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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - How, where, why do you drive your midget!

OK so perhaps an odd title...
I have a 1275 midget that I rebuilt from a basket case that I should probably have left to revert to its component elements.. I rebuilt it over 1000 hours with little or no money having never driven a midget before...
Have spent the last 3 years driving it.. and have to say it does give me smiles every time i set out.. The steering wheel in the chest driving position.. peppy engine... tail wagging handling... huge fun..
I drive mine on local B roads and lanes when I feel down.. always makes me feel better..

I also have a Triumph TR6 (supercharged)... I know... not an MG but I am not brand loyal.. It is a long range loper of a car. Which I drive on 500, 1000, and even 2000 mile weekend treks..

Horses for courses.. how do you drive your midget ?

Cheers
Tim
T Dafforn

My restoration story is much like yours Tim. No money, no knowledge and never driven one. It was a relief from sitting in an office all day.

Now complete my car is my "racing car". I go everywhere at full speed! Ha ha.

Likewise, it makes me happy to go out in it. Although I love thinking about the mechanical stuff and engineering too.

Cheers,
Malc.
Malcolm Le Chevalier

It became my art project and still is, I spent a gag to much and can't ever sell it

But I drive it as much as possible and like you will race it on the back farm roads late at night so as not to be a danger to anyone else

I do LOVE to drive it, but I'm a builder 1st and formost... and that's the true source of my enjoyment, wrench time


Prop
1 Paper

Quickly
Public roads (all types)
Because itís my only serviceable motor

I smile a lot, have headlights on (anti cloaking device), Meet interested people (in petrol stations), And distract myself from work while fixing it. As itís my day car I have to fix it so is a complete mind changing distraction.

Luverly :-)
Dave Squire

I concur with Dave S re anticloaking device! My Midget is GN29..ie the same colour as narrow country lanes in the shadow...seriously thinking of flying a flag from the screen rubber to alert drivers of my presence "down here" !
David Cox

David, not just country roads that are a problem. I find roundabouts an issue especially with todays moderns where the top of our windscreens doesnt come to the bottom of their windows and they just dont appear to look that low down. I have nearly been taken out many times and have had to take evasive action.

Trev
T Mason

And forgot the TDD (top down driving) warm coats and hats in winter. I like it dry but otherwise OK most times unless tired.
Dave Squire

TDD mandatory, ain't it?
David Cox

I try and avoid long distances on the major motorways. The speed limit is 100 k/ph (64 mph)but no one does that and more than once have almost been over run by someone not realizing I am small because I am and not further down the road.

The back roads at 70/80 k/ph (45/50 mph) are perfect. Quite a few long straight stretches and driving down the escarpment and valleys, lots of winding roads. You feel like you are going really fast but not really, just closer to the ground makes it feel that way.

Love the top down and the looks Arthur gets. More than once he has been called, gasp, an MGB. What an insult, but he takes it with a smile. Drive a Midget and you'll know the difference.

If a car can be described as perfect and bags of fun, then the Midget is it!

Cheers,
Clare

Clare Ravenwood

My Frog is a daily driver (when it's running - currently has a dizzy issue but that's another story). Around town to the store and other errands with occasional longer drives on winding roads.

Definitely a conversation starter at petrol stations and parking lots. I've been asked "What year is your Italian car?", "Is that a Karmann Ghia?" or "Is that a Triumph?" with the occasional "What year is your Sprite?"

One of the highlights of driving down the road is when someone in a Porsche or a Corvette looks over and gives you a thumbs up. Makes all of the little problems worth while ;-)
Martin

I have owned my Frogeye 49 years. I take it all over Europe touring.
It has been as far as Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia.
For pleasure it has been around every major and many minor Grand Prix circuits on organised tours.
My Sebring rep is also used for touring latterly on Continental tours that I organise for the car club (www.masckent.org).
I have been privileged to lap the Ferrari test track at Fiorano as well as some major car and tyre manufacturers testing facilities.
Last years Alpine Miglia Tour that I organised in conjunction with Spridget CH is currently nominated for the National Car Clubs awards. Both also get used for events and tours nearer to home.
Alan
Alan Anstead

If I'm going 'there' it is usually in my car

If my car is poorly I have to use my wife's car but Lara is favourite

This month she took me to Bishop's Stortford one weekend then the following one we visited Huddersfield

Next week?
Next month?

who knows?

