History of Metropolitans
UNDER CONSTRUCTION

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  H I S T O R Y
Metropolitan History - I’ve collected these articles from multiple sources,
such as the Met Cool list and the Nash Club’s Members On Line list.
A brief Pre-Met auto history
8/19/01

Biography of: CHARLES NASH
D.O.B.: January 28, 1864 (DeKalb, IL)
D.O.D.: June 6, 1948 (Beverly Hills, CA)
Location: Forest Lawn Glendale; Great Mausoleum;
Sanctuary of Courage

He headed Nash Motors and made it into one of America's largest auto makers.

In 1897 he drove his first automobile. He then joined William Durant and David D. Buick in forming the Buick Motor Co. By 1908, Nash was Buick's president and general manager.

The 52-year-old Nash bought the Kenosha company and incorporated it as the Nash Motor Co. in July 1916. His plan was to build a reliable, but simple car for the average working man.

He also pioneered buying cars through financing since most Americans couldn't pay cash for a new automobile and dealers couldn't afford to carry them on credit. He was once quoted as saying in 1930 "Before I'll recognize a union, I'll close the plant and throw the key in Lake Michigan."

Well, he eventually had to recognize a union. With the changing times he could do nothing else.


AUTOMOBILES

The automobile was initially perfected in Germany and France toward the end of the nineteenth century by such men as Nicolaus Otto, Gottlieb Daimler, Carl Benz, and Emile Levassor.

The 1901 Mercedes deserves credit for being the first modern motorcar. Its thirty-five-horsepower engine weighed only fourteen pounds per horsepower, and it achieved a speed of fifty-three miles per hour. Nothing illustrates the superiority of European design better than the contrast between this first Mercedes model and Ransom E. Olds's 1901-1906 one-cylinder, three horsepower, tiller-steered, curved-dash Oldsmobile. But the Olds sold for $650 and the 1904 Olds output of 5,508 units surpassed any car production previously accomplished.

J. Frank and Charles E. Duryea of Springfield, Massachusetts, designed the first successful American gasoline automobile in 1893. Thirty American manufacturers produced 2,500 motor vehicles in 1899, and some 485 companies entered the business in the next decade. In 1908 Henry Ford introduced the Model T and William C. Durant founded General Motors. In 1913, the United States produced some 485,000 of the world total of 606,124 motor vehicles.

Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal called the four-cylinder, fifteen-horsepower, $600 Ford Model N (1906-1907) "the very first instance of a low-cost motorcar driven by a gas engine having cylinders enough to give the shaft a turning impulse in each shaft turn, which is well built and offered in large numbers."

The four-cylinder, twenty-horsepower Model T, first offered in October 1908, sold for $825. Its two-speed planetary transmission made it easy to drive, and features such as its detachable cylinder head made it easy to repair. Its high chassis was designed to clear the bumps in rural roads. The Model T runabout sold for $575 in 1912, withdrawn from production in 1927, its price had been reduced to $290 for the coupe and 15 million units had been sold.

The number of active automobile manufacturers dropped from 253 in 1908 to only 44 in 1929, with about 80 percent of the industry's output accounted for by Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler, formed from Maxwell in 1925 by Walter P. Chrysler. Most of the remaining independents were wiped out in the Great Depression, with Nash, Hudson, Studebaker, and Packard hanging on only to collapse in the post-World War II period.

Met History from Graeme's (UK) site –

Metropolitan
1952-1960+
British Leyland UK Ltd. (Austin-Morris Group)
Longbridge
Birmingham

The American Nash-Kelvinator Corporation created some experimental models to test the American peoples reaction to smaller cars. These prototypes used the Fiat 500 and Standard Vanguard engines. In 1952 senior British Motor Corporation management met with Nash for informal discussion of business matters of topical interest. Nash had a reputation for compact cars and wanted a smaller car but did not have development facilities required and were considering buying in mechanicals. Leonard Lord struck a deal to produce a car at Longbridge with narrower than usual track based on the Austin A40 engine and A30 suspension and available either as a convertible or as a closed saloon. Nash was keen on A40 engines etc. as they were already proven in the United States. BMC made the bodies at Castle Bromwich in premises that now is a Jaguar factory.

The first examples badged as Nash went on sale on the 19th March 1954 in the USA and Canada and was an immediate success in the intended markets.

A few years previously Leonard Lord had failed to sell the Austin A90 Atlantic in the same market. The Series II of 1954 saw some versions being marketed as Hudsons.

