After launching the popular Rambler, Nash worked for many years on an even smaller car. Its first public concept, the NXI (Nash Experimental International), was shown in 1949, followed after one year by the NKI (Nash Kelvinator International). The name of the car was to be NKI Custom until shortly after production began, and new badges had to be retrofitted to early cars. The concepts were designed by independent stylist William Flajole, using the Fiat 500 chassis and running gear; the Nash Metropolitan was styled by Battista “Pinin” Farina.
Buzzing around our hallowed halls here at Classic Auto Mall (literally it can do that!) we present (drum roll please…) a 1962 Nash Metropolitan. This would be the last year of production due to the tooling actually wearing out, which talk about return on investment… This is a hardtop version, and has had some paint and seat upgrades to the interior, as well as restored engine and buttoned up undercarriage.
This car asks the question “Hey buddy, how do I get this car out of second gear?” and literally it is on the continental spare tire enclosure. So, we have the smallest car with a feature ubiquitous to the largest car…the “Continental” (think big car) rear tire enclosure…go figure! This silver bean is two tone with a darker gray hardtop. Exterior panels are solid steel and have nicely minded gaps. In lieu of the typical swoop spear two tone delineation, this one has some snappy thin pinstripes on either side which fade from gray to blue to red, with a wider band encircling the lower portion presenting in darker gray like the roof, and a white pinstripe in the middle. The roofline is just lovely, with the triangular “B” pillar holding fort for the curved rear glass. Another feature I cannot take my eyes off of is the vertical ribbed, rounded panel pushed in on each door sill. Upfront a single pinstripe starts at the front quarter and runs rearward then down to meet the other stripes. Shiny bumpers and mirrors hang off this silver bubble with the rear bumper being sprayed silver. Oval taillights are flanking the rear mounted spare tire enclosure, wrapped in a chromed rim and dark gray interior circle. The front bumper is also sprayed and is below an egg crate oval grille with a single headlight mounted on the corner of each front quarter. On top of the small hood is a large chromed reclining nude who is holding on to a jet wing, creating the hood ornament with tongue firmly in cheek. Beep Beep!
The utilitarian door inserts with vertical panels delineated by red stitching house the window crank and door handle. Inside late model buckets replace the original seats and it’s a great improvement. Cloth inserts with leather gray bolsters and more red stitching for these modern seats is a welcomed change. More changes for the dash which is the original configuration but now has a two-tone gray and black dash top with some pinstriped flourish for the topper. Nice chromed bezels are now on the centrally located round speedo gauge cluster, and the steering wheel has been wrapped in two tone leather. A Bluetooth receiver which looks like the factory simple bakelite oversized knobbed radio is installed. Black carpet with Nash floor mats are seen and the original rear bench is still hanging out in the back under the curved glass.
A flip of the hood and we see a fully restored and repainted 1500cc engine in 4-cylinder format, black block and silver valve cover and 1-barrel Zenith and air cleaner cover. These two silver toppers have black and red flourish pin striping to add some interest. All is very nice and corrosion free under here, with new electrics in a positive ground system. A 3-speed manual transmission is on back. Oh…! lest we forget the bright red horn.
Showing some heavy surface rust on the usual suspects (springs, driveshaft, brake drum covers) the remainder of the underside has a patina of aging. Various repairs have been made to the floor pans, and body hanger mounts, but it remains structurally sound. A few of the interior underside body panels show some rust as well, and repairs have been done to remediate this invasion. A new shiny exhaust is now on and independent front suspension is on front with leaf springs on the back. Drum brakes are on all 4 corners. An electric fuel pump, fairly new is also now on underneath.
She started right up, and we floated off to the test track. It accelerates, of course not neck breaking speed, but if you wanted that you’d be reading about one of our Mustangs or Corvettes. This is about simple utilitarian city transportation quintessential 60s midcentury modern design which BTW runs well, handles fine and is a pleasure to drive with ample? interior room.
There are several cars here at Classic Auto Mall I just fall in love with and this is one of them. I have a soft spot for these unique designs, and this one is definitely one of my favs. Of course, I will not hesitate to drive our BMW Isetta through the nearby McDonalds Drive Thru, and this car gives me a hankering for a 10-piece McNugget meal…keep it small sized though. Stay tuned!! Excellent with the upgrades keeping the unique original design. Groovy. Sweet n Sour and BBQ sauce… Please.
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Location: Morgantown, Pennsylvania, United States