Junkyard Find: 1960 Nash Metropolitan

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1960 nash metropolitan

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 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!

When 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.

That 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.

The interior is trashed, of course, and perhaps there’s suspension or frame damage that I didn’t see. But still, how is this possible?

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

Over 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.

I’ve always liked these cars, but I prefer a somewhat larger Nash.

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  • Pick and pull Pick and pull on Apr 14, 2014

    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

  • Daniel65 Daniel65 on Jul 05, 2021

    I purchase a 1960 Metropolitan HardTop 16 months ago and I did a complete restoration on it.It had been sitting in a garage for 48 years on blocks.Its a nice runabout I wouldnt want to drive it every day.I restore old cars for a hobby.This car had its moments being a British trying to restore it.Its a head turner. I wish I could post a picture of the car before and after on these comments section.

  • Kcflyer Leave it alone except interior and exterior color options. Add custom colors for a price and watch the orders come in. Pulled our hair out last year trying to figure out how a dealer in California had a GT in dark blue that Mazda says isn't possible. I've decided it must have been a Canadian order that got redirected. Could someone please explain why Canadian dealers can order a GT in dark blue, U.S. dealers can order a Club in that color, but not a GT. Soooo, stupid. British racing green, purple, stop making 5 shades of silver/grey. It's a fun car, should have fun colors. Don't tie interior colors to exterior choice. Charge extra but let people order what they like.
  • SCE to AUX I like the concept, but $6k just gets you started. I'd have to outsource the bodywork, which is a real problem on a project like this.Still, the result would be a fun vehicle that reflects what many people want today - a small unbloated utility truck.
  • TheDoctorIsOut Try and keep it as light and focused as it always has been and as analog as possible. For those who can appreciate it (and fit into it) there’s still something special about a car that can be driven at 90% of its potential for most of the daily drive.
  • SCE to AUX Let it die with dignity - no electrification. That would kill the spirit of the original.Mazda needs to think about survival and market share, not tinker with a niche car with waning sales, or dying on Wankel Hill.Maybe their body and paint engineers could help Tesla once Mazda folds.
  • Lou_BC H-E-L-L-C-A-T