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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • ROSES BY VINCENT VAN GOGH, 1890

Company Car: 1950

Company Car: 1950

"1950 Nash experimental NXI." The Nash Experimental International, basis for the Nash Metropolitan, piloted by Nash-Kelvinator Chairman George Mason with VP George Romney (Mitt's dad) riding shotgun. View full size.

 

Not Lois' Ride

Your friendly "old car know it all guy" is back! Lois Lane's car in the 50s TV show was a 1950 Nash Rambler Convertible Coupe. Among other things, it was quite a bit larger than the later Metropolitan.

Grass Killer

My father had some kind of Nash when I was about 5 yrs. I'm 58 now. I quickly realized at this early age what Nash autos were good for....... killing grass. He'd move it in the yard occasionally and it would kill more grass. I think he had the clunker for several years before giving up on fixing it and selling it for parts. Transmission problem best I remember.

Its just grand

Unveiled on January 4th 1950 at the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC, the NXI was priced at under $1000, more here.

Postwar Nash

Great photo collection of postwar Nashes. They had some pretty sporty concept cars. I got to shake Michigan's Governor George Romney's hand when he did a walk-through a Sears store were I was working in the stock room in my early college days.

Lois Lane's car

"Somehow, so strangely familiar."

Mini-Car

Odd little beast, now slightly sought after 'special interest' car. Had an engine sourced from MG, I believe. Worked for a fella that had one way back in the 60s. He loved it, I couldn't understand why.

Another Matter of Scale

In the mid 60's, my best friend and I (both 6 feet 4 inches tall) were hitchhiking to a shopping mall for some fun. Coming down the road, we spotted a red & white Metropolitan with its top down. I commented that wouldn't that be funny if he stopped to pick us up - which he promptly did. The driver was nearly the same size as us and my best friend protested about not being able to fit us all in. The driver insisted so my friend entered first, scooted over and I was looking at about 6 inches of seat to sit down on. When I said that I didn't think it was possible, the driver said, "No problem. We can all squeeze in. Just get in." I sat down and pushed everyone together barely getting both feet inside and barely sitting on the seat. The real problem was that because there was not enough room to fully get in, my right knee was still sticking outside of the car with no where to go. I tried to close the door, but my knee prevented it from closing or latching. When I started to protest again, the driver said to just pull hard on the door and it would close. So I followed his instructions and yanked on the door. As the door closed, it pushed hard on my leg, driving it forward which eventually forced my right foot completely through the floorboard! My foot was now sitting on the top of front tire. I yelled for him to not move and told him what happened. He said, "Ah, just hold your leg up away from the tire so we can get going". And that is exactly what I did. For the next five miles we drove merrily down the road with me looking at the tire spinning below and the driver telling us what a great car his Metropolitan was and how much he loved it. My friend never said a word until we were both out of the car and it was on its way down the road at which point we both began a long laughing spell. True Story!

Cost Savings

To keep costs down there was no external trucklid. Therefore, access to the trunk was via a flip down panel behind the rear seat. There also was no glass side windows, but there were plastic side curtains. The front bumper incorporated the grille. The back bumper was the same piece, but without the grille. The spare tire was then able to slide into the opening below the trunk.

There were many design changes made before the Metropolitan was introduced in March 1954. The series of prototypes were called NKI for Nash Kelvinator International, and the NKI name almost made it into production. The early press photos and service literature actually shows NKI instead of Metropolitan.

The December 2012 issue of Hemmings Classic Car has a four page story on the NXI/NKI/Metropolitan. Note the spare tire behind the license plate in the photo below.

A Matter of Scale

This antecedent of the Nash (and Hudson, briefly) Metropolitan looks even smaller with someone of Mason's impressive bulk wedged into the driver's seat.

Similar

Was George the inspiration for that body styling? They say people look like their pets, George bears more than a passing resemblance to his car.

[It was designed by William Flajole. - tterrace]

Class wheels

Awesome roadster. Reminds me of the Sunbeam Tiger made famous in the 60's spy spoof Get Smart.

Kelvinator on wheels

Stand this car on end and you'd think you might find a cold beer inside if you could find the big chrome handle.

... and it didn't hurt me none

The Metropolitan's back seat wasn't really much of one. Its bottom served as a battery cover and its back folded down for access to the trunk, which didn't have an external lid.

That said, my mother often tells me that, when I was an infant, she carried me around in a girlfriend's Metro by wedging my bassinet behind the front seat backs and atop the rear bench. To my knowledge I was never ejected from the bassinet. However, I suggest that Shorpyites take any of my posts with a grain of salt given that I was transported in that manner.

Ahead Of Its Time

Somehow, so strangely familiar.

Well George,

it looks like we've got the ribbon for the goofiest looking car design for 1950.

Caveman's Photoshop

Looks like a bit of stenciled burn/dodge in the old darkroom as evidenced by the line around the car / executives' heads where it meets the curtain. The effect is that the subject "pops" off the underexposed (on the print mind you) back / foreground.

[Your "stenciled burn/dodge" would have been achieved by scraping away the emulsion on the negative, or using an ink pen on a print. - Dave]

Golden Oldie

Reminds me of that song lyric "Beep beep, beep beep. His horn went beep-beep-beep!"

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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