Wednesday afternoon, the towers of Marina City were like a giant Christmas tree, one beneath which the most marvelous toy had been placed - a gleaming turquoise and white Nash Metropolitan.
Probably one of the few cars ever to be described by automotive writers as "cuddly," the British manufactured Metropolitan was introduced in 1953, and survived only until 1962 model year. Designed by William J. Flajole, it was half the weight of an average sedan, with a fuel tank that only held 10.5 gallons.
In an era when heavy metal could have to be said the primary design motif, consumers didn't quite know what to make of it. In our own time, however, when SUV's have become economic millstone around the necks of their owners, the Metropolitan looks like the perfect fit for a $4.00 a gallon world. A subcompact long before the term had even been invented, it offered 30 MPG "in traffic" and up to 39.4 MPG at 45 MPH. While in its own time, it was a laughable choice for a four-member nuclear family, for the empty-nesters of today, it's the perfect bite-size.
If Apple had come out with an iCar, this is what it might have looked like. Read all about the Metropolitan on Wikipedia here, and see a gallery of photo's here.
And so we bid you a fond farewell, our petite jaunty friend, as you glide across the river and over the horizon. Fair skies and good riding, YCB 30, wherever you are.