The Truth About Cars » austin http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 14 Sep 2014 15:36:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » austin http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1957 Nash Metropolitan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/junkyard-find-1957-nash-metropolitan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/junkyard-find-1957-nash-metropolitan/#comments Wed, 24 Jul 2013 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=496832 When we had a 1960 Nash Metropolitan Junkyard Find a couple months back, you may have thought “Well, that was a once-in-a-lifetime occasion!” As it turns out, finding examples of the little Austin-built proto-AMC commuter in cheap self-service wrecking yards isn’t difficult at all— here’s another one, discovered at a yard in Denver. This one […]

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16 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen we had a 1960 Nash Metropolitan Junkyard Find a couple months back, you may have thought “Well, that was a once-in-a-lifetime occasion!” As it turns out, finding examples of the little Austin-built proto-AMC commuter in cheap self-service wrecking yards isn’t difficult at all— here’s another one, discovered at a yard in Denver.
12 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one is much rougher than the ’60 in California; it’s not very rusty, but its paint has been well-nuked by many decades in the Colorado sun.
02 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou can smell the decaying horsehair through the glass of your computer monitor.
05 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe BMC B engine, a larger-displacement version of which went into the MGB, looks intact.
15 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWorth restoring? No way. Still, some good parts await pulling by owners of nicer Metropolitans. In fact, the trunk contained some NOS Pleasurizers.

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Junkyard Find: 1960 Nash Metropolitan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/junkyard-find-1960-nash-metropolitan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/junkyard-find-1960-nash-metropolitan/#comments Wed, 22 May 2013 13:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=489176 I 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 […]

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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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Adventures In British Leyland Marketing: You Ain’t Seen Nothing Like the MG Maestro Yet! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/adventures-in-british-leyland-marketing-you-aint-seen-nothing-like-the-mg-maestro-yet/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/adventures-in-british-leyland-marketing-you-aint-seen-nothing-like-the-mg-maestro-yet/#comments Wed, 16 Nov 2011 19:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=418436 Even though I’ve never been in a Austin/MG Maestro, I feel fairly confident in stating that the Rover Group’s little front-drive compact was unexciting at best. Still, the advertising folks must have though (after 11 rounds of Singapore Slings down at the pub) we can make it look cute and sexy! You decide. Bachmann-Turner Overdrive […]

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Even though I’ve never been in a Austin/MG Maestro, I feel fairly confident in stating that the Rover Group’s little front-drive compact was unexciting at best. Still, the advertising folks must have though (after 11 rounds of Singapore Slings down at the pub) we can make it look cute and sexy!

You decide. Bachmann-Turner Overdrive plus models in post-apocalyptic/crypto-punk outfits plus a general jittery sense of enforced silliness equals… big sales? Not really. The surreal touch of having the post-chick-consumption car say “BURP!” with a Mylar balloon poking out of the trunk adds something special, though.

You want happy silly instead of grim silly? Those ad hucksters should have gone to Japan for some education in making miserably underpowered small cars look fun. For example, pick just about any Starlet ad.

Or they could have talked to Renault’s UK-market ad agency about combining music and babes to make a boring commuter car look exciting. Poor British Leyland. Hey, do you think the Maestro had any Whitworth fasteners?

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Town Car Comes To A Halt At 490,789 Miles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/town-car-comes-to-a-halt-at-490789-miles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/town-car-comes-to-a-halt-at-490789-miles/#comments Wed, 01 Sep 2010 14:30:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=364350 Here at TTAC, we just love to talk about the Panther-based Town Car. I’m personally a big fan, but the rest of the staff is not as fond of the last full-sized Lincoln. Whether you love or hate driving a TC, however, you have to admit that they are very durable vehicles. It’s no surprise, […]

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Here at TTAC, we just love to talk about the Panther-based Town Car. I’m personally a big fan, but the rest of the staff is not as fond of the last full-sized Lincoln.

Whether you love or hate driving a TC, however, you have to admit that they are very durable vehicles. It’s no surprise, then, that “Charlie The Town Car”, a 2004-vintage model used daily as a cab in Austin, Texas, wasn’t laid low just 9,211 miles short of the half-million-mile mark by mechanical failure. No, it had to be rammed by a truck.

A July article in the Austin Statesman tells the tale:

McClung, 48, a native of Bangs, a hamlet just west of Brownwood, said he properly paused at a four-way stop in East Austin (on the way to pay his weekly $235 lease to Austin Cab) and then pulled out. The other guy, in a maroon Ford pickup, ran the stop sign to McClung’s left and slammed into Charlie’s left rear…

And the odometer (the car, sadly, won’t start now and required a jump to get enough juice to light up the electronic reading on the dash) sits frozen at 490,789.5 miles. Just 9,210.5 short of half a million miles. And maybe done.

