Throughout its life, the Midget was continuously upgraded - fitst with the fitment of the 1098cc A-Series, and then disc brakes in 1962. Buy it because you want to enjoy the car. Big brother MGB also fell foul of the changes, which had a correspondingly negative effect on the handling, although the Midget didn’t suffer as bad as the MGB. Nov 1979: The final Midget is built; the last 500 feature a black commemorative badge. The organisers of the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, with Discovery, have decided to postpone the 2020 event. Re: Looking for advice on Midget purchase...Good investment?. If there’s a really loud rattle as the engine is started it’s probably a damaged carburettor heat shield. Triumph TR4 vs. Jensen Healey vs. Sunbeam Alpine vs. Reliant SS1. http://www.carsurvey.org/reviews/mg/midget/r53604/comments/. The fi rst thing to look for is rust, followed closely by corrosion, then fi nally steel oxidation… Get the message! “What it lacks in ride and comfort, it makes up with outstanding agility and responsive handling”, said rival Motor when summarising the now unloved 1500, albeit countering this by saying: “Still a great fun car but one changed by legislation rather than search for improvement”. If any fumes are evident a rebore is due. You can check if an overhaul is needed by jacking up the car by its front crossmember and gripping each front wheel at the top and bottom. Most MG Midgets were fitted with BMC’s A-series engine (948cc, 1098cc or 1275cc), which is renowned for its oil leaks. Lever arm dampers lose their effectiveness very quickly. Sympathetically upgraded cars are worth buying, but cars with garish interiors will be hard to sell on. Midgets have so much to commend them that we’re surprised they remain so cheap. The rear lever arm dampers tend to last well but those up front don’t last long; a bounce test will soon show if they’re ready for replacement. Good choice – but many in poorer condition than they look. There are those who reckon the MG Midget (and the rarer Austin-Healey Sprite), while being classics, aren’t real sports cars. That was a fun car, got the stuffing drove out of it, and only had one mechanical failure. Quite rightly, one magazine opinioned that if the car is a pretend sports car then it’s a ‘pretend Lotus’. Again, I would only recommend this vehicle as a hobby car and then only to somene who can buy the manuals a do most of the routine work himself. Those words really don’t even belong in the same sentence. Control boxes for the car’s electrical system can fail. It was good to drive, despite minimal power, and won lots of friends, thanks to a low price. Known as the ‘Frogeye’ (or Bugeye in the USA) there was no MG equivalent. Also check the thin A panel which the doors hang on as this usually rots where it meets the sills. The front trunnions and kingpins need to be lubricated regularly to prevent premature wear. The A-posts also rot, so check for even door gaps; if they’re all over the place the A-posts are probably rotten. Also check the footwells, the floorpan behind the seats and all of the obvious places such as the sills, wheelarches, lower rear wings and valances.
You must define investment, not always expecting a financial return but rather a social, emotional, sentimental dividend. Car known as GAN2 by MG. 1964 Revised (GAN3) MG Midget arrives sporting (at long last) wind-up windows and an improved more durable 1098cc engine that proves to be more durable and smoother running than the original even if power remains the same. On the early cars with quarter-eliptic springs, the full force on the springs is fed into this area and so it’s crucial that the steel is sound here. But we’re not fi nished yet! 1966 MkIII (GAN4) Midget spells an engine capacity rise to 1275cc plus power comes from a detuned Cooper S engine, 10bhp better than before. We must remember his question. The MG Midget can trace its lineage back to the Austin-Healey Frogeye Sprite, the car which brought affordable sports car motoring to the British public in 1958.
Despite this, electrical systems are frequently bodged. Any Midget is lively and buckety, but if the front end feels strangely floaty and wanders, budget on a full front suspension overhaul. How hard is it to fi nd a rusty Marina for the gearbox, for instance? When I got to 16, B's and Midgets plus a Spitfire my wife made me sell the house and move into an apartment. MG Midget 1978 in rust free condition, low miles, wire wheels, leather seats.
If it was up to me i would buy as many midgets as can fit in my back yard. Subscribe to Classic Motoring Magazine and save over 25%, . Early cars got rubber mats but most cars now sport carpets, along with an aftermarket steering wheel; original wheels can still be sourced if you prefer originality. The A-Series engine is pretty durable. Being so close to the road doesn’t help, with water and salt having a fi eld day on the underside. 1979…If it has a lot of smog stuff cobbled up on it, I would pass. If the door gaps are narrower at the top, the bodyshell is probably sagging which means the car may be beyond economical repair. Similarly, rear wheelarches and lower rear wings can rust badly, and although repair sections are available it’s not easy to effect a repair. Use a magnet to check for this, focusing on the sills and the rear spring mounting boxes. The last Midget rolled off the production line a year later, in December 1979, a shadow of its former self. Wear in the pistons, rings and cylinder bores are common – watch for smoking from the exhaust when accelerating hard – and listen to tappet and timing gear noise.
