Austin Healey Sprite & MG Midget Stories
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.
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.
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.”
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.
As luck would have it, a very nice Bugeye turned up in Vinita, OK about the time I started looking and we were easily able to buy it. (Real meaning, there was nothing that would have kept us from doing so notwithstanding a complete earth meltdown.)
My father gave me this car when he could have given it to any of my other 7 brothers. After I brought it to Florida, some kids broke out the passenger window and no glass company could help me.
Since restoring my 1972 MG Midget it became a regular event starting last summer for me to pick up my now almost five year old granddaughter on Sundays and go for a drive. When I first got the car she pointed out "it just my size"!
In May of 2003 I lost my wife of 34 years to cancer. We had fought that disease for almost 2 years. Shortly thereafter I decided that I needed something to fill the void left in me. In July 2003 I acquired a ‘basket case’ 1960 Austin Healey Sprite. I had owned a 1965 Sprite before we were married and gave it up only when our second daughter arrived in July of 1970.
This happened years ago when my daughter was approximately 3 years old. She loved to ride in our Bugeye Sprite and anytime I cranked it up, she knew she could get me to take her with me. One day it came time to put all new tires on it and I took it to a local dealer. Of course, my daughter just had to go with me.
First owner decided to brighten up the original color, but I guess was not impressed that the '73 Midget was the only year to sport Black Tulip. I bought it from the 2nd owner, who took good care of her and kept the mileage down.
It was a hot West Texas summer day in April when my wife, son and I were headed to a birthday party for my 3 nephews and son (All of which born around the same time) The boys were turning 1, 2, 3 and 4 so you know this was going to make for an exciting day.
1967 Austin Healey Sprite IV. Square body version. Finished restoration of engine bay. Car had been stored for a number of years prior to my ownership requiring complete rewiring, new rubber, new gaskets, complete tune up. Car is a 2+ condition.
I purchased my 1978 MG midget, brand new on August 10th 1978. At that time, I was working in New Car Sales at British Motors of Sacramento. I sold this brand new MG to myself. You will see on the attached new car delivery sheet.