1961 Nash Metropolitan With 8.8-Liter Big Block V8 Is More Engine Than Car
If Pee-wee Herman is ever cast for a Fast & Furious spinoff, this is what he’ll drive.
Movies like The Fast and the Furious and Ford v Ferrari have given the general public the impression that racers are a machismo-afflicted, self-serious bunch. That, of course, couldn't be further from the truth. Motorsport fans have senses of humor as self-aware as any, and when building a race car, not everybody takes the endeavor so seriously that they forget racing's supposed to be fun. New Jerseyan Rodger Purdy Jr. certainly had that in mind as he constructed one of the strangest drag cars ever conceived: A Nash Metropolitan.
Nash Metropolitans are known for being one of the smallest cars America ever produced in large numbers. They come in at about six inches shorter and four inches narrower than a first-generation Mazda Miata, which ought to give you an idea of the scale we're talking about. Though their sub-1,800-pound curb weights meant they offered surprising performance for cars that came with just 42 horsepower, Metropolitans were anything but fast; they took more than 19 seconds to break 60 miles per hour, and would kick and scream all the way to their top speeds of 75 mph.
But those are problems an engine swap can easily solve and in this case, the solution is an 8.8-liter (540 cubic-inch), big-block Chevrolet V8. Augmented with a ram-air intake, Pro Comp aluminum cylinder heads, and custom, fender-exist exhausts, this gargantuan engine produces an equally swole 620 horsepower according to Hagerty. As the Metropolitan's original three-speed manual and rear axle aren't up to taking that kind of beating, they were upgraded to a drag racing-grade Turbo-Hydramatic 400 three-speed automatic and a Ford "nine-inch" truck differential, with a short 4.10 final drive to maximize acceleration. Monstrous rear tires, a much-needed wheelie bar, and a drag chute complete its transformation into a Pee-wee Herman-worthy drag car.
All of these come together on a custom platform reportedly built by Pro Street Chassis in New Jersey, which uses a Ford Mustang II-based front end to mount multilink coilover suspension. There's not much Nash left in this car—so little, in fact, that the DMV titled this car as a 1961 Rambler. If you want your name on said title and its keys in your hand, you're in luck, because it's coming up for sale at Barrett-Jackson's 2020 Scottsdale auction, which kicks off in less then two weeks.
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