The Truth About Cars » metro http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 23 Oct 2014 04:02:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 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 » metro http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1992-geo-metro-lsi-convertible/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1992-geo-metro-lsi-convertible/#comments Wed, 26 Jun 2013 13:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=493354 As a former Metro owner— about ten years ago, I found a low-mile ’96 Metro with four-cylinder and automatic for a scrap-value price and couldn’t say no to the deal— I’ve always sort of liked Suzuki’s little no-lux gas miserwagen. It takes a special Metro for me to include it in this series, however; we’ve […]

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04 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAs a former Metro owner— about ten years ago, I found a low-mile ’96 Metro with four-cylinder and automatic for a scrap-value price and couldn’t say no to the deal— I’ve always sort of liked Suzuki’s little no-lux gas miserwagen. It takes a special Metro for me to include it in this series, however; we’ve seen this ’90 Metro El Camino, this electric-powered ’95 Metro, and this ’91 Suzuki Swift so far, plus this bonus Honda CBR1000-powered LeMons race-winning Metro, and now I’ve found one of the very rare Metro convertibles at a California self-service wrecking yard.
02 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe early 1990s was a good period for cars, mostly; carburetors were finally gone forever, horsepower ratings were really starting to climb, the Japanese carmakers still hadn’t slid into their current take-no-chances boring design philosophy, and you could get cheap convertibles.
09 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinA three-cylinder, 1.0 liter engine coupled to an automatic transmission made for leisurely acceleration. Actually, it made for dangerously slow acceleration.
06 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBut so what? It was a convertible for dirt cheap!

You got what you paid for with the Metro, which is more than you could say for a lot of its contemporaries.

02 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1990 Geo Metro-amino Pickup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1990-geo-metro-amino-pickup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1990-geo-metro-amino-pickup/#comments Fri, 14 Jun 2013 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=491854 It takes a really special Geo Metro to achieve Junkyard Find status; the last one that managed the feat was this bright green electric-powered ’95, which turned out to be a Ree-V conversion made in Colorado during the EV optimism of the late 2000s. During a trip to my old San Francisco Bay stomping grounds […]

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14 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt takes a really special Geo Metro to achieve Junkyard Find status; the last one that managed the feat was this bright green electric-powered ’95, which turned out to be a Ree-V conversion made in Colorado during the EV optimism of the late 2000s. During a trip to my old San Francisco Bay stomping grounds a few weeks ago, I spotted today’s Junkyard Find parked just a few yards away from this will-make-you-haz-a-sad 1960 Nash Metropolitan.
07 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese conversions (if based on a GM car, the correct term is “El-Caminoization”; Fords are “Rancheroized” and Chryslers get “Rampagized”) usually result when a hooptie car owner who owns a Sawzall but no cash really wants a pickup truck, right now. This one looks like it was built pretty well, by the standards of the genre.
12 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNo big-block Suzuki four-banger here; this is the genuine 50-plus-MPG three-cylinder engine.
06 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCargo capacity is quite small, which is a good thing considering the front-drivedness and tiny size of this machine.
04 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Metro wasn’t quite as miserably slow as you’d expect, but that’s more due to low expectations than actual performance.
09 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Apple sticker is a weird touch; the kind of person who would build such a hacked-up piece of backyard engineering most likely doesn’t feel comfortable with the don’t-resist-the-Cupertino-way philosophy behind Apple products. I’d guess that the builder of this car runs non-Cupertino/non-Redmond operating systems on surplus hardware. Of course, it’s possible that the builder sold his or her Metroamino to someone who bought it for a single Burning Man trip and then scrapped it.
02 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhat’s next, a Geo Stormamino? A Cateramino? Achievamino?

