ‘ or whatever , they send them a flaps down photo of my Met & I tearing up The Mulholland Highway and the response is always ‘ yep , that’s the guy ‘ .

      I have peaked & tweaked the original engine a bit and just now located & purchased a three main bearing 1800 CC MGB engine I’ll overhaul for it .

      Oops ~ too long and repeating my self too I think .

      Sorry .

      -Nate

  • avatar
    dolorean

    Love the Metropolitan for its quirky, weirdness and obvious hipster status. Always wondered if its use in Clueless when Christian, the hottie, hipster and ‘metro’ guy that Cher then finds out is gay, picks her up for a date, is the progenisis of the use of ‘metrosexual’. Also I believe the car that Mr. Incredible crams himself into in the beginning of the Incredibles is an early model Nash Metro.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Good lord ~

    Not Hipsters ! those damn kids (Imagine my tremulous Old Man’s voice shaking if rage/frustration) ruin every damn thing they touch ! .

    Weird Al Yankovic drove his personal Metro in the movie ‘ UHF ‘ .

    BTW : one of The Playmates contacted our Met Club and said ‘ yes , of _COURSE_ the car in Beep Beep was a Metropolitan ! ~ “Little Nash Metropolitan ” didn’t have the right cadence ‘ .

    -Nate


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