Welcome to Little Car in the Big City, where I highlight fascinating cars I found walking around a town that is known for being bigger than everything else, but where every car is fighting to stand out: New York, New York.
Let's get all the journalistic biases out of the way upfront: I am a New York Islanders fan, I am a New York Mets fan, and I am a New York Jets fan. The next sentence should be very predictable, then.
I am a Nash Metropolitan fan.
Like the perennial losers of the New York sports world, the Nash Metropolitan has heart, it's got character, it's got soul. That's because it was designed, engineered, and built in a time when big was king; when the only thing that was a greater indicator of your conspicuous consumption than the acreage of your lawn was the acreage of your hood; when McDonald's, the company that invented the supersize, was created.
In a world where the Cadillac Eldorado was everybody's favorite, the New York Yankees of the American automotive landscape, the Nash Metropolitan stood out.
Because the Nash Metropolitan is small. Really, really small.
The wheelbase is only a hair over seven feet, and the whole thing is only a little under 12.5 feet, which makes it smaller than a beloved Volkswagen Beetle. It's the perfect city car, which explains the name.
But the thing that was great about the Metropolitan is that despite its small size, it still came with a huge amount of style. Two-tone paint came on most Metropolitans, and whitewall tires were an extra. It's like if you could get a Honda Fit today with LEDs and a "four-door coupe" look, or if you could get a Honda Fit today with two-tone paint and whitewall tires.
It had just that much style.
Unfortunately, the Nash Metropolitan was really only marketed to women, which is a thing you could do back then and not get killed in the marketplace, so it never really caught on with the hot-rodding community. Everybody and their aunt has a Chevy Bel-Air with an LS1 in it, but rare is the Metropolitan with anything bigger than its original 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine.
Not to say they don't exist, but when they do, they've got a hell of a lot of character, passion, and soul.
And that's why the Nash Metropolitan is a great little car.