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1956 NASH Metropolitan

gkelly3gkelly3 Posts: 38
Mr. Shiftright: again I relay on you for
information. I just saw a 1956 Nash metro for sale
on ebay 9parts). What can you tell us about the
history of this rather oddball! Understand it was
made in England-how did Nash happen to import it?
Finally, was it a stellar performer? I suspect it
was a poorly handling car, due to the narrow track.
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Comments

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,762
    Thank you for the chuckle!

    I could probably out run one for the first half block!

    Poor handling? Shifty...you wanna tell him?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    Oh, the Nash Metro. Cute as a button, and really fun to drive around (SLOWLY), but also about as incompetent a car as you could think of.

    This car was built for Nash on an English Austin chassis, powered by a de-tuned MGA-type engine. Among it's peculiar features is a very odd front-end suspension, and a 3-speed column shift mated to a somewhat anemic 1500cc MG powerplant. The results were early British car reliability combined with early 50s American car handling and braking, all powered by a wheezy 1500cc engine that was pushing a lot more weight than it would in an MGA sportscar.

    Nonetheless, it is ADORABLE to many people and for this reason it does have a certain "collectibility". It is much less fun to drive than to look at.

    Figure around $5k-6K for a drop-dead beautiful coupe,and perahps $8K for a convertible. Most "restorations" I've seen on these cars are botch-jobs, but now and then you see a beauty. Usually, though, the person has put so much into the car to restore it that the asking price is way above market value.

    The "micro-car" craze has come and gone (that was fast!), so appreciation in value would be minimal, mostly to keep up with inflation. Part of the problem is that you can't drive the car very far or very fast without serious risk to life and limb, both of passengers and spectators.

    All that being said, I kinda like 'em.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,762
    I heard of a guy who drove one from San Francisco to Boston! I can't even fathom that!

    Still...a nice one is pretty slick!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    And how many weeks did that take?

    Actually, two guys drove a car in REVERSE from NY to San Francisco, so anything's possible if you have the time and the guts.

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  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Someone elsewhere asked about the collectibility of the Geo Metro convert. He should read this.
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    in a 57 Nash Metroploitan. It was around 1959, and my Dad was looking to move up from his 48 Crosley for his second, "work car." The little Metro seemed peppy for the time, I remember, and the sound of that MG engine added to the "sports car" impression. Anyway, it was one of many little demo rides we took in our search fro Dad's second car [among them one of the wildest rides imaginable through an oil feield in Long Beach ,CA in a new Fiat 600 driven by a salesmen eager to demonstrate handling stability.] Anyway, we didn't buy the Metro, but, alas, from the same lot [an AMC used car lot] Dad later bought a 58 Renault Dauphine, for $995. Amazingly, this car was fairly reliable and reasonably fun to drive, and didn't give us any of the horror storiea I've heard about Renault Dauphines [Until I started driving, that is, and tried speed shifting that wide ratio 3-speed, and constantly got the synchro stuck between 1st and 2nd gears.]
    I must say, growing up in Southern California was a good place to be a carnut! All kinds of experiences, all year round...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    I guess maybe the Metro "sounded" like it was going somewhere. I remember the car had outrageous body lean and very bad brakes. It's pretty frightening to drive fast, and I don't scare all that easy.

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  • Any of you guys want to buy a Nash Metropolitan? One is being advertized in the St.Louis MO area.
    Do you realize how small they are inside, Geez an AH Sprite looks big! How do you get a wheel off with those fenders half way down the hub caps? I can't remember a car other than a Crosley with such skinny tires.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    You have to remember that this was a quicky kind of marketing decision to put a small foreign car in Nash showrooms. I don't think a whole lot of thought went into it. The fact that Nash owned Kelvinator refrigerator at the time is no coincidence when you look at the doors of the Metro!

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,026
    I know the last year for Nash (and Hudson) was 1957, with the Nash Ramblers becoming just Ramblers that year, with a stretched wheelbase model called Ambassador. Didn't the Metropolitan last until around 1961 or so? I agree they're cute little cars, but they must've been really scary out on the highway, considering the size of the average American car at the time.
    -Andre
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    I think '62 was the last Metro, and probably the most valuable because of that and of improvements made during the model run.

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  • just a few thoughts in defense of the Metropolitan as a truly fun collector car. I first saw a Metropolitan for the first time at a local car show in Denver and it certainly caught the interest of all spectators present. A few years later, I saw one advertised in a local paper and picked it up for a few thousand bucks. The car was in pretty good shape, and I decide to do my first full restoration in my own garage during the summer months. I went through the entire car doing the paint job, interior and several mechanical repairs. It was a fun and satisfying project. The availability of parts and information was amazing. The enthusiasts associated with the Metropolitan are some of the most fun people I've ever encountered in the hobby. (take a look at some of the Metropolitan related stuff on the web to get an idea) After fixing up the car, I brought it to two local car shows. Without a doubt, the Met was one of the most popular cars there each time. I was on my feet all day talking with people about their Met stories and attempting to answer questions about my car. It was obvious to me after that experience that the car truly appealed to all types of people. One guy down the lot from me left his restored Packard to hang out near the Met because he thought it was the best place to meet the young ladies! I've owned a few old cars over the years and have had the most fun with the Met. Keep it under 50 mph and you won't be disappointed with all the attention you get. As for resale, I know I can sell my car for more than the cost of the restoration and initial purchase price. I think the price guides are a bit low on this one.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    Well, not everyone can do the labor for free like you, so that's why you might come out alive on this car.

    They do have eye appeal. It might be called, along with the old Jaguars, one of the world's "best bad cars".

    The appeal is in the diminutive quality. It's the same reason people like baby animals and miniature furniture in doll houses. In fact, I guess it's about as good as a car as a doll house couch is as a couch.

    But I do hope you get rich restoring Metropolitans, of course!

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