I have been working on and driving my 74 Midget for about 8 years. It is a great car because it fits sideways in my double garage! I bought a fixer upper because I enjoy tinkering (most of the time). Parts are easy to come by and supprisingly inexpensive. I have learned trouble shooting electric thanks to Lucas, welding thanks to rust, painting thanks to previous owner, carbs thanks to a friend, creative cussing thanks to tight places, and how to thanks to online videos and forums. Midgets are fun to drive and work on.
@wgrebeaou1 - Now thats a positive outlook!
I will have a little British car one of these days, as I too enjoy learning things and they just look like fun to drive.
Least not forget that the Midget’s body parts (its cowl, windscreen, doors, and trunk were used by Alain Clenet as the basis for his 1977~1979 Series 1 Roadster, which used a cut-down Lincoln chassis w/fiberglass fenders, utilizing the Lincoln’s 400ci motor, 248 of them were produced, not counting the original prototype. In that MG Midget’s configuration, those Clenet Roadsters originally sold upwards of $44K in the late 70’s, still command prices in excess of $30K, and are recognized as Neo-classics by the Antique Automobile Club of America.
I’ve had my 76 Midget for the past 3 years including the 2 years to restore. This is a great little classic car that very fun to drive and show off. Yes, compliment abound especially at the ice cream stand. With a high compression 1500 engine, carburation and other bolt on upgrades there is no issue keeping up with traffic and hills are not an issue as one previous post has mentioned. Honestly, I have had muscle cars in the past but none of them provided for the fun in cruising the winding back roads of Cape Cod, top down, radio blearing your favorite tunes, and working the gears to full harmony of the tuned exhaust.
With the exception of fitting hands and body into tight places this roadster is easy and fun to work on and parts both new and old abound. Go find one, you will love it.
My son and I bought a 65 Sprite when he was 15 y.o. As a project to rebuild together. We did a rotisserie redo including a home garage repaint which looked good from 20 feet! Installed a roll bar, rebuilt the engine and kept the wire wheels with knock offs. By the time we were done he was now 6 feet 5 inches with size 15 feet. He shoehorned himself into the car and drove it to high school for a year before finally trading for a 70s BMW 328. Great memories of father- son bonding!
When I was grade-schooler in the mid 60’s the rich kid at the end of the block had a cool old MG T series that he used to run in local rallies and races. I guess he was really a good guy because he never seemed to mind me and some of my car-loving buddies hanging around his garage to gawk at his car and hand him tools as he tweaked it for an upcoming event. This was “old school” complete with the short racing-style windscreen and tape over the headlamps which he explained to us was a precaution against all of the flying gravel on the course. I don’t remember if his automotive adventures were successful because it was understood that the experience was the reason for the effort. It was pure car love. Later, in about 1968; as I rode my bike to Jr. High (7th and 8th grade) every day I would pass the MG/Austin/Jaguar dealership and dream of myself driving the beautiful sports cars that I saw in the showroom or parked on the street outside. When I graduated from High School in 1974 my father told me that he would help me buy my first car and he had many helpful suggestions on sensible cars that I should consider including the AMC Gremlin and the Ford Maverick but somewhere deep inside of me I knew that I would never be satisfied with anything so practical. It was with some trepidation that I asked him to take me to the by-then British-Leyland dealer to look at a real sports car. At that time I could not even operate a manual transmission so my dad took the wheel to give us a test drive in the Royal Purple MG Midget that had so fully occupied my every waking thoughts. After about two blocks of top-down driving my dad turned to me with one of the biggest smiles I have ever seen from him and said: “What do you think?!?” He didn’t have to ask twice and we sped back to the showroom to tell the owner of the dealership; a legend in British motoring, the venerable Mr. Hirabashi “We’ll take it!” And my dad meant that we were taking it RIGHT NOW! Without the dealer prep, cash on the barrel-head, figure it out later; we were off on a 300 mile road trip to teach me how to drive a “stick” and show off the car to HIS MOM and DAD! That was 44 years ago and through thick and thin, in good times and bad, in storage and on the street, running and almost forsaken I STILL HAVE THAT CAR. My FIRST CAR. My MG Midget. It has cost me over 3X my original purchase price of $3,300.00 to keep her but EVERY TIME I drive her I can’t believe how fun it is, how worthwhile the effort has been and how lucky I am.
OK, back to reality. I’ve driven both. The Miata isn’t a neck-snapper, but if you were passing one in your Midget, they were LETTING you.
They have their own special ‘charm’ but I think the best thing that ever happened to the Japanese sportscar was the continued production of the British Sportscar.
Oops! There you go kids. There wouldn’t be a Miata if the Lotus Elan hadn’t been produced 20 years earlier on the same craggy island that invented top-down motoring. If you want economical, maintenance-free driving on a daily basis; buy a Miata. Sometimes there’s more to it.
^Yep @carmstead8736 . The Japanese took a British idea and made it affordable, just as fun…and reliable.
I had one of each. A 59 Bugeye and I still have a 72 Midget. Great little fun cars but alas I’ve grown too old
and fat to easily get in and out of it.
Couldn’t agree with you more. My first sports car was a 1968 Midget but as soon as I could afford it I bought a 1969 Lotus Elan, S4 SE, in Cobra Blue. That was my favorite car ever. I had to sell it when I came over to the US in 1971 and have dreamed of it ever since. I now own a 1987 British made AC Cobra replica (in Cobra Blue!) called a Cobretti Viper V8, based on a Jaguar XJ6 chassis with a Morgan Plus 8 Rover 4 liter V8 engine and gearbox and it catches eyes, but that Lotus is still my favorite. Mazda did everyone a great favor by.building the Miata on the Lotus lines.
I have a Bugeye Sprite that I bought in 2013. It was a mess and I tell people it was a 3 year sentence to finally get it dialed in. I pushed it for miles to get it home, ran on 2 cylinders more than once, learned more about it than I could imagine there was to know.
I don’t regret one thing about it, one day I was waiting (for a tow) at Home Depot and I probably met 6 or 7 really nice people, had so much fun when the tow driver said he was stuck I just said to hell with it tried one more time and vroom she started right up!
I have pictures of my Sprite at Cars and Coffee on a chilly northwest morning with the “man eater” hood open and a crowd all around while the McClarens and Ferrari’s sat unlooked at.
The only problem I see with all of these cars is that they are to darn small! When I was a kid I loved the look of the MG TDs. When I was in my early 20s I looked at one but sadly I was just to big to fit in it. I had the same problem when I looked at an 89 Fiero GT, a Pontiac Solstice and whole host of other small sports cars!
Thank you for that great car story! I think that it and the subsequent posts help to detail the personal connections that many people feel for cars like the Spite/Midget and early affordable and accessible sportscars from many countries and marques in what might be termed the “Golden Age” of modern auto sport. Yes, they were rudimentary, unreliable and modestly powered but at 15mph over the posted speed limit, down-shifting into a tight curve with the wind in one’s 18 year-old hair; there was no way that a person was ever going to settle for “A to B” transportation again!