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1959 Nash Metropolitan

Hi all! I have a 1959 Nash Metropolitan that stays in the shop more than it stays in my driveway. I no longer want to be a purist. Does anyone know/have experience with another make engine that would work in this car? Greatly appreciate your help!


  • edited February 2011
    You'll want to ask some Nash folks - I imagine there are a few Nash and/or Metropolitan Forums, you should check them out (google away).

    Besides a more modern engine, you'll need to check into upgrading the brakes and the suspension/tires. If you put in more power, it might overwhelm the existing setup.
  • edited February 2011
    A SUBARU JUSTY ENGINE....THE GL1800... Just kidding....inside joke.

    That is if I am correct the tiny little Nash Yes I think it is... I believe these came with a variant if not the exact same engines as MG's used to have...the 1500-1600-1800 MGB engines would probably bolt right up...

    Hell you could put in a TON of interesting engines in there....You would need to install an adapter plate to adapt most FWD engines to do RWD duty...prob best to go with a modern stock drivetrain that was designed for RWD from the get go.

    I would LOVE to see you install a Honda S2000 drivetrain in there...its a 4cyl attached to a 6sp manual trans with 240HP! Sweet...with rear wheel drive....that would be a crazy setup. You wouldnt have to drive the wheels off of the car either...that engine is quite docile when asked to be...I would like to see any Honda engine in there...Toyota.....Nissan makes the SR20 engines which are RWD found in the 240SX....they come in Turbo as well... A Mazda Miata Engine and trans would be great too! But this project would require you to beef up the other systems...BRAKES being the biggest one off the top of my head. But you get the idea...How big of a project do you want....just an engine swap and no other chassis mods...or as few as possible?

    There are many many others...but I think that most modern engines today in 4cylinder config...were designed for FWD which isnt that big of a deal to mount them to a RWD trans...just takes more work and creativity.....Will you be doing this yourself?

    If you didnt want to go with a modern fuel injected can look to Toyota 20R....22R....or the injected 22RE.... Those are great engines and very reliable...not performance kings, but plenty worthwhile....There are many many more How many choices do you want and do you want a modern powertrain or an older simpler style? Dont be too afraid of modern powertrains when they come complete all you really need is to fab up fuel supply and power and exhaust to get them running....they are self sufficient in that they usually have all they need to run aside from fuel and power and ex gas hookups.... All depends on what you want to tackle...
  • edited February 2011
    With the proper fabrication you can get just about anything into anything. Don't expect to find a bunch of "put motor X into a '59 Metropolitan" kits out there, though, so expect to spend some time and/or money custom fabricating mounts.

    Also keep in mind that whatever you put in there, you're going to have to upgrade the whole driveline, especially the rear end - - the original motor on that thing was something like 50hp, so no matter what you put in there you'll probably at least double the power. And follow Texases' instructions as well, upgrading the brakes, suspension, and tires.

    If I were doing this project I might be tempted to try and stuff an engine from an S2000 in there. Quadruple the horsepower out of a small 2L engine. ;)


    Oh, and do yourself a favor. Keep the original engine in a safe place. If you ever sell this thing, the purists will want to be able to put the motor back in.

  • edited February 2011
    Google 'Nash metropolitan engine swap', and be prepared for LOTS of ideas!

    The Corvette V8 swap is especially interesting...
  • edited February 2011
    Wow! Thanks for the info. Basically I want this to be as simple as possible, because I am paying the world's nicest mechanic to do the work. I want the car to be safer to drive, easier to maintain, and better on gas mileage than it is now. The fuel gauge is currently broken, so it's a constant worry about whether or not there is gasoline, and it backfires every time I turn it off. My son loves this car and will be getting his license in a few years. I wouldn't depend on it for constant transportation, but I would like him to have it to cruise around in. Does that help narrow down the choices?
  • edited February 2011
    Hmmm...I'd think twice about him driving it much, it has all the safety of an aluminum pop can. This is something you can't change much, aside from better brakes.

    And you can/should get the gas gauge fixed now, anyway, along with the backfire problem. They'll be cheap compared to any kind of engine swap!

    'Simple' and 'engine swap' seldom go together...
  • edited February 2011
    I've known quite a few people of the 1950's and 1960's era that did engine transplants and none of these transplants provided reliable transportation. Two transplants that I recall were a 1954 Cadillac engine in a 1951 Mercury. The electrical system had not been converted to 12 volts and my friend push started the Mercury most of the time. Another conversion was a Buick nail head V-8 in a 1953 Studebaker Starlight. The engine made the car too nose heavy.

    I think the engine in your Nash Metropolitan is an Austin engine which was also used in the MG. To a car collector, the car is worth much more with its original engine. Furthermore, if this engine is in good tune, it gets good mileage even for these times.
  • edited February 2011
    The best that I have seen was a Chevette engine and automatic transmission. A 289 Ford can be stuffed in but the entire Ford front end must be fitted to support the weight. A Volvo and transmission will fit in an MGA which used the same basic drive train as the Metropolitan. But what problems are you having with the original engine? The problems with the car were usually electrical and fuel.
  • edited February 2011
    Oh, its much bigger than just those repairs. New brakes, new gaskets, new fuel pump, new seals.....the list keeps going. Thats why I'm thinking a newer engine may be less expensive than finding parts. Yes - the engine is the Austin engine. My mom had an MG and it looks just like it. It may be worth my while to purchase a maintenance guide off ebay to keep it running if I repair the existing - ? I know it flips over like a beetle - I definitely wouldn't want him driving it a lot!
  • edited February 2011
    Repairing what you have will likely be less expensive than swapping in a different engine, or brakes, or suspension, etc. There are lots of unknowns when you do that. See if you can find a local car buff that can sit down with you and come up with a list of work, in priority order. Some of the things will fall down the list, others will need attention now...

    One advantage to fixing what you have is there's a pretty enthusiastic group of Metropolitan owners that can help you. Put in something unique and you're on your own.

    Have you joined the MOCNA?
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