100,000 Nash Metropolitans were assembled at Longbridge. The lack of power was addressed in 1956 with the fitting of the BMC 1498cc B series engine giving a top speed of 75mph.

In 1957 BMC realised that American Motors (after merger) did not plan to try and sell the car in any other markets and obtained the rights to sell in UK and other markets were Austin had a presence and American Motors did not.

Some cosmetic changes were made for the 1957 UK launch, these included removing the false bonnet scoop and providing a styling break on the body sides along with duo-tone paint. All cars had a Frost White lower body with the upper body being a choice of Berkshire Green, Mardi Gras Red, Black or Autumn Yellow. The 1500 convertible sold in the UK for 725, while the hardtop cost 714 (UK Pounds). Some were sold in Southern Europe and South Africa as well as in the UK. None of these ever carried any Austin or BMC badging but simply had Metropolitan badges with the letter M on the hubcaps and grill.

The final Metropolitan, the series IV arrived in 1959 and boasted an opening boot lid for the first time. Sales outside the USA were never enough to support production without US sales. In 1960 America suffered a recession along with a public turning against imports. In addition the major car companies started to flood the markets with compact cars.

The last examples left showrooms in 1961, and were by then a model with performance and handling from the past.

The Metropolitan was built in England to American Motors specifications.
(American Motors grew out of the 1954 merger of Nash and Hudson motor companies). All of the 94,986 that were manufactured and shipped to North America were built by Austin in England (later known as British Leyland Motor Corporation, and now known as Jaguar Cars, Inc.). Metropolitans were sold by Nash, Hudson and AMC dealers in the USA and Canada from 1954 to 1962. Two models were offered a two-door convertible and a two-door hardtop.

The "MET," as it is affectionately called, was an outgrowth of the NXI and NKI experimental models developed in 1949 through 1950 by Nash Motors, then a division of Nash-Kelvinator. To test public reaction, prototypes were shown to selected audiences across the country over an extended period of time. Many of the features subsequently found on the Metropolitan were results of the national survey.

The wheelbase of the Metropolitan is 85 inches, the length is 149 inches, the width is 61 inches, and the height is 54 inches. The Metropolitan is of all-welded unitized body construction.

The original Metropolitan (known as the A-1200) was powered by a 42-hp. Austin A-40 overhead-valve four cylinder engine with a compression ratio of 7.2 to 1. The engine had a bore of 2 37/64 inches and a stroke of 3 inches. Displacement was 73.17 cubic inches. Standard tires size of the 1200 series were 5.20 x 13. The Met also had aluminum pistons, fully counterbalanced crankshaft, Zenith (British) downdraft carburetor, 12-volt electrical system with a positive ground, Borg & Beck dry-disc, single-plate-type clutch, and Hotchkiss drive.

The transmissions in all series were a steering post mounted 3-speed synchromesh in 2nd and 3rd gears. On April 9, 1956 American Motors announced the 1500 series Metropolitan which incorporated many new features, including a 24% increase in horsepower to a 52-hp. motor. Compression ratio was increased to 8.31 to 1. Styling changes included a new hood and grille. Early in 1959, several functional improvements were made, including a new trunk lid, glove box door, window vents, seat adjustment mechanism and larger tires. Though it was small and economical, the Metropolitan did not have a "cheap" image. Its standard equipment was actually more complete than what was offered on most American cars of that time. At the time that Metropolitans were introduced (March 1954), suggested delivery prices were $1,469.00 for the two-door convertible (Model 541), and $1,445.00 for the two-door hardtop (Model 542). Standard equipment included leather and nylon cord upholstery, foam-rubber front seat cushion, sun visors, turn signals, two-tone paint on the hardtop models, map light, windshield wipers, oil bath air cleaner and a continental style mounted spare tire with cover. Optional equipment included a heater, a radio with a mounted antenna, and white wall tires.

The color options on the 1200 series were Spruce Green, Canyon Red, Caribbean Blue and Croton Green. The hardtop was available only in these colors on the lower body and Mist Gray was on the upper body (top). The convertible was available with a Tan top only with a Spruce Green body. The black convertible top was available only with a Canyon Red and Caribbean Blue body. Beginning with the 1500 series, Black, Snowberry White, Sunburst Yellow, Coral Red, Berkshire Green, Mardi Gras Red, Frost White and Autumn Yellow were offered.

A Metropolitan properly restored should have no difficulty in today's traffic, and can cruise between 55 and 60 mph without any problems.
 
