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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Tuning 1500 engine

I intend to buy a midget having had two in my youth. The 1500 seems to be the most affordable but can the engine be tuned to get a little more power from it. Are there any publications/web sites that could help? I'm not too keen on replacing the engine with a K series.
Many thanks
K Montgomery

I had a 1500 from which I removed the incredibly heavy bumpers and fitted a free flowing exhaust (MGB back box) and it went like a bomb.

It is a very long stroke engine so has bags of low and midrange torque but as a result doesn't like to rev to much so swapping cams and porting the head is not such an easy route to follow if you want a long term reliable unit.

Ben Brown

On my 1500 I had a maniflow exhaustmanifold, twin SU's, K&N airfilters, removed bumpers, lowered and ford 5 speed.
Avery nice and smooth machine it became with enough torque and because of the 5 speed no rev problems.

Arie de Best

Hi Arie

What happened next?!

Anthony Cutler

Hunger for more power/speed, you must have heard of that virus Ant? :)
Arie de Best

Hi Arie. Your vehicle profile says you have a 1800cc engine. Which one and how esy was it to replace the 1500. Also, which Ford box did you use and how easy was it to mate with the 1500/1800 engine?
K Montgomery

The 5 speed is a Ford Type 9 for which I bought a kit(adapterplate between gearbox and belhousing and stuff) to fit to the 1500.

The 1500 was great but as Ant asked: What happened next?
A standard 1.8 Rover K-series.
Bought a kit(belhousing and stuff) for that too so now the ford box fits the rover motor.
I dint do the conversion myself but had Frontline do it for me.

Ant knew the awnser as he suplied me the K-engine. :)
Its all his fault. ;)

From 57 bhp to 160 bhp, 190Nm torque and a much ligther engine...
I know its evil but the flesh is so weak! LOL!

Arie de Best

Hi Keith

You are lucky that we have something of a 1500 tuning expert on this BBS hopefully Deborah will be along before long! My 1500 was tuned sometime ago has about 90bhp at the wheels and goes very nicely, or did when last on the road :(

There is a K-series Midget for sale somewhere on the board check out the 16 valve modified section.

Good luck Carl

C Bintcliffe

57bhp on a 1500 is a load of rubbish! You should have got it properly set up :)

You CAN do the k-series conversion on a 1500 body, and, in many ways, it is an easier conversion - however, don't forget that you will have to declare the increase to the tax-man and pay more tax!!!!

You can get 110bhp without too many major trials and tribulations if bhp is the only thing you're looking for - have a look at some of the Triumph forums and information. Whatever you want to do has almost certainly been done 101 times before - so, you can read about it and decide if it's worthwhile doing.

You haven't said anything about the current set-up, so it is rather difficult to say anything about how to improve it for you ......

The Ford type 9 gearbox is fairly easy to set up in either 1500/k-series, but has the most bizarre location, you'd be better looking at a toyota box - also this requires alot less cutting and banging of the transmission tunnel. The other alternative that is much easier to fit - albeit almost impossible now to source - is the datsun gearbox.

Depending where you are in Staffs, get in touch with John (green-mx) and he'll likely have a suitable car coming along in a minute - plus he's got a konversion on a different engine, so you might be able to see it and see if you actually liked it - especially as you said you didn't want to do the conversion! He's in Tamworth.

The final - or first!!!! - thing to think about is what do YOU want to do with YOUR car?!

my 1.4 K is 110 HP ish and no more tax. If you don't want a K then don't go for a ride in one, or it'll be the beginning of the end :)

sounds like an early onset of the virus that some of us have quite bad... :)
Rob Armstrong

Hi Keith,

as Rachel mentions above, I'm in tamworth and you are welcome to come over for a chat about these cars, and a look at the 2 cars that I have on the road at the minute.

Drop me an email on the address above,


John Collins

Thanks very much for all your help so far. A lot for me to think about. I haven't actually bought a Midget yet- probably early next year. Thanks for the offer, John, of coming to Tamworth for a chat. I live in Leek so not far away.
K Montgomery

Hi Carl
what sort of spec is your 1500 tuned to.
gary knowles

Hi Karl,

There's a good lot of information on tuning the Triumph 1500 engine in Moss's Midget catalogue. Well worth a look.


The 1500 is really not a bad engine, spend the same money to build a hot 1500 that you would to build a hot 1275/1380 & it's really no contest.

Actually the stock 1500 outperforms the stock 1275 to begin with ( read the review of the 1500):

Visit any Triumph forum & you'll find they don't think the 1300/1500 is a boat anchor!

But if you really want to make an engine swap, check this one out, it's my all time favorite!

It just seems SO RIGHT!

Dave ;)
Dave Rhine ('78 1500)

More good stuff here:
Richard Reeves

This thread was discussed between 12/10/2010 and 17/10/2010

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