Nash’s strong overseas connections and growing American enthusiasm for smaller cars led to the Metropolitan, widely considered to be the first American subcompact car. The Metropolitan was based on an early design study by Bill Flajole, which was followed by a lengthy development period that produced both the NXI and NKI prototypes.
The production Metropolitan featured Pinin Farina styling touches, while Fisher & Ludlow of Birmingham, England built the bodies, and Austin handled final assembly at Longbridge, England. A 1,200 cc Austin A40 engine, mated to a column-shifted three-speed manual transmission, powered the first series cars. The Metropolitan was introduced in May 1954 in both coupe and convertible form, and the car was a hit, with 8,000 examples sold during its first four months of availability. An early road test by Motor Trend enthusiastically described the Metropolitan as “a scaled down version of everything good in a Nash, which is saying plenty.”
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2010 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.
52 bhp, 91 cu. in. (1,489 cc) inline four-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with unequal-length upper and lower control arms and coil springs, rigid rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 85"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel