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No Reserve: 1963 MG Midget

I have always considered my automotive tastes as eclectic, although there was a time when I barely gave small British sports cars more than a passing glance. However, that attitude was born of ignorance because it took only a few minutes behind the wheel of one to understand their appeal. They offer one of the most engaging driving experiences on the planet, and the typically simple engineering and mechanical specifications make them ideal for someone wishing to be hands-on with ongoing maintenance. The seller purchased this 1963 MG Midget for his wife, but she considers it too “old school.” He can’t physically drive it, so he has decided to send this solid and tidy classic to a new home. The MG is listed here on eBay in Blountville, Tennessee. Bidding sits at a mere $2,600 in a No Reserve auction.

Some cars are too cool to ignore, which is the case with the MG Midget. Released as an upmarket “cousin” to the Austin-Healey Sprite MkII, it enjoyed an extraordinary production run. The first cars emerged from the Abingdon, England, factory for the 1961 model year. The last cars rolled off the line in 1980, having undergone numerous styling and engineering upgrades during its twenty-year lifespan. This 1963 Midget presents well as a driver-grade classic, with its Ice Blue paint holding an impressive shine. The seller admits there are some chips and imperfections, but with no rust requiring attention, the winning bidder could address those shortcomings when (or if) they feel the time is appropriate. The Black soft-top fits tightly, and the listing suggests the MG comes with a new matching hardtop. The chrome and glass sparkle perfectly, and this little Brit rolls on steel wheels wrapped in narrow whitewalls.

Traditional small British sports cars typically feature low-capacity engines with modest power, and the Midget is no exception. Its 1,098cc four-cylinder powerplant benefits from a pair of sidedraft SU HS2 carburetors to produce 55hp and 61 ft/lbs of torque. This feeds to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission. Don’t be fooled by the power, torque, or the fact it will take 19.8 seconds to cover the ¼-mile. Occupant proximity to Planet Earth makes these cars feel significantly faster than the speedometer needle shows, and the low center of gravity allows them to grip tenaciously in the turns. The seller indicates he has spent a considerable sum to ensure the car is in excellent mechanical health. The exhaust is new, as are the brakes, clutch, tires, generator, electronic ignition, and plug wires. The lights work as they should, and the only potential fault they note is a slight transmission growl in first gear. However, this is a common trait and doesn’t necessarily indicate an underlying problem. The car runs and drives perfectly and will comfortably sit on the open road all day at 65mph.

It is disappointing that this is the only interior shot provided by the seller. Dropping the top is easy, allowing scope for a much better image and providing an overview of its condition. However, what we see shows promise, with no wear, fading, or physical damage. A British sports car of this type offers fairly basic motoring, so expecting features like air conditioning, cruise control, or power windows is unrealistic. The new owner might score a radio, but the short and stubby shifter, sports wheel, and gauge cluster with a factory tachometer confirm the MG is a genuine “driver’s” car.

Affordability can be one of the prime requirements when an enthusiast considers a classic purchase. These cars are typically a luxury, meaning maximizing the “bang for your buck” aspect of any buy is essential. It is also worth considering how such a vehicle compares when the focus turns to running costs. This 1963 MG Midget will sip daintily from its tank, while a reasonably competent new owner could complete most maintenance tasks in a home workshop with a rudimentary tool kit. That makes them attractive options, and the fun the new owner will experience behind the wheel seals the deal. That makes this MG worth a close look.

Comments

  1. Avatar photo alphasud Member

    These are fun little cars. In HS one of my neighbor buddies bought one all fixed up bright red. A real eye catcher. I helped him along the way with a couple electrical issues that cropped up but the big mechanical issue he had was no fault of the car. They didn’t have a synchronized 1st. gear and he forced it into gear every time rolling up to a stop. We ended up taking the car to a MG specialist to have the transmission repaired. Cars aren’t as tough as a domestic but with proper care these are pretty reliable.

    Like 8
    • Avatar photo Timmy V Member

      Really don’t see many of these anymore but they were pretty common when I was a kid in the ‘70s. This one looks really nice. Scary small by today’s standards. Would love to have one but I think I’d be terrified to drive it. My college roomie had the cousin of this, a Sprite, that I got to drive a time or two. As I recall, and it’s been a few decades, you had to be a contortionist to get in it and stuff your legs under that steering wheel. And that was with the top off! Lots of fun to drive. Too slow to get yourself in serious trouble but watch that steering, it’s darty!

      Like 8
    • Avatar photo Michael Hullevad

      The electrics were from Lucas, also called the god of darkness. Highly caused failure!

      Like 3
      • Avatar photo Guy Wind

        Prince of Darkness in my day – neighborhood. But, ya. Blink much?

        Like 5
      • Avatar photo RG

        Lucas was famous for their three position switch, dim flicker, and off.

        Like 5
      • Avatar photo Gerard Frederick

        , highly caused failure, ? WTF does that mean? It sounds like something Chinese translated by AI and yes, it´s Prince of Darkness.

        Like 2
    • Avatar photo Albert J. Scalzo

      I had a 66, British Racing Green and yes, the same problem with 1st gear. I treated my gently and never had to replace the tranny. I sold mine to a friend who drove it for five years with no problems. Sure, do miss my little green car.

