BF Auction: 1978 MG Midget 1500 Convertible

Bid to: $5,100View Result

Here at BF HQ, we’ve had a number of MG Midgets and Austin Healey Sprites. And there’s a simple reason why, they offer a lot of smiles per dollar, well, at least when they are in good driving condition. Like many Spridgets, as they are known in the Midget and Sprite community, this one was parked and in need of a lot of work. The seller purchased it as a project to work on during the lockdowns to keep themselves busy. It hadn’t run since 2012 and had lots of old repairs that needed to be corrected. All the work has been done, more on that shortly, and it’s ready for a new owner to enjoy! It’s located in San Antonio, Texas and you can bid on it below.

The Midget debuted in 1961, being based on the Austin Healey Sprite MKII. The name was borrowed from MG’s T-Series Midgets and was meant to fill the gap left when the TF was phased out by the MGA. The first generation of Midgets were simply rebadged Sprites, but with a nicer interior, a redesigned grille, some additional chrome trim, and a higher price tag. In 1971, the Sprite was phased out, British Leyland didn’t want to continue paying Healey royalties. Thankfully, the Midget soldiered on as British Leyland’s affordable sports car. To keep the car on the market into the emissions and crash standard era, the car was updated in 1974 with rubber bumpers and a larger engine.

Being a 1978, this car features the 1500cc inline-4 that can also be found in the Triumph Spitfire. While it’s only slightly larger than the previous generation’s A-Series engine, the added displacement helped offset the reduced compression required to meet emission standards. By ’78, the Midget was down to 50 horsepower and 67 foot-pounds of torque, but these cars don’t weigh much, so you really don’t need a lot of power to be fun. This one should have a bit more oomph to it though, as the seller had it fully rebuilt and upgraded a bit. Here’s the list of all the work that has been done to the engine: the block was boiled, crankshaft, camshaft, and heads were verified for allowable wear. Valves, springs, tappets, bearings, and piston rings are all new. It has a DCOE Weber Carburetor and Headers along with a 2.5″ exhaust system. It has a new radiator, heater, and core and all new hoses and hardware associated with the cooling system. A PerTonix Electrical distributor, new coil and spark plug wiring were installed. Also a new 60 Amp generator, starter, ignition switch, electric fuel pump, and fuse box were installed.

While the engine was out of the car, the transmission was rebuilt, a new clutch was installed, and the flywheel was resurfaced. The u-joints were also replaced, and the rear-end driveshaft seal and axle seals were replaced. The wheel bearings were also replaced. New front and rear springs were added as well as new kingpins, stabilizer bar, and bushings were installed up front. The brake system was also refreshed with new front rotors and pads. The rear brakes received new shoes and the drums were turned.

The car was glass bead blasted and sprayed with metal prep then sprayed with etching primer. The 3-stage Pearl Yellow paint looks great and really makes the car stand out. That being said, you can’t ever be too safe, so a set of turn signal lights from a 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk were installed on top of the front fenders in hopes of making the car more visible to oncoming traffic. A new vinyl top and boot were installed when the car went back together. A new complete wiring harness was also installed, with custom wiring run to the turn signals and marker lights to connect the added fender lights and ensure the car doesn’t suffer any of the common electrical issues that can plague Midgets. They also install a new turn signal switch and wiper controls along with all-new windshield washer tubing.

The interior features new carpets, custom door panels, matching seat upholstery, and additional gauges installed where the stereo was originally installed. The additional gauges are a nice addition that will give its next owner some piece of mind while driving. Since the stereo location is now occupied, a box was added to the glovebox where the head unit is now mounted. The modern head unit allows streaming from your phone or mobile device and is connected to a pair of speakers mounted behind the seats. To keep your phone charged, a auxilery port has also been added. And just to make sure the battery doesn’t get drained during storage, a battery cut-off switch has been added. The seller also installed all-new weatherstripping and seals on the doors, windows, windshield, and trunk.

Since completing the restoration, the car has covered 271 miles and runs great. The seller does note that it’s got a slight leak at the front of the engine near the oil pan. This is a common leak point for the 1500 and likely can be fixed with the engine in the car. Given that it’s a British car, small leaks are common and of little concern for most owners. Overall, this car presents nicely and should prove to be a fun car to have! If you have any questions for the seller, be sure to leave them in the comments below.

