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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - dilemma

I have recently landed a job in shetland, currently living in london but changing family situation etc make london less desirable and this opportunity came up, relocation package etc and we're moving there in october!

I have a 1500 s reg. . . Not pristine by any sense but I'm very very fond of it and ive been all over Britain and frequent trips to Europe. . .

Car is frequently a daily driver in my job, driving around n.w london. . . I have had many adventures in this car including driving my missus to the maternity ward for our 2 yr old daughter's birth!

. . . I need a car for my new job in shetland. Would need to do up to 40 miles a day on shetland . . . Do I keep the midget?, I'd have to drive it to aberdeen and get on a ferry to shetland with it. . . And then ask it to be my work car! Is it going to dissolve with rust in shetland climate? I reckon it would love the colder climate, it certainly doesn't like the heat!

If I sell it. . . I will probably get a 10 yr old renault clio for the money I might get! and that just breaks my heart!

What do I do?

Any advice welcome!
d j kirk

take it with you - IIRC it won't be alone, there are/were others up there.
David Smith

Take it with you
You could loose it either way
1. Sell it and it's definitely lost forever
2. Keep it and if due to the climate you do start to loose it you can repair it, after all that's part of the fun.

Besides that it would be good to take it for all those new adventures you are going to have. (Maybe fit a better heater)
Good luck in your new job/ home/ life

Dave Pratt

Keep it. If you sell it you'll always regret it. I know I would if I sold my Frog. They become part of the family. Plus, you'll now have a new place to enjoy it.
Martin Washington

It's a keeper no matter what. I had to store my 1971 for several years while working overseas. It has been my daily again for the last 15 years. It was well worth the storage expense. The 71 has 270,000 miles on it, original paint and runs better than ever.
Glenn Mallory

Keep it ... BUT buy a daily when you get there

The spridget is not costing you much, gas oil insurance could be a daily for the be fearful of any 40 year old car covering 10-12,000 miles a year, unless you just had to

As to rusting out... a little imgination and some elbow work, and I bet you can counter that dilima

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Not a car for a daily driver on Shetland for sure. The weather is er.. interesting at the best of times, a blinking nightmare at worst. The roads are dire, and should you break down, mobile signal is not the best. Although locals are very community minded and thus very helpful, it could be a long walk for rescue. Have been stranded there several times when the choppers don't fly for us, and I can assure you it is pretty bleak on occasion.

Personally, unless you are very good with the spanners, and unless the car is mechanically very sound, I would buy something cheap, modern and reliable and that can be fixed easily on Shetland - thus something diesel, something with large parts availability, and something that can cope with the winter - Golf/Polo/Focus spring to mind. Land Rover only for farmers and bearded folk who get a perverse kick from spending hours under the bonnet, and Clio... er no. It's French, will fall apart, and no-one in Shetland will touch it.

As regards selling it - I would be inclined to do so, as by default, it would become a Sunday car. Unless you wish to totally restore, you could start form a better place when funds allow.

What is the job by the by...Oil related?

Mark O

My Sprite has been my daily driver in Cumbria for over 20 years, but on the occasions that I do go south to the "Home Counties" I am always surprised at how benign and gentle the climate is by comparison. And Cumbria is only 1/5th of the distance north of London compared to Shetland. Yes there would be many days on Shetland that you wished you were driving your Midget, but probably more when you would be really pleased that you weren't! Short winter days, non stop wind, salty rain and roads that will really test your suspension and low exhaust system!

Unless the car itself has some really unique value to you put it into e-bay storage for someone else to look after.
Guy Weller

I think a Midget would be a nightmare as a daily driver in Shetland - perhaps bearable with a hard-top. Though I now spend more time in London, I have a second-hand Subaru as a daily driver which is great for the Devon winters that can be bleak on Dartmoor even if mild compared to Shetland. But service and spares availability are probably the deciding factors for Shetland. If there's a Subaru agent, I'd go for one but, then, I'm a fan. If I could afford it, I'd keep the Midget for those sunny island days and there'll be all those winter evenings for restoration and maintenance tasks.
Nick Nakorn

As others have said, keep it and get a daily for the bad (most) days.

I'm sure it can be bleak on some (most) days but it can also be fantastic any day of the year.

Best of....


PS. I'm sure Malcolm will take you for a beer before you get on the ferry in Aberdeen and I'll sort you one at the Forth Road bridge on the way past ;)
M McAndrew

I guess this thread just about sums up my thought processes. Heart versus head! !
Mark O. . . No not oil related (I wish. . . That's where the money is) I work in the nhs!

In the end Its going to boil down to money. . . If I can afford a car without selling the mg and I can get a house with a garage/workshop where I can store/restore it that would be me living the dream!!

d j kirk

Of coarse if your young say pre 30,

a midget in winter might just be the ticket, a lot of spinning, donut and sliding thur turns kind of fun to and from work. after all you still think you will live forever, you will belive your the best ice road racer of all time and are just crafty enough to figure out how many of the neighbors dogs it will take to pull the car out of a snow bank or ditch without anyone knowing.

At 50, with old cold artritic bones getting in and out of midgets on snow and ice , isnt what it once was

So thers that to consider

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Like many people on here I'm the summer I keep thinking this is great and it would be cool to drive an MG all year round.
Realistically even with a heater that's working well, compared to even a basic modern car the MG in bad weather just feels, well dangerous to me.
No ABS, poor wipers at best, no rear window heating or clearing and frozen washers. Note also, that Shetland is very far north and winter nights are very would need upgraded lighting.
Anyway enough of the reality of MG winter driving, on good days Shetland is beautiful you'll fall in love with the place....the further north you go the slower the pace of life ( except Aberdeen )....!!!
M F L Sherrit

You should buy Practical Classics this month, Kirk (I assume you're called Kirk, and you've got a night job as a DJ).

The boys head off to Shetland in a Rover P6, to attend a pretty posh-looking classic car show there.

PS:- not sure about the DJ-ing opportunities on Shetland. May be slim pickings.
Nick and Cherry Scoop


Oil is indeed where the money is - becoming more so on Shetland - so much so, some of them want Independence from Scotland! Would advise purchase of modern car down South - cheaper and far less likely to be shot underneath - and then drive up.

If you can afford to keep the Midget then fine, but personally I would get rid and start again from a better place when room/funds/time allow. Midgets are not exactly rare...
Mark O

In the early 90s my Midget was my daily driver In Durham. Not really "north" in the scheme here and yet I could see it rusting before my eyes as it was kept in the street and used In that awful salty,slushy muck that we seem to specialise in. As a student I would spend 2 months in Durham....then 1 month back home welding it between odd jobs to get it back for another 2 months.

If you did take it.....hardtop is a must...and so is a garage to keep it dry/starting. I actually found the midget better in the snow than super fat tyred/front heavy moderns.BUT If your job depends on travel/commute then I'm afraid I'd suggest its just not viable. Even with the current (excellent) parts availability for a midget you'd still be looking at 48hrs at the very best for even the most basic of parts?

(And I have crystal clear recollections of not being able to touch the chrome handbrake first thing in the morning it was so cold. And one day I snapped a seat reclining handle in subzero temps)
Dean Smith ('73 RWA)

This thread was discussed between 15/08/2014 and 18/08/2014

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