01 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Piston Slap: SHO-in off the MetSHO! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/piston-slap-sho-in-off-the-metsho/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/piston-slap-sho-in-off-the-metsho/#comments Mon, 18 Mar 2013 11:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=481543 TTAC commentator crabspirits writes: I stumbled upon your Lemons Z34-fiero article.  My brothers both had LQ1 Cutlasses and whoever designed that engine was a sadist. They both blew the headgaskets and were impossible to work on. FYI: we run the SHO-swapped, mid-engine Geo Metro in the 24 Hours of LeMons. I had some good battles […]

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TTAC commentator crabspirits writes:

I stumbled upon your Lemons Z34-fiero article.  My brothers both had LQ1 Cutlasses and whoever designed that engine was a sadist. They both blew the headgaskets and were impossible to work on. FYI: we run the SHO-swapped, mid-engine Geo Metro in the 24 Hours of LeMons. I had some good battles against that LQ1 Fiero, some captured on my helmet cam.

Thought you might find it interesting. I could’ve had him on the straights easy, but our clutch was slipping badly, and I didn’t want to divebomb him. Still, a worthy opponent.

The Metro has an ongoing track diary attached to the build thread. You can probably glean a lot of material from it. 

The car feels like a 200hp MR-S with better brakes. The suspension is built with all warranty returns from a local suspension company’s dumpster. It feels fine for what it is, but every now and then, a corner of the car will feel “weird” and you get an unpleasant surprise. When something fails on the MetSHO, it is always a case of “I can see it, but I can’t reach it”. It basically sucks to work on.

The main thing on the car that holds us back is tires. Good sized wheels for the taurus bolt pattern are hard to find, then you realize you can’t fit them when you factor in the coilovers and Geo real estate. We recently managed to squeeze some good rubber in the rear, but the fronts are still plastic-like. The brakes are good, but nearly everyone in the top 10 has big aftermarket setups. We usually get a best lap time in the top 5-10, but with our talent, we can’t seem to hold that kind of speed in this car without getting into trouble eventually. Fortunately, we are all drifters, so when trouble happens we usually know what to do. There have been many pleasant and unpleasant experiences with this car. Lemons has taught me a lot about car prep, tech stuff, driving, planning, and priorities (#1 is have fun).

Looking forward to such an article. I’ve never gotten the chance to meet with the Fiero team. I’m sure we share a lot in common. Same with the team that brings the Alfa 164-swapped Fiat X1/9.

Sajeev answers:

Z34-powered Fiero, SHO-Metro.  Fiat X1/9 with an Alfa motor. My goodness…every time I judge a LeMons race I am thankful for at least two things:  the free shit you cheaty-cheaters are obligated to give me, and your ability to make me look normal.  I sincerely appreciate both.

A friend of mine (using the term loosely, since all you people are certifiable) once mentioned that making a LeMons car is like freebasing on automobiles.   So if a freebasing (admit it!) gearhead such as yourself has such information proving the LQ1’s complete terribleness, it must be right.

What else is there to say?  You made a fantastic machine, you certainly don’t need my advice…though I will say one thing: Thunderbird Super Coupe or Lincoln Mark VIII. Ditch the 6.5″ wide wheels and get a set of 16×7″ inchers from the big Ford coupes.  They are dirt cheap so they work in a LeMons budget. The extra .5″ will get you a slightly wider tire, and every bit counts. But since wheels/tires are considered a safety(?) item, you can go nuts and buy the aftermarket 9″ wide rims.

I have faith that you can make a 9″ wide rim fit in the rear.  And why not? Then again, talk to Jay Lamm before doing so…as citing me as a source might be the dumbest move on your part.  Dumber than freebasing cars, that is.

