Orange Gold:  1978 Mini Midas

1978 Mini Midas

When I was little, my father used to bring me back 1/43 scale die-cast cars from his business travels.  My favorite was a metallic burgundy Mini Marcos. What’s a Mini Marcos, you ask?   First sold in 1965, the Mini Marcos was a British kit car designed to take the mechanical bits from the simple original Mini and put them into a somewhat swoopy…ok…cute, lightweight fiberglass body. Believe it or not, in 1966, a Mini Marcos was the only British car to finish the 24 Hours of LeMans. Over the years, the design and molds were sold several times, but by the mid-1970’s, the design was starting to look dated and it was updated into the Mini Midas. Eagle-eyed reader Jim S found this one here on eBay where you can buy it now for $8,000.

Midas Gold Mini

While retaining the front wheel drive layout of the Mini, the composite body shell made it considerably lighter and aided performance.  This particular car appears to be in really nice shape, and I believe the seller is Jim Simpson, a notable designer of alternative bodies for Mazda Miatas and a knowledgeable kit car enthusiast.

Midas Mini Engine

Lots of recent work has been done to the car including a new head gasket for the 1275cc A-Series engine and some new body seals.  The paint is said to be shiny, and the orange color and black trim really set this speedster off.

Midas Mini Interior

The orange and black theme continues in the interior, which looks remarkably styled for a kit car, and of course the right hand drive configuration is direct from the British Isles.  The seller does note that the speedometer, tachometer and radio are not working at the moment.

Midas Mini

The rear hatch is hinged, and while the lift over height looks pretty tall, there’s some decent storage back there along with the spare tire.  I think those are Triumph TR7/TR8 taillight assemblies, and while the sunroof may not appeal to some of you, it will improve ventilation should you be tempted to drive the Midas in hot summer temperatures.

Mini Midas

I’m guessing the stripes and badging are original, and even if not, who’s going to know the difference, especially on this side of the pond?  I know I’d happily welcome this composite coupe into my garage, what about you?  By the way… I still have my little burgundy die-cast!

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Comments

  1. gord

    here is another mini based kit car been for sale for a good year or 2!

    http://www.kijiji.ca/v-classic-cars/oshawa-durham-region/1976-cooperized-gullwing-bodied-austin-mini/599450746?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true
    gord up in ontario canada

  2. Julian Carr

    This is a fascinating car with a chequered history. I believe it was Harold Dermott who ran Midas Cars and the business was quite successful and ‘leading edge’ – the car features a composite monocoque for example.
    Gordon Murray (The ex Brabham, McLaren Grand Prix and McLaren F1 road car designer) was a huge fan and this made him invite Harold to join the development team at McLaren to develop the now legendary F1 roadcar after the Midas factory burned down in a fire and the company was facing ruin. I’m not sure, but I think Harold is still there at the Special Operations Department in Shalford in Surrey

  3. Graham Line

    The liftover height on the rear hatch is probably no more that waist height on a 5’9″ person. Styling is a vast improvement over the original Mini Marcos, which was once compared to “lumps of unstirred porridge.”

  4. RickyM

    Our English cars must look tiny on your roads next to your 4×4 trucks. Probably a little inconvenient being right hand drive too. Could be thr perfect one for me to re-import back !

  5. Mark E

    “The seller does note that the speedometer, tachometer and radio are not working at the moment.”

    Yep, there’s that kit car charm, alright… ^_^

  6. philip

    the internals are from a 1979 metro being British i should know

  7. julian

    The Midas is one of the most attractive mini kits, along with the Cox GTM, the Deep Sanderson, and the Unipower. The Marcos was and is the ugliest and not very strong. I helped build up Marcos mini number 6 for a customer to race. When he slid-off the track at Brands Hatch, he was left with an engine and a pile of fibreglass bits. The Mini Marcos was a copy of a Mini Jem -but that’s another story.

  8. john e

    its a pup..1978 don’t think so..
    http://www.minimarcos.org.uk/altpics/midas.html

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