1961-1979 MG Midget

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The MG Midget is a small two seat sports car produced by MG division of the British Motor Corporation from 1961 to 1979. It re-used a famous pre-war name used on MG M-type, MG D-type, MG J-type and so on.

MG Midget MkI (1961-1964). The first version was essentially a slightly more expensive 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 lbf·ft (72 Nm) at 3000 rpm. Brakes were 7 in (178 mm) drums all round. A hard top, heater, radio and luggage rack were available as factory fitted extras. In October 1962 the engine was increased to 1098 cc raising the output to 56 hp (42 kW) at 5500 rpm and 62 lbf·ft (84 Nm) at 3250 rpm and disc brakes replaced the drums at the front. Wire-spoked wheels became available. The doors had no external handles or locks and the windows were sliding Perspex side-screens. A heater was an optional extra. Production was 16,080 of the small engined version and 9601 of the 1098.[2] A car with the 948 cc engine was tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1962 and had a top speed of 87.9 mph (141.5 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 18.3 seconds. A fuel consumption of 40.2 miles per imperial gallon (7.03 L/100 km; 33.5 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £689 including taxes on the UK market.[1]

MG Midget MkIII (1966-1974). The engine now grew to 1275 cc using the development seen on the Mini-Cooper 'S'. However, enthusiasts were disappointed that this was a de-tuned version of the Cooper 'S' engine, giving only 65 hp (48 kW) at 6000 rpm and 72 lbf·ft (98 Nm) at 3000 rpm. The Midget used the 12G940 cylinder head casting that was common to other BMC 1300 cars, whereas the Cooper 'S' had a special head with extra-large valves: however, these valves caused many 'S' heads to fail through cracking between the valve seats. The hydraulic system gained a separate master cylinder for the clutch. The hood was now permanently attached to the car, with an improved mechanism making it much easier to use. There were minor changes to the body in 1969, with the sills painted black and a revised recessed black grille. Rubery Owen 'Rostyle' wheels were standardised but wire spoked ones remained an option. US spec cars received several safety additions: a padded fascia (dashboard) with smaller main gauges; collapsible steering column, scissor-type hood hinges, and anti-burst door latches. The square-shaped rear wheel arches became rounded in January 1972. Also in this year, a Triumph steering rack was fitted, giving a gearing that was somewhat lower than earlier Midgets. A second exhaust silencer was also added in 1972. Alternator was fitted instead of dynamo from 1973 onwards. 22,415 were made between 1966 and the 1969 face lift, and a further 77,831 up to 1974.[2]

MG Midget 1500 (1974-1980). 1976 MG Midget 1500In order to meet US federal regulations, large black plastic bumpers (usually called rubber bumpers, despite not actually being rubber) 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.[3] The last car was made on December 7, 1979, after 73,899[4] of the last version had been made. There was no Austin-Healey Sprite equivalent. However, there was a limited number of cars produced in 1980 of the MG Midget.

MG Midget
MG Midget USDM convertible
Manufacturer BMC
Production 1961–1979
226,001 produced
Predecessor MG TF
Class Sports car
Body style(s) 2-door roadster
Layout FR layout
Engine(s) 948 cc A-Series I4
1098 cc A-Series I4
1275 cc A-Series I4
1493 cc I4
Wheelbase 80 in (2,032 mm)[1]
Length 137 in (3,480 mm)[1]
Width Mk I and II 54 in (1,372 mm)[1]
Mk III and 1500 55 in (1,397 mm)
Height 48.5 in (1,232 mm) (before springs enlarged for 1974 Rubber Bumper cars)
Curb weight 735 kg (1,620 lb) (approx)
Related Austin-Healey Sprite


  1. "The M.G. Midget". The Motor. March 28, 1962.
  2. Sedgwick, M. (1986). A-Z of Cars 1945-1970. Devon, UK: Bay View Bookz. ISBN 1-870979-39-7.
  3. Sports Car Market, October 2007.
  4. Robson, G. (2006). A-Z of British Cars 1945-1980. Devon, UK: Herridge. ISBN 0-9541063-9-3.


  • Terry Horler (1993). Original Sprite and Midget. Motorbooks. ISBN 1-870979-45-1.
  • Ray Bonds (2003). The Illustrated Directory of Sports Cars. Motorbooks. ISBN 0-7603-1420-9.
  • John Heilig (1996). MG Sports Cars. Motorbooks. ISBN 0-7603-0112-3.

External links

Midget Books & Manuals

The Midget Books Section of the MyClassicMG Library is your resource for Midget anthology Books and Manuals.


  MG Midget & Austin Healey Sprite: All Models (The Essential Buyer's Guide), by Terry Horier, (2011), Paperback, 64 pages. This book is the perfect companion for the first-time or even more experienced buyer. All the information is here to help make a clear and balanced decision, to counter the vendor's claims, and even negotiate a better price. The author has bought and sold many MG Midgets & A-H Sprites over the years, and his knowledge and enthusiasm will prove a vital resource for potential buyers.


