Minor modifications to Convair s Model 340 design brought about the Model 440 “Metropolitan,” offering a slightly higher gross weight, reduced interior noise levels, and optional weather radar. Its exterior measurements were identical to the 340, and Continental Airlines introduced the type on March 8, 1956. Convair sold 100 modification kits to Model 340 operators in order to bring the earlier models up to near-440 standards.
With 199 civil and military 440 sales, Convair-Liner production ended in early 1958 after 1,076 units were manufactured, including the prototype Model 110. Among the last built were several airplanes that did not find buyers until 1960. Adapting turboprop engines to the type’s airframe created the 500 and 600 series, stretching the aircraft’s useful life by many years. Some are still flying today, more than 50 years later, a hearty tribute to a sturdy, well-built airframe.
The typical DC-7 main cabin provided passengers with all the comforts of home: curtained windows, wood paneling, plush seats, fresh fruit, and even pillows and blankets for taking an inflight nap. Note the Club Lounge at the extreme rear of the cabin, and the natty attire of the traveling public in the heyday of the propliner era. (Craig Kodera Collection)
The last and most successful Convair-Liner variant, its Model 440 Metropolitan reached civil and military sales of 199 airplanes. In addition 100 Model 340s were upgraded to 440 standards. A brand-new Metropolitan appears adjacent to the Convair plant at San Diego, apparently ready for a flight to Atlanta. (Convair/Jon Proctor Collection)