| MG Midget|
| Manufacturer:|| BMC] I4|
1493 cc Triumph I4|
|Engine:||948 cc A-Series I4|
1098 cc A-Series I4
1275 cc A-Series I4
1493 cc Triumph I4
Round Wheel Arch MG Midget on Autotest
The MG Midget was a small sports car produced by MG division of the British Motor Corporation from 1961 through to 1979. It re-used a famous pre-war name.
MG Midget MkI (1961-1964)
The first version was essentially a badge engineered version of the Austin-Healey Sprite MKII and retained the quarter elliptic sprung rear axle from the original Sprite. The engine was a 948 cc A-Series with twin SU carburettors producing 46 hp (34 kW) at 5500 rpm and 53 ft·lbf (72 Nm) at 3000 rpm. Brakes were drum all round. In 1962 the engine was increased to 1098 cc raising the output to 56 hp (42 kW) at 5500 rpm and 62 ft·lbf (84 Nm) at 3250 rpm and disc brakes replaced the drums at the front.
The doors had no external handles or locks and the windows were sliding Perspex side screens.
Production was 16,080 of the small engined version and 9601 of the 1098.
MG Midget MkII (1964-1966)
Externally the main changes were to the doors, which gained wind up windows, quarter lights and external handles, and the windscreen which got a new frame. The hood (US - top) though modified, continued to be have a removable frame that had to be erected before the cover was put on. The rear springs were replaced by more conventional half elliptical types. The engine got better bearings allowing the power to be increased to 59 hp (44 kW) at 5750 rpm and torque to 65 lbf·ft (88 Nm) at 3500 rpm.
26,601 were made.
MG Midget MkIII (1966-1974)
The engine now grew to 1275 cc using the development seen on the Mini Cooper S. Output was 65 hp (48 kW) at 6000 rpm and 72 ft·lbf (98 Nm) at 3000 rpm. However, this was a de-tuned version of the engine that was given to the Cooper S. The Midget retained the standard 12G940 cylinder head casting that was common to other BMC 1300 cars, whereas the Cooper S had a special head with an extra two bolts to fasten it to the cylinder block. The hood was now permanently attached to the car. There were minor changes to the body in 1969 with the sills painted black and a revised black grille. "Rostyle" wheels were standardised but wire spoked ones remained an option. The square shaped rear wheel arches became rounded in 1971.
22,415 were made between 1966 and the 1969 face lift and a further 77,831 up to 1974.
MG Midget 1500 (1974-1979)
In order to meet US federal regulations, large black rubber bumpers were added to the front and rear and the ride height was increased. The A-Series engine was dropped to be replaced by the 1493 cc unit from the Triumph Spitfire and a modified Morris Marina gearbox with synchromesh on all four gears. The round rear wheel arches were now square again to increase the body strength. The last car was made on December 7th 1979 after 73,899 of the last version had been made. There was no Austin-Healey Sprite equivalent.
The car developed by Donald Healey that started as an Austin-Healey Sprite, and which spawned the late-model MG Midget has more recently been given the generic name Spridget. It really was a Healey, not an MG, but the generic name does not reflect this.
From the late 1980s on, Spridgets became popular cars for inclusion in club racing in the UK, because they were readily available and the lack of development by the original manufacturer made them easy targets for performance tuning.
The UK still has a a race series dedicated to the MG Midget which is run by the MG Car Club. The MG Midget Challenge is a national race series for MG Midgets and Austin Healey Sprites (built 1956-1979). The championship is run at all major UK circuits, with the occasional visit to Spa-Froncorchamps in Belgium. It is a serious, professional but very friendly championship and has been running since 1977.
Frontline Spridget (later Frontline Costello) of Batheaston have developed the car to a huge extent, so that a modern Spridget can have an engine that develops 100 PS (99 hp/74 kW) more than the original, yet weighs less. A Frontline car can achieve 0-100 km/h in around 5 seconds. The Frontline suspension developments make the car a delight to drive. This company can also support this performance with suspension and brake enhancements that make a 21st century Spridget a real competitor with a Lotus Elise.
The Midget name is rumored to appear again on a redeveloped version of the Smart Roadster from the Kimber Group. The company is reportedly working to secure the MG Midget name and begin production in 2007.