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M3Loco
M3Loco New Reader
10/19/12 3:12 p.m.

Fellow Enthusiasts: Neighbor has had this 1975 Midget for about 30 years. Bought in the 80's in California. It's been in Mississippi for the last 20 or so years. After Katrina, they relegated it to outside with just maybe a tarp.

He's been trying to get 1,500 for the car for the last few years. I moved into the neighborhood and was wondering what was under that tarp. on Monday, I knocked on the door and spoke to the wife about it. She's been nagging her husband, who is almost 80 years old to get rid of it. I went again the following day when he was home and we spopke about the car, but never spoke price. He's wanting to get rid of it, and is not going to spend any more time/money fixing it up. I asked him if I can take a few pics so I can show a few friends and ask their opinion. History says that he got rid of a 4-5K boat with a trailer for 1,500. Maybe he'll take 200.00 for this MG..

Thoughts:

From my inspection, it doesn't have any hard rust. Just on the surface and on the hood. The car is solid, but has been rained on for a while. If he can get it started, I'll be extremely happy.

If I get this car, I would gut it, but a little roll-bar on it, sand it completely down, and use it as a VINTAGE Track-Car around the South east..

Pleast talk me out of this..

JThw8
JThw8 UberDork
10/19/12 3:19 p.m.

Did you sit in it? I'm only 6ft tall and the only way I could drive my autox spridget was with a fiberglass seat bucket bolted to the floor as far back as it would go.

No way I'd pay anywhere near $1000 for it but $500 or less I'd find something to do with it.

TeamEvil
TeamEvil Reader
10/19/12 3:21 p.m.

Kinda the wrong car, especially the wrong year for what you're planning.

Look closely at the SCCA vintage racing rules and classifications before you even make an offer on it. You may just end up with a crappy late model Midget that nobody wants.

M3Loco
M3Loco New Reader
10/19/12 3:24 p.m.

I might not even get competitive with it, if I get it. Therefore vintage racing might just be a pipe dream. Regular Auto-x and just a fun little toy,, different.. I'll check though.. thanks..

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon MegaDork
10/19/12 3:28 p.m.

I agree that under $1k would be all right. aeronca65t on this board races one, he could give you more pointers on what to look for in the way of building a vintage race car. IIRC his is an early car with a 1500 motor.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy UltraDork
10/19/12 3:28 p.m.
JThw8 wrote: Did you sit in it?

yeah - what he said about sitting in it. I can't get into one - and if I do I can't push the clutch in.

oldtin
oldtin SuperDork
10/19/12 3:35 p.m.

I suspect more rust than you would think at first glance and since it's been underwater - well, mgs aren't know for great electrics or rustproofing to begin with - adding a dose of seawater or any water won't help. I wouldn't go more than $500 unless you have a thing for rubber-bumper mgs. Actually, after going through an mgb gt that looked in similar condition when I started and an old triumph, I personally would run cause I'm tired of fixing rusty cars that every component is berked up.

edit - at least in the midwest VSCDA allows midgets of all years since they have the early history, but they need to be backdated in looks.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
10/19/12 3:46 p.m.

Find a Spitfire instead.

For $500 that wouldn't be a bad deal though.

Woody
Woody MegaDork
10/19/12 3:50 p.m.

I've always liked them, but I don't really want to own one anymore. However, at $500, I might make the same mistake that you're about to.

spitfirebill
spitfirebill UltraDork
10/19/12 3:55 p.m.

Are you saying it was underwater during Katrina. If so I would pass. If it starts, maybe.

This is probably the cheapest enry into British Sports cars.

motomoron
motomoron Dork
10/19/12 4:09 p.m.

Do you specifically want a rubber bumper midget, or just this one because it's a "good deal"?

I did a full restoration of a 1962 Sprite - essentially the same body - which was about as rust-free as they come, it still took hundreds and hundreds of hours on the body shell.

My advice is that the absolute cheapest way to get a decent Spridget is to buy the best one that's been indoors forever - not running and dirty if you want a project, but never as rusty as this one.

Also - regarding racing. Don't build a new H production car - there's loads of them already finished that the owners spent $30,000 on over decades of development. Lots of very specialized race Spridget stuff isn't made anymore. A usable race car for 5 or 7 grand that only needs needs new belts/fire bottle/tires + a thorough going over is the easiest way BY FAR to do that.

But are you already a licensed racer? if not - I'd recommend in the strongest terms to begin in something where a weekend involves only setting tire pressures, dumping fuel and oil in, and going about the business of racing. It's inconceivable to anyone who hasn't actually done it how mentally draining a race weekend is from the beginning of pre-race prep to finally unloading back at home Sunday night or Monday if it's a long tow.

Compounding the strain with a tempermental car that needs constant attention can really get you to the breaking point.

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku SuperDork
10/19/12 8:03 p.m.

max $500. get it running and clean it up. Putter around town for awhile. If you like it, maybe an elcheapo paint job. Sell for $1500 (if painted) when you tire of it. You can quickly spend far more than it will be worth. Maybe an autocross for fun, but HPDE or track will get expensive very fast.