June will be Poole Cherbourg Le Mans Bagnolles Dieppe Newhaven Home in the Midlands

And???

If I'm going 'there' it will be the Midget
Bill sdgpM

Also really like the narrowness of the midget.
Makes it even better in the narrow lanes.
Only thing I dont like is the low gearing which makes it a pain running with modern traffic on motorways.. but hey, thats probably why I have the TR6..
Cheers
Tim
T Dafforn

For 18 years I used my 1500 Midget and then my 1275 Sprite as my daily work car. This meant travelling on the Lake District roads, through the valleys and mountain passes pretty well every day throughout the year. And then followed a few years with daily commutes of 60 and 35 miles each way, clocking up the annual miles. Now I am retired the car gets much less frequent use but I still manage to get out and about on what I think are some of the best Spritely roads in the country! But I also get just as much enjoyment, if not more, from fettling and fixing as from driving.
GuyW

I learned right out of the box, you drive it like a motor cycle and with all the associated pleasantries

The reason I love the midget is you have to actually drive the car, unlike a modern where your a glorified passenger in the driver's seat

But I've always felt that I need to be responsible for my own safety in the car and look out for other peolppeople cuz there not going to see you

And with that I never allow my self to become angry or road raggy if they cut me off or almost run over me... I just smile and wave, even tho they are at fault... if that becomes an issue to me, then im I'm driving the wrong car, time to drive a land sled

I just think if your going to drive something odd then expect odd moments


1 Paper

Im always getting corrected at the gas station by those under 40.

I say it's an MG Midget... and they come back and say " you mean GM? " haha... to which I respond yeah sure why not....haha

One let pive I have, but never express about the midget.

I like to be left alone at the gas station and about time when I drive the car.... crazy I know but I don't like to stand out, I love the car for what it means to me, and I don't mind if people look it over, but really I like to be left alone when I drive it, which is wrong to a point

But the reason I love the car so much is it's an extension of me, if I was a car, it would be this car, there in no end that becomes a beginning with the car... I am the car, and because I'm a ghost in the machine kind of guy already I want the car to express that as well.

Hard to say if that makes any scence... I guess I just never needed anyone's approval to do what I enjoy so I don't need or seek out anyone acceptance of me and my car

Accept me great, hate me fine.... i dont really care
1 Paper

Prop, you don't drive a Midget, you wear it!

Clive
Clare Ravenwood

Guy when I come up your way in May I'll drop off my Midget to you with a list of jobs that need doing and feel free to sort any I've missed. You'll be following on from the work of specialist experts and professional mechanics so it all should be easy going.

I'll take your 1275 Sprite and test the brake and CB points adjustments for you and you can get a second lot of enjoyment from fettling and fixing it on its return. :)
Nigel Atkins

Tim,
I've got five gears on my Midget so not worried about motorway driving but I've always fancied a TR6, however having had a GT6 with (smaller) separate chassis and transverse rear suspension I found compared to a Spridget the GT6 the body, chassis and suspension felt separate to each other. How do you find the TR6 compared with a Midget, would you say like the B it's more of a tourer to the Midget's sports?
Nigel Atkins

Nigel. If you are coming to the Lakes in May. if you would like to pop round, I will show you how to fit the rear wheel cly clips, without swearing. I only live round the corner from Guy.
Andy Tilney

Hi Andy,
I remember your offer, thank you, and have thought before about racing you with two of the bigger E-clips and me using the tool.

TBH my post was a wind-up, I can imagine Guy hiding behind the lace curtains having hid his cars away or making sure he's away from home that day, far away. :)

We're coming up on Friday 11th May on a Bears weekend tour stopping over at fellow member Paul Bonsall's Fat Lamb, Ravenstonedale. We never make tight arrangements for the day to allow for finding a pub stop and road delays on any part of the journey and we sometimes travel up with friends. But who knows nearer the time we might be able to arrange a meet up and demonstration. My wife might go into one of her "sad" phases and identify Spridgets parts for me.

