59’ Nash Metropolitan

Ocean Grove, New Jersey | C.1959

Photo Credit: Leah Frances

Slow down there Daddy-O! Check out the kicks on this little roadster. Once hailed as “a completely different kind of car,” the Nash Metropolitan was poised to be smarter and more economical choice compared to the bulky, long-tailed American cars of the 1950s. Styled like those famous Buicks and Cadillacs in pink and sky blue, it may not have fully competed with those manufacturing giants–but it changed the American car market for decades to come.

Seeing a niche for smaller, cheap cars, Nash Motor Company saw an opportunity to cash-in on Americans who were looking for a commuter car or a fun joy-ride to a sock-hop. While popular models of the day stretched many feet, Nash designed one of the first “subcompact” cars in 1953 with the Metropolitan. With great gas mileage and cheeky advertisements of Metropolitans fitting in parking spaces normal cars of the day could not, the car skyrocketed into popularity.

From 1953 to 1959, more than 90,000 Nash Metropolitans rolled off the assembly line. Designed in America and produced in Britain, the “sporty little buckets” changed the conversation about how big an car should be at the height of an American automobile renaissance. With the ability to be equipped as a convertible or a hard-top, the Nash was suitable for a diverse range of needs–not just burnin’ rubber on the race track.

Though the Metropolitan series was discontinued in 1962, the car’s impact has continued into the 21st century. Large auto manufacturers took notice of the small chariot’s popularity, and subcompact car models became regularly featured in yearly releases. Now that’s pretty nifty!

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