M3Loco
M3Loco New Reader
10/19/12 8:45 p.m.

It wasn't under water during Katrina, was in a garage that didn't flood. I'm not looking into SCCA or HPDE events, but just to have some fun. The owner said it ran several years ago, but it stalled because of the carburetor. I'm not licensed at all, but have several HPDE and Auto-x events.

P.S. the wife is already talking me out of another project...

jstein77
jstein77 Dork
10/19/12 9:13 p.m.

Drive it before you buy it. You may be terribly disappointed in the performance.

plance1
plance1 Dork
10/19/12 10:01 p.m.

80 year old with a tarp over his car that has been for sale for years is not someone who is asking a reasonable price...

plance1
plance1 Dork
10/19/12 10:13 p.m.

So no way in heck is he going to take $500, I highly doubt he'll go. But.....if he goes to a $1,000, id go for it. I would not worry about trying to get it for $500, if you have it for 10 years and have fun with it, are you going to you paid $500 more than you wanted to? Using the same logic, you could even justify $1500.

plance1
plance1 Dork
10/19/12 10:14 p.m.

It just depends, how much do you personally love the car?

Spinout007
Spinout007 SuperDork
10/19/12 10:46 p.m.

I'd buy it for my 5'2" wife. Having stood next to a midget, I'm in no hurry to try and get in one. @ 5'11" I sit with the seat against the backstops in a miata.

aeronca65t
aeronca65t Dork
10/20/12 5:40 a.m.

I race a '78 1500 Midget in vintage. They are totally vintage legal in the SVRA, VRG, VCDA, and other similar clubs. Then 1500 cars are not as fast as the older 1275 cc cars because they are heavier and the engine is a bit more fragile. But I've had a ton of low-cost fun with mine for over 10 years.
Last year I "backdated" the car and swapped in an older 1275 cc engine. It's better, but not really that much better.

For street use, these rubber bumper models are decent cars that are very unloved (so generally, cheap). They are true British sports cars with all the fun and all the issues. Generally, we call them "Spridgets" since Sprites are Midgets are essentially the same cars. Spare parts are easy to get and there is a lot of updated stuff out there for street cars. For anyone who is tall, the thick seats and giant, in-your-face steering wheel can be a problem. When my racer was a street car, I put in older, thin Sprite seats, cut down the length of the steering column (thus, deleting the ignition lock and replacing it with a dash mounted key) as well as adding a smaller diameter steering wheel. I'm 6'1", 210 lbs and most importantly, 61 years old. I found it reasonable after these mods.
Last year I bought a tatty '73 Midget for street use and did similar mods. Even though it only has a 1958 948 cc engine with 35 HP (it was the only engine I had on hand that would bolt in), it's a hoot to drive. I have an almost prefect '69 MGB, but I prefer to drive the tatty, slow street Midget.

Another popular mod is to lower the car and delete the bumpers (and either drive with none or add the older chrome bumpers). All this is easy and cheap. You can clean up those wire wheels and and repaint them with flat silver....will look pretty good (just did this to my MGB).

Here is an old web page I put together over 10 years ago that you might find useful.

You can find pictures and videos of my '78 race car HERE

EricM
EricM SuperDork
10/20/12 7:23 a.m.

I have nothing to add other than my shock that there are still active tripod websites.

aeronca65t
aeronca65t Dork
10/20/12 7:34 a.m.
EricM wrote: I have nothing to add other than my shock that there are still active tripod websites.

LOL

Last time I checked, my Model Steam Engine Website on Tripod had about 2.2 million hits.

mattmacklind
mattmacklind UltimaDork
10/20/12 7:59 a.m.

I look around for Midgets constantly these days. $1500 should get you a running and drivable rubber bumper Midget in decent shape, and some running chrome bumper Midgets flirt with this price point too. I'm in the air as between a Spitfire or a Midget.

I can tolerate rubber bumper B's, but the Midgets just don't look good. The Midget rubber bumpers just look like some kind of industrial trade fixture. This could be a good opportunity at a good price at much less than asked for. If you were looking for a Midget in particular I would encourage a broad search and comparison, there are some great deals out there and for Spitfires as well, and lots of stalled, but running, projects.

Karl La Follette
Karl La Follette SuperDork
10/20/12 8:40 a.m.

Start cutting the guys lawn and bring him beer over . Offer $600 with the money in hand . Remove bumpers and change hydraulics . Clutch slave/ master and brake master and wheel cylinders . Drive the stink out of it at next years challenge .

Woody
Woody MegaDork
10/20/12 8:59 a.m.

I was just starting to notice cars when rubber bumpers came along. I'll agree that the chrome bumpers look better, but I never hated the rubber ones. And there were a bunch of MGs in my family back then.

StatusPerformance
StatusPerformance New Reader
10/20/12 9:34 a.m.

Don't do it. It's obviously this mans last ounce of dignity left from his nagging wife. Let the car die with him.

(If that doesn't talk you out of it, I don't know what will.)

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