“The lowest-priced, authentic sports car on the market.” That’s the tag line MG used to promote its entry level sports car through much of its production run. Produced in four generations from 1961 through 1980, the Midget was a small, fun, lightweight, entry-level, two-seat sports car that is a great example of how to feel fast while going slow doing it.
The Mk I through Mk III versions of the Midget were essentially slightly more expensive badge engineered versions of the Austin Healey Sprite. The Mk III version featured here entered production in 1966 with three notable enhancements over the prior version. First was a detuned version (providing only 65 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 72 pound-feet of torque at 3000 rpm) of the 1275cc four cylinder found in the Mini Cooper S. While the detune disappointed enthusiasts, British Leyland feared the more powerful engine would cannibalize sales from MG’s larger and more profitable MGB. Second was a change from a removable convertible top to a permanently attached version that was much easier to use and featured a vinyl cover when folded. Third was the introduction of separate hydraulic master cylinders for the brake and clutch systems, an early sign of safety enhancements that would debut in later models.
The Tartan Red over Black leather 1966 example presented here also features the very desirable optional wire wheels. The seller states that while the odometer reads just under 11,000 miles he believes that this car likely traveled that as well as another 100,000. Over the last three years, the seller completely went through the car including a brand new Tartan Red paint job, a refreshed interior, and a vast array of parts too numerous to list here. While the car features a new transmission, no mention is made whether the engine has ever been rebuilt. The engine does feature a more reliable Weber carburetor.
The seller states that by completing a few more detail items this car will likely win more trophies and based on the pictures provided we have no reason to doubt that. Our research indicates that MK IIIs debuted in late 1966 as ’67 models, however this car clearly has the newer version’s upgrades even though it is titled as a ’66 version. Perhaps there is an interesting story on why that is so?