Paul gave the manager(s) at the Fat Lamb a nice, white, 1275 to use all year round, he has a big Healey and souped-up Jag Mk2, I keep threatening to bring my spanners and get some bits off it as it's a lot more original than mine.
Nigel Atkins

Nigel, I'll try and remember the date. The Fat Lamb is a nice trip out for us from York.

In answer to the original question, I drive mine whenever I can. Road, track, hillclimb. Started 11 years ago and have doubled the power and halved the 0-60. It's waiting for a free day to be woken up and run out this year.

It's also a project and I end up thinking up lots of little things to do to it, so it's never really finished...
Rob Armstrong

Hi Rob,
it'd be great to see you but I don't want to mislead you, the tour is with the Sporting Bears which is a multi-marque group of classics and moderns, humble to supercars.

The tour is based at, and starts Sat & Sun from, the Fat Lamb but despite us going on the tours since 2006, with a couple of years missed for various reasons, the tour had almost sold out before we could book and we're in the over-spill king's Head in the village.

Second year we were on the tour Paul wanted to join the run in his big Healey but didn't have a navigator available so it was suggested he follow us, we had a 1982 Capri 2.0S then, as I didn't know the roads and how he drove I kept to 50mph. After the lunch break he followed someone else. Next time I went as his navigator and although he didn't know the route he knew the roads and it wasn't often we went below 50mph!

I'll put a thread up nearer the time and see if we can sort something for the Friday.

Cheers, Nigel
Nigel Atkins

Owned the Frogeye since 1976. used to use it as a daily driver and also for competitions when I was younger. Including Brighton Speed trials and various sprints and autotests before buying a modsports frogeye.(Sold in the late 80's) Restored the frog in 2009, I use it for touring a, bit like Alan (Though not as extensive). Been To Angouleme a couple of times, Through Northern Spain over the Picos de Europas, Southern Ireland and Scotland last year for daughters wedding using wedding cars tunbridge wells. This year touring Switzerland and Northern Italy. It still has a 4 speed box but a 3.9 diff helps, Going to try a 3.7 to see how it goes and plan a trip to Dorset in the spring as a shakedown.
Bob Beaumont

Nigel,
there is definitely a difference between he feel of separate chassis and monocoque.. I have had both a Sptifire and midget and the midget seems more one piece.. The TR6 I have has a new chassis and feels very solid. It is a heavy car but has real umph and is very long legged. Shortens long distance runs. (We are doing the round Britan run later in the year in the TR6, 2000 miles in 48 hours.
Was thinking of a 5 speed conversion for the midget, but REALLY like the shift in the ribcase box.. How does thee 5-speed shift feel in comparison..
Cheers
Tim
T Dafforn

Tim,
thanks for your reply, it confirms my thoughts that I'd be better to hire one for a long distance tour perhaps or just to get it out of my system, one day perhaps.

The Ford type 9 I have and another I've tried are not as as sweet shift as a Spridget box (in good condition). I've added a quickshift lever, ignus spherical bearing and better saddle which are a big improvement over the sloppy standard Ford lever but still not as nice as a Spridget change. The standard Ford lever has the damping rubber bush so does prevent the 3,500 rpm tizzing on the q/s lever.

I had a Mk2 MX-5 and the shift on that (much shorter throw, well flick really) reminded me of the sweetness of my previous Spridget shift.

1st gear on the standard type 9 is very short, useful on hill or mountain starts less good round town but at least it has synchro. I do use 5th gear quite a bit, it is useful (I prefer it over o/d).

2,000 miles in 48hrs, well done, not for me though. I once did a charity and HRCR promotion, four short rallies in one day with the likes of Paddy Hopkirk (really nice chap) doing the route notes and one of the check-in points was in a pub before opening time, not my type of club activity!

Nigel Atkins

Thanks for the info on the 5 speed. Will think but my gearbox was recently rebuilt by ah spares and is very sweet.
Have done the RBRR twice and although quite a challenge is ace. Driving old sports cars through the mountains of Scotland or central Wales at night is very memorable.

