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MG Midget

MG Midget Published: 11th May 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

MG Midget
MG Midget
MG Midget
MG Midget
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Size isn’t everything so they say… at least when you’re talking classic sports cars because the Midget may be small in statue yet it’s big on everything else, including fun and cheapness. If you’re after a low cost starter sports classic, the mighty Midget is almost in a class of its own.

Driving

Assuming that you can fit the cramped, crude cockpit (they’re not called Midgets for nothing) you enjoy as many smiles per mile as any Ferrari owner – well nearly!

The gusty little A-Series engine provides peppy performance, but it’s the Caterham-like handling where the real thrills come from. If you want to savour sports car motoring how it used to be in its most basic form in the 60s, then it has to be with a Midget.

“What it lacks in ride and comforts, it makes up with outstanding agility and responsive handling”, said Motor. And, make no mistake, Midgets are noisy; the gearbox on pre 1500 models wails like a banshee and general din from engine and wind makes the legal limit a test of endurance.

The Triumph Spitfire-engined ‘1500’ is more mechanically refined and usefully quicker but it also suffers the same fate as rubber-bumper MGBs, though not to the detriment of the handling quite so much plus it’s easily lowered back to how it should be.

 

Values

While you do now see five-figure Midgets on sale, they have to be well and truly exceptional for this outlay as you can easily buy perfectly good usable examples for half this or probably a very clean 1500 due to their lack of popularity. Because of their lowly values right across the board, restoring a basket case (unless it’s a ‘round arch’) is illogical as well as financially unsound and it’s far better to buy the best you can find at the outset.

 

Timeline

1961 Midget (GAN1) introduced alongside facelifted Austin-Healey Sprite. Essentially it’s Sprite with different badging and with better trim

1962 Bigger 1098cc engine, power goes up from 46 to 55bhp, plus there’s also a stronger gearbox and front disc brakes are now fitted

1964 Revised (GAN3) arrives with wind-up windows and a more durable, smoother running 1098cc engine

1966 MkIII (GAN4) Midget spells 1275cc power, accordingly hiked to a healthier 65bhp

1969 Rear bumper is split either side of a square number plate and rear silencer now runs across the car

1972 Short lived round rear wheelarch style introduced

1974 1500: raised ride, ugly black bumpers Marinasourced gearbox and Triumph Spitfire engine fitted

 

Top five faults

 

Bodges

Historic low values means many have been subject to make do and mend ownership although specials say the real nasties are long gone. Nevertheless, take on a project with care; you won’t make money out of one.

Rust

They rot everywhere, especially sills, A panel, floors,rear leaf springs where they meet the bodywork, especially just behind the seats. If the main body strength has gone, the car can sag into a banana shape; watch for deft filler work

Engines

Triumph units are weaker than A-Series equivalents, suffering from premature wear in the crank and bearings, excessive end float on the crankshaft while ,due to the smaller air intake caused by the rubber-bumper, 1500s are inclined to run hot

Transmissions

Watch for weak synchromesh on second, ‘worn bearing’ grumbling noises from the gearbox and final drive. Look for oil leaks too (very common)

Running gear

Check the front suspension as this incorporates king pins and bushes, plus threaded fulcrum pins

 

Best models

 

Sprites

What about Austin-Healey Sprite. Dropped in ’72 after being known as simply Austin Sprite a year earlier, their rarity may lead to higher prices

 

MK3

Most liked and best selling model; rare round arch the most wanted, less MG and ‘BL’ after ’68 though. Many duly modified to make better

 

1500

Not as bad as many think. Superb value, best tourer (3.7:1 axle for ’77, dual circuit brakes ’78) and special edition Jubilee that will be collectible



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