Meet Our Latest Project Car: The Mighty MG Midget

Meet Our Latest Project Car A 1973 MG Midget

by Michael Satterfield - Photos by Lucas Kepner - 03/29/2024

Meet our latest project car, a 1973 MG Midget, which we will be turning into a retro rally-themed vehicle once it gets dropped off at Starr Studios for a custom paint job. We have decided to keep it mostly in its original condition, and we will only be updating a few minor things here and there.

For those of you who don't know, the MG Midget is a small, two-seater sports car that was produced by the British car manufacturer MG (Morris Garages). The MG Midget was first introduced in 1961, and the 1973 model was part of the second generation of the car that got upgrades like roll-up windows and a folding top. The MG Midget would stay in production until 1979, and MG would ultimately leave the US market in 1980.

Meet Our Latest Project Car A 1973 MG Midget

This 1973 MG Midget, which I pulled out of a barn in Oklahoma last year, still has the standard 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine that, when new, produced 65 horsepower and 72 lb-ft of torque. The classic front-engine/rear-wheel drive sports car was only offered with a four-speed manual transmission. However, our car was upgraded to a Datsun five-speed at some point. The car weighs just over 1,700 pounds and has a top speed of 90 miles per hour, which would be ambitious even with the five-speed. 

Something that stands out with the MG Midget is its compact size, in the recent past carmakers could sell us something much, much smaller. The car was just 11 feet long and has a wheelbase of only 80 inches. This means driving an MG Midget feels like you are driving a gokart, especally with the size of vehicles today.

1973 MG Midget

This car was one of those Facebook marketplace finds that turned into a whole deal. The seller claimed it was straight piped, but the exhaust had just rusted off about halfway through; he said it was running and driving, and it would move under its own power, but the brakes were non-existent, and the "extra parts" that he included would almost entirely end up in the trash. But all of this would only be discovered after I had made a 6-hour one-way drive to rural Oklahoma, and the seller wasn't there.  

Instead, I was greeted by perhaps the oldest man in the world, who took me down an alleyway to what looked like an abandoned building. He rolled open the back door, and there was the Midget. The building, at one point, had been a hardware store for the tiny town, and tucked back among several other old cars was the little car. The old man pointed to a canned-ham camper trailer in the back corner of the building and explained to me that he lived there to watch the cars. He also told me about how, in his rodeo days, he was a wild man and that the movie Road House was based on his life as a bouncer in Texas... yeah... 

Meet Our Latest Project Car A 1973 MG Midget

It turns out that the seller is a car flipper who was out picking up more cars to sell. This wasn't a family car that had been passed down as the ad had led me to believe. The car was rougher than the photos showed, was missing parts, and ran, but not well. But the seller wouldn't budge on the price; he had played the part of the grandson selling family heirlooms well enough to get me to drive to the Devil's Plains, and he knew he had me. It was cheap enough that I took it as is. 

After loading it on the trailer, I started the long haul home, hoping to drive the MG in the Distinguished Gentleman's Drive. So, I hauled it directly to Apex Auto Works so Richard and his team could go through it and get it sorted out quickly. While they did get a lot of it sorted, and I racked up several orders with Moss Motors, it needed far more work before it could be used on a long haul down the back roads of Texas. So, while it made an appearance at the event, I would drive an Acura press car that day.

Meet Our Latest Project Car A 1973 MG Midget

We just got the Midget back from Apex Auto Works so we can start driving it and creating more stories about it. This will involve taking it to Sean Starr at Starr Studios for a custom vintage livery paint job; then we will do a few upgrades like a steering wheel, shifter, and new top, and we might track down some hubcaps. 

Be sure to check back for more as we have fun with one of the smallest cars sold in the USA's history. 

Meet Our Latest Project Car A 1973 MG Midget