Any old Ford hand knows that’s the inertial fuel pump at work. Press the button in the trunk (or, in some Fords, the glove compartment) to reset the fuel pump and away you go. I looked for an update to this story and couldn’t find one. I’d like to believe that Charlie’s frame wasn’t bent too badly and that a junkyard door put him back on the road. It’s more likely, though, that the insurance company called time on the whole endeavor and sent Mr. McClung looking for his next Townie.

This kind of mileage is exceptional for any vehicle, but during many trips to Orlando, FL I regularly saw the Town Cars operated by Mears Motor Coach looking quite spiffy with 200,000 miles — or more — showing on the odometer. There’s plenty of evidence that Toyota minivans and the like can’t quite cut the mustard:

“The minivans, the fleets really discovered that they were just not holding up,” said Michael Woloz, spokesman for the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, an industry group.

In the long run, no modern car seems to last quite like a big Panther. It can be an attractive purchase for anyone, from a 24-hour-a-day cab company to a club racer… but that’s a story for another time.

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The Handsome Jenson-Built Austin A40 Sports and Other Colorful Austins From The Fifities http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/04/the-handsome-jenson-built-austin-a40-sports-and-other-colorful-austins-from-the-fifities/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/04/the-handsome-jenson-built-austin-a40-sports-and-other-colorful-austins-from-the-fifities/#comments Wed, 21 Apr 2010 20:04:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=353603 Today’s CC Austin A40 Devon too frumpy for your taste? Austin’s Chairman Leonard Lord (shouldn’t that be the other way around?) read your mind. When he saw Jensen’s handsome new Interceptor, he made a deal for Jensen to build a sporty body to plunk on its A40 chassis. The export markets, America in particular, were […]

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Today’s CC Austin A40 Devon too frumpy for your taste? Austin’s Chairman Leonard Lord (shouldn’t that be the other way around?) read your mind. When he saw Jensen’s handsome new Interceptor, he made a deal for Jensen to build a sporty body to plunk on its A40 chassis. The export markets, America in particular, were in Lord’s mind with the A40 Sports. But despite a revised cylinder head, the inevitable twin SU carbs and 50 hp, it didn’t really catch on, especially with the yachting crowd.

There’s something fatally attractive about Austins from the fifties. Their tendency to look like photoshopped shrunken versions of real proper cars gives them a Dinky Toy cuteness that makes for fun viewing. Just look, but don’t touch; or the rust will make it crumble in front of your eyes.

The A30 Seven had that effect more successfully than most. And the renderings in the ads tended to exaggerate its actual length. A genuine photo is needed:

Designed to compete against the madly successful Morris Minor, which was a much easier on the eyes, the little Seven did have a more modern engine, the new OHV A-Series, that went on to serve in Sprites, Midgets and Minis for decades to come.

Austin was a full-line maker, and if you didn’t care for stubby and could pony up, the handsome Princess was the way to go. How many of these did I see with RR grilles carefully grafted on and used for wedding limo service? It fooled most, except those in the know.

Speaking of distorting the truth, the car in this ad to convince Americans to buy an Austin is the stubby little A40 Devon, as in our Curbside Classic. So much for truth in advertising.

The Austin A90 Atlantic wasn’t quite so stubby, being built on one of Austin’s largest frames. As its name implies, it was designed to be shipped across the Atlantic, to Americans enamored with sleek hardtops and extravagant styling.

For 1949, it was a radical departure from the frumpy Austins that stayed home. It would be hard to guess its provenance; looks more like a Muntz Jet or some other Hollywood custom. Actually, it looks so much like the Muntz, it’s scary. Unfortunately, it went down the same road as the Muntz in terms of sales.

The naming of Austins after English counties was a charming habit. It went on for a while; did they finally run out?

Wood always lent a particular charm to vintage Austins. And it probably lasted about as long as the metal bodywork.

Admit, didn’t you really want an Austin Hereford at some point in your life?

Well, maybe not the sedan, but the “pick-up” is the hot ticket.

Since Austin styling seemed not to be putting the world on fire, Pinin Farina was contracted to redesign future Austins.

It helped, but too many fins, two-tone paint jobs and complicated details kept them from looking as good as the similar Pininfarina designed Peugeot 404 and his other many cars at the time.

But the A40 Farina was a winner, and a trendsetter, as what is widely considered to be a precursor to the popular hatchback style, a clever blend of station wagon and sedan body styles. But then the Hillman Husky had much of that too, some years earlier. It was popular, and I remember fondly admiring one in our neighborhood in the early sixties in Iowa. Let’s stop while we’re on a high note with Austin.

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