Rip Van Midget: 1971 MG Midget Mk III Project – Sold?

Aug 2020 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Sports Car Saturday

September 18th Update – While updating our Sports Car database we confirmed the listing for this MG expired.  With no updated ad found, we’re marking this Midget sold.

Like Washington Irving’s fictional character, the private seller of this 1971 MG Midget Mk III kisted recently on Craigslist in Fair Haven, New Jersey indicates their car has been sleeping in storage for the past twenty years. While it appears to be straight and clean, you’ll need to hire a flatbed to get this project car back to your garage.  A review of the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the current caretaker has their priced $1,200 higher than the #3 “Good” estimate of $4,300.  We’re sorry, but a non-running car, no matter how complete, automatically starts the counter-bidding at the Hagerty #4 “Fair” condition value of $2,200.

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 sad reality is MG Midgets remain budget, entry-level sport cars.  While this car appears complete and is a nice chrome bumper, pre-smog equipment laden example, after such a long sleep it will take a lot to get this car road worthy. At a minimum, you will need to flush out the fuel system, rebuild the entire brake system, and fit a new set of tires once you have the car hauled back to your garage.  We’re also concerned about the mismatch of the shiny exterior paint to the faded interior door tops;  that may be indication this car has been repainted once so be on the lookout for body repairs and other rust if that is the case.  For these reasons, we would strongly encourage anyone to walk away if they cannot get this Midget for $2,000 as there are just too many competing examples for similar money you can drive home.  Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1971 MG midget for sale. Has been garage kept for 20 years and has not been run during that time. Transmission is good but may need rebuild. Picture is of actual car. Spoke wheels. Cherry red. Beautiful fun project car. Will need to be towed. Cash only. Clear title.

Do you have an MG Midget story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!


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