Vintage Pin Up: Edward Runci

edrunci

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The Nash Metropolitan

The Nash Metropolitan
makes for an interesting
piece of automotive history ..

.. originally called
the “NXI”
( short for Nash
Experimental International ):

It was the first time
that a car designed
in America was
mass-produced
in Europe exclusively
for the North American
market.

Built between 1953 to 1961
in Birmingham, England by
what would soon become
the British Motor Corporation
( which absorbed Austin,
Morris, and Fisher/Ludlow ),
the car was also one of the
first that would qualify to
be called a ‘sub-compact’ –
before such a designation
even existed.

Primarily intended as a
‘commuter’ or ‘second’ car,
it was marketed specifically
to women as both cost-
effective and fashionably
trend-setting.

During the period of
it’s manufacture, it carried
several corporate name
plates, starting with Nash,
then Hudson, and eventually,
American Motors –

— for the last four years
of it’s production, it was
sold exclusively at Rambler
dealerships.

Austin-BMC produced
a total of three model
changes or series :

The Series I and II: from
1953 to 1955, the car
underwent few functional
changes , and even though
the engine was changed
from the Austin “A-40”
to the BMC “B”, the engine
displacement and horsepower
stayed pretty much the same
(1200cc) – although the car
was heavier due to a change
in gearboxes.

The Series III:
from 1956 to 1961,
brought a bigger 1498 cc
engine, along with some
cosmetic body changes
that gave the car a lower,
elongated look.

In general, the car is
remembered as a unique
and well designed small
car that in some measure
opened a niche for compacts
in the American market:
just under 95,000 Metropolitans
were sold in North America –
making it one of the best
selling imports of it’s time.

HOY !

What’s A Whizzer?

So,
what is a “Whizzer” ??

I’m so glad
you asked me that…..

The average Whizzer
you might come
across at a vintage
motorcycle show actually
started life as a men’s full
size bicycle.

Starting back before
World War II, (1939)
a Los Angeles based
aviation parts company
called Breene-Taylor
Engineering developed
a conversion kit that would
turn a consumer bike into
a motorized vehicle.

It was called the
“Model-D”,
and used a one-cylinder
motor that made about
1 3/8 horsepower.

The kit would fit a variety of
men’s bicycle frames and sizes,
(but no ladies bikes) including:
Higgins, Schwinn,
and Clevelands.

During the war, sales flagged,
probably due to serious quality
issues, like a crankshaft made
out of pot-metal, and a split
crankcase.

Only about 6,000 of
these were sold –
running through the
Model-F.

They were reputed to
be only good for about
a 1000 miles before they
failed.

Interestingly enough,
though – “Whizzers” and
similarly made “Cushman”
scooters were the only
new domestic made
‘vehicles’ that could be
purchased by civilians
after 1941, until the
end of the war.

The company survived
the war (barely) and moved
their production facilities to
Pontiac, Michigan .

The kits “Model-H” were
re-engineered with an
improved crank design,
better seals, bearings,
tappets, and generally
better performance.

And by 1948, the company,
now called “Whizzer Motors”,
were in a position to offer
consumer-ready Whizzers –
with no assembly required.

Their first pre-assembled
model was the ” Pacemaker “,
followed by the “Sportsman ”
and the Schwinn “Special ”
and “WZ” .

There was also a
‘top of the line’
model called the
‘Ambassador”.

But the majority
of “Whizzers”
started life as kits.

Horsepower was upped
to 3 HP on their motors
in 1952:

And the company then
switched over to a numeric
model-naming system —
i.e: the 300 series,
up through the 700 series,
which was the last one –
made in 1965.

All told, there were probably
250,000 “Whizzers” produced
in either kit form or
pre-assembled models,
and there were a staggering
variety of bike styles that
bore the name.

All that was left of the company
after 1965 was a back-stock of
parts and about 175 kits,
which were sold for about
$5000 in the early 1970’s.

!! HOY !!