Bargain Bug Eye: 1961 MG Bug Eye Midget – SOLD!

Apr 2020 | Classifinds, Sports Car Saturday

Avid Sports Car Saturday readers will note we’ve had several Bug Eye Sprites featured over the past several months. We’re not sure why we’re seeing so many right now, but not only does this latest example happens to be tied for the least expensive one thus far, its also the only MG version we’ve featured to date.  Here’s the thing:  we’re pretty sure MG didn’t make a Mk 1 version of the Sprite, so please correct us if we’re wrong on this.  That said, there are several other modifications in place that have us wondering whether the 1961 example listed recently on Craigslist in Howell, New Jersey has served track duty for either the current or prior owner.  Researching the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller’s price falls somewhere between the #3 “Good” appraisal of $8,600 and the #4 “Fair” (Daily Driver) estimate of $4,800.  

The Sprite quickly became affectionately known as the “frogeye” in the UK and the “bugeye” in the US, because its headlights were prominently mounted on top of the bonnet, inboard of the front wings. The car’s designers had intended that the headlights could be retracted, with the lenses facing skyward when not in use; a similar arrangement was used many years later on the Porsche 928. But cost-cutting by BMC led to the flip-up mechanism being deleted, therefore the headlights were simply fixed in a permanently upright position, giving the car its most distinctive feature. This gave the car its appeal as a result of its much loved cute appearance. The body was styled by Gerry Coker, with subsequent alterations by Les Ireland following Coker’s emigration to the US in 1957. The car’s distinctive frontal styling bore a strong resemblance to the defunct American 1951 Crosley Super Sport.

Between the roll bar, front grill slats, custom wood dash, and competition style fuel filler among a number of other modifications, this is not the Bug Eye to buy if you are looking to Concours a stock example in your local British car show.  No, this is a driver quality example that likely has some sort of engine- and perhaps transmission upgrade is hidden under the bonnet that the seller neglected to mention in their post.  If you’re looking to have a tiny fun car that will put a smile on your face every time you take it out, give the seller a call to see if this example is what you’re looking for.  Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s very brief description:

“1961 red mg midget bug eye 83,322 odometer ready to ride in good shape

Do you have a Bug Eye or Midget story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!

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