Condo Conundrum: 1974 MG Midget – SOLD!

by | Oct 2022 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Sports Car Saturday

(To stop the slideshow and expand the pictures, click on the current photograph below)

October 29, 2022, Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

October 10, 2022 Update – We just confirmed the seller lowered their asking price from $7,700 to $6,900.

Early 1974 proved the last time MG produced chrome bumper Midgets before switching to the black urethane rubber design to meet U.S. safety standards. This blue over butterscotch vinyl 1974 MG Midget, originally listed in October 2022 on Craigslist in Manchester, Connecticut (Hartford), appears to be one of the last to come out of the Abington factory with the desirable chrome bumpers. The seller notes several replaced parts with receipts from their ownership dating back to 2018. They also report that a planned move to a Condo motivates this car’s sale.

Currently offered for $6,900 (the original ask was $7,700), Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is slightly below the one-year rolling average of this guide’s summary for similar 1974 MkIII Midgets.  By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can navigate to each comparable car sold as a way to help you evaluate the price of the Midget featured here:

As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #3 “Good” estimate of $5,900 and its #2 “Very Good” appraisal of $9,000.

The Mk I through Mk III versions of the Midget were 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. The 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. The 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 engine grew to 1275 cc using the development seen on the Mini-Cooper ‘S’. Enthusiasts were disappointed that this was a detuned version of the 76 bhp (57 kW) at 5800 rpm Cooper ‘S’ engine, giving only 65 hp (48 kW) at 6000 rpm and 72 lb⋅ft (98 N⋅m) at 3000 rpm. A reduced compression ratio of 8.8:1 was used instead of the 9.75:1 employed on the Cooper S engine. The Midget used the 12G940 cylinder head casting that was common to other BMC 1300 cars, whereas the Cooper ‘S’ had a special head with not only larger inlet but also larger exhaust valves; however, these exhaust valves caused many ‘S’ heads to fail through cracking between the valve seats. The detuned engine was used for model range placement – with the Cooper ‘S’ spec engine, the Midget could have been faster than the more expensive MGB. The hydraulic system gained a separate master cylinder for the clutch. The hood was permanently attached to the car, with an improved mechanism making it much easier to use.

In late 1967 (1968 model year), US-spec cars received several safety additions: a padded fascia (dashboard) with smaller main gauges, collapsible steering column, scissor-type hood hinges, a third windshield wiper, additional side marker lights, and anti-burst door latches. In Dec 1968, beginning s/n 66236, engineers reduced the rear axle gear ratio from 4.22:1 to 3.90:1, giving 16.5 mph for every 1000 rpm. This increased final drive ratio gave better fuel economy.

Minor facelift changes were made to the body trim in late 1969 (1970 model year), with the sills painted black, a revised recessed black grille, and squared-off taillights as on the MGB. The 13-inch Rubery Owen “Rostyle” wheels were standardized, but wire-spoked ones remained an option. Both are fitted with either 520X13 Crossply tires or 145HR13 Pirelli Cinturato CA67. These revised cars were initially presented with matte black-painted windscreen surrounds, but this proved very unpopular. After only a few hundred had been built, the Midget reverted to the original brushed alloy.

In August 1971, the compression ratio on North American engines was reduced to 8.0:1. Engine power output fell to 54.5 bhp (40.6 kW) at 5500 rpm and 67 lb-ft (91 N⋅m) at 3250 rpm.  The square-shaped rear wheel arches became rounded in January 1972. Also this year, a Triumph steering rack was fitted, giving a gearing that was somewhat lower than earlier Midgets. A second exhaust silencer was also added in 1972. Alternators were fitted instead of generators from 1973 onwards.  Seven months into the 1974 model year, oversized rubber bumper blocks, nicknamed “Sabrinas” after the well-endowed British actress, were added to the chrome bumpers to meet the first US bumper impact regulations.  Many consider the round-arch Midgets with chrome bumpers produced for model years 1972-1974 to be the most desirable. These round-arch cars started leaving the Abingdon factory in late 1971. Between 1966 and the 1969 facelift, 22,415 were made, and a further 77,831 up to 1974.

The Andy’s MG Adventures YouTube Channel features this buyer’s guide of what to look for when considering the purchase of an MG Midget:

The seller’s description, combined with the excellent pictures, hints that this 1974 MG Midget MkIII is a well-sorted, driver-quality example you can enjoy for the balance of the fall.  Our only question is about using different fabrics for the seat bottoms versus the backs. The bottoms appear to be cloth, which makes sense for a convertible in top-down weather, but the mismatch may disappoint some.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Beautiful metal bumper MG Midget with only 74k miles. Everyone has a memory in one of these cars, if you don’t then that’s a sign to buy! I’ve recently decided to sell this car as I am moving to a condo and cannot store it. This car has lots of new parts that have been replaced by myself and the former owner. All receipts of work done have been kept since 2018. Some of the recent work includes:

 

– Brakes, tires, and clutch
– Fuel pump and fuel filter
– Various gaskets
– Distributor
– Control arms
– Recently-cleaned carburetors
– Horn
– Working locks
– All electronics work (except fan and cigarette lighter)
– New carpeting
– New convertible cover
and so much more!!

This car is ready to drive or to take to one of the many car shows in the region. You’re sure to get a few thumbs up along the way.

Willing to answer any questions; just please don’t message me if you’re not a serious buyer. The listing price is fair and consistent with the car’s condition, but I’m open to reasonable offers.  $7700 OBO”

Show or go: What would you do with this restored 1974 MG Midget?  Please comment below and let us know!

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