  D O E S   A M E R I C A   W A N T   T H E   E C O N O M Y   C A R ?

Does America Want the Economy Car? A Request for Your Opinion from Nash Motors An auto show handout about the NXI ca. early 1950 8.5”x11” Front cover

Does America Want the Economy Car? A Request for Your Opinion from Nash Motors An auto show handout about the NXI ca. early 1950 8.5”x11” Page 1

Does America Want the Economy Car? A Request for Your Opinion from Nash Motors An auto show handout about the NXI ca. early 1950 8.5”x11” Page 2


Does America Want the Economy Car? A Request for Your Opinion from Nash Motors An auto show handout about the NXI ca. early 1950 8.5”x11” Page 3

Does America Want the Economy Car? A Request for Your Opinion from Nash Motors An auto show handout about the NXI ca. early 1950 8.5”x11” Page 4

Does America Want the Economy Car? A Request for Your Opinion from Nash Motors An auto show handout about the NXI ca. early 1950 8.5”x11” Page 5


7 Met America Want p7.jpg
Does America Want the Economy Car?
A Request for Your Opinion from Nash Motors
An auto show handout about the NXI ca. early 1950
8.5”x11”
Page 6

  A S T R A - G N O M E

ASTRA-GNOME “Time and Space Car”
Letter from Richard Arbib NY, NY
to JL Elbert
Library of the World’s Automobiles
Clinton, Missouri
Dated: July 9, 1956


ASTRA-GNOME “Time and Space Car”
General Specifications
Dated: July 11, 1956

ASTRA-GNOME “Time and Space Car”
Ten Important Features of the Astra-Gnome
Dated: July 11, 1956


ASTRA-GNOME “Time and Space Car”
Essay: Why a “Time and Space” Car?
Page 1
Dated: July 11, 1956


ASTRA-GNOME “Time and Space Car”
Essay: Why a “Time and Space” Car?
Page 2
Dated: July 11, 1956

ASTRA-GNOME “Time and Space Car”
Press Release
Sunday April 22, (1956) or Later
Page 1
Dated: July 11, 1956


ASTRA-GNOME “Time and Space Car”
Press Release
Sunday April 22, (1956) or Later
Page 2
Dated: July 11, 1956


ASTRA-GNOME “Time and Space Car”
Press photograph: “Time and Space Car”
Release Sunday April 22, (1956) or Later


ASTRA-GNOME “Time and Space Car”
“Time and Space Car”
Press Release
Sunday April 22, (1956) or Later

ASTRA-GNOME “Time and Space Car”
Press photograph: A car from Mars
Release Sunday April 22, (1956) or Later


ASTRA-GNOME “Time and Space Car”
“A car from Mars with luggage to match.”
Press Release
Sunday April 22, (1956) or Later

ASTRA-GNOME “Time and Space Car”
Press photograph:
Interior of the Astra-Gnome
Release Sunday April 22, (1956) or Later

ASTRA-GNOME “Time and Space Car”
Interior of the Astra-Gnome
“time and space car”
Press Release
Sunday April 22, (1956) or Later


ASTRA-GNOME “Time and Space Car”
Astra-Gnome Questionaire
Dated: July 11, 1956
5.5”x3.5” (one-sided)

  O L D   P H O T O S

1950 NXI (Nash Experimental International)
10”x8” Black & White photograph

1954 NASH Metropolitan Hardtop 542
10”x8” Black & White photograph
AMH-69-674

ca. 1954 THE METROPOLITAN
Convertible Sports Car
American Motors Corp.
Card, 5.25”x3.25”

1956 METROPOLITAN 1500
No. 16 in a series British Cars
of the 50’s & 60’s
Postcard B5-16
Front, 6.75”x4.75”

1956 METROPOLITAN 1500
No. 16 in a series British Cars
of the 50’s & 60’s
Postcard B5-16
Back, 6.75”x4.75”

  A D V E R T I S I N G - the exciting new Metropolitan

THE EXCITING NEW Metropolitan
Top Two Pages
Folded: 11.25”x8.5” Open: 22.5”x25.5”
NSP54—1633-1—300M—4-54

THE EXCITING NEW Metropolitan
Front Page Middle
Folded: 11.25”x8.5” Open: 22.5”x25.5”
NSP54—1633-1—300M—4-54


THE EXCITING NEW Metropolitan
Back Page Middle
Folded: 11.25”x8.5” Open: 22.5”x25.5”
NSP54—1633-1—300M—4-54