Best of luck, I wish you and your team well this year in LeMons.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

 

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Junkyard Find: Electric 1995 Geo Metro http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/junkyard-find-electric-1995-geo-metro/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/junkyard-find-electric-1995-geo-metro/#comments Tue, 26 Feb 2013 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=479114 Normally, I wouldn’t consider an 18-year-old Suzuki Cultus badged by a now-defunct GM marque to be worthy of inclusion in this series, but this particular example— which I found at my favorite Denver self-service wrecking yard— has been converted to electric power and is thus sort of interesting. The valuable stuff that electric-car geeks like […]

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Normally, I wouldn’t consider an 18-year-old Suzuki Cultus badged by a now-defunct GM marque to be worthy of inclusion in this series, but this particular example— which I found at my favorite Denver self-service wrecking yard— has been converted to electric power and is thus sort of interesting.
The valuable stuff that electric-car geeks like to keep (i.e., the electric motor, control circuitry, and batteries) is all gone, but you can see that this setup used the Suzuki front-drive transaxle more or less intact.
It looks like there was some sort of electrical fire or maybe a big acid spill in the rear of the car at some point, judging from the pried-open-in-a-hurry hatch and melted insulation.
You don’t see many 400-amp ammeters and 180-volt voltmeters in junked econoboxes!
Now that you can buy genuine factory-made electric cars, these homemade jobs don’t quite make the statement they once did. Still, the guy who built this car is probably driving a different electric machine. Let’s hope it’s an electron-driven Triumph Stag.
02 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1995 Electric Geo Metro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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And the Winner Is… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/and-the-winner-is-19/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/and-the-winner-is-19/#comments Mon, 08 Aug 2011 01:15:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=406217 While today’s Arse Sweat-a-Palooza winner on laps is indeed the same Honda-motorcycle-engined Geo Metro that won the 2008 Arse Freeze-a-Palooza, it’s really a much different car now. In ’08, the Geo Player Special (then known as the Metro Gnome) had the CBR900RR engine driving the front wheels, via an ingenious chain drive that used a […]

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While today’s Arse Sweat-a-Palooza winner on laps is indeed the same Honda-motorcycle-engined Geo Metro that won the 2008 Arse Freeze-a-Palooza, it’s really a much different car now. In ’08, the Geo Player Special (then known as the Metro Gnome) had the CBR900RR engine driving the front wheels, via an ingenious chain drive that used a toilet plunger as a grease seal. Since that time, the engine— now a CBR1000— has been moved back and now drives the rear wheels.

This car has been running the rear-engine/rear-drive configuration for a couple of years now and had been quite close to an overall win on several occasions. Today, it all came together for the Metro. Congratulations, Geo Player Special!

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Capsule Review: 1997 Rover Metro http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/11/capsule-review-1997-rover-metro/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/11/capsule-review-1997-rover-metro/#comments Mon, 01 Nov 2010 18:22:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=371082 No story should ever start, as this one does, with “my First Rover Metro.” The implication that there are more Metros to come is all too obvious, and could probably be best categorized as a “cry for help.” In any case, my first Rover Metro was a teal 1995 1.1L Kensington edition, purchased for £60 […]

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No story should ever start, as this one does, with “my First Rover Metro.” The implication that there are more Metros to come is all too obvious, and could probably be best categorized as a “cry for help.” In any case, my first Rover Metro was a teal 1995 1.1L Kensington edition, purchased for £60 from a friend in Bishop-Stortford. The Kensington edition meant I got shards of carpet over the door panels, and the kind of pizzazz that only an engineer from Coventry would be able to come up with. The Metro lasted only 19 hours in my hands before a brake failure led to its demise into the back of a yellow Hyundai. My second Rover Metro was a 1997 Tahiti Blue 1.1L Ascot edition*, which meant I got full wheel covers and blue piping in the velour. This only accelerated my descent into the world of English motoring, where I found joy and fulfillment in the death rattle of a Rover K-series engine.

*astute readers will recall that both vehicles are technically Rover 100’s, but are always remembered in pop culture as the Metro.

