A brief history of the
They issued a questionnaire pamphlet called a "surview" showing pictures of a prototype concept car, based on a design by independent auto designer William Flajole, with a reply-paid envelope for people to return their opinion on the car. Quite an innovative strategy for the time.
Prototype design which appeared in the surview pamphlet
The reaction to the surview convinced Nash that there was a market for a new small car. Since no US auto factory had the tooling or experience to build cars of this size, it was decided to produce the car in Europe. The Austin Motor Company was at that time the largest car manufacturer outside the US, and was an obvious choice, in view of their reputation for quality build and engineering.
Following various design modifications, the first Metropolitans rolled off the Longbridge production line in October 1953, and went on sale in the US in the spring of 1954. Early versions were fitted with the 1200cc Austin Somerset engines and are now easily recognisable by a "floating bar" grille, and monotone body colours for body and roof. None of these early cars were released on the home (UK) market - the entire production until 1957 was for export only.
Postcard showing early production Hudson Metropolitan