Stop dreaming and start driving! C&SC tests the classics you can buy. Click here for the full listing – and see below for our expert’s conclusion.
This Midget had a Downton ‘Touring’ engine conversion from new – which cost a third again on top of the list price. The bill remains with the car, along with photos of the restoration around a new Heritage shell that was only completed in 2014, with around 500 miles covered since.
The body is almost like new. There’s no rust or rot, and the paint is all good, with gloss black inside the wheelarches. The wheels are newish Minators with almost unworn Champiro radials, though the original rather aged Minilites come with it.
The hood’s not as new as the rest of the car, but is in good shape. The seats, wearing later-style head restraints, have been re-covered in leather, which is slightly loose and baggy, and the paint to the instrument panel isn’t the greatest.
The throttle pedal has been modified for easier heel-and-toeing, and there’s a cassette deck in an aftermarket centre console. The motor is tidy, and was rebuilt during the car’s restoration, using a slightly milder Kent 285 cam than Downton fitted.
The bill lists an oil cooler along with a front anti-roll bar, both still in place, plus an allowance for the original SU carbs, which were replaced by a Weber 45DCOE.
It wears an unusual, equal-triple-branch exhaust manifold rather than the expected long centre branch. The fluids are all the right colours and levels. Firing with a throaty roar from the big-bore tailpipe, the Midget remains tractable. It makes around 20bhp over standard, but the big difference is that the lightened and balanced engine wants to rev, remaining smooth up to 6500rpm.
There’s a little extra noise from the straight-cut gearbox, only noticeable at walking pace, and the shifts are all good, with no tendency to pop out of second.
The suspension is notably tauter than standard, with uprated lever-arm dampers on the front and telescopics at the rear. The MG’s steering is pin-sharp, the brakes work okay, and the oil pressure is the 60psi at 3000rpm of a healthy A-series, with the temperature remaining in the cold half of the gauge.
OUR EXPERT’S SUMMARY
EXTERIOR This Midget wears decent paint on a new bodyshell
INTERIOR Seats have been retrimmed
MECHANICALS All rebuilt
SHOULD I BUY IT?
Although you could buy a very nice MGB for the same amount of money, you’d struggle to build it again for the price – it truly is a little cracker
For It really is fabulous to drive
Against The round-arch style may not suit everyone
MG Midget Mk3 factfile
- Year 1971
- Recorded mileage 46,912
- Asking price £19,450
- Vendor Mike Authers Classics, near Abingdon, Oxfordshire; tel: 07703 465224
When it was new
- Price £1382.86
- Max power 65bhp
- Max torque 72lb ft
- 0-60mph 12 secs
- Top speed 95mph
- Mpg 29.3