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The grille was also redesigned, and the hood had its non-functional hood scoop removed. The interior was also changed to incorporate a " houndstooth " check material for the seats trimmed with white vinyl. The dashboard was also now painted black, rather than the body color as was the case for Series I and II Metropolitans.
The Metropolitan was subsequently marketed under the "Metropolitan" name only, and sold through Rambler dealers. This major redesign saw the addition of an external decklid previous models only allowed access to the trunk through the rear seat back and vent windows. By this time, the engine had been upgraded by increasing the compression ratio from 7.
Exterior color options were the same as for Series III. The interior now used a diamond pattern for the seats, with white vinyl trim.
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Sales rose to 22, units in , the Metropolitan's best-selling year, promoting it to second place behind Volkswagen in sales of cars imported to the U. Sales of the existing inventory continued until March A station wagon version was contemplated by AMC, and two prototypes were built, but the project was abandoned.
One of the two prototypes has been restored and is on display at a Metropolitan restoration facility in North Hollywood, California. To establish the production date for a Metropolitan U. The number is prefixed by the letter "E". Check this number against the list below, to establish an approximate production date.
Since the cars took at least six weeks to be shipped from the Longbridge factory to the U. The early brochures for the Austin Metropolitans used a reversed photograph to show an apparently right hand drive RHD car parked in an English country town Chipping Campden , because only left hand drive vehicles were available at the time the photos were taken.
From December , production of Austin Metropolitans began, and from April 2, , approximately 9, additional units were sold in overseas markets that included the United Kingdom. An estimated 1, Metropolitans were sold there in four years,  according to several published sources. However one British journalist has estimated the figure at around 5, Austin was dropped from the name, which now became simply "Metropolitan", and the cars carried no Austin badges although they had Austin Company chassis plates.
Despite this the car remained known, by trade and public alike, as the Austin Metropolitan, often shortened to Austin Metro in common parlance. In May , Car Mart Ltd. It was stolen in London in February As a result of low sales, production of the Austin Metropolitan ended in February An additional two "one-offs" were built in March and April, after serial Metropolitan production ended.
Total Austin Metropolitan production has been estimated at between 9, and 9, cars. Faced with increasing competition from AMC's own Rambler American models, as well as newly introduced compact cars from the Big Three, the Metropolitan lost market appeal. The Metropolitan "was a car that appealed to an eclectic mix of Americans" because it was "economical, yet a joy to drive", and it has been described as "pure automotive whimsy". Right-hand drive models were marketed by AMC to U.
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The Franklin Mint produced a die-cast toy model of a Metropolitan in a police car version. Among its features are a police hat and handcuffs on the passengers seat, as well as a fire extinguisher on the floor. Arbib modified a Nash Metropolitan and it was his vision of what an automobile would look like in the year Almost from the beginning of sales of the Metropolitan, American Motors received many letters and photographs from Metropolitan owners with stories of their good experiences with their cars.
Some of these comments were used in later brochures for the Metropolitan. In January , James W. He reasoned that personal recommendation was a powerful marketing tool. All owners of Metropolitans could apply to join the Club, and members received a membership card, membership certificate, and a metal badge to attach to their vehicle.
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From May , a magazine was circulated to members called "The Met Letter". The magazine consisted of articles and photographs submitted by members, as well as maintenance and editorial comment from American Motors. Members who recruited additional Metropolitan buyers were rewarded with a special gold anodized "Metropolitan Club" badge. The Club was disbanded around May , when supplies of Metropolitans was exhausted. Floyd Clymer, the motoring journalist and passionate supporter of the Metropolitan concept, attempted to keep the Metropolitan Club going for a short while after this time.
The "Metropolitan's staying power and its never-ending cuteness" have earned it "a place among the Greatest Cars of All Time" in the opinion of automotive writer Jack Nerad, a former editor of Motor Trend magazine: No, it doesn't have a proud racing history. And, no, it wasn't built in huge numbers.
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But [it] possesses an ageless, cuddly quality that has made it a perennial favorite of car lovers and car agnostics alike. The Met was reasonably light at approximately pounds, but that weight was squared off against 42 horsepower. By British standards it looked "awful", according to Autocar , but Nash were "very pleased with it". Metropolitans have the very soft ride preferred by Americans at the time, instead of the firmer suspension preferred in Europe. Brian Sewell commented in that the car was "damned" in England "as a preposterous aberration incorporating the worst of everything American.
Parts are "relatively easy" to obtain and the car is "easy to work on. Ken Gross, a director of the Petersen Automotive Museum , noted that "the softly sprung Met wallows like most larger American cars of its day,"  and he has warned against "rust, especially in the floor pan and lower fenders," and "electrical gremlins. Parts and support are not a problem with these cars; returning all the waves and smiles you'll get driving a Met can be tiring though.
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