1966 MG Midget MKII
Owned by One Family for Many Years & Received Recent Mechanical Repairs
Original Color, Correct Interior & Gauges
A Great, Running / Driving Example Light Project Car
CONDITION SUMMARY – 1966 MG MIDGET
This MG was purchased from a neighbor who had the car in the garage in California for many years. It is, reportedly, an original California car and the condition of the car and its lack of rust certainly suggest that it has spent its entire life in our sunny state. As a result of the owner’s passing, the car was sold, and with minimal work is back on the road in running / driving condition. However, while the car has been driven since the work was completed, the MG we would describe the Midget as a light, running / driving project. It is important to note that the cars “bones” are very solid and the engine runs well. The list of items that could be addressed over time are outlined in the description below.Unlike many east coast and Midwest MG’s that rusted away, this car has survived the often seen rot and rust due to “living” in the dry northern California climate. It retains its original color having received one re-spray in the factory correct white. The body is very straight with no current accident damage, or indications of previous damage. The engine compartment and trunk do not show signs of damage and are extremely solid. The sides, rear and floor of the trunk are rock solid and the original bumper supports and rear panel are undamaged reflecting no signs of previous repair. The engine bay could use a major detail, but is also straight and, with the exception of light rust, is damage free, as well.
Recently the MG received the benefit of a new battery, brake work, a new generator, and carburetor adjustments. It runs well, starts immediately even after sitting for a period of time, and does not leak excessively, only leaving several drops as any British car of this vintage would. While the car received brake work, the pedal is soft and it may need further bleeding. The car shifts well through all of the gears and has the factory issued non-syncromesh first gear that has, as so many Sprites/Midgets of this era, become noisy. However, most important, the cars 2nd and 3rd gear syncromesh are good and the car stays in all gears (including 1st). The clutch does not slip but feels as if it could be bled and we received a clutch slave cylinder with the car that is included should the cars new owner choose to install it. We do not detect any other noise in the drive-line.
The car starts immediately when hot or cold with the use of the choke. The factory proper gauges show excellent, high readings (70 lbs. when cold), and the car does not overheat. The speedometer and odometer are functional as are the other gauges with the exception of the non-working tachometer. The dash has been painted and while it is configured correctly (not cut-up), it could benefit from an improved re-spray.
In summary, this MG Midget would make a terrific very light project that can be driven while it receives additional mechanical and cosmetic attention. It would be a perfect choice for someone who appreciates the realities of British cars and likes to “tinker.” The engine is strong, and the benefit of the MKII and its higher output engine makes the car more fun to drive. It even includes the factory (unrestored) spare, jack, wire wheel release tool, and a car cover. The top bows are in good condition and the top is free from damage with a totally clear rear window.
HISTORY – MG MIDGET/SPRITEIt has been said that the Sprite and Midget as produced by the MG Car Company from 1958 until 1979, provided motoring enthusiasts with by far the most amount of enjoyment, for by far the least amount of money. One of the most versatile sports cars ever, owners were within days of its announcement, competing successfully with them in all branches of motor sport, and have continued doing so ever since. Equally at home whether being used for racing, rallying, and hill-climbing, these diminutive machines were and are truly competitive, and in talented hands always capable of some giant slaying results. A joy to drive, easy and inexpensive to buy and repair, these little machines represent the ultimate enthusiasts all around sports cars. A true “sports car” in every sense of the word.
The first ‘modern’ Midget was essentially a re-badged Austin Healey Sprite MkII which itself was a development from the the original 1958 MkI Sprite, more frequently known as the Frogeye. The MkI Midget, as announced in June 1961 and fitted with a 948cc BMC “A” series engine was quite basic, with a very simple interior, side screens and stowaway hood. However it did just what its creators intended, and offered sporting motoring for minimum cost. It differed from the Sprite by having a traditional MG style of grille and extra trim, a black instead of white steering wheel, and other small detail differences, the uncomplicated but attractive car bringing under one liter motoring back to MG enthusiasts for the first time since 1936.
This didn’t last long though for in 1962 a more powerful version was introduced fitted with a 1098cc version of the same engine, and in 1963 further improvements arrived in the form of front disc brakes and better interior trim. At this point also the engine received some further refinement by the fitting of larger 2″ main bearings; this was in answer to the criticism of the engine being somewhat rough at higher revolutions. In all other respects the car remained as before, but big changes were to be revealed with the announcement of the MkII model in 1964.
This version incorporated a completely new and far more comfortable cockpit, with wind up windows and swiveling quarter-lights, better instrumentation, lockable doors and the option of wire wheels. The biggest change however was to the rear suspension, the quarter elliptic springs being replaced by softer half elliptic’s, resulting in a smoother ride.
In 1966 yet more power was available by the fitting of the 1275cc engine. This model, the MkIII, also benefited from a superb new design of folding hood, and a larger fuel tank. It was at this point however that all further mechanical development of the model sadly came to a halt, it remaining largely unaltered until 1974; although from the Leyland take-over in 1968 there were minor annual styling updates.
In late 1974 however the car underwent its final and most significant change, for to keep the model in line with the ever increasing safety and emission rules being introduced in the US, heavy energy absorbing bumpers. In 1976 wire wheels were dropped from the option list. The car then continued in this guise with just slight annual cosmetic revisions until 1979 when production finally ceased on December 7th.