Car Catcher: Midget Performance With Bugeye Looks

Sponsored article presented by Carlisle Auctions.


Ever want the looks of a Bugeye with the amenities of a later Midget?

This 1971 MG Midget from Carlisle Auctions not only received a full rotisserie restoration, but it also had its nose replaced with one from an earlier Bugeye.

The listing states that all mechanicals are either new or rebuilt, and is said to come with a custom-built roll bar.

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wspohn Dork
6/5/20 11:35 a.m.

That just looks so wrong, having a late rear body with the early front (which I like).  I understand it though, having had to go looking for stuff that had drifted to the very back of a Bugeye rear compartment.  Picture crawling into an oversize golf bag head first. Not for the claustrophobic.

Too bad it has one of those rubbush downdraft Weber carbs, Why can't people leave perfectly good SUs alone?  ("Oh, let's get more power by making the inflow go around right angles" - said no one ever!)  I bet that no one would have done that conversion if the carbs had been anything other than Weber, with the name association that goes with that. If they were Solex or Zenith, no one would have bothered with them - no bragging rights.


leeh522 New Reader
6/5/20 4:49 p.m.

I must agree with wspohn; half of the "charm" of a