1972 MG Midget Reviews

1972 MG Midget 1.3 from North America

Model year1972
Year of manufacture1972
First year of ownership2007
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission 1.3 Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.3 / 10
Distance when acquired19000 miles
Most recent distance24000 miles
Previous carFord Contour

Summary:

Excellent fun to cost ratio!!

Faults:

Things that have gone wrong are really just a reflection of the cars age. I have replaced brake hoses, steering rack boots and cooling system hoses. The car has pretty low miles for it's age so nothing mechanical worn out.

I had some trouble with the SU carbs, it was impossible to keep the mixture adjusted, I looked through the cars records and saw that the previous owner had paid to have them set up 3 times in only 1100 miles. I took them off and rebuilt them. While rebuilding them I could see that they had been apart before and someone had left a few pieces out and some assembled wrong.

I set them up according to the manual and wow, she purrs like a kitten. Crisp and smooth acceleration.

General Comments:

Great little car! A lot like a go cart. Lots of fun to drive on the windy roads. Parts are easy to find and not too expensive.

I wish it had a little more power, so I'm going to work on that.

In regards to the SU carbs, I'd recommend to anyone who is having trouble with them that they find a competent mechanic who understands how they work to rebuild them and set them up. They are one of the simplest carbs I've seen, not much to go wrong with them.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th April, 2008

1972 MG Midget 1.3 cc from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1972
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 1.3 cc Manual
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.8 / 10
Distance when acquired135000 miles
Most recent distance142000 miles

Summary:

A cheap and cheerful 70's British classic to put a smile on your face

Faults:

Nothing major post restoration by the previous owner.

Rotor arms have shorted out.

General Comments:

I am enjoying my second 1275 cc Midget - both the later Mk III models with the aesthetically pleasing chrome bumpers and round rear wheel arches. The first was not restored and I owned it for a couple of years in the late 80's. It was my only car and didn't let me down too often, but... the release bearing on the clutch gave up and I had to have the front suspension rebuilt after king pin wear caused an MOT failure (statutory annual road worthiness test). I finally said goodbye after I broke first gear due to an undetected oil leak. However, I was not cured of my fondness for the Midget as I resolved to try again...

My second and current car has been extensively restored by the previous owner. I've finished off some of the work (unleaded conversion, new hood) and more could be done, but the point is, it's a blast! I use it for limited mileage connected with my work and it is my "antidote to people movers" - we have four offspring, so my "real" car is a Toyota Picnic! The Midget was cheap to buy and will hold its value, was registered pre-1973 and is therefore tax exempt in the UK, parts, especially through the excellent owners club, are cheap (more so than an MGB) and plentiful and even some motoring journalists in the UK agree that they are just fun to drive.

Don't get one to rely upon unless you have lots of time and enjoy tinkering or have a cheap and friendly local who knows about SU carburettors, points and other "old fashioned" bits and bobs. I'm just going to see how long I can keep mine!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th July, 2003

1972 MG Midget 1.3 1300 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1972
First year of ownership1999
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 1300 Manual
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 4 / 10
Comfort marks 3 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.8 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance0 miles
Previous carFiat Punto

Summary:

A car that will teach anyone something new...

Faults:

Generally speaking the MG hasn't been all that bad. The usual complaint of the thing instantly corroding at the slightest hint of road salt applies and through some 'creative driving', I managed to bend the king-pins.

The timing has a habit of slipping (can be corrected with electronic ignition, but I rather feel that's cheating) and the gearbox started jumping out of first and then promptly lost all synchromesh (learned how to double de-clutch REALLY quickly on that journey home). That in turn knocked the clutch out (I guess I wasn't that good at it!), but I've heard worse stories.

It can misfire when hot, but that's usually the timing playing silly beggars again and my oil damped carbs take a bit of looking after.

The fact is, usually, the harder you drive it, the more it tries to go wrong, so the more you should fawn over it. My MG gets both hammered and pampered in equal proportions!

General Comments:

This was my first sojourn into the sports car field. Admittedly my old Fiat and the Pug 306 I then bought when winter rolled around would probably hammer it through every test short of 'fitting through small gaps-athon', but that's not the point.

The car taught me mechanical sympathy for engines and a good degree of mechanic skills in general. These are now rather redundant as it bears almost no relation technology wise to new cars, but I intend to carry on with the classic car thing.

The MG taught me skid control, heel and toeing (partly to keep the damn thing from stalling pulling up to the lights in cold weather) and how much better modern tyres are in the wet. I would recommend that everyone should have a play in one at least once, because it makes you realise many things that you'd thought you'd forgotten or simply didn't know. It can teach you seriously technical driving at 1/3 of the speed (and so, I though naively, 1/3 of the danger) of anything else.

Since acquiring the MG I've got into motorsport and will be campaigning (someone else's) Brabham BT 28 (I think) in the not too distant future.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 24th January, 2002

14th Oct 2002, 12:41

I don't think this guy should have a Midget, he is a saloon car man, and I don't think that any one who intends buying a Midget should take any notice of this review. he clearly has no idea what Midgets are all about.

22nd Oct 2002, 07:40

I'm not entirely sure what you think 'Midgets are all about' - my '79 1500 was about unreliability, rust, and poor build quality. It was also about the best fun I've had driving a car, about learning to exploit rear-wheel drive (something not many get a chance to do these days), and about every journey being an event rather than a chore. The guy who wrote this review seems to think the same, so why isn't a Midget for him? Being blind to a car's (many) faults won't give others an accurate impression of ownership - isn't that what this site is for?

2nd Jun 2003, 08:51

Midgets are fun, but not reliable... try a Honda or Toyota... very reliable, but not much fun and rather uneventful journeys.

24th Jan 2004, 16:02

I owned MG Midgets from 1967 to 1981 and enjoyed every minute of them. The best handling was a MkII which had 5 1/2 J rims on the front!! and 4 1/2 J rims on the rear with lowered and stiffened suspension all round (use A40 springs at the front with lowering pans) and a works anti-roll bar. You need to cut round wheel arches at the rear to accomodate the wheel width. This sorted out the inherent roll understeer and together with a gas-flowed head would blow off "Dopey"'s Fiat or Pug with no problem.

Average review marks: 6.3 / 10, based on 3 reviews