Lightweight and Low-Slung – 1976 MG Midget 1500 On Auction Now

Sold – $4,350 (Plus Fees)

When the first MG Midget came to markets in England, it was done to keep MG enthusiasts from switching over to Austin-Healey’s Sprite. This option provided MG buyers with an entry-level alternative to the higher priced MGA. Although it was mostly the same car as the Sprite, the Midget’s marketing and trim upgrades did their job, and the Midget nicely slotted itself between the two vehicles. Overall, though, the Midget’s design was basically similar to all other English roadsters at the time anyway. It touted lightweight design, a removable cloth roof, well-balanced suspension, and ample power. Americans especially came to endear the simple charms of the sometimes quirky roadsters for the affordable fun they provided. Since American manufacturers offered no real competition against them, MG continued to support the market with Midget upgrades well into the 1970s. Coming out today on our auction block we have a prime example from the final generation of Midgets manufactured.

Arriving in California during the 1980s from its initial sales point in New Jersey, this 1976 MG Midget is a well-preserved piece of history. Still maintained by the original owner, the Midget was driven mainly during the 1980s and well into the late-1990s before being placed into storage. As such, it retains all of its factory-supplied books and accessories. In preparation for this sale, the owner authorized a small amount of restorative work to be done. This effort includes a new set of Travel Star tires at all four corners, dark tan interior carpeting, a brand-new fuel pump, and a replacement set of front brake hoses with fresh brake fluid. During this operation, the Zenith-Stromberg 150 CD4 carburetor was cleaned and adjusted, and the fuel tank was cleaned of rust, debris, and drained of old fuel.

Outside, the exterior of the Midget is still true to its original factory-specifications for meeting the United States market’s federal regulations. The large front and rear rubber bumpers required for compliance with impact regulations have some nicks and scuffs but are relatively in good condition. The front bumper also still retains its yellow reflector lenses.  Additionally, during this final generation, MG elected to re-enstate squared-off rear wheel-wells for increased structural rigidity and the suspension height was higher due to these mandated minimums. To compensate for the now higher center-of-gravity, MG resorted to installing anti-sway bars in the front and rear.

Overall, the body is finished in Brooklands Green with black lower side moldings that are trimmed with chrome. A chrome ‘Midget’ model badge appears as a  just behind the front wheel-wells and the original front and rear MG badging is still present. Some chips and marks are apparent throughout the paint and to the rear of the back wheels are some spots of sandblasting and oxidization. US-market front and rear chrome-seated side markers are still original and bright.

As aforementioned, new tires were recently mounted to the original Rostyle wheels that do have some oxidization spots. A luggage rack has been installed on the boot and is finished in chrome, which nicely compliments the chrome trim, factory side mirrors, and front windshield frame. The Brooklands Green body is pleasantly accented by a light tan cloth convertible top that has three plastic windows without much wear or fading. A black vinyl tonneau cover that can be split apart to shelter only half of the interior is provided along with the purchase. As with the convertible top, the tonneau cover buttons to fasteners on the body and all of them are functional and hold well.

The cabin of the Midget is an exciting place to be in at speed. With its low beltline and squat stature, the perception of speed is greatly magnified making you feel directly infused with the machine and the road. The dark tan vinyl seats are original to the car, and both are in good condition. Each chair allows for adjustments fore and aft, and the backrest is adjustable and can fold down to provide access to the small parcel area behind them. The door panels are covered in a seat-matching dark tan vinyl that shows no tears but some wear. Each offers hand-crank window controls, and the original door pulls.

In fair condition and used for controlling the car is the original black plastic factory steering wheel that has a central MG badge and three silver metal spokes. Mounted to the steering column is the turn signal stalk, which has an intermittent fault, and the windshield wiper control lever. Behind the wheel, embedded into the black vinyl dashboard (no cracks present) are four Smiths instrument gauges. All gauges (a speedometer, fuel gauge, and fluid temperature gauge) are white numbered and the tachometer sports an orange to red colored 6000rpm redline marker to complete the ensemble. The seller informs us that there are currently 52,000 miles registered on the odometer after the 100,000-mile rollover.

Additionally, the fuel level gauge does not correctly read below the quarter tank peg, and the water temperature gauge is not functional. However, the client has installed an auxiliary water temperature gauge below the dashboard so it can still be monitored. Also worth noting, the original ashtray was removed but will be provided, and the factory radio is currently installed but requires the installation of speakers to function.

The 1976 model year for the Midget was a generational shift and with that came an update to the motor. The A-series inline-four engine that had served in every Midget since 1961 was replaced with a 1493cc inline-four Standard SC motor previously used in the Triumph Spitfire. Sadly, power is rated at around 50 horsepower due to the single Zenith-Stromberg carburetor and parasitic emissions gears. However, the new motor was torquier, and with the new four-speed synchromesh manual gearbox altered from the Morris Marina acceleration was improved over previous models. This Midget comes complete with its original, numbers-matching Standard SC motor and factory air box. The carburetor, as mentioned earlier, was recently cleaned and adjusted. All power is sent to the rear wheels through the original four-speed transmission.

As of right now, this all-original Midget is currently on auction with no reserve. Complete with the factory tool kit, original spare wheel, car jack, and the vinyl storage bag. Finding another MG with everything provided new in 1976 would be a challenge. Plus, the owner possesses the original window sticker, dealer service card, FM radio guide, and two vintage service handbooks (one Haynes and one Clymer). Both tops and a clean California title are also assured – happy bidding!

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