REVISED AND UPDATED — This 1954 newsreel reports on the production launch of the Nash Metropolitan at the historic Austin/BMC factory in Longbridge, England. It was a big moment for Nash and for Great Britain. Let’s watch.
Everyone loves the quirky little Nash Metropolitan, quite possibly the most adorable automobile ever produced. And here at Mac’s Motor City Garage, we’re no exceptions—read our in-depth historical feature on the Metro here. Built for Nash-Kelvinator (soon to become American Motors) by the Austin Motor Company (British Motor Corporation) in Longbridge, Birmingham, England, the Metropolitan was, among other things, one of the smallest cars ever marketed in America.
The Metropolitan was so small, in fact, that it couldn’t be built on Nash’s existing production lines. Production engineers determined the track was too narrow to straddle the Kenosha assembly line conveyors. But Austin was ideally equipped to manufacture the vehicle, and could also provide suitable powertrain and suspension components straight off the shelves, including the doughty Austin A40 engine. Later models were equipped with the larger and more powerful 1.5-liter BMC B-Series powerplant.
Great Britain was still battling to rebuild its economy after its costly victory in World War II, and the Metropolitan generated much-needed export revenue—note the openly celebratory tone of this newsreel story from British Pathé News. This was a big deal for Britain, make no mistake. Let’s join in the celebration. Video below.