Thursday, July 14, 2011

About our car - What is it??

This 1978 MG Midget has gone through a bit of evolution, especially since I have owned it.
It began it's life in November of 1977 in England, was imported to the USA as a 1978 model year 1500 MG Midget. It was brown with a gold pin stripe down each side.
The bottom area of both sides was painted black.
This model came with big heavy black Rubber Bumpers, a Triumph 1500 motor and 4 speed transmission. Standard equipment for this year included a 3.7 rear differential.

This is what it would have looked like from the factory

It didn't look that nice when I bought it.
There was a hole in the hood due to the installation of a Nissan 1500 motor donated from a 1980 Datsun 210. I removed the rubber bumpers and put a teardrop bubble over the hole in the hood.

I bought a 5 speed Datsun 210 transmission from a guy on Craigslist, he told me "it's in great shape, no problems!
(Do you know that some Craigslist sellers lie??) :-)
After installing it I found it had NO 4th gear at all and everything in the box sounded very grumbly. 
My friend and great source of everything Spridgety - Bill Masquelier helped me pull the motor back out and put the old 4 speed back in.
Bill rebuilt the 5 speed and then at one of our meetings of the Northwest Spridget Handymen In Transit (that's NOSHIT) several of us put the 5 speed back in.

Peter tightening up a bolt fastening the clutch to the flywheel

We fitted a pair of British HIF4 carburetors to the side of the engine, along with the cylinder head from the Datsun A14 motor, this head has larger valve openings as well as larger intake ports - suited for the dual 1.5 inch carbs! I think they make the motor look "right" in the car.

Next due to an unfortunate accident - the car was hit while it was parked - I started looking for something new to make the Midget look better and a bit more unique. Bill M. came to the rescue once again, he had a front "bonnet" from a Bugeye Sprite in his garage that he offered.
We had to cut off the front of the car with a torch in order to fit the new bonnet, and then the tinkering really began.

One of the problem areas in a Rubber Bumper car after the bumpers are removed is under the tail lights, instead of the graceful curvature of the body line that the earlier cars had these cars simply had that area cut off and flattened to make room for the bumper.
I decided to try and fabricate the parts needed to 'fill' those areas with fiberglass. I had some experience with fiberglass many years ago so I dived right in.
Carriage Bolts fastened with epoxy
Then they were attached to the back of the car and the bondo process began!
Finally after sanding and painting, they looked pretty good!
Then with a lot more sanding, some more green spray and then finally the clear coat applied and the chrome pieces fitted, the car as it is today:


  1. Wow! Is this the same car I saw at the Triple X Drive-In show at the end of May? What a transformation. Your blog is so interesting and well written. I can't wait to read the next chapter. The experiences dad and son share on this trip will be with you both forever! Safety Fast! Bev

  2. Yes, one and the same car. FYI it was painted using Dupli-Color rattle cans and a lot of sandpaper.
    If you have some attention to detail, some good weather and a lot of rattle cans you can get good results!

  3. Rickk, very interesting! Looking forward to meeting you in WI. Kathy and I are on the way from Georgia also, along with another couple. We are also attempting a blog for the first time ( Look for us at the "Big Party"!! Jack Orkin