There is a lot to be said for ownership of an MG Midget. Besides being incredibly economical and good, clean fun; the little MG offers heroic handling and punchy, well-delivered horsepower.
The ultimate product of shrewd badge-engineering from the, then titled, British Motoring Corporation – the MG Midget was a straight carbon copy of the Austin-Healey Sprite MK2. Although conceived as a revitalised Austin-Healey in the early 1960s, the move across to MG ensured sales continued into gleeful figures alien even to Sesame Street.
Initially powered by the commonplace A-series engine, offering 948cc and enough horsepower to kick the competition into a potted hat, besides some minor trim differences, between 1961 and 1969 both cars were practically identical. The MG Midget outlived the Sprite by several years before finally retiring as the 1980s started to take form, but before leaving showrooms worldwide for the final time, the Midget received new engines and controversial rubber bumpers to meet American legislation – yet the underlying charm and entertaining drive remained unaltered.
This iconic MG won’t suit everyone, however. With diminutive proportions, even those of a Kate Moss stature will have to squeeze into the body-hugging cabin. The slim footwells, comedy windscreen and tight controls may leave you hankering for more after a weekend blast, but if you enjoy pies or need to carry two people and a weeks’ worth of luggage then the MG Midget offers the same practicality as a marzipan kettle.
However, you are missing the point if scrutinizing the practicality of this British gem. The Midget’s all about crafting the grin between your ears. Offering immediate response from the chuckable handling and curved dynamics that allow speeds close to 100mph, the ride may be bumpy but the sense of speed and excitement at in-town speeds leaves you seriously enthralled. Long motorway journeys may appear daunting, but the MG soaks up the miles in an impressive manner, even if the B-road is the Midget’s natural home.
All that stigma around build quality should be ignored, too – as these vehicles are so mechanically simple that only dedicated misuse will see them go wrong. Keep oil levels, coolant levels and lubricants topped up and not only will you avoid engine damage, but you’ll also get maximum performance and economy.
So, should you be after a DIY-friendly convertible for lapping up the summer sun without spending Jaguar E-type money – there really is little better than an MG Midget.