****** Interested parties should note, this vehicle was subject to a CAT (C) insurance claim in 06/2010 ******
• Only 50,730 miles from new
• Bare metal restoration
• Impressive history file
• Magazine featured
• Excellent condition throughout
With a few notable exceptions, the Midget was unique in the market when it was introduced to meet the desire for a cheap, compact and economical sports car.
It is still well suited as an entry-level sporting car, its element of fun, mechanical simplicity and exceptional parts availability tick all the boxes for those who understand that driving thrills are not just about high speed.
First appearing in 1961, the later 1970s British Leyland Midgets were more refined yet still carried on the successful formula of the previous models.
These facelift versions of the MK III Midget also gained an incarnation of the Mini Cooper engine, revised suspension as well as some cosmetic changes including slimmer bumpers, black sills and round rear arches.
This 1973 Midget is finished in Tulip Black and has benefited from a complete restoration.
While it retains many of the original features, it has a few handy and practical modifications. With just 50,730 recorded miles, it has also benefitted from further work to guarantee that it is as mechanically sound as it is visually impressive.
The History and Paperwork
• 7-year-old body restoration
• Over 100 invoices
• MOT to November 2022
The car comes with an impressive file of invoices, handbooks and documentation, which covers an extensive body restoration and rebuild.
Following a light rear shunt in 2010 the previous owner, who had owned the car for some years, went on a focused path to restore the car to the highest standard.
After deciding to purchase the fully-functional car from the insurance company, it provided the ideal opportunity to address any pre-existing issues that the owner was aware of.
Following a dedicated program of repairing and replacing the metalwork, it was treated to a bare-metal respray. Its original Bracken Orange paintwork was replaced with the period BL Tulip Black (a factory option), which is best described as a dark purple.
Much of the running gear, as well as the engine, is believed to be not only original but to have only covered around 40,000 miles.
The owner took advantage of the car's rebirth and added a Ford 5-Speed transmission for good measure. The car was finally finished in 2017 and attracted the attention of a well established classic car magazine, which documented the car's story across 6 pages.
The current owner was looking for a car to enjoy with his father and came across this Midget, which appeared to fulfil their criteria.
When the car was purchased, he noted that while the quality of the restoration was undeniably good, it still needed a couple of mechanical issues to be addressed, in order to fulfil his expectations.
Recent work includes a new starter motor, coil, condenser and points, along with an engine, suspension and brake check-up on top of the costs of the original restoration.
A lack of use due to a change in his father's health, means that the Midget needs to find a new home. The car has an MOT to November 2022 and comes with two keys and three new matching door locks (driver & passenger doors and boot).
• Near perfect cabin
• Recent Smiths instruments
The dark blue retrimmed seats are in excellent shape, with no wear or damage.
The carpets are clean and appear to have been replaced as part of the thorough restoration process and it is encouraging to report that they are not only well fitted but also bone dry.
The car is also fitted with a set of new blue coloured inertia seat belts. The door cards are in good shape, they’ve been well fitted and are scuff-free. The headlining is clean, with no damage or signs of dampness.
The boot appears to have seen the lightest of use and in keeping with the nature of the car, is free from any water leaks.
The snug cabin is adorned with several non-standard items, most noticeably is the padded roll bar with an MGF mesh grill but there are also a couple of neat dashboard upgrades, including a built-in map light, a series of tasteful set of Smith instruments and a delightful hidden ignition barrel.
The centre console houses an MW/LW radio, a clock and 12V input. The dashboard padding is in good shape with no signs of wear, the metal facia is in line with the exterior metal and free of any damage.
The aforementioned instruments are in excellent condition, with no issues with the wooden steering wheel or gear knob. All of the controls and switches, including the heater, are said to work.
• Excellent bodywork and trim
• JBW alloys
The car has been subject to an extensive restoration, so starting with the floor pan, jacking points and working our way to the boot floor, suspension mounts, inner wings and sills, the expectations are all positive.
The body panels display a consistent fit, with even gaps throughout. The passenger doors open and close with ease. There is nothing significant to mark it down in terms of metal blemishes, with no dents observed.
The paint finish is even throughout, with an excellent lustre. The car has been spared from any distracting paint chips, although there is evidence of paint touch-ups on the lower sections of both rear wings and on the edge of the off-side door, but this certainly should not be seen as an issue.
The hood was replaced in the mid-2000s and along with the rear screen is free of damage. It raises and lowers with ease, with the tonneau cover fitting well.
The chrome work, including the neat luggage rack, is in excellent shape. The glass, rubber and door seals are in very good order too, with no damage or issues with age.
All of the lights and lenses are in good condition with no damage. As part of the restoration of the car, it was fitted with front-mounted LED day lights, which we feel is a wise safety precaution.
The car is complemented with a set of faultless JBW alloys which complement the black door mirrors. The tyres are in excellent condition, with 2016 Dunlops up front and less than 3-year-old Uniroyals in the back.
• 5 Speed Ford transmission
• Beautifully presented engine
• Recent mechanical check and renewal
• Drives superbly
As expected for a car that has seen a documented renovation, the engine has proven to be trouble-free, with the owner cheerfully mentioning that the car is occasionally pressed into use as a daily driver when the weather is fair.
It starts up with impressive eagerness, with no spluttering or hesitation once the car is on tick-over. No observations of fluid leaks, rumbling or knocking were noted, with the engine temperature and oil pressure said to remain stable, even in traffic.
On the move the car sounds sensational, a purposeful throaty soundtrack produced by the intact stainless steel branch manifold and exhaust adding to the nimble nature of the drive.
The brakes were balanced, with no signs of grinding or juddering on the move, the owner describes the pedal feel as firm and compliant. The steering is free from vibrations at town speeds, steering is communicative with the road with little play as comes with the character of the car.
The addition of a Type-9 Ford 5-Speed gearbox has the added bonus of a synchromesh, the ratios suit the 1275cc engine well. It operates in harmony with the clutch, which has a decent biting point.
The ride is typically firm but well dampened, with no knocks noted. The only issue during the drive was the slightly disconcerting scraping of the rear mud flaps over the dreaded speed humps!
In terms of presentation, the engine is certainly up to show car standards, with an impressive amount of eye-catching jewellery to support the car's diligent care and attention in the hands of its owners.
The aftermarket hoses and rocker cover in combination with the rebuilt carburettor and neatly prepared engine bay should reassure any potential buyer that the car has been in the best hands possible.
Midgets with this level of restoration are hard to find, so it's no wonder it was the subject of a feature in a classic car magazine.
The Midget’s compact size and lightweight offer a genuinely entertaining experience, with the added bonus of being affordable to run, with a second-to-none parts availability.
The familiarity of this pleasant little charmer may conceal its abilities, yet this is a car that will firmly place a grin on your face.
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