NZ Classic Driver



Your article on the Nash Metropolit­an ( NZ Classic Driver #99, January/February 2022) was a real time warp for me as I worked on these cars when they were brand new, as a trainee mechanic at Clifton Service Station in Sidcup, Kent, England. I was handling 500-mile services on them, the A35, A40 Farinas along with various small service jobs on A50, A55, A90, A95 and A110 cars – although no limousines. The first time I saw one of these cars it was the same colour as Brett Abraham’s car. I would guess that the blue-white colour combo was favoured more than the red, green or yellow?

When I saw that first Metropolit­an I said to my foreman, “what’s that?!” He then told me, “it’s an American-designed car influenced by a much larger Nash sedan, but underneath it’s an Austin A40!”

I was surprised when I opened the bonnet to check water and oil – by heck, the foreman was right – it was no different to the Farina A40 as far as most mechanical aspects went. Very popular in Britain they were very nice cars, easy to work on and great fun cars to drive.

The only bugbear was the steering – it’s quite a business turning one around – but we all liked them a lot.

Even ‘old man Clifton’ (as our boss was known) smiled in his office when he first saw a Metropolit­an come in for a service. He was a good businessma­n who had lost his left eye during WW2. A shrewd, no-nonsense type (but very well liked by most people), his first car was a grey Austin Sheerline followed by a black Princess limousine then an S-Type Bentley in two-tone green. Each of those cars came into the body shop every few weeks with some sort of body damage to the left-hand front side – a result of his missing left eye and subsequent loss of vision. He always insisted that his car had to be repaired immediatel­y, with customers’ cars placed “on hold” every time.

Clifton Service Station was a BMC main dealer for both sales and service.

Ken Braddon, Auckland

Thanks for the memories Ken, it’s always nice to hear from you. AGW

The winner of our special Wet & Forget prize pack is Geoph Keach of Invercargi­ll.

Geoph’s number one choice was the Jaguar E-Type, which was also voted into top spot by our readers, followed by the Toyota 2000GT and the Mini Cooper S.

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