The post-war American car industry was dominated by the Detroit-based ‘big three’ of Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. Other manufacturers therefore often felt they had to try to do something different to catch the buying public’s imagination or tap into a niche that the big three had not yet noticed. One such company was Nash, who introduced some interesting cars – the wind-tunnel-honed Airflyte was one, with an interior that converted to a bed, while the 1950 Nash Rambler was one of America’s first successful post-war ‘compact’ cars. In 1952, though, Nash decided they should try to sell something even smaller, so entered into an agreement with Austin of England to make the Metropolitan. The bodies were made by Pressed Steel Fisher, with final assembly completed by Austin at Longbridge using their own running gear. Complete cars were then sent to the US for sale through Nash dealers, starting in 1953. Nearly 100,000 were sold there in eight years, spurring other manufacturers to introduce similar-sized cars. In the UK, from 1957 until the end of production Austin held the rights to market the car, and although its small size wasn’t so remarkable as in the US, its adventurous trans-Atlantic styling was.
This 1959 right-hand-drive Metropolitan is a rare UK-market example; only between 1,200 and 5,000 were sold here. Bought as a restoration project by the vendor and completed over the course of two years, it is fitted with the 1.5-litre BMC B-Series engine, which has been rebuilt. Also fitted with a new wiring loom and many other new parts, it has only done less than 50 miles since completion, and hence remains in good condition although some minor recommissioning is recommended. It comes with a V5c and an old-style logbook.
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