1979 MG Midget from UK and Ireland

Summary:

A great first classic!

Faults:

The handling on these late model cars is a bit wallowy, bit the fitment of a stiffer roll bar ahs greatly improved it.

The hood on mine had been replaced with an expensive MGOC fabric one. These look great, but They shrink badly so I ended up having to replace it with a cheap vinyl one... as per original spec.

The car needed some minor bodywork around the rear wheelarch. After being quoted £1500 by a "specialist" I ended up taking it to a local bodywork man who did a beautiful job for just £300.

General Comments:

These cars are very crude and thus reliable. They are however all old and they do go wrong. Mechanical parts are dirt cheap and readily available from a variety of specialists, but Bodywork can be expensive. when buying always look at the condition of the body above everything else. It doesn't matter if the engine is blown or the gearbox whines, these parts are all available for next to nothing (usually from abandoned projects which end up being broken for spares!!)

Like any classic if you have no mechanical knowledge and do not have the tools or inclination to fix them when they do go wrong they will end up being very expensive cars to own... all of it dead money as it won't make the car worth any more.

However if you are fairly handy with a set of spanners and have a haynes manual then these are particularly rewarding little cars to own!!

Like I said earlier these later Americanised models do handle in a more wallowy American sort of way, but you will be surprised how much difference a decent set of tyres and a stiffer roll bar will make.

They are awkward to get into, but once you are in surprisingly spacious (I'm 6'4") To drive they are slow by modern standards and quite noisy. The suspension is on the solid side of hard, but the steering (Morrs Minor) is superb. Wonderfully light and direct with tonnes of feel. In short it is a true British sports car in miniature and contrary to others opinions makes an excellent daily driver, if you are young and don't have a family that is!!

One last note... Buy the best you can afford, paying top whack for a minter will give you far less greif and end up cheaper in the long one than and average example needing a bit of TLC.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th January, 2004

12th Jan 2004, 14:38

The cars can be made to handle a lot better by lowering the front and the rear using MGOC springs

A considerable improvement to the cars performance will be made by fitting K & N's and a tubular exhaust and manifold with the appropriate needles in the carbs.

25th Jul 2006, 07:40

My 1964 chrome bumper MkII is my every day car. I do have a Mercedes Back up - but I never use it!

4th Jul 2009, 20:16

I currently own a 64 MGB, 72 Alfa Romeo and a 79 Midget. I can honestly say the Midget handles as good as either of the other car, and as good as any I have owned. The lift of the car does not effect the handling enough to lower it, it's a car that loves to take those corners. It has a problem only once every 7 or 8 months, and once it was fully restored it rarely had a problem. Wonderful day car. I would buy it again for sure.

1979 MG Midget 1.5 litre from North America

Faults:

You name it, it broke. Front pivots, primary shaft in gear box, u-joint, lever shocks, alternator came apart, carb total disaster (replaced w/ Weber), electrical nightmare, broken piston, thrown rod, etc., etc. Saving grace: parts, although pricey, are easy to get. After-market upgrades make it a much better car!

General Comments:

You have to be a good mechanic to own one and afford it. Things tend not to stay fixed. Absolutely NOT to be relied upon as primary transportation (don't buy one for your kids). Has a terrific heater and actually comfortable to drive (I'm 6'6" and this is a rare treat). Through it all, though, the car was a blast to drive and great fun in the sun with the top down! As the English say, "You repair it on Saturday so you can drive it on Sunday."

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 7th February, 1999

10th Feb 2001, 08:29

Clearly you got a bad one! My Midget has only ever had starter motor and solenoid problems. Any bits that do break are dirt cheap to replace. Most parts can be sourced from Metros etc.

3rd Apr 2001, 08:55

I have a 1977 MG Midget. I have found that once I took the engine out and dismantled the front suspension, then rebuilt by hand, carefully, using advice from MG Owners Club rather than the service book, that the car has run almost faultlessly, including several 250 mile plus trips for holidays etc.

The only disaster has been the SU carbs, which refused to remain adjusted to the correct settings. Repair proved uneconomic, so I replaced with aa reconditioned set from the MGOC.

There are some real lemons out there, but careful selection and TLC will prove successful.