Motoring Monday: 1977 MG Midget

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The MG Midget (and it’s Austin-Healey Sprite sibling) has offered an inexpensive way into British sports car ownership since its introduction in 1961. The owner of this particular example has lost their working space and the car has to be gone by June 12. It’s located in West Chester, Ohio and is listed for sale here on eBay where the opening bid is only $250 without a reserve. I’ve owned both a Midget and a Sprite, and I’ve never driven another car that is more like putting on a pair of pants! You’d better be flexible and not over 6’2″ (and I’m sure some of you will disagree; feel free to share your experiences if you are taller) if you are going to spend a lot of time in a Midget, especially with the top up. But I’m struck by this MG as a terrific opportunity to drive a really cool convertible for less than six months’ worth of new car payments. And after looking at the listing further, there was more good news!

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Looking at the interior picture above, in addition to the challenge of the small spots of corrosion just behind the door, I noticed first that the door check strap was intact – something that breaks sooner or later on most Spridgets (it’s reinforced upholstery vinyl). When I couple the strap with the good condition original seat and door panel and hardly worn brake pedal pad, I believe that the 56k original mile claim may be true, which is certainly encouraging.

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There are several undercar pictures included in the auction (although no underhood pictures for some reason), and this one is the most telling. At first I was dismayed to find that the fuel tank is dented from the bottom, and of course the typical British “factory rust-proofing” oil leakage is present, which seems to have largely done its job in this case as no serious undercar rust is visible. The rusty exhaust system wasn’t encouraging at first either, especially considering how a past owner replaced the broken bracket on the right hand rear with a twisted piece of wire. But – I believe that is the original exhaust system, which again lends credence to the 56k mile claim. And while the Spitfire 1500 engine in these late Midgets isn’t the most reliable powerplant, if it really only has 56,000 miles I’ll bet it’s in pretty good shape. I also see the tread patterns of four matched Michelin XZX’s, which were quality tires at the time (not that they are any good now after all these years!) and that implies that whoever had the car earlier took pretty good care of it. Yes, I’m conjecturing based on a few clues, but sometimes that’s all you have to go on.

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The present owner has done some body repair to the car already and has included a brand new carpet kit as well as the grille items (some of which are new) necessary to convert the front end from the late rubber bumper to the earlier, cleaner look, although bumpers are not included. A spare transmission is also part of the auction.

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As this period advertisement states, the Midget is light on the budget! The engine turns freely and parts are readily available; what better way to start a refurbishment or just get it running and enjoy the summer as-is! If this were closer to me I’d be bidding – will you?

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Comments

  1. bob

    Never started engine but started body work . What ? Whats with that ?
    I bought a ’77 midget off the back lot of a g.m. dealer in ‘ 88 . $ 825-$ 850 ? Drove it home !
    Over time put in rod bearings,main bearings,timing chain and tensioner, after market ignition system(lucas had to go).Then brakes all around ,glass beaded and painted rostyle wheels,good used set of michlens and a new top. Other various cleaning,fixing and adjusting projects while enjoying a few cans of beer. Cruise through the park and around town early on Sun. morning and head to the garage before it got hot (black interior).
    Enjoyed it for a few years and traded for a ’90 S-10,plus a check of course.
    Basically broke even, so the fun was free!

  2. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Bidding is up to $660…still one heck of a bargain!

    • bob

      One day left and still only $710…..were I younger and closer to the buckeye state….dang!

    • jim s

      sold for $1602 and yes i was watching it even before you posted it. did anyone on the site buy it?

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        Not me, although that’s one heck of a buy. I hope it was a Barn Finds reader!

  3. DLM

    My first car in 1969, 62 Sprite, $75.00 with motor and transmission out. Didn’t have all these amenities like windows, carpets, etc. but a blast to drive. And yes, I am 6’3″ so don’t let that stop you, although the seats were not actually padded like these are, so might be tight.

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