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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