A Quick History of the MG Midget

A Quick History of the MG Midget

TGR Staff - 10/05/2021

The MG Midget is an iconic British sports car that has become a favorite of collectors and enthusiasts around the world. Originally introduced in 1961, it was designed as a more affordable alternative to the Austin Healey Sprite which was launched in 1958. The MG Midget was for many young people around the world their first sports car, my mother drove a Midget, my in-laws had one as newlyweds, and even today it is a popular classic car loved by many. 

A Quick History of the MG Midget

It has now been over 50 years since the MG Midget shook up the sportscar world! Here are some interesting facts about the MG Midget's history: 

  • The MKI had a 948 cc engine, which was increased to 1098cc in 1963 and again raised to 1275cc in 1965. In 1974 the 1500cc engine would be introduced, but due to smog regulations, it produced about the same 65 horsepower as the 1275cc powerplant.  
  • A car with the 948 cc engine was tested by The Motor, a British automotive magazine, in 1962 where it was reported to have a top speed of 87.9 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 18.3 seconds. The little car also achieved an impressive 40.2 MPG, important in the post-Suez Crisis world. 
  • The square-shaped rear wheel arches became rounded in January 1972, but in 1974 the rear wheel arches were squared off again due to crash regulations in the US.
  • A total of 236,089 MG Midget cars were sold between 1961 and 1979.
  • The Austin Healey Sprite was nearly identical in every way to the MG Midget from 1961 until the end of Sprite production in 1971. Because of this both cars are often called "Spridgets." 
  • Spridgets recorded class wins at Sebring with drivers including Stirling Moss, Bruce McLaren, and even Steve McQueen.
  • An Italian version called the Innocenti Spyder and Innocenti C coupĂ© was sold from 1961-1970 restyled by Ghia.
  • While the production cars were all convertibles, MG racing driver and garage owner Dick Jacobs persuaded Abingdon to build a pair of special lightweight Midget Coupes with a GT body shape inspired by the Aston Martin DB4. The roof used the front part of the standard Midget hardtop, while the rear portion and the windshield were customs items. 
  •  In 2014, an MG Midget broke its own Bonneville land speed record after 22 years, with a verified top speed of 122.539 mph for the I/GT class.
  • Between 1961 and 1980 a total of 236,089 MGs were built. 

A Quick History of the MG Midget

Today the MG Midget is still popular with classic car restorers and vintage racers mainly due to the wide availability of parts and low cost of ownership. Restoring or racing an MG Midget is an affordable way to get into the classic car hobby.