Midget's, the early days . . .
in the 1920's, the M-Type Midget had been developed from the baby Morris
Minor. The result was a basic, cheap, fun two-seater, with sporting pretensions
which triggered a whole dynasty of Midgets. It was the Midget series which
had established MG as a manufacturer of sports cars with an excellent
reputation in motor sport. Post war, the MG TC (Midget) resurrected Midgets
appeal to sporting car enthusiasts and racers alike.
MG M-Type Midget & MG TC Midget
Mk I (GAN 1) 1961-62
The MG Midget Mk l
was first released as a badge engineered Austin Healey Sprite in June
1961. Essentially the Midget was a Mk II Sprite de luxe with improved
interior trim; better-detailed instruments, side waistline and bonnet
moulding trim strips, a vertical slat grille and different badges. Mechanically
the 948ce engine was improved from previous Sprite models to produce 46.5
1962 saw significant improvement made to the Midget Mk I with the introduction
of front disc brakes and an increase of engine size to 1098cc producing
55bhp. A total of 25,681 Mk I Midget were produced between 1961 and 1964.
Mk II (GAN 3) 1964-66
The Midget Mk II was
released in March 1964, a number of improvements were evident as the cars
were now fitted with wind up windows and exterior door handles. An upgraded
dashboard, instrument and control layout was introduced. A new windscreen
and a new style hood for added comfort, but a heater was still optional.
The engine size, still
1098cc, remained but was substantially improved as the earlier version
suffered from crankshaft rigidity problems. Enlarged main bearings diameter,
an improved cylinder head and a different exhaust system saw an improvement
in performance. The production of the Mk II Midget ran from 1964 to 1966
which saw a total of 26,601 come off the assembly line.
Mk III (GAN 4) 1966-69,
Square rear arch (GAN 5) 1969-71,
Round rear arch (GAN 5) 1971-74.
October 1966 saw the
introduction of the Midget Mk III, which saw an increase in engine capacity
to 1275cc and an output of 65 BHP. This engine was the same as that being
fitted to the Mini Cooper S. The Midget was still being produced as a
badge engineered Austin Healey Sprite until 1971 when the production of
the Austin Healey Sprite ceased.
The Mk III Midget
continued in production through to 1974, during this time there were a
number of cosmetic changes made, these included a rounded rear wheel arch
from 1971 to 1974 an updated black grille and a two part rear bumper bar.
A total of 100,246 Mk III Midgets were produced between 1966 and 1974.
Midget 1500 (GAN 6) 1974-79
This model was the
last of the "Mighty Midgets" to be produced. As the United States
was the major recipient of Midgets it was vital that the stringent safety
and emission control regulations were given a high priority. By 1974 British
Leyland had to make major revisions to the Midget if it was to continue
in production. The "A" series engine had reached the end of
its economic development as the need for unleaded petrol and the use of
catalytic converters was on the horizon. To meet this need BL decided
to equip the Midget with the Triumph Spitfire 1493cc engine, which was
far more suited to the new regulations without too much loss of performance.
MG purists were aghast,
but without these changes the Midget would not have survived beyond 1974.
To meet low speed impact regulations, large energy absorbing bumpers were
fitted, earning the car the nickname of the "rubber bumper"
From 1961 to 1974
a total of 224,817 of this wonderful little classic car were produced
and marketed to all corners of the world.
Today the Midget is
seen as a very desirable and affordable classic sports car to own and
in 1962 the MG 1100 became the first small MG sports saloon, the start
of a line of front wheel drive MG saloons that would continue (albeit
with a break in between) until the late 1980's, in some ways the MG 1100
could also be seen as the Grandparent to today's front wheel drive "Hot
1100 used the usual BMC 1100 bodyshell, this time featuring an enlarged
MG grille which dwarfed the front grilles on all other 1100 saloons !.
Mechanically the MG 1100 used the same set-up as the rest of the range,
it did however share the twin carbs and three branch manifold with its
sporting sister model, the Riley (1100) Kestrel. The twin carb MG 1100
produced a sprightly 55bhp, enough power to turn this small car into an
entertaining sports saloon.
1100 became a MkII briefly from 1967-1968, it was also rather confusingly
available with a single carb 1295cc engine for a short period in 1967.
Production of the MG 1100 MkII finished in 1968, being superseded by the
Last in the sporting
MG small saloon series (until the arrival of the MG Metro in the early
1980's), the MG 1300 arrived in 1967. Originally the MG 1300 came with
the single carb, 58bhp version of the A-Series engine, although from 1968
a twin carb version was used. The twin carb, 1295cc engine gave excellent
performance and gave the car a much welcomed sporting feel.
The MG 1300 received
the same MkII modifications as the rest of the range in 1968 and also
benefited from an improved interior which included an attractive burr-walnut
dashboard. The MG 1300 remained popular throughout the late 60's and early
70's and remained in production until the 1300 range was finally deleted