Last updated on March 14, 2023
Today’s car is the 1959 Metropolitan convertible owned by Dennis Thies, who has owned it for the last 17 years. It is finished in Bright Red with a red and white interior and a white convertible top. It is powered by a 55 hp, 1.5 liter OHV four with single bbl Zenith carburetor. Transferring that power to the rear wheels through a converted 3-speed Datsun automatic transmission with a 4.22:1 final gear ratio.
This car was built in England by Austin and sold originally as a Nash, but was “badge engineered” as a Hudson after the AMC merger (Nash~Kelvinator and Hudson) in 1954, then became a stand alone brand in 1957 when Hudson was discontinued. It was sold in the UK and Europe as an Austin Metropolitan. The major redesign added in 1959 was the addition of an external decklid. The previous models only allowed access to the trunk area through the rear seat seatback.
Copied from Mac’s Motor City Garage. “Car Classics magazine described the adorable puddle-jumper as the “cuckoo in the Longbridge nest.” I am assuming it means “an unwelcome intruder in the automotive world?” But it was famed New Yorker cover artist Bruce McCall who nailed the Metropolitan: He tagged it “Minnie Mouse’s dream roadster”.”
The automatic transmission, never offered when the cars were new, was sourced from a late-1960s Datsun, and is a relatively bolt in conversion because Datsun (now Nissan) was building a BMC licenced version of the same B-series engine that was used in many cars from MG sports cars, almost every BMC marque, and even in US-built International Harvester Metro-Mite mini step vans!
The original MSRP was $1,696.80. During that time 94,968 were produced; 75,569 were hardtops and 19,339 were convertibles. 21,040 cars were built in 1959. The top speed was 80 mph with a 0-60 mph time of 17.4 seconds. This is a fun car, especially with the wind up key on the rear decklid, the perfect accessory for this little car. It will do well for car shows, and Cars & Coffee events, or just cruising to the beach with the top down. Thanks for riding along. Frank