Not Even a Tarp: 1964 MG Midget

1964 MG Midget

There are finds out there that aren’t necessarily interesting or all that rare, but when we find them, they just call to us. When reader Patrick M came across this 1964 MG Midget, something about it spoke to him and in that moment he knew he had to save it. He was able to strike a deal with the owner and before long it was headed to his house. I will let Patrick tell you all about his MG in his own words.

MG Midget

This car was found sitting under what used to be a tarp shed at a friend’s house. It had been sitting there for 7 years and was sitting for about 19 years before the owner moved and took the car with him. Spare parts were strewn about the yard such as a rear end, wire wheels, bumper, etc. As a pleasant surprise, the tires were still fully aired up! Inside, the interior was considerably barren, containing only the wrong seats and steering wheel, faded gauges, extra tachometer, 6 inches of oak leaves and a hard top to cap it all off. A look under the hood revealed a Datsun A10 motor and 4 speed transmission. For sitting so long under damp oak leaves, one would expect the car to be spotted with rust, especially the floors. However, the worst and only rust is pitting surface rust in the trunk. A quick “tap-check” revealed some body filler but, the body is fairly straight and none of the filler has shown any signs of failing.

MG Midget Motor

When a family friend found this car as a high school student, the engine had blown up and was therefore picked up cheaply. With little effort a suitable engine, a Datsun A10, was found and installed. As the story goes, the car was a victim of some poor car modifications done in the 90’s. Wanting it to be a cool car rather than a pretty car, the trim was deleted, the body painted flat gray, and the wire wheels painted flat black. The condition of the car is surprising considering it was driven around with 6 people in it and was placed upside down and bounced on. Although this particular Midget is far from original, it has many aspects that make it a desirable restoration candidate.

MG Midget MKII

The original Midget was essentially a slightly more expensive badge-engineered version of the Austin-Healey Sprite MKII. Externally the main changes to the MKII Midget were to the doors, which gained wind-up windows, swiveling quarter lights, external handles and separate locks. The windscreen also aquired a slight curvature and was held in a more substantial frame. The hood (US – top), though modified, continued to have a removable frame that had to be erected before the cover was put on. The rear springs were replaced by more conventional semi-elliptic types which gave a better ride.

MG Midget headed home

With the car’s future unquestionably in despair, it was decided that this solid roadster had to have a second chance, so it was towed home after a reasonable deal was made. With a battery, new rubber fuel lines and filter, the A10 started with little hesitation. On that note, this deserving Midget will receive a nice, simple restoration that will retain the A10 and deleted side trim, but will otherwise be put back to original. Even the original bonnet trim was found in the parts pile and will stand proudly in its proper place once again.

It looks like Patrick has his work cut out for him, but this Midget should make for a great starting point. I want to thank him for sharing his find with us and we wish him the best with it! Hopefully he will keep us updated on his progress.

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Comments

  1. Tom S.

    I received my BF daily email this morning and noticed there’s a button to unsubscribe. Why would anyone want to do that? It’s stories like the one about this Midget and all the other swell cars you show us that make this such a great experience day after day.

    • Alan (Michigan)

      Yea, no use for the unsubsubscribe button here, but I often wish for a “Thumbs Up” button so I could give a virtual pat on the back to comments like Tom S.’s

  2. Jeff V.

    Neat story! I forwarded it to my British buddies on my FB group for Jags (got a near-mint 96′ xjr6), just getting the word out about BF, its great! Also liked that the CME is advertising with u.

  3. Mark E

    I laughed out loud when I read this story. I was at an internet friend’s house for a party and they had a Chevette in their back yard that I nearly ended up with the very same way! I had a new Chevette when I was in college and nostalgia nearly overwhelmed my common sense! ^_^

  4. Graham Line

    Thoroughly entertaining little cars. Dechroming the MG removes some of the tackiness and adding the fully-synchronized transmission can’t hurt. Wonder if JC Whitney still stocks NIB lever shocks. Flow the head, add larger front and rear anti-roll bars, and have fun. Wish I still had my ’72.

    • paul

      I had a 69 also dechromed in front only, drove the crap out of it, fun car that I would never fit in today.

  5. jim s

    when i saw the ” 1964 MG MIDGET ” i wondered if it could be my old car. but since it has modern features like door locks, outside door handle, roll up windows and long rear springs i knew it was not. i bet it even has self-canceling turn singles!. i would pull and sell the datsun engine/trans. put in a 1275 and midget/sprite trans. but either way this is going to be a fun driver. great find and i am very glad you saved it.

  6. Dave Nelsen

    I love these kinds of stories! I had a 72 Midget, bought it new. I only had it a year. The brakes were bad, and I couldn’t get parts because of a truckers’ strike. I traded it in. It was the most fun car ever. A month ago I bought a 71 Mgb. It needs things, but runs like a top. The joy of driving is back! Cheers

  7. Jason

    I agree with Tom S. – it’s stories like this that draw me to your emails and website, and remind me why I subscribe. What a little beauty. I hope it brings you much joy, Patrick. Looking at the pictures, I’m trying to figure out just what it is about this little car that draws me to it too – it’s body looks so straight, and no real rust is visible. I love the wire wheels. Nearly everything looks like it’s there. It’s just got so much potential. Glad to hear it’s life isn’t over yet, and that the abuse will be undone – it got a well-deserved second (third? fifth?) chance. I’ve got my eye on a 1974 International Scout near me in similar shape. Thanks for bringing a little sunshine to my day.

  8. rich

    Nice find, keep the Datsun A-10 for sure much better engine and a drop in. Was a common conversion at the time

  9. DT

    Ive seen some 1275’s that a v8 couldnt keep up with,but I would keep all the datsun stuff,definatley an upgrade

  10. Patrick McC.

    Thanks for all the kind comments, guys! I have been disassembling the car over the past couple weekends and it still looks promising. There was a large pile of after-market junk that I have removed. Still haven’t found any major rust but there is quite a bit of filler. Currently, it looks like a track car since the windscreen and side vents have been removed. My only concern for paint is the boot lid isn’t lining up quite as well as I had hoped. I’ll be spending quite a bit of time sourcing OEM parts such as seats, steering wheel, bolts, etc…

  11. Patrick McC.

    After some discussion with a Datsun specialist, I have found that the motor is actually an A12. Not a big difference, though. As it turns out, there is body filler covering the entire car. The Bondo has cracked in rear section of the car where I popped out a dent. I found a couple more buckets of parts for it which yielded some valuable parts. The boot lid is a bit tweaked and I think it will have to be replaced as it doesn’t fit properly. I’m on the hunt for some correct seat frames and an original steering wheel. I sure do hope that this car can turn out as well as I hope!

  12. Russ Bees

    Sounds like you have the enthusiasm to complete a project like this. I have a 1931 Standard Avon that has a MG 1098 engine and a Datsun 5 speed that really makes the car driveable any where. There is a company in TN that makes the adapter plate necessary to join the 1098 with a Datsun 5.

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