History
of the
Nash, Hudson & Austin Metropolitan



1954 Metropolitan

   The result of the surviews was positive, and so the decision was made to continue with the project. Further prototypes were built and tested. One major decision needed to be made - who would build it. On October 5th 1952, Nash announced that the Austin Motor Company of Longbridge, England would assemble the car with the bodies built by Fisher & Ludlow of Birmingham, England. It would use the Austin A40 engine of 1200cc, and a 3 speed column change gearbox. It would available as a 2 door Hardtop or Convertible with an overall length of 149.5" Most of the parts were standard parts used on other Austin vehicles with basically only the body panels requiring special tooling. Because of this, the Tooling cost were extremely low by US standards.

   The initial order was for 10,000 cars with an option for more if the market demand was strong enough. Production started in October 1953 (starting with VIN E1001), and the finished product was shipped to the USA & Canada. Initially, the name chosen for this new car was "NKI Custom". In January 1954, it was decided to re-name it "Metropolitan". As production had already commenced, many cars left the factory with the "NKI Custom" nameplate. The "Metropolitan" nameplate was fitted to all production cars after Body number 4097, and was then retro-fitted to earlier production. The car was released to the public on March 19th 1954. Colors were Spruce Green, Canyon Red, Caribbean Blue and Croton Green contrasted with Mist Grey for the Hardtops. Convertibles were fitted with either Tan or Black tops depending on the body color. Initial sales were very encouraging, and an additional order was placed for a further 10,000 vehicles, but now using the then-new Austin "B" series engine but still with a 1200cc capacity. Another modification was the use of a hydraulic system for the Clutch to achieve a smoother operation than the original mechanical arrangement. By May 1954 Nash and Hudson had officially merged to become "American Motors" but they still kept their Nash & Hudson names, and thus from July 1954 the Metropolitan became available as a "Hudson".

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