This is not the first awful British car I have ever owned; I once had an awful Triumph TR7 Fixed Head Coupe that tried to kill me twice. You’d think after that experience that I would have learned a lesson (any lesson) and steered clear of these loathsome automobiles built by awful men who prefer warm beer.
The sad fact is, I didn’t learn my lesson. I bought this dumb mid-1970s MG Midget anyway, and even worse than that I’ve fallen in love with it. Without doubt, this is the worst car I’ve ever owned. Driving this MG feels like piloting a farming implement. I imagine this is a familiar experience to the flyboys who came home from their Spitfire experience. Perhaps more dangerous.
A couple of extraordinarily nice guys from Minnesota bought this Midget and ran it in the West Coast Lemons Rally this year. They ran this poor machine ragged as they hauled ass across the US to join the start of the rally in Monterey, CA last August. They then participated in the rally. About half way through the event, just after Seattle, they had a bit of a fender bender with a modern Dodge Dart.
The damage to the car was mostly cosmetic, but the radiator was beyond repair. Long story short, they bodged a repair together and got the car back to the finish line in Monterey. They did not want to drive the car back to Minnesota, and I don’t blame them. It seemed like a good idea to offer to buy the car from them. They said they’d just put a new carburetor on the car - one of those box-store generic Webers, but it worked - and if I bought the carb, I could have the rest of what it was attached to. My wallet $300 lighter, I added a four-speed big-block (1275cc) MG to my stable.
Once I got the car home from Monterey, a good six-hour drive, I took stock of what needed to be replaced or removed. The original hood was pitched in Washington, but both fenders were bashed, and the replacement radiator of unknown origin is ratchet strapped to the front of the car. Which is not ideal. The floors are rotten with rust, thanks to a Minnesota upbringing. There is no piece of this car that is isn’t janky.
Because I’m largely an idiot, I’ve always held the ideal British roadster doesn’t have a windshield. So I removed it. As well as the fenders, passenger seat, door windows, and what remained of the canvas top.
Now that the back story has been established, what should I do with this heap? Do I strip it down further and build a homebrew fiberglass sports racer shell for it? It’s definitely not worth a full restoration, but should I throw a used set of front bodywork on, weld in new floors, and take it on a long-haul road trip? Would you put a roll cage in it and take it to the track? Cut my losses and part it out?