THE EXCITING NEW Metropolitan
Bottom Two Pages
Folded: 11.25”x8.5” Open: 22.5”x25.5”
NSP54—1633-1—300M—4-54


THE EXCITING NEW Metropolitan
Other side Top Two Pages
Folded: 11.25”x8.5” Open: 22.5”x25.5”
NSP54—1633-1—300M—4-54


1955 Metropolitan
40 Million Miles of Raves
Front Page
Folded: 11.25”x8.5” Open:22.5”x25”
NSP55-1858-1-200M-5-55 Litho in USA


1955 Metropolitan
40 Million Miles of Raves
Pages 1 & 2
Folded: 11.25”x8.5” Open:22.5”x25”
NSP55-1858-1-200M-5-55 Litho in USA


1955 Metropolitan
40 Million Miles of Raves
Page 3
Folded: 11.25”x8.5” Open:22.5”x25”
NSP55-1858-1-200M-5-55 Litho in USA


1955 Metropolitan
40 Million Miles of Raves
Page 4
Folded: 11.25”x8.5” Open:22.5”x25”
NSP55-1858-1-200M-5-55 Litho in USA


1955 Metropolitan
40 Million Miles of Raves
Back Page
Folded: 11.25”x8.5” Open:22.5”x25”
NSP55-1858-1-200M-5-55 Litho in USA


1954 and 1955 Metropolitan
(Same in both 1954 & 1955 sales flyers)
Page 5-6-7-8-9-10
Folded: 11.25”x8.5” Open:22.5”x25”
NSP55-1858-1-200M-5-55 Litho in USA







1956 Amazing New, Blazing New
METROPOLITAN “1500”
World’s Smartest Smaller Car!
M-56-5274 Litho in USA
Front page, 12”x9”


1956 Amazing New, Blazing New
METROPOLITAN “1500”
World’s Smartest Smaller Car!
M-56-5274 Litho in USA
Pages 1 & 2, 24”x9”


1956 Amazing New, Blazing New
METROPOLITAN “1500”
World’s Smartest Smaller Car!
M-56-5274 Litho in USA
Back page, 12”x9”


ca. 1962
Imported Metropolitan “1500” Sales Catalog
“Luxury in Miniature”
Front Cover, Folded: 11.5”x8.5”
AM-62-1076


ca. 1962
Imported Metropolitan “1500” Sales Catalog
“Luxury in Miniature”
Page 1, Folded: 11.5”x8.5”
AM-62-1076

ca. 1962
Imported Metropolitan “1500” Sales Catalog
“Luxury in Miniature”
Page 2, Folded: 11.5”x8.5”
AM-62-1076

ca. 1962
Imported Metropolitan “1500” Sales Catalog
“Luxury in Miniature”
Pages 3, 4, 5, 6,
Folded: 11.5”x8.5”, Open: 23”x17”
AM-62-1076


ca. 1962
Imported Metropolitan “1500” Sales Catalog
“Luxury in Miniature”
Back Cover, Folded: 11.5”x8.5”
AM-62-1076

  A D V E R T I S I N G - 1958 X-Ray

1958 X-RAY
Compares the Imported Cars
8.5”x11” A. M. Form No 58-6713
Front Cover page 1

Imported Car X-RAY
Compares Styling, Inside and Out
8.5”x11” A. M. Form No 58-6713
Page 2

Imported Car X-RAY
Compares Comfort and Convenience
8.5”x11” A. M. Form No 58-6713
Page 3

Imported Car X-RAY
Let’s look at Engines
8.5”x11” A. M. Form No 58-6713
Page 4

1958 X-RAY
Let’s look at Performance
8.5”x11” A. M. Form No 58-6713
Page 5

1958 X-RAY
Luxury In Miniature
8.5”x11” A. M. Form No 58-6713
Page 6

Imported Car X-RAY
Shows Only Metropolitan Has
Nationwide Parts and Service
8.5”x11” A. M. Form No 58-6713
Page 7

1958 X-RAY
Now Add Up the X-Ray Box Score
on the Leading Imported Cars!
8.5”x11” A. M. Form No 58-6713
Back Cover page 8
  P R I N T   A D V E R T I S I N G

It’s Here! Nash Presents
A Completely New Kind of Car
… the Metropolitan!
HOLIDAY magazine April 1954
Page 30, 10.5”x13.5”

ca. 1961 magazine ad
Join the Personal Car Set
Metropolitan “1500”
GORILLA’S WAYS continued
Page 42, 10.5”x7.25” of 10.5”x14”