If you were compiling a Top 10 Most Distinctive Cars of All Time, then it’d be hard to ignore the Nash Metropolitan. Built by Austin in the UK and also sold outside the US under that badge, the Metropolitan was a small city car for America at a time when very little about cars in the US was small.
Distinctive or not, I find it amazing that Hot Wheels has now produced two models of the Metropolitan, each with a very HW spin on the design. The newer is The Nash, based on the turquoise rat rod Nashole that won the HW Legends Tour in 2019. It arrived just before Christmas in the 2021 B case.
I saw the real car at the SEMA Show in 2019 and was fortunate to interview one of its builders, Greg Salzillo (pictured below with Nashole), for an article in Model Collector magazine, which sadly went out of print last year. I’ve made this available as a pdf on my website if you want to read the full story. It was a great project, I recommend it!
Having seen the car in person and talked to Greg, I was interested to see how the Hot Wheels replica would turn out (note that Greg and co-builder Dave Ford got a design credit for the Hot Wheels version, alongside Manson Cheung). Then a few months before it appeared, I spotted the teal/turquoise version of the Metrorail casting in a market for a couple of bucks, so I picked it up ready to do a comparison with The Nash. The time has come!
Metrorail is a Metropolitan drag car – imagined, I assume, but there are some real ones. It was issued on 20 occasions from 2000-14, including as a Boulevard. It’s a long model, around 79mm to the Nash’s 59mm. The two-tone colour scheme of this 2000 First Edition is perfect for a 50s Metropolitan.
The new Nash is much more compact. It has several distinctive features including the dice atop the small-block Chevy and the outsize wheels with cutaway fenders. The real car sports whitewalls, but the Hot Wheels gets ‘blackwall’ skinny 5-spokes. I think it’s a pity they weren’t able to match the real wheels because it changes the look of the car considerably. However, the stance is spot-on and I love the tampo’d rust patches.
Here’s another shot of the two Metropolitans side-by-side. They make a fun pair! Not sure I can pick a favourite: neither is something I’d normally collect but it was cool to put them together for this article.