The Odd Looking Nash Metropolitan
The Nash Metropolitan was an automobile sold from 1953 to 1961. The Metropolitan affectionately called “The Met,” was built initially by Nash Motors to create a basic transportation gas saving vehicle. It was an absurd idea to competitors seeing it was during the post war era of World War 2. After all the economy was booming and consumers were demanding bigger, more powerful automobiles.
To the casual observer it's small size and odd looking style seemed reminiscent of the car 50 or more clowns climbed out of at many circus performances. The auto was designed in Wisconsin and built in England. It was one of America's first subcompacts, although the designation had yet to be coined. It eventually became a member of the American Motors Corporation (AMC). The car was far smaller than any American model of the era, and looked even smaller than it was.
It was in 1942, Nash’s chief engineer, Meade Moore, proposed a compact car. Moore determined most cars were used for short trips. The average American car seemed ludicrous for such small tasks. Hence a small fuel-efficient commuter car was born.
However, since small cars cost about the same to build as larger ones, most automakers decided it wasn't in their best interest to build a smaller car. But Nash pressed on and launched the Nash Rambler in 1950. This paved the way for the Metropolitan.
Many didn't know plans for the “Met” was already in the works as early as 1948. It would be called the NXI, for “Nash Experimental International.”
The Nash Metropolitan resembled a scaled down model of the bigger Nash Sedans sold in 1952.
The Metropolitan went on sale in 1954 with base prices under $1,500. Although it had only 42 hp, the Metropolitan coupe only weighed about 1,800 pounds, so its performance was equal to that of the bigger, six-cylinder Rambler. Fuel economy was over 30 mpg. Unfortunately, the Metropolitan was not in keeping with American tastes, its suspension producedslipshod handling.
In 1954, Hudson agreed to merge with Nash. They became the American Motors Corporation, the fourth-largest automaker in the U.S at the time. Most Nash Metropolitan hardtops had white rooftops, making them resemble look like convertibles with the top up.
Metropolitan interiors were plush, which was George Mason's theory, just because a car was small it shouldn't be considered cheap. Most had a radio and an excellent heater. Top speed averaged about 78 mph. Of course, they were optional.
The early models oddly had no trunk lids. The trunk was accessed through the back seat. It was later added in 1959, although the back mounted spare tire made it somewhat difficult to open. However, it did add that needed sporty touch.
Metropolitan sales didn’t keep up with the price of production so it came to an end in 1961. The last were sold in March 1962.
In 1962, AMC dropped the Metropolitan; Nash and AMC had sold 94,986 of the Hudson, AMC, and Nash Metropolitans, enough to finally wear out the equipment needed to produce it.