Is it really mid-August already? Where did the summer go? But if we act really quick, there’s still one last narrow window for a bit of classic wind-in-hair motoring. Personally, I vote for a no-frills British roadster which is both easily accessible, cheap, yet full of driver satisfaction. Let it be a MG Midget.
Yes, they are tiny little things, but that’s part of the appeal. And yes, they have always stood in the shadows of the more refined big-brother MGB, but that only makes the Midget more interesting as it’s just not quite as common as the B. Yet the Midget is still both cheap to purchase and simple to maintain. While I’ve never owned either a Midget or its closest rival the Spitfire for that matter, I was lucky enough to have liberal access to both of these miniature British roadsters during the early formative years of having a driver’s license. Both are well designed, fun to drive and excellent value for money. Though personally – even if only by the tiniest margin imaginable – it’s the Midget which I would be spending my own hard-earned money on.
When first introduced in the summer of 1961, the new MG Midget was merely a slightly more upmarket and badge-engineered version of the MkII Austin-Healey Sprite deluxe, which was itself of course based on the famous ‘Frogeye’ Sprite. The new Midget had a different grill, some added brightwork and a posher interior to justify its price hike, but still retained the exact same mechanical spec as the Sprite with a 948cc A-series engine on twin SU carbs propelling the little roadster forwards while drum brakes on all four corners attempted to reel it all back in again.
Through its 18 year lifespan, the charming little Midget continued to evolve, gaining such luxuries as proper wind-up side windows, external door handles with locks, a heater as standard equipment and even a half decent hood which was constantly attached to the body rather than the previous tent-like hoods which first required the erecting of a frame. Mechanically there were several improvements as well with disc brakes on the front axle and a better rear suspension quite early in the Midget’s life, engines growing from the initial 948cc to a 1098cc, the famed 1275cc and eventually the 1500cc Spitfire engine for the final incarnation of the Midget from 1974 onwards.
Which version of the Midget represents the best classic car is no doubt a subject which has potential for being discussed to oblivion. As with most cars, the first incarnation is by many enthusiasts regarded as the purest, and there’s no denying that a clean, original MkI tends to trade for more than would a later car. But with less power, drum brakes on all four corners and higher prices, are they perhaps also less useable? Maybe this explains why there are others who tend to prefer the 1966 – 73 MkIII with its 1275cc engine which was of course derived from the Cooper S. It’s still pure MG through and through yet with some added go. This was also the Midget produced in largest numbers which perhaps keeps prices somewhat in check. But if you insist on something a little more individual, simply make sure you’re buying a round wheel arch MkIII which was limited to only ’72 and ’73 production. And that is precisely what we’ve come across for this week’s Prime Find…
This particular 1973 MG Midget MkIII RWA is coming up for auction at Anglia Car Auctions in Kings Lynn on the 24th of August. As is often the case, the description is somewhat lacking though they do say that details will be updated once the car arrives with them. Thus far, all we know is that the Midget was in storage from 2009 to 2016 after which it was returned to the road. The vendor claims that it’s a reliable car and adds that he has driven it on a trip to the south of France. It looks very tidy and original on the pictures and for once it’s just nice to see a Midget which is not your mandatory red. The Rostyle wheels look great on it and there’s also a tonneau cover with the MG. It comes with a history file including some old receipts and various MOT certificates. Mileage is recorded at 65,000 miles though it’s not stated whether that’s been certified.
Needless to say, a personal and up-close inspection is always essential before bidding. But if it’s as good as the pictures suggest, this little Midget could represent some late-summer top-down motoring at a very reasonable outlay. The estimate is set at £ 4,500 – 5,500. If tempted; here’s the link to the ACA auction site: 1973 MG Midget MkIII RWA
With our Saturday instalment of Prime Find of the Week, we’re offering our services to the classic car community, by passing on our favourite classic car for sale from the week that passed. This top-tip might help a first-time-buyer to own his first classic, or it could even be the perfect motivation for a multiple-classic-car-owner to expand his garage with something different. We’ll let us inspire by anything from a cheap project to a stunning concours exotic, and hope that you will do the same.
Just remember – Any Classic is Better than No Classic! We obviously invite our readers to help prospective buyers with your views and maybe even experiences of any given model we feature. Further to that, if you stumble across a classic which you feel we ought to feature as Prime Find of the Week, then please send us a link to email@example.com