  MG Midget and Austin Healy Sprite, 1958-80 by Haynes, (1999), Paperback, 242 pages. Inside this manual you will find routine maintenance, tune-up procedures, engine repair, cooling and heating, air conditioning, fuel and exhaust, emissions control, ignition, brakes, suspension and steering, electrical systems, and wiring diagrams.
  MG Midget and Austin-Healey Sprite: Guide to Purchase and DIY Restoration, by Lindsey Porter, (1983), Hardcover, 254 pages.A book of detailed information on how to build a car using a brand new Rover Group/Heritage bodyshell. Includes every aspect of Midget and Sprite restoration with step-by-step photographs of vehicles being worked on.
  Restoring Sprites & Midgets: An Enthusiast's Guide, by R M Clarke and Grahame Bristow, (2002), Paperback, 216 pages. A practical manual written with the home restorer in mind. Well illustrated and with clear instructions, this manual guides the amateur through dismantling, cleaning, repair, and rebuilding.

Midget Library

The Midget Section of the MyClassicMG Library is your resource for Midget anthology Books, Historical Photographs, Manuals, Sales Literature, Technical Articles, and Videos.

  Books and Manuals
  Technical Articles and Videos
  Sales Literature and Advertisements
  Historical Photographs

Midget Technical Articles & Videos

The Midget Technical Section of the MyClassicMG Library is your resource for Midget Technical Articles and Videos on buying, general care, service & repair, body & paint, and restoration. A collection of MyClassicMG articles written by contributers to MyClassicMG.com and articles or information published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.


  Activate Decommissioned MG
British Motor Heritage Trust Certificate, Heritage Motor Centre
Car Buying Inspection Checklist, Scions of Lucas
MG Restoration, John Twist, University Motors.
MG Complete Lubrication, John Twist, University Motors.
Restarting an MG after Long Storage, John Twist, University Motors.


  Glass Triplex Date Coding, Jack Austin.
Painting Bedliner on Chassis, Lee Miller.
Paint Colour Codes, NAMGBR.
Paint Colour Codes, Telgerizer.
Paint DIY Job, John S. Henry.

Brake System

  Brake Adjustment, Moss Motors.
Brake Fluid, Moss Motors.
Brake Fluid - Conventional vs Silicone, Moss Motors.
Everything You Wanted to Know About Brake Plumbing, The Dimebank Garage.
Midget Rear Brake Cylinder Circlip, Spridget Guru
Midget Rear Brake Cylinder Circlip Tool, Spridget Guru


  Clutch Disk, John Twist, University Motors.

Cooling System

  Cooling System, University Motors, John Twist.
How the cooling System Works, Dave DuBois.
Electric Cooling Fans, John Twist, University Motors.
Overheating - Causes, Moss Motors.
Overheating - Thermostat, Moss Motors.
Water Pumps, John Twist, University Motors.
Water Pump - Sealing, Moss Motors.

Electrical System

  Battery Disconnect Switches, Allan Brown.
Battery Testing, Jack Austin.
Fuseology, Allan Brown.
Fuses for Extra Protection, Moss Motors.
Headlight Aiming, John D. Weimer.
Headlight Relays, Allan Brown.
Ignition Run-On, Allan Brown.
Lucas Fault Diagnosis & Service Manual.
Lucas Generator and Control Box Tests.
Wire Color Codes, Teglerizer.

Emission System



  Cam Degreeing, Crane Cams
Cam Specs, Teglerizer.
Changing Oil, Moss Motors.
Oil Pressure, John Twist, University Motors.
Oil Pressure Relief, John Twist, University Motors.
Valve Adjustment, John Twist, University Motors.
Vandervell Engine Bearings Specification Chart, Hap Waldrop - Acme Speed Shop

Exhaust System

  Exhaust Manifold Repair, John Twist, University Motors.

Fuel System

  Carburettors Models by Year, Teglerizer.
Carburettor Tuning, John Twist, University Motors.
Choke Cable Repair, John Twist, University Motors.
Dashpot Oil, Moss Motors.
Fuel Tank Cleaning and Protection, Moss Motors.
Gasoline, Moss Motors.
Secrets of the SU Carburettors Part 1 of 2, John Twist, University Motors.
SU Carbs - Understanding, Moss Motors.
SU Fuel Pump 101, Dave DuBois
SU Fuel Pump Specifications, Dave DuBois
SU Throttle Shaft Rebushing, Chicagoland MG Club
Unleaded Gas, Moss Motors.



Ignition System

  Distributor Advance Curves - Lucas, Teglerizer.
Replacing Points, John Twist, University Motors.
Starting MG Without a Key, John Twist, University Motors.
Static Timing, John Twist, University Motors.


  Leather Care, Moss Motors.
Speedometer Repair, Anthony Rhodes
Upholstery Adhesive - Using, Moss Motors.

Interior Climate

  Heater Core Flush, Moss Motors.
Heater Fan - Increase Power, Moss Motors.

Propeller Shaft

  Prop Shaft Reassembly MG Midget and Austin-Healey Sprite by James Reinhard - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Chicagoland MG Club.

Rear Axle





  Frozen Shock, John Twist, University Motors.


  Tire Rotation, Moss Motors.

Tops, Tonneaus, & Covers

  Convertible Top Window Cleaning, Moss Motors.


  Piston Stop and Cam Timing Tool, Jack Austin.


  Hubs Front, How to Properly Adjust Bearings, University Motors, John Twist.
Hub Grease Cap Removal, Moss Motors.
Wire Wheel Care, Moss Motors.
Wire Wheel Grease Cap Removal, Chicagoland MG Club.
Wire Wheels Seized on Hub, Moss Motors.
Wire Wheels, Moss Motors.

Other Technical Article Sources

  " MG Experience Library MG information published on the mgexperience.net website. This link will open a new window.
  " Spridget Guru Information published on the SpridgetGuru.com website. This link will open a new window.