One thing that confuses me about mg clubs is that they don't seem to do similar regularity rallies. The midget would be fab four a day regularity.
Cheers
Tim
T Dafforn

I drive my sprite purely for fun, and mostly on short runs in between tinkering. I ennjoy spannering and often end up looking for things to fix!
At less than 11 inches from bottom of door to road its not that practical but it handles and looks superb (IMO)
I have an overdrive TR4 for longer distances, but its no where near as good to drive, the Sprite is light and zippy, you cant hurry the TR




S G Macfarlane

"My restoration story is much like yours Tim. No money, no knowledge and never driven one. It was a relief from sitting in an office all day."

Me too, I'm still at the early stages having owned my 1500 for 3 months. I have had the engine running but not driven it yet. I'm currently finishing off some welding (floor pans and inner sill), and have the front suspension apart...

It feels like a long journey ahead before any driving!
C MADGE

SG, Snap, same colour.. slightly different front end though..

T Dafforn

Tim,
most (not all) MG club members hardly use their Spridgets (and Bs) so wouldn't want to stress their cars or themselves to much more than a sunny Sunday's bimble or local car show - and if that's their choice that's fine for them.

Also these regularity runs do tend to be a little formal and sports/competitive orientated so perhaps a bit off putting to those without the sporting/competitive interest (and necessary extra equipment?) even the runs that are supposed to be informal and introductory like the one I referred to before.

Nigel Atkins

Nigel,
That's an interesting comment. I have to say that I notice some car types seem to get more active use. We go to Classic Le Mans, Spa etc and see a lot of TVRs, TRs and Morgans but few MGs.. which is a shame..
Regarding the regularities, I know what you mean. We did our first proper one this year in the TR6. We were in the novice class (hence we were given an annotated map) while the pro's only had instructions and a blank map.. but as with anything it depends how you approach it.. we had fun and did 300 miles of back road driving around Essex with the top down (the only ones to drive sans top).. and although we had the map we were still beaten by a fair number of the pros.. but we had a blast!
Only downer was that we blew a head gasket and a heater pipe on the way home and once home the accelerator pedal snapped!
Triumph build quality perhaps :-)
Cheers
Tim
T Dafforn

Outrageous plug alert.
If you fancy a mildly competitive event around 2oth August, come and do the Cotswold Economy Drive, based in Evesham. About 120 miles of lanes in and around the Cotswolds with superb lunch halt and post event tea. Easy to follow tulip road book and a fantastic range of cars from Spridgets to Ferraris. Many of the crews return year after year.
Clive Berry

As for the main question, with my original car it was everyday, everywhere, like I nicked it!
Then I grew up. Now it is when I can, at the weekend. Come the summer it will be a little more often. In the future it might be back to rallying.
Clive Berry

$$$ a fantastic range of cars from Spridgets to Ferraris.$$$

You do know that vintage Ferraris and midgets share the same Smith instrument gauges ?

Sounds like a great time, I wish I could go... if anything just for the tea ... and to rub in what a great idea enzo had to copy British engineering for his gauges

Prop
1 Paper

Prop,
they might be modern Ferraris.
Nigel Atkins

A regular competitor brings either his Daytona or his 275 GTB. We also have a couple of genuine 911 Carreras. In contrast, MGB's, Morgans, A35s and even a Land Crab. Pushing classic credibility slightly, last summer my son did the event on L plates in his 1994 8000 mile Nissan Micra.



Clive Berry

Driven enthusiastically, more so if I know the road, always with the top down, around Deeside in Aberdeenshire - but not now. A little too cool. Most of the roads are simply excellent Midget territory in summer - especially the mountain routes.

2.0 Zetec version nearly sorted, so that will be out and about scaring the motorbikes - especially the Germans on tour on their BMWs....
Oggers

Colin,
sounds good.. where do I sign up!
Cheers
Tim
T Dafforn

This thread was discussed between 22/02/2018 and 28/02/2018

MG Midget and Sprite Technical index

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