Calvin Cartano's 1973 MG Midget
I'm Calvin Cartano and this is my 1973 MG Midget Story.
I bought my '73 Midget on Father's Day (Sunday, June 16) of 2013. In the time that I have owned the car, there has been many of the standard “MG problems”. I've replaced the Brake Master Cylinder, the Clutch Master Cylinder, the Slave cylinder, clutch lines, disc brakes, brake pads, wipers, carbs, flat tires, and I have the front bearings but yet to put them in. The previous owner put in a custom wood dash which is made out of oak, and the shift knob is original but is taken down to the wood, and polished so it matches the whole car. My plan is to make a wooden steering wheel for it one day so it looks very classic.
Like any MG I will always fix one thing and then another will break. All my car guru friends thought I was insane to buy a MG. They said it would break down all the time and would never run. I, of course, thought it would be different. I was sure that this car would run like a champ, forever. I was partially correct. It has its days where it will barely start, if at all, and then the next day it’ll act like nothing was wrong. I constantly have to tune the car, play with the carbs to make sure it can still run strong, but as a college student it is a challenge. Some weeks I won’t fix it because “it runs today, ill fix it when it stops running.” Nothing major has ever broken on the car though, its solid, almost no rust on the body. The paint is a BMW Blue, and has three lines coming down the where the drive seat is, and in the paint is etched “Midget.” I have only had to be towed once in the car, and the rest of the times, I've been lucky and I could do a quick fix on the side of the road and get it home. I drive it everyday to school and back. I've had the accelerator pedal fall off while driving, the accelerator cable snapped while driving, when I fixed the clutch cylinders, the clutch would work for about a week and then I would have to constantly pump the clutch to get some fluid through so I could just put it into first gear.
I always say that this car will either kill me or make a really good winter driver. After a couple rainy days, my windshield wipers stopped working. Like the wipers would not move. My heater fan stopped working, and so did my stereo. To this day they still don’t work, but I continued to drive my car in the rain even without working wipers. One night I was coming back from the movies and it was very dark out, raining decently hard. No wipers, of course. All I could do was hope I was in my lane and I drove a couple miles home. The street lamps made it impossible to see out the window. I barely made it home alive that night, and was one of the only times I was scared to drive my car.
As every MG owner knows, the car weighs literally nothing. With skinny tires, you will hydroplane on everything, and everywhere. I have started to get good at drifting the car around corners and letting the tail kick out when there is some rain on the ground. Out of the ‘California Winter season’ I only ended up spinning out twice, both when no one was around me luckily, but one of the times I made a complete 180 while going around a corner. To me that was the most fun thing Ive ever done, my mother, didn’t think the same.
But every time my car breaks down and I cannot drive it, I hate it to death, but whenever I get it fixed, the first ride down the street always puts a smile on my face that I cannot get rid of. I ended up calling my car Lil Richard, mainly because of the joke that Big trucks are “compensating for something” and since my car is so small, its the opposite. I knew it was a ‘he’ the first second I got it. Supposedly my car was owned by someone on the Toyota formula one team, but I don’t know how true that is or who it was, That is just what I was told.
One of my favorite parts about the car is that everyone takes another look at it. People cat-call to me while I drive through the gas station or parking lot.
I have no preference what photo you use, or story, pick your favorite. I can take some different ones if you’d like, just ask.