  • Location: San Antonio, Texas
  • Mileage: 51,038 Miles
  • Engine: 1.5 Liter Inline-4
  • Transmission: 4-Speed Manual
  • VIN: GAN6UJ209271G
  • Title Status: Clean

Bid On This Auction

High Bid: $5,100 (Reserve Not Met)
Ended: Jul 20, 2023 11:00am MDT
High Bidder: Scooby57
  • Scooby57 bid $5,100.00  2023-07-15 17:41:19
  • cocranfill
    bid $5,000.00  2023-07-13 10:05:15
  • Msquare bid $3,320.00  2023-07-13 03:02:25
  • Air-cooled bid $3,220.00  2023-07-13 00:14:55
  • Aetik
    bid $2,500.00  2023-07-12 23:28:55
  • Air-cooled bid $1,600.00  2023-07-12 17:41:46

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. TomP

    Omg, where is the emissions system?? I can’t tell by one engine picture but it looks like the whole emissions system was ripped out (charcoal canisters, purge valves, carburetor connections, vacuum lines, etc.). If thats the case then the seller should note that in the sale listing before someone buys it from an emissions state and finds out that the car is worthless in their state.
    About five years ago I had the identical car but the engine was all stock. The car ran like crap and also was rejected by emissions. By trial and error, four emissions rejections, six months, and $500 later, the car finally passed emissions after I rebuilt the whole emissions system and factory carbs to factory spec. The car also ran great too..

    Like 6
    • Joe C

      Automobiles that are 25 years old or older are no longer required to meet emission standards in the United States. This is because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) believes that these older vehicles are not a significant source of air pollution.

      There are a few exceptions to the 25-year rule. For example, vehicles that are registered in California or other states with stricter emissions standards may still be required to meet those standards, even if they are older than 25 years. Additionally, some vehicles that are considered to be “classic cars” may be exempt from emissions testing.

      Like 5
      • TomP

        That’s not correct. My (and many other states) require emissions tests for any car/truck on the road.

        Like 2
      • grant

        Where I’m at the vehicle has to meet the emission standard at the time of it’s production regardless of age.

        Like 2
      • David Frank DavidMember

        In California I’m certainly glad my 30 Model A and 65 Mercedes don’t need SMOG inspectors.

        Like 1
  2. Frank Drackman

    Needs an LS

    Like 3
  3. JrandersMember

    No such thing. 72 was the last model year for the convertible

    Like 0
  4. Kimberlee Lee

    Looks like a lot of fun. It is quite beautiful. Ya probably wouldn’t get me out of the driver’s seat. Happy trails to the lucky buyer. I hope it brings you many years/miles of fun.

    Like 5
  5. Little_Cars Little_Cars

    All that suspension work in the front and I see the locking cam washer (on one side at least) is in the wrong position to be safe. Also looks like the rear differential is oozing from the filler plug. I’m not a big fan of those Studebaker lights on top of the fenders or the fuse box/tackle box wiring harness…but if this one remains at the bid price currently it is quite a bang for the buck!

    Like 3
    • Joe C

      Thanks for the input. I’ll check that cam washer and if it’s not right correct it. The filler plug isn’t leaking it’s a scrape on the housing.

      Like 6
    • bobhess bobhessMember

      Nice catch Little_Cars. Left that way will eventually wear down the sides and hole of the bushing and put slop into the A arm.

      Like 2
  6. MammothStu

    The Weber DCOE side draft is a good carb for this engine. I can’t see if it’s a 40 or 45. We have a 40 DCOE on our ’58 Bugeye, with the original 948 engine per Weber spec. If the carb was purchased via Moss Motors (Golata, CA), it was dialed in by Pegasus Carbs (Gilroy, CA) based on the order sheet and they can tell you what jets, emulsion tubes, etc etc they put in based on year and engine size.

    Like 3
    • Little_Cars Little_Cars

      Goleta California or Petersburg Virginia.

      Like 2
  7. MGM

    This is one sweet little Brit. Owner jumped all over it. Must have spent a fortune. I really like it, owned quit a few of these, Triumphs back in the 70’s80’s. Lotta fun ,babe getters. This will be a great find. Repairs are all done,you can enjoy it instead of working on it all the time.

    Like 2
  8. matt

    The turn signals on top of the fenders ????
    Sorry, not cool, not appropriate, not in any kind of style !!

    Like 5
  9. KH

    Sure beats trying to fix one of these up yourself.

    This one’s pretty nice.

    Like 1
  10. Michael Van Slyke

    Hi Joe. Are you the seller? If so , nothing was said about the convertible top. What kind of shape is that in? Also, I live in San Antonio. Any chance I can come see it? Thanks, Mikey.

    Like 0
    • Joe C

      Reply sent – didn’t hit the reply directly to you previously.

      Like 0
  11. Joe C

    Top and boot are new. Associated pictures show them. I can make it available for you to see . You need to provide an email or phone number and I will text or message you.

    Like 0
  12. Jay Martell

    Mustard yellow-terrible color.Sorry, wouldn’t be caught in this deathtrap.These cars are so uncomfortable.Tremendous engine and transmission heat with so little foot room for shifting gears.Tried putting the top down, only to be baked by the SW sun.The comparable Fiat Spyder is a much better sports car imo.

    Like 1

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