Roadkill Says This Nash Metropolitan Is The Perfect Recipe For Fun


Why not!? Rear-wheel drive plus power, it’s fun!

When David Freiburger and Mike Finnegan started touring Roadkill– the show started because the guys would take these trips and write articles about them in HOT ROD magazine – they set one goal for themselves: to have fun doing real things in the car. It might not sound like it, but this DIY 1956 Nash Metropolitan is the perfect expression of that mentality.

You wouldn’t be far from thinking that Finnegan and Freiburger only like muscle cars or vehicles with engine compartments big enough for big V-8s, but all they really care about is whether a car is fun to drive.

For a land barge like the Crusher Impala, the total power of over 700 horsepower and the roughly 400 cubic inches of supercharged V8 are needed to Roadkill fun (reading, burnout). In a small car built for the autocross course, like the Metropolitan, this threshold of pleasure (read, danger) is much lower.

Trash Metropolitan = Roadster Body + Mini-Truck Chassis + Turbo Inline-Four

Die-hard fans of classic American roadsters look at this particular example of a Nash Metropolitan and think, “This is not a subway. You are right, it is not. This handcrafted autocrosser is a Frankenstein-style fusion of the aforementioned 1956 Nash Metropolitan bodywork, a 1978 Toyota mini-truck chassis and the turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-four of a Ford Thunderbird from 1988.

Stretched over one leg, hood of a Hudson, spot welded fender flares, plywood floors, no roof to speak of (in a Pacific Northwest car, nothing less); this mixed-race garbage recipe that magically transforms into something awesome is by no means a first for Roadkill, but unlike the Rotsun or the Vette Kart, David Freiburger and Mike Finnegan did not build the Trash Metropolitan.

From time to time the Roadkill the crew will do the unthinkable: buy someone else’s project vehicle without seeing it. Usually this only leads to headaches and more money to get the vehicle where you want it. It is Roadkill, and that means Freiburger and Finnegan aren’t even going to lift the hood of sporty little Nash before embarking on a 1,100-mile road trip.

Hit the road, worry later!

But that’s the essence of Roadkill. Freiburger has been saying for over a decade, “Don’t do it right, just make it work, then go drive,” and he really means it! He and Mike Finnegan are the kings of the inappropriate vehicle. It is the adventure, the triumph in the face of adversity, that makes these trips fun for all.

Never mind that the Metropolitan spews oil from the valve cover, sort of smoking the guys in a car completely open to the elements. Even less important is the accelerator pedal being more than a foot from the brake pedal or made from a wiper arm. The front fenders hit the tires on every bump and push the light rider up, but that makes the ride more thrilling!

Windshield wipers in one of the wettest parts of the United States? Who needs it! Not Finnegan and Freiburger. They’ve got rear-wheel drive, a Tremec T5, and just enough power from the 2.3 turbo to get in trouble – another perfect working day for Roadkill.

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