The Austin miniMetro debuted in 1980 as a vehicle “to take on the world” as explained in the television adverts which swelled with British national pride. With an A-series engine from the original Mini, a hydrogas suspension, Applejack Green paint, the miniMetro stood poised for superstardom. Britishconsumers seemed to agree initially, as the first couple years saw records sales. Yet like most things emerging from the behemoth that was British Leyland, the miniMetro ultimately suffered from the “ambitious, but rubbish” mantra pervading everything from Morris to Triumph.

The rust monster ate the front wings, head gaskets failed, and the hydrogas suspensions left miniMetros leaning to one side like a drunken Austin Princesses. Sales fell at alarming rates, and Metros became rolling jokes relegated to the retiree and poor student population. Grafting a Rover badge onto the front, dropping in the new K-series motor, and the “After all, it’s a Rover” campaign failed to bolster the tarnished image. Yet for 17 years, the British kept buying the things. I wish I could fail to understand this pattern of behavior, but I know it all too well, as being American, we bought the equally ambitious but rubbish Cavalier for far longer.

My Metro odyssey really began as my brother and I were left stranded in East Anglia during the ides of fall with a smashed Metro Kensington. We were on our way to a dinner party (or drinking fest, whichever) at the Coach and Horses Pub in Sheffield. Several phone calls to friends and a tow truck ride later, we were on the British Rail system headed north. The next two days in Sheffield became a whirlwind of surreal as me and my British mates decided purchasing a vehicle for less than £500 (or the cost of an airplane ticket to Frankfurt) was really the only solution to my predicament. We surveyed a white Rover 420d, but the blowing exhaust, knackered CV joints, and dodgy Hungarian owner put us off. We quickly ruled out a Proton, really shady BMW 318i, and a really nice Mercedes-Benz E300 owned by Ivy Tyldesly of Coronation Street. The Merc proved doomed when the heater failed to work, a requirement with the European winter approaching.

I nearly gave up hope, until a quick search in the classifieds turned up a 1997 Rover 100 Ascot, for £400, one-owner, 30K miles, and a long MOT and tax. The dealer was even driving it into Sheffield from Doncaster. Knowing when fate slaps you in the face, I couldn’t resist.

As I discovered, the Metro proved much better than my English friends had led me to believe. Acceleration was perfectly adequate, the ride was smooth, the transmission was fine, and the brakes were beyond scary. Hard plastics abounded, gaps were everywhere, yet the plush velour seats were very comfortable, which helped given the most awkward driving position this side of a double decker bus.

Yet shod with Pirelli P-Zero Corsa tires, the blue “Metro of Win” became a permanent fixture in the parking lot below the castle of Nurburg, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting Porsches and BMWs, pulling in a very frightening Bridge to Gantry time of around 11 minutes. The Metro took untold dozens of passengers around the Nurburgring at insane speeds of 110mph down hill, and at full suspension compression in nearly every turn, demonstrating the fact that knowledge, not horsepower, wins the day in the Green Hell.

The residents of Nurburg held a moment of silence when rust and electrical gremlins finally claimed its little life. Yet, it lives on, as the engine parts were salvaged to save a stricken mk1 Lotus Elise that broke down.

The Metros are hateful little cars, full of bad design, yet, they come together as whole that so rarely comes to light in the modern era. The Metro is a true metaphor of the culture that built it. Ambitious, but rubbish, but oh what cheap, joyful fun to be had.

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Curbside Classic: 1957 Metropolitan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/curbside-classic-1957-metropolitan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/curbside-classic-1957-metropolitan/#comments Thu, 23 Sep 2010 15:19:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=366384 Americans generally just don’t take too well to tiny cars. Perhaps they’re too much like toys, not really yet grown up? The Metropolitan certainly looks the part, resembling an amusement park ride or clown car rather than a genuine automobile a self-respecting grown-up American would drive. And this particular Metro only reinforces that stereotype: it’s […]

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Americans generally just don’t take too well to tiny cars. Perhaps they’re too much like toys, not really yet grown up? The Metropolitan certainly looks the part, resembling an amusement park ride or clown car rather than a genuine automobile a self-respecting grown-up American would drive. And this particular Metro only reinforces that stereotype: it’s owner is fourteen, and he’s owned it since he was ten. “Dad, can I have this cool car?”

