Daniel & Sue Donahue's 1965 MG Midget MK II & 1974 MG Midget MK IV
In early June, 1991, my wife, Sue, expressed an interest in purchasing a “sporty little car” that she could drive in the summer here in Wisconsin. I spotted an ad in the classified section of our local newspaper for a 1974 MG Midget, “excellent condition”, 41,000 original miles, asking $3,500 and a phone number. I recorded the phone number and set it aside.
About ten days later, I called about the car and discovered that it was still available. We took the 1965 Midget (of which we are the original owners, having picked it up in London, England in August 1965) for a ride and stopped by to see the 1974. I gave it a quick “look see”, my wife did not get out of the 1965 and we left.
Six weeks later we were at a British Car Show and I casually mentioned that I saw what I thought to be the same car for sale to several of my friends. At this point they were in the midst of “restoring” Their MGs and wanted company. My 1965 was still 97% original with slightly more than 39,000 miles on the clock. Misery wanted company! After the show, we went to one of our friend’s houses and I looked up the classified ad in their paper. I called the phone number and was told that it was a non-working number. The paper had listed the wrong number. I remembered the location of the seller’s home and we drove over.
The seller was a single woman who had inherited this car from her deceased boyfriend. The car looked the same, but the right front tire was flat and it was not driveable. The woman agreed to have the tire repaired, and would call me. The following night one of my “buddies” called and insisted that I call and test drive the car. Sue, my wife, and I went over, met the woman again, and took the car for a test drive to my buddy’s house.
The car ran fairly well, the body was rust-free (it had been Zeibarted), the tires were good, the top was new, but half of the gauges did not function, and there were extra wires scattered throughout the car. Various “mechanics” had decided to improve on the Lucas electrics. In addition, it needed a thorough cleaning and a great amount of detailing. Upon returning to the seller’s home, she and my wife had a lengthy discussion about kids, homes, jobs, etc. Call it “female-bonding”. Eventually, they agreed upon a price and we had a deal.
We picked up the car two nights later and I set upon teaching my wife how to drive a stick-shift car. After two or three nights, she opted to continue to drive the Buick Park Avenue and Cadillac Coupe de Ville. She likes fully-loaded cars!
That winter and following spring I set about to detail the little car, re-wire it to factory-spec, install new carpeting, etc. In August, 1992, we drove the car to a major car show and at the awards banquet I was shocked when they announced that it took first place in its class. Since then, it has done very well, and we shall keep it, as we promised to the lady who sold it to us. It is the “Beloved Stepchild.”
P.S. We purchased it on August 19, 1991 – 26 years to the day that I picked up our 1965 MG Midget. I guess it was meant to be.