Among history’s greatest small sports cars, none prove quite as enduring as the perky MG Midget. First sparkling to life in 1961, various generations spanned a remarkable 39-year production run as MG’s accessible entry-level model below more lavish marques like the MGB. But don’t mistake overt cuteness fooling you – this diminutive runabout surprised rivals through joyful agility belying its compact size and price.
The Midget name itself clues towards its identity. Imagine squeezing a jovial lightweight British roadster powered by a free-revving engine into a car scarcely larger than a Fiat. Then grant profoundly communicative reflexes conveying every pebble through its thin-rimmed steering wheel onto eagerly gripping tires. Suddenly, humble MG’s affordable darling transforms country lanes into personal racetracks urging cheeky tail-out power slides around each corner exit.
In this gleeful nuanced formula lay the Midget’s enduring success recipe spanning three generations over 31 years. Let’s discover what granted this mighty mite such enormous character securing its place among history’s greatest driver’s cars still today.
Pure Retro Charm + Modern(ish) Tech
Introduced for 1961, the first-generation Midget employed an existing engine and chassis combination from parent company BMC serving Morris and Austin-Healey microcars since the mid-50s. This provided MG designers an ideal lightweight rear-drive platform shortening overall length under 12 feet while retaining familiar mechanics around the rough-and-tumble 948cc inline 4-cylinder pumping out 46 horsepower through a 4-speed transmission.
Augmenting its eager disposition, front disc brakes, independent suspension and rack-and-pinion steering brought modern(for 1961…) capability encouraging enthusiastic road mannerisms even grand touring MGBs struggled matching.
Over three rampant generations spanning 1961-1979, MG subsequently enlarged motivation ranging between 60-80 horsepower providing progressive performance gains suiting the times while retaining an evergreen fun factor. Even in smog-choked 1970s tune, a1500lb Midget scooted to 60mph in under 12 seconds – not bad considering Lotus Elises weighed the same 40 years later!
Quintessential Open Top Thrills
But straight line speed hardly summarized this car’s appeals. Running costs measured in smiles per miles mattered most keeping owners returning through three decades.
The Midget delivered quintessential wind-in-hair thrills harking back towards England’s lost golden roadster era while magically resisting progress. Virtues like featherweight tossability, sharp hydraulic steering feel and that raspy engine note perpetually chasing redline perfectly distilled traditional British sports car qualities into modern relevance.
No vehicle better encaptured playful friskiness bringing infectious enjoyment through constraints by imaginative thinking. Whether ratcheting its manual canvas top or flinging around hairpins, the perky Midget encouraged embracing life’s simple pleasures.
MG Midget Enduring Popularity Spanning Generations
Unsurprisingly, the lovable Midget attracted enthusiastic followings as epitomizing accessible British sports car joys. Strong production numbers ensured plentiful supply on secondary markets at attractive values too, propagating popularity despite notoriously rust-prone British steel.
This reputation for corrosion kept restoration shops gainfully employed reviving countless Midgets from scrapyard fates. The fortunate result decades later means healthy supplies continue providing open road happiness.
Given charming throwback personality and lithe dynamics belying its micro size, the long-running MG Midget established itself among Britain’s defining sports car set. As an exuberant escape promising carefree unwinding against modern pressures to conform, the cheerful two-seater continues spreading grins-per-mile long after production ended in 1979.
Through ups and downs, the spirited Midget persevered forever encapsulating traditional MG character mating momentum with merriment. Come rediscover why Winston Churchill once fittingly surmised no better remedy combats melancholy than an open roadster waiting to transport troubles away. This decades-young British drop top stands ready for that duty today.