If you’re Russel, you’re in luck. He saw it sitting forlorn for years in a neighbor’s carport, and at the age of ten, he talked his dad into buying it for him. And who says kids aren’t into cars anymore? Just depends on the ride.

It’s not like Russel was exactly the target demographic Nash’s George Mason had in mind in the late forties, when he got the small car bug. A bit surprising too, coming on the heels of the failure of the tiny Crosley. Well, Mason initially had in mind something much more substantial than that little flea, and the result was the 1950 Rambler, the first “compact” of the post-war era.

Wisely, Nash positioned it is a “premium” compact, with a roll-back top and well equipped. There simply wasn’t enough difference in the cost of building a compact from a full-sized car to allow it to be sold for much less, so the Rambler broke new ground with an upscale approach. It worked well enough in moderate numbers to encourage Nash to go even a step smaller.

Designer Bill Flajole (above) was thinking along the same lines, and when he hoked up with Nash, their joint ideas on the subject were expressed in the NXI prototype of 1950. One of the key aspects of the design was to save money on large body stampings, since it was assumed the little car would not likely be a large volume job. Note the symmetrical door, which made it into the production Metro. To my knowledge, the fenders on the prototype were also symmetrical, except for the minor cutout for the front wheel. Symmetry as a way to reduce tooling costs was a recurring theme, especially at AMC, even into the sixties, when the prototype for the Hornet (Cavalier) tried the same approach.

Mason was intrigued, but not enthusiastic about what it would take to actually produce it, profitably. The solution was outsourcing: with the devaluation of the British pound, having the Metro built in England made it viable. The firm Fisher & Ludlow, Ltd. built the body, and Austin supplied and installed the running gear, whose cars were already fairly common in the US as imports.

The 1954 Metro went on sale for about $1500 ($12k adjusted), pretty much the same as a Smart today. It used the popular 1500 cc B-block motor in 42 hp tune, and a three-speed with a column shifter. Given its light weight of some 1800 lbs, the Metro performed adequately, but then it was never positioned as a sports car. The suspension was tuned more for ride than handling. An MG in drag it was not.

Sales for the Metro were modest, bouncing around in the teens of thousands most of the years it was produced, from 1954 through 1960. The Big Three’s new compacts that final year put the kibosh on the Metro, but it’s had an enthusiastic following ever since, especially the young or young at heart.

My older brother (very much young at heart) went through a couple of these back in the late seventies, when they could be picked up for a song. His experiences keeping an MGA running years earlier came in handy, since they used the same basic motor and other BMC goodies and Lucas electrics. But their simplicity and availability of parts makes them a fun project, like for Russel and his dad.

The motor in this one is all original, and good to go. They’ve done some repair work to get the Metro back on the street, but like a good little CC, it is as original as possible, and shows it too. Russel has a lifetime of fun and improvements ahead of him. And, yes, he has put in some behind-the-wheel time in the Metro, despite his age, in undisclosed locations.

The Metro gets lots of attention, wherever it goes. Russell is looking forward to the Metro’s magnetic appeal to the opposite sex, just as soon as he can take advantage of it. Picking up girls with his dad along is a bit compromising, since that back “seat” is more than a bit cramped, even for limber young bodies.

The Metro found a modest following for a few years, as did the Crosley in the forties. And the Smart is going down that same road; in fact its sales are pretty much in Metro territory. But the euro is a lot stronger today than the pound was in 1954, so although Nash made a modest profit from the Metro, the same is not the case for the Smart. And of course, the little Crosley just didn’t catch on either. Toy cars, all of them. And they want to raise the driving age?

PS: atewithmotor has an excellent detailed history of the Metro, for those wanting a more serious look at it.

More Curbside Classics are here

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