Austin Healey Sprite & MG Midget Stories
In 1978 I was promoted into a job that required frequent rapid responses - night and day and in any weather. I didn't have room for my B and a new, reliable car, so I decided to sell it and buy a new sedan. When the buyer pulled away in MY MGB my heart sank to the ground and I felt like I was losing my best friend.
He placed it in his garage and kept it covered for 10 yrs. Last summer he decided to finally sell it. It was in Missouri. I was hesitant but bid on it. I ended up being the only bidder.
I purchased this car 14 years ago and restored it. I purchased all my parts with Victoria British. The car belonged to people who lived in the Hamptons in Long Island and used it in the summer.
Just got my baby back from Paint. In the process of putting it back together.
The guy said he had a 1976 MG Midget Special. It’s all original with 53,000 miles. Runs and drives great. The price was reasonable so I called and went after work and without hesitation bought it.
The first time ever I saw a Sprite I fell in love. It was all red, sitting in a showroom at a dealership in Lake Charles, Louisiana. I was in the Air Force stationed at nearby Chennault Air Force Base. The year was 1960. I still have the advertising picture the salesman gave me.
The car was my fathers, but it needed some work. He told me it would be a great project for me so I dove in and tore it apart. After about 5 years and countless hours its finally finished.
I have wanted a little British sports car since I was a teen, and when my mid-life crisis period came around I got the bug again. So, I started looking online and locally, and found a red Triumph Spitfire I liked, at $7000. Unfortunately, my wallet was uncooperative so I continued my quest for something a little cheaper.
When I got this car she was a tired little lump. Oh, I did drive it home, in first gear, utilizing the hand brake and hand signals. Stupid. The brake hoses had holes in them, not that the brakes would have worked anyway.
About 13 years ago, my brother and I pooled our money and paid $600 to push this baby off of a car lot and onto a trailer. We were eager to get it home and begin what would end up being a life-long family project.
I was supposed to have the car completed by my senior year of high school to pass a class. Well I passed the class by saying it was a work in progress still. Now almost 3 years after I have graduated it's finally getting close to being done
I never thought of MGs before as being in my price range. As fate would have it, the owners threw me the keys and said take her for a spin. I took it slow for a bit then stopped at the next stop sign, put it in first, chirp, 2nd gear, chirrrppp… I said to myself, “Wow, she is quite peppy.” I drove her back to the owners and we hammered out the price.
I guess growing up in Northern Ireland had a great influence in my developing a love for high-revving 4 cylinder engines and an MG Midget was always included on my ideal wish-list of cars.
I was over at a friend’s house one night drinking a few micro-brews and decided to head home. Once I got home, the logical thing to do was to get on eBay and start bidding on anything without a top for under $1,000. There are a couple of big problems with this logic
I grew up in Pontiac, Michigan. My father was a GM employee for almost 30 years working at Pontiac Motors. This meant not only was I born a car guy, but I also was all about muscle cars, hot rods and never really took the small British sports car seriously.
The restoration was complete and total. A tub-off/bare metal repaint. Original color of Old English white with red interior/white piping. All systems were replaced or updated. Wiring, brakes, shocks, steering, engine, carbs, transmission, clutch, and interior. The restoration was started in 2008/finished 2010.
Took just about one year to restore my 1965 MG Midget. Found it in town under a cover and had to tow it home. This MG is just like my first car when I was 15 years old back in 1967.
After missing my Sprite for a year, I decided to try to replace it, but that was not going to be an easy task. Almost a year later, I found a 1968 MkIV. It was a midnight blue beauty, with only one owner, who had really taken care of her. He was asking $1,500, so I sold my drum set and Honda motorcycle and bought her.
I purchased this 1960 Bugeye Sprite in 1999 after a long search. After seeing one at a shop I just had to have one. I found it in a junkyard in pretty bad shape, after a few years of hard work I think it looks and runs great.
I bought my 1962 Austin Healey Bugeye as a salvage recovery after the 1997 Red River Valley Flood. It was fully submerged, and the engine, tranny, and rear axle were full of water.
About 3 years ago, I found my Midget in the front yard of a residence in Riverside, CA. It wasn't much to look at, but I fell in love with the little car. I bought it and took it home and that is where the restoration began
My wife Carol and I have been driving this car since 1987 and have driven it nearly 200,000 miles ourselves. It has never been restored, but it has been painted twice since we owned it and has had a couple engine overhauls.
My father bought a 1975 MG Midget car back in the mid ‘80’s. Every one of his children and grandchildren have stated that we loved and wanted the car. For years he would just give us the cocky smile laugh and said, “No.”
I have had and loved this car since 1981. When my husband, Gail, nick-named "Stretch", and I were newly married he had to drive my MG Midget back and forth to work for a week while his car was broken down. The interesting thing about this is that my husband is six foot nine inches tall barefoot. In nice weather we would drive with the top down and he would wear his sunglasses as a personal windshield to keep the wind and bugs out of his eyes as his head was above the windshield. He got a lot of looks and laughs!
Early in 1978, Mr. Bernard Hogan, the chairman of British Motors of Sacramento, noticed we had a “glut” of MG Midgets in stock. Mr. Hogan, wanted to give some extra exposure to these cars in an effort to move them out.
Back in 1999, I was trying to convince my then girlfriend that it would be a good idea to buy a motorcycle. She had no interest in riding on the back, so she urged me to buy a sports car. While visiting my dad in my old hometown, a buddy, to whom I previously sold my MGB, called and told me he knew of a Healey for sale. I decided to check it out.
When we got the car home, my friend Mike and I immediately started to clean out the various animal droppings and generally clean the little red beast. We pulled out the moldy rugs and found several holes in the floor covered by cut up stop signs! As we got farther into it, we realized that I had purchased a thrashed “parts car.”
I got into Bugeyes as a youngster when I rode around in the boot of my dad’s green car. My older brother rode shotgun, so I got to ride on top of the Dunlop Goldseal spare. I was smaller then and seat belt laws were more liberal.
I got the Midget as a project for the family. I used the car to help reconnect with my kids after I retired from the military. It was a great time with the kids learning new things. I also wanted to do something different with the car than from what I had seen before.
About twenty years ago I saw an ad in the local Buy-and-Sell flyer advertising a Bug-Eye sprite, ‘as-is, where is’. I went to the address where a young man introduced himself as Mark. He took me to his back yard, where several ominous lumps lay under tarps.