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MG MGB Technical - Midget/Sprite for everyday use???

waxoylingif anyone could give me a bit of expert advice about MG/Austin Healey Sprites? My wife and I currently own regular Euro boxes and hers is perhaps nearing it's time for replacement (lots of expensive work due). With fuel, tax, servicing and running costs so high these days, I am really keen on replacing it with either an MG or Austin Healey Sprite and letting her have my Volvo S60 T5 with all the trimmings.

I was considering a boring new or nearly new small car for cheap tax and fuel costs (I'm really getting fed up with giving the government all my money) but this would of course would have a higher initial outlay. I then picked up a couple of classic car mags lying around at work and now have the urge!!! I am now looking at a tax exempt car with reasonable fuel costs that is relatively cheap to run but much, much more interesting and so thought of the Sprite. I would also like to learn to service the car as much as possible myself (complete novice but really keen to learn). I absolutely love the Sprites and they would give me the wind on the baldness option! As a complete novice I would like to start with a car that is in pretty good nick, what sort of prices am I looking at for good, solid examples (not concourse)?
I hope to have
L Capeling

L-
Yes, the Spridget can be a good Daily Driver, but I'd recommend an MGB instead as it is actually cheaper on parts and a more capable machine. It's also easier to work on. That having been said, I can relate to the Spridget owner's love for his car. However, be prepared to devote both time and money to learning how to take care of it and for the purchase of the necessary tools. Paying someone else to do the work is expensive and will quickly eliminate the economy factor of the car.
Stephen Strange

You should post this on the midget & Sprite General board of this web site. My own opinion, based on having owned both MGB, MGB GT and Midget, is that your choice depends on how far your daily journey is and how much motorway type driving you do.

On motorways and over long journeys, the MGB is superior. It is more comfortable and with overdrive is sufficiently high geared. A Spridget on motorways is screaming its head off at 70 mph.

On minor roads, and on trips of up to about 50 miles, the Spridget is MUCH more fun. It is so light and chuckable, and although it isn't fast, it feels fast and corners beautifully. In comparison an MGB is like a lorry, with heavy steering and a rolling body.

The other factor to be considered is fuel economy. A Spridget can give you 35 - 40 mpg all day long. Many MGB owners rarely see 30 mpg.

All old cars need more maintenance than a modern car, so factor that in. Buy the very best car you can afford. If you have to compromise, a good body is the thing to go for. Mechanical repairs are easier and cheaper. Yes, soft tops of this age can drip a little round the edges, but the car shouldn't be wet inside.
Mike Howlett

If you are a reasonble DIY person, buy yourself a Haynes workshop manual first, and decide what level of tasks you can do. Remember you will need tools that go with a classic; A/F spanners, grease gun, feeler gauge, a trolley jack, axle stands, and ramps.

There are not many jobs I would trust to a local garage: braking system perhaps,

There is plenty of support.

The parts are reasonable.

Get someone who owns a MG to show you a few pointers on basic jobs before you buy.
c cummins

L-
I have had Austin Sprites as daily drivers a couple of times (and also a Spitfire but I don't talk about that here!). They do leak. My last one let water in round the wiper arm bushes. They are fun cars and can be economical if set up correctly. My last one I fitted with a 1 3/4 HIF carb which gave good economy. They can be awkward to get in and out of, one of the reasons I moved over to an MGB. As has already been said get one with good bodywork and make sure it is well protected underneath. You will find you will need to spend more time on a classic than a modern car (I barely touch my MX5) so factor this into your weeks activities.
Steve Church

I wouldn't have said that Spridget parts are more expensive than MGB parts.
Dave O'Neill 2

Another consideration should be your size and or flexibility. A Midget or Sprite does not have a lot of room and entry and exit requires body movements some people cannot perform.

If you live in an area where it rains frequently you should consider a detachable hardtop if you are considering a roadster. Early Midgets, Sprites and MGA's do not have roll up windows. Side curtains are definitely not water-tight and difficult to see through.

Overall if you are looking for a versatile MG the MGBGT should be a consideration. It has sporting flair and style, is easy to get into and out of, no problems in rain or snow and can luggage or groceries in its very large hatchback area. With overdrive it can cruise at 80 MPH (if legal) and not get blasted by the wind, you can even hear the radio and it is even possible to carry small children on its miniature rear seat.

Lee
LS Sheldon

This thread was discussed on 29/01/2011

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