If you’ve got another car and see constantly tinkering with it as part of the appeal, I’d say go for it! 1979 New look instruments now shared with the Triumph Spitfire, but the oil pressure gauge is replaced with a simple warning light. For most folks, however it’s a 1275cc MkIII, preferably the short run round rear arch versions.
These get over-tightened but replacements are available. “Reliable” and “old British car” just don’t go together. Worst culprits are the rear spring mounting boxes in the floor behind the seats. Comparisons with its deadliest (in house) rival – Triumph’s Spitfire – are inevitable, but really it all came down to the car’s image and the Midget was generally considered the more manly of the pair when they squared up in twin tests although the ‘Spit’ won the day with its roomier more refined cockpit: MG didn’t call its car the Midget for nothing and you do need to see if this sports car has enough room for you, although once in, there’s plenty of leg room under the dash.
1977: Headrests and inertia-reel seatbelts are now fitted. However, its testers were less happy with the comfort and refinement levels although praised the improved hood design. In 1961 the Austin-Healey Sprite Mk2 arrived, and with it the badge engineered MG Midget – a better appointed version that shared the majority of components with its Austin-Healey stablemate. If you dream of sports car motoring how it used to be back in the 1960s, then it has to be with a Midget or Sprite. In 1962 Motor said of the handling, “Drivers new to the car are inclined to emulate a person driving a kart” adding [Sprite MkII] owners would regard most other cars as sluggish and unresponsive, although remarked that the ride quality “was a mixture”. Turning this argument on its head, is the Spridget then a ‘pretend Lotus’ (as one road test put it) but without the acronym, hassle and prices, that go with the Lotus badge? Immense fun, cheap and cheerful, especially to fix, Many are rotten, and values are low, which means few are restored properly. I agree with GJ and Doc.
That infers making a profit. If there’s much less than this expect a rebuild before long.
If the cabin needs a retrim then you can go all upmarket – check out A-H Spares’ informative parts catalogue for ideas and more.
Cherio! Testing the virtually identical Midget, albeit now 1098cc-engined, the same weekly liked the “splendid controllability” and “positive control of the best vintage kind” but was now more vocal of the ride and rear axle hop, reckoning the MG was “a sports car primarily for sport” rather than solely for road use. Check this powerplant too for excessive end float, that’s a famous foible, revealed by a crankshaft pulley that moves excessively when the clutch is depressed – a common Triumph trait. On a more minor note, it’s also worth checking that things like the hood (which are rarely water tight) is okay, plus see if the seller has any extras to include in the sale such as a tonneau cover or hardtop roof – many have. 1971 That January, the agreement with Healey expired and the Austin-Healey Sprite was simply called the Austin Sprite from then on, the car being killed off altogether in July. Midget gearboxes don’t have to transmit much torque, but they still wear out.
The MG Midget and 'B -- even those made in 1979 with ugly rubber baby buggy bumpers -- are designed, engineered, and built with, at bottom, late 1950s technology. You’ll enjoy the sort of ‘earthy’ old-school sports car thrills and spills Morgan enthusiasts spend thousands more to achieve, plus it’s as simple and cheap as a Morris Minor to keep!
In this guide we’re looking at the Midgets with an A-Series engine, with the Sprite, Frogeye and Midget 1500 getting their own guides. It’s common for the gap to be narrower at the top, indicating some sag in the bodyshell so find another Midget. May 1961: The Sprite MkII and MG Midget are launched with a 948cc engine. Arguably, these are now the pick of the crop because you get the classic Midget interior with old-style toggle switches (not the naff plastic ones from the early 70s), plus you’ve got a good hood and the best engine. If there’s any obvious knocking or whining you’ll know that something needs to be repaired; it could be that the diff needs a rebuild, fresh universal joints might be needed or the driveshaft splines might be worn.
In 948cc form a set of big end shells may last just 40,000 miles however and 1275cc versions will probably suffer from worn piston rings and bores by the time 70,000 miles have been racked up.
That said, a good number of owners now go another power route and install the later K-Series Rover engine or even a Fiat twin cam, both of which dedicated kits are available. Given the cost of engine tuning parts as well as the inevitable overhaul before you strain the engine, it’s probably wisest to elect for tuned reconditioned turnkey engine from the likes of MGOC or Moss at appreciably under £2000: Good value.
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