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1958 Nash Metropolitan



  • Very cute...but a bit tarted up don't you think?

    Portholes and wire wheels with racing mirrors and a goddess hood ornament? A bit much!
  • Nr S, I wouldn't argue with you on that. However, in the 1950's cars were generally Black, Grey or Dark Green or somesuch, so starting with base car in Pink & White it's rather hard to think of any adornments that would "lower the tone" as it were. Never driven one but I imagine it's all a trifle loose and follolopy - pedalo in a gale sort of thing.
  • Well you do have a point that is hard to argue!

    Yes, criticizing the heart-stopping handling characteristics of a little Met is like pointing to a puppy or a baby and saying "Ewwwwww, how repulsive". It's a no-win situation to suggest to Met lovers that they need TWO St. Christopher medals in those things.

    However, cuteness is a powerful attraction and I'm just as seduced as anyone else. There is something charming about them. Were I a Jay Leno type with enough money to gleefully throw into a raging furnace, I would love to take a Met and give it the ability to accelerate, stop and steer without ruining its basic puppy-like nature. A puppy with fangs maybe.

    Given the odd suspension, I'm not sure how one would get the car to handle better. I'd imagine that ultimately one would have to take the body off, and alter the frame so that a more modern suspension could be outfitted, and then hope the body will get back on without hitting something. Probably I would use only the shell of the Met and the interior, and the rest of the car would be something else. Perhaps we could fit it to the frame of a Mazda RX-7...that would give us good handling, a small engine that would fit without chopping, a 5-speed transmission, good performance, etc.

    Or a Volvo P100 frame and drivetrain might work.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,424
    Just put that body on your new Mini - what a combo!
  • Yeah but then we are swapping cute for cute. :P

    I guess we really need a donor car with a real FRAME underneath. Maybe a Fiat 124?
  • Be a shame though to chop up an MGB. Maybe an MG Midget? That's pretty close to the guts of a Met anyway.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,424
    Yep, Midget - remember, Mr. Leno, money's no object...
  • I know, but we aren't going to get into Celebrity Barbarianism here. We are not chopping up an MGB, and that's that. :mad:
  • Agree with the "not an MGB" comment - that would be a travesty. I had in mind, (that's from about 5 minutes ago), using the running gear etc from an old MX-5, (Miata to you guys). No idea if it's feasible; but money's no object so why not ? There are lots of old Miata's about and no-one would miss just one, surely ? And it would drive from the proper end, (that's proper end for the period). BMW Mini swap would be putting super-cute onto cute. Quite like the Volvo suggestion. Is there the basis for a whole new thread here, I wonder ? Hmmmm. :D

    I just love the way you guys respond. If I'd posted this on some of the UK Forums it would just have attracted abuse - like it's not got 500bhp, a sequential 'box, 20" rims and does 0-60 in 0.03 seconds so isn't a real car. Airheads.
  • jaxpopjaxpop Posts: 2
    Yes! I am considering doing a resto-rod job on a '61 Metro and I was hoping I could find someone who had used a donor Miata. It seems a logical choice in many ways.

    20 some years ago, I had a '59 Metro convertible, I loved the car, but it spent more time in the shop than it did on the road. After having the engine rebuilt, and doing a lot of brake, transmission and cosmetic work, I sold the car to my dad. He has plans for it, but his other project cars have taken precedence. Along the way, he acquired a '61 hardtop for parts.

    I may buy the '61 from him, but I can't imagine restoring it to mechanically original condition. As I recall, the suspension was super floaty, the brakes were inadequate for modern driving, and, though my '59 got 40mpg, the acceleration was anemic. So, I'm thinking it needs much more than an engine swap.

    The M-5 Miata's wheelbase was about 4 inches longer than the Metro. Track was about 10 inches wider at both ends. It had the same general layout (front mount, inline 4, rear mount transmission). I know that this job would exceed my meager talents (I'm good at rebuilding carbs, the odd brake job, and making things shiny) but is it possible that a skillful shop could take all of the Miata mechanicals, suspension and such and graft it on to the Metro's body? :confuse: How do I even find out if this is feasible? I've tried Google searches for all sorts of Metro Miata combinations and your post is the only thing I have found.

    I hope you check in on this forum occasionally, alltorque, because I'd like to pursue this line of thought.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,641
    You can't graft a unibody onto a frame on body. So the best you could do is put the Metro on another kind of frame that has conventional suspension and some rigidity, and then add the Miata powertrain to that X or Y frame + the Metro body. The Metro suspension is hopeless so you'll never get a sports car out of that, even if you shove a Miata engine and trans into the Metro.

    I suppose you could leave the Metro frame on there and install some other front suspension, but wow, that's a lot of work to get right.

    But really with enough time money and talent you can do anything:

  • jaxpopjaxpop Posts: 2
    I'm pretty sure that both the Metro and the Miata use unibody construction. As I recall, the Metro was one of the first mass produced, unibody cars.

    I'm also quite sure I've seen hot rod Metros at the Good Guys shows that had attached custom tube frames to the underside to stiffen things up enough to handle the extra power. It would be a shame goose it at a green light and twist your little car into a pretzel...
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,641
    well then, no way we're gonna build a super metro on another frame then are we?

    It's been a long time since I looked underneath a Metro. I'm surprised it is a unibody.

    Here's an article from Automobile Magazine that has some interesting (and funny) comments:

    Automobile Magazine on the Metro
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,590
    It's been a long time since I looked underneath a Metro. I'm surprised it is a unibody.

    The Metropolitan is actually French in origin, isn't it? The Europeans no doubt went to unitized designs long before "we" did. Although in their defense, Nash went unitized starting in 1949.

    I don't see why it would be so hard to drop a unitized body down on a frame. After all, most unitized cars have a sub-frame up front and a sub-frame in the back. The only thing keeping them from being body-on-frame is the lack of the center section. And I've seen Chevy II's with subframe connectors and I think they made them for Mustangs as well.

    The biggest problem with the Metro, I imagine, is that it's such a tiny car that it would be hard to find a suitable donor frame. Unless you were really handy with welding, took a frame, and did the appropriate cutting and re-welding to make something that would more or less fit.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,641
    Not so easy'd have to achieve some form of alignment during welding, which means a full body jig.
  • I am restoring a 58 metro and ordered a kit for the interior. Does anyone have tips on adapting parts that do not fit exactly? And has anyone else had this problem?
  • Thats' not right. If the kit doesn't fit, send it back. At worst, some kits require snugging up here and there, but certainly not cutting or re-shaping, etc.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    What parts?
  • The Metropolitan was designed by Nash and built by Austin in England. Luckily the French had nothing to do with it.......... LOL.

    There have been many modified Mets which have had custom built frames put under them and huge V-8s installed.

    As for a simple power hop-up, I am pirating a motor/trans from a 1965 MGB as it is a simple bolt in into my '59 Met. The rest of the MGB is up for sale if anyone wants it.

    I also have a '61 Met and intend doing something unusual such as installing a front wheel drive combo or electric motor, haven't made up my mind just yet.

    After rebuilding the brakes and overcoming the difficult task of getting all the air out as the bleed nipple is at the bottom of the front cylinders!!!! I find that it stops very well. One just has to remember that one has to actually use pedal pressure as there is no booster on these cars.

    Main problem with using another engine is the steering running across the bottom of the firewall. One of the best things to do is to install a complete front crossmember such as one from Fatman Fabrications, which will give you modern disc brakes, rack & pinion steering and A-arm suspension, all in one package.

    Btw, does anyone happen to have a spare front passenger side engine to cross member steel bracket they don't need? I have mislaid the one for my Met. Thanks.

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