      Like 2
  2. Avatar photo Jack

    Does it have Whitworth?

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Gerard Frederick

      Yes, they did. I bought a new one at Wolf Motors in Sebring (I think) and drove it all across the states all the way to Barstow, Ca. GREAT little car, absolutely awsome. As far as this one goes, I smell a rat. It appears this one was a wrecked Sprite at one time.

      Like 0
  3. Avatar photo bobhess Member

    Bought a new ’62 off the dealer’s floor that was my first new car. Only problem I had was self induced as the first gear noise bugged me so bad I pulled the engine and transmission ( you have to take both out as you can’t pull the transmission separately) before I found out the noise was built in and not hurting anything. If this pretty car is a real Midget I’d like to find out why no side moldings. Besides the grill and hood spear the side molding was it’s distinct difference from the Sprite. Is it a Midget or a Sprite and if so why would you take all that time to weld up the holes in the fenders and doors?

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo bobhess Member

      Another thing l noticed was the MG on the trunk lid is too far up which could be due to wrong placement when painted or putting it on for the first time. Click on my picture twice and you can see what I’m talking about.

      Like 5
      • Avatar photo Lawrence Smith

        Your right Bob , it looks more like a Sprite than an MG without the side moldings.

        Like 1
    • Avatar photo Solosolo Member

      I seem to remember a previous comment where it was suggested that FIRST GEAR had straight cut teeth and that’s why they are all noisy.

      Like 4
    • Avatar photo Martin Horrocks

      Good call on the probability that this is a Sprite, Bob. I guess the VIN number would reveal all (HAN for Sprite; GAN for Midget apparently). What I see is a tidy little car, fairly hard to find sidescreen spec, so I wouldn´t be fussed on the identity if the price was right.

      Spridget was developed by Austin-Healey anyway, When BMC wanted to upgrade the Bugeye and also introduce an MG version, they gave the very strange order to A-H to make over the front of the car and MG to make over the rear, apparently forbidding the two to look at each other´s work.

      I guess common sense prevailed and the two companies ignored that prohibition, as the styling works so well it couldn´t have been done blind.

      Like 3
      • Avatar photo Slimm

        @Martin Horrocks Well, the VIN is GAN1L6759 so what does that make you conclude?

        My guess, given @bobhess inputs is that either a MG Midget was restored with Sprite bodywork, or someone liked the clean look of the sprite when they redid the MG’s body (a not surprising type of customizer’s touch for decades on “hot rods”) . I expect that given the VIN, and the badging, the title says MG and not AH

        Like 1
      • Avatar photo bobhess Member

        The VIN tag is held on to a boxed member underneath the carbs with two screws. Can easily be changed and there are no pertinent numbers on the car. The numbers under the heater are the body builder’s numbers and pertain only to the inner factory build coordination. The G is the proper letter for the Midgets.

        Like 1
  4. Avatar photo KC

    When was the last time the oil filter was changed? Looks like 2014 as written on the filter?

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo Slimm

      Let us know if you get an answer.

      Like 1
  5. Avatar photo Thomas Stricker

    This is a side-screen car. No outside door handles and the windows if included store in the trunk and bolt on. Locks up with snaps and zippers. Great fun to drive.

    Like 4
  6. Avatar photo M Nicholson

    I remember sitting in one of these. Neat little car, but not practical for a 5’10” guy. I literally had to fall out of the car so I could stand back up. I was more interested in Triumph Spitfire and TR6, and Alfa Romeo Spider.

    Like 0
  7. Avatar photo Justin

    Fun cars.I remember one time 3 of us (2 guys 1 gal) cramped into one. We proceeded to drive flat out top down about 10 miles to a FL beach in a new 71 model topped out at about 92 MPH. This one could be a lot of fun for the next owner if the price remains reasonable.

    Like 1
  8. Avatar photo Mike s

    My HS friend had a 1972 midget his mom bought him for his 16th birthday.

    We were driving it before we had a driver’s license.

    The car fits in sidewalks!

    A cop tried to pull us over but we lost him driving on bike paths.

    Oh wow that was a long time ago.

    Like 1
  9. Avatar photo Slimm

    It appears that the eBay seller probably bought this car from a dealer in 2023. https://marqued.com/listing/087c5a8e-39e2-4060-8337-5e0ef5788372/1963-mg-midget-mk-i

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Jesse Staff

      Or the eBay listing is a scam that’s using the old photos. Better be 100% sure before sending money on this one.

      Like 0
  10. Avatar photo Bamapoppy

    Used to see these routinely back in the 70’s. My 9th grade English teacher had a Sprite and a fellow I worked with in ‘71 had a Midget. Both were BRG. I’ve never seen this color but I did get to see the very last Midget built in a museum in London.

    Like 2
  11. Avatar photo Joe blow

    My first car purchased back in 1969 for $600 CDN . Easy car to work on added two Weber carburetors along with a set of headers and it flew. Fill-up would only cost $2.00 as gasoline was 29 cents a CDN gallon. The only drawback was the heater control was under the hood with a valve you had to open to get interior heat – no roll-up windows, signal toggle was on the dash – but it was a thrill to drive !!

    Like 1
  12. Avatar photo leiniedude Member

    Sold on Tue, Apr 2 at 10:00 AM. US $8,211.11
    22 bids.

    Like 0

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