MG Midget 1500, 1978
MG Midget 1500, year 1978. Colour grey with a beige vinyl interior. This delightful Midget of the last generation was fully restored recently, the car has run only a few kilometres ever since. The car is in superb (excellent+) condition! The bumpers have been deleted and the car was given a bold and sportive look by adding additional driving lamps and black striping. The engine room and the interior are finished beautifully in every detail. The car is fitted with enamelled wire wheels, a chrome luggage rack and a sports steering wheel with leather rim.
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In the year 1961 the MG Midget was presented. The MG Midget was in fact an Austin Healey Sprite MK II with MG details and logo. Both cars were built on the same assembly-line. The MG Midget was available with a 948 cc. four cylinder engine in 1961. Very soon, in 1962, a 1098 cc. engine was introduced. The 1098 cc. Midgets were equipped with disc brakes at front.
In 1964 the MG Midget MK II was introduced. The MK II was a more "luxurious" little sports car fitted with roll-up windows, door handles and locks (!) and improved semi-elliptic springs at the rear. In 1966 the MK III succeeded the MK II. The Midget became a larger, stronger engine; 1275 cc. and 65 bhp. were available now. Also the soft-top construction improved. The top remained on the car when folded and could be folded down easily now. In 1969 the Midget MK III evaluated again (MK III phase 2); the grille changed and the car was up-rated with slicker bumpers. In the year 1971 the sister model Austin Healey Sprite was taken out of production. In 1972 the MG Midget became round rear wheel arches and a larger petrol tank (MK III phase 3). The final MG Midget version, the MK IV, was built between 1974 and 1979. The MK IV was equipped with a 1493 cc., 66 bhp. engine. Also the car was fitted with thick rubber safety bumpers according to US safety regulations.
MG (Morris Garage) was set up by William Morris in the year 1923 to market a more sporty line of Morris models. Morris Production Manager, Cecil Kimber, was transferred from the factory in Cowley to Morris Garages (in Abington) to design MG's using Morris parts. MG production in Abingdon started in the year 1924. At the end of the 1930s, even normal passenger cars were introduced under the MG label.
The business flourished when in 1945, just after World War II, the sporty prewar MG TB and its successor the TC stole the hearts of the American soldiers. Numerous MGs were shipped to America where this type of motorcar was yet unknown.
Demand for the MG sports cars quickly rose in America, and most of the MGs were sold across the big pond in the years that followed. MGs were simple and well-built, affordable and easy to maintain. In 1952, Austin Motor Corporation merged with Morris Motors to form British Motor Corporation Ltd*.
In 1955, the pre-war TB and the post-war TC, TD and TF series with their pre-war designs were followed by the MG A roadster, which also became available as coupes after 1956.
In 1962, the successful MG A was followed by the even more successful and austerely but elegantly lined MG B. This series, too, mainly found its way to America. The MG B was available as roadster and as a 2+2 coupe, called the ‘GT’.
As British Motor* had stopped the production of the Austin Healey, there was again the need for a six-cylinder sports car from this stable, which made the MG C see the light of day in 1967. It was an MG B with a six-cylinder engine. However, this car failed to live up to expectations as its road-holding and character were not of Healey’s caliber. Eventually, Healey’s successor was to come from the newly merged British Leyland* stable in 1968, and was called the Triumph TR6.
In 1973, a V8 variant of the MG B came onto the market: the MGB V8. This model had a powerful Rover 3.5 litre V8 motor and was to be built until 1976.
The MG B roadster and the GT were sold until 1980, and, under pressure from American legislation, were adapted with safety-enhancing and emission-reducing conversions during their last five production years. The resultant thick rubber bumpers and less powerful engines made these cars much less attractive. Meanwhile, Japan produced the Datsun 240 Z, and put an end to the British sports car hegemony in America.
In 1980, it was curtains for MG B. In the years after, some Austins did appear, ‘dressed up’ as MGs but we’d rather forget about them. Finally, in the 1990s, a worthy successor emerged in the form of the MG F, which is available to this day.
In the year 2001 BMW decided to get rid of Rover because they were losing lots of money because the British pound was too expensive as was manufacturing cars in England.
A group of investors bought Rover. They took over the entire model line and were able to work out the last details on the Rover 75 Tourer and market it. Next idea was to give MG a true rebirth; various Rover models were technically re-engineered, tuned and spiced up to make thru drivers cars of them, a sporty line of cars alongside the Rover middle-class luxury line.
Looking at the Rover/ MG cars and reading about them in the press we can tell that we have high expectations of the MG models to appear in the future.
© Marc Vorgers
1968-75: BRITISH LEYLAND MOTOR CORPORATION, LTD
1975-78: BRITISH LEYLAND LIMITED
(in the merger of BRITISH MOTOR HOLDINGS with Austin-Morris and Jaguar interests in 1966)
and LEYLAND MOTOR CORP. LTD.
partly nationalized by the British government in 1975