The 50s marked a period of change and the Nash Metropolitan did its part to live up to the standards set by the decade. During an era of massive cars with a gas tank to match, the Met (as it is lovingly called) was an “economy car” that, according to many, was well ahead of its time. The Metropolitan was actually the result of public surveys about basic transportation. It was built to provide urban families with a second, inexpensive, small car that could hold its own in traffic, while being fuel efficient—and actually fitting into a parking spot.
During its production run from 1954 to 1962 approximately 95,000 Metropolitans were sold in the United States and Canada, making it one of the top-selling cars of the time. Its notable sales in 1959 (22,209 units) helped to spur the introduction of the Big Three’s (General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler) new compact models.
The Metropolitan was also sold as a Hudson when Nash and Hudson merged in 1954 to form the American Motors Corporation (AMC). The only differences being that the Hudson Metropolitans carried a Hudson grille badge, hubcaps incorporating an “M” logo, a “bulls-eye” horn button design, and a plain spare wheel cover.
In 1959 this convertible, brand new, sold for $1,696.80 with a 150cc engine cranking out a whopping 55hp. Today it is quite a little collector car mainly because it is seen as cute and adorable. Although there are still good deals to be had on Metropolitans, their values have quietly but sharply increased in the last five or so years.
One special characteristic of the ‘59 Met is the trunk lid. Early Metropolitans had no trunk lids; the only trunk access was through the rear seat. An external trunk lid was finally added in 1959.
In 1962, AMC was forced to cease production on the Metropolitan due to lack of sales. By this time “Big Three” had caught on to the economy car buzz and the Ford Falcon, Chevy Corvair, and Plymouth Valiant were selling like hot cakes.
This Metropolitan is getting a surprising remake, as it will be infused with a modern drive train and suspension. We will keep you updated as this project develops!!
*Interesting factoid that sort of lines up with the current events of today: George Romney, president of American Motors Corporation from 1954 to 1962, is the father of 2012 Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney. George Romney was known to mock the products of the “Big Three” automakers as “gas-guzzling dinosaurs”. 53 years later and gas-guzzlers are still an issue!