1972 MG Midget 1.3 1300 from UK and Ireland
A car that will teach anyone something new...
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!
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.