(first posted 10/3/2011) Since we’re indulging in toy cars, let’s trot out some Metrovertibles. There’s something so endearingly goofy about this little ragtop, like it somehow escaped the Autopia ride at Disneland. It has no genuine sporting pretensions whatsoever, just a tiny two seat convertible. When was the last time something like that was offered for sale here? And with a remarkably similar name, no less.
Yup, the Metro is the Nash Metropolitan reincarnated. They both pursued a niche market, and one that proved to be somewhat illusory, but helped keep the production lines moving. Which in the case of the Metro, was always a bit of a problem.
Beginning with the 1990 models, Geo Metros, Pontiac Fireflys (Canada only) and Suzuki Swift were built at the CAMI plant, a 50-50 joint venture between GM and Suzuki in Ontario, Canada. Production briefly peaked at 100k units, but then began a steady slide downwards. By 2001, the Metro was history at CAMI, GM having found its successor Aveo at its Korean Deawoo division.
We’ll take a closer look at The Metro and its Chevy Sprint predecessor soon. It’s a polarizing car; people love it or love to hate on it. During times of high gas prices, the pendulum drastically swings to the positive. In 2008, folks were paying big premiums, and I seem to distinctly remember someone paying $7k for one at the height of the last big gas price run up. With its little 55hp 1.0 L three-pot engine, Metros had an (adjusted) EPA rating of 38/45. The specially tuned 49hp XFi pulled a 43/51 rating.
Like most oddballs, these Metro convertibles seem to be falling into the hands of their devoted followers, just like Metropolitans were in the seventies. These folks a block from my house have a thing for short, stubby cars. Can you see what’s behind their xBox?
Hey, it’s a winning combo: top down motoring on the cheap. And who ever sits in the back seat of a convertible anyway?