MG Midget (1961 – 1980) Review

MG Midget (1961 – 1980) At A Glance

+Immense fun, cheap and cheerful, especially to fix

-Many are rotten, and values are low, which means few are restored properly

The MG Midget was the result of more clever badge-engineering from BMC. The original concept was sired from the Austin Healey Sprite Mk2, and other than a few minor trim differences, the Healey and the MG were all-intents-and-purposes identical between 1961 and 1969.

The unit-construction sports two-seater, was conceived as an Austin Healey, but the move to MG ensured serious sales. The Midget was initially powered by the BMC A-series 948cc engine, and featured twin-carburettors, a four-speed gearbox, rack-and-pinion steering and independent front suspension. It was good to drive, despite minimal power, and won lots of friends, thanks to a low price.

Throughout its life, the Midget was continuously upgraded - fitst with the fitment of the 1098cc A-Series, and then disc brakes in 1962. For the Mk2 in 1964, wind-up windows were added, while the Mk3 ushered in the upgunned 1275cc A-Series.

The biggest change came in 1974, with the arrival of Triumph's 1500cc engine. The reason to use the once deadly-rival company's power unit came own to it being easier to make compliant with US emissions regulations than the A-series. Top speed went up a fraction, but the torque-happy Triumph unit was not a willing revver and it changed the character of the car.

Visually, it was all-change, too - with the addition of black rubber impact bumpers and raised ride height. Despite that, the Midget remained a good seller through to its death in 1979, notching up a very creditable 73,889 units.

Join the club

Honest John Classics has teamed up with MG Car Club (the world's oldest MG club) to offer readers £5 off single and joint memberships. Joining the club means joining the largest group of MG fans in the world and getting access to first-rate technical knowledge as well as the chance to save money on your insurance premiums. Simply visit and use the code HONEST5. (Disclaimer: if you join Honest John receives a small fee).

Ask Honest John

How much is my 1972 MG Midget worth?

"Could you give me a realistic valuation if possible I am selling a 1972 MG Midget Red RWA which was restored by the previous owner and had an engine rebuild. It is in excellent ondition with new new MG minilght wheels and Michelin energy tyres. Could you give me a realistic valuation if possible? Also, where is the best place to sell online?"
The MG Midget is a very popular classic and the round wheel arch (RWA) models are the most popular as they allow for much better axle and wheel set-ups. A restored car in excellent condition is worth somewhere between £8000 and £10,000 depending on history and provenance. There are a number of online outlets to sell old cars - Car&Classic would be a good place to start, where there is a choice of classified ads or auctions.
Answered by Craig Cheetham

What classic sports car should I buy?

"I am thinking of buying a classic sports car - an MG Midget or MGB. I'm buying for investment and summer use. Which is best and are there any problems to look for on either model?"
Both Midgets and MGBs have strong followings and excellent club support - although you won't stand out from the crowd at a classic car meet. Which one you choose, might come down to how tall you are - the Midget is, as its name suggests, smaller than the B. Later models of both are more affordable but they key thing to look out for on these cars is rust. You can find out what to look for on a B here: If you're decided as to which is best for you, try them both and see which you enjoy the most. Both are reliable if well looked after, although you will need to budget for maintenance.
Answered by Keith Moody

What lead additive can you suggest for our 1977 MG Midget?

"We have a 1977 MG Midget owned from new with 45,000 miles on the clock. The engine is original and we've been using Castrol Valvemaster Plus additive. However, this is no longer available. Apart from having the valve seats hardened, what alternative additive can you recommend?"
Have a look at Millers' VSPe. It's an octane booster, helps prevent valve seat recession and has additives to combat fuel system corrosion. It's about the same price as Valvemaster. If you need something a bit more affordable, you could try Redex lead replacement fuel additive.
Answered by Keith Moody

Is a Smart Roadster a future classic?

"Is a Smart Roadster Brabus a future classic?"
Sure is. At its heart, this Smart is similar to roadsters from the late-1950s and 1960s, such as the Austin-Healey 'Frogeye' Sprite and the MG Midget where fun is a key component of its DNA. Its turbocharged 698cc three-cylinder is good for 82PS - Brabus versions get 17-inch alloy wheels, lowered suspension, sports exhausts, and a few other bits and pieces. Oh, and power is up to 101PS... If you're serious about buying one, you'll need to spend about £5000 and do your homework - water can get into the ECU and the fusebox, calling all manner of problems.
Answered by Keith Moody
More Questions

What does a MG Midget (1961 – 1980) cost?