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George Mason, President of Nash Motor Car Company, had broad experience in engineering, manugacturing and finance. He was an industry leader in the 1940's and 50's, and it was his decision to explore the possible production of a small two seater automobile. After the design phase was completed, the decision was made to have Auston Motor Company, Ltd., of England build the car. It would be available as a convertible or a hardtop.
The Nash Metropolitan was the first "world car". It was designed in the United States, built in England, and sold all over North America and Great Britain. It was also an early example of "niche marketing," a term that would not be familiar until many years later. Following World War II, there was a move toward smaller cars and it was in this environment that the Metropolitan came to be.
The first Metropolitans used an Austin 1200cc, 42-horsepower, overhead valve four-cylinder engine. Later models were powered with a more powerful Austin 1500cc engine. The cars were originally sold with the Nash lable, but later when Nash and Hudson merged to form American Motors Corp, the little cars became known as the AMC Metropolitan. All Metropolitans wad a rear mounted spare, a styling detail that mimicked the Continental kits that were a popular accessory in the 50's and 60's.
1959 was the best sales year for the Metropolita with over 22,000 sold. Its popularity as an economy car was second only to the Volkswagen. But by 1960, the market was changing. Chrysler introduced the Dodge Valient, General Motors the Chevrolet Corvair, and Ford the Falcon. These compacts were bigger, more powerful and could be ordered with automatic transmissions. After 1961, the Metropolitan was discontinued.