The car in question is a 1973 MG Midget that hasn’t been on the road in my lifetime. Its condition could best be described as a ‘basket case’. Imagine taking a half finished Airfix kit, shaking the box and scaling everything up 32 times. I was warned in the original description that it was ‘just a shell of an Mg in my garage, but it’s complete’. I had visions of a rusty rubber bumper midget in a suitably 70’s colour missing the odd trim piece, but fundamentally being all there. How wrong could I be. I was greeted by this:
No, I don’t know who Jim is either.
Somehow, I still thought it was a good idea to purchase it, despite having calculated that I’ll have to live solely on beans on toast to make my student loan stretch to it. Money changed hands, and by this point I became the somewhat reticent owner of an MG.
About the car
As previously mentioned, It’s an early 70’s midget. This means that it’s the (supposedly more desirable, although I feel that’s the wrong term here) round arch model with the 1275 A series engine. Everything apart from the bonnet appears to be there, and it’s had over £1100 worth of heritage panels attached to it in various ways, some appearing to be held in with chewing gum and bathroom sealant. The engine is in a different garage, and is already half in bits, but miraculously not seized. That will be my first mission, to get the engine inspected and rebuilt, then structural welding can commence when the weather gets slightly better.
The interior is the once fashionable ‘Autumn Leaf’- Effectively 70’s Brown-y orange. Fortunately I really like it, as it has survived being in a garage for 22 years incredibly well, and it seems a shame to throw it away. A decent wet&dry vacuum and some shampoo should see it looking very good. All the clocks and switchgear is present, and the somewhat crusty wiring loom has been diligently labelled. It’s clear that whoever stripped this car down had every intention of putting it back on the road.
Despite being a ‘yoof’ the plan is not to drastically modifying it, although the planned paint scheme may be somewhat divisive. Sebring Sprite fronts also look appealing; however I feel that without the more sculpted rear of the Frogeye it may look wrong. I’ve got absolutely no clue what I’ll end up using the Midget for when it’s done, so I’m steering clear of any pure race setup adjustments. The car will actually be worked on in an entirely different location to where it’s currently stored, so I’ll need to get it into some sort of fit state to push and then roll it to the University workshops where I fortunately have access to all manner of fabrication tools including a much needed MIG welder. The car came with new floors, sills, a fitted new front chassis, one fitted and one unfitted upper bulkhead panel and a large box full of little heritage oddments. Looks lie my bedtime reading for the next couple of weeks is going to be a parts catalogue desperately trying to work out where they all fit.
Everything mechanical needs refurbishment, it’s the first time I’ve seen a seized back axle! I’m hoping it’s just a wheel bearing or something simple, and it isn’t the reason that the car ended up being stripped in the first place. All brake and clutch hydraulics are seized, but hopefully these should free up with some hot diesel and compressed air. The gearbox is a complete unknown quantity, I may just assume it’ll be fine and stick some fresh oil in it. Equally, if there’s a handy inspection plate I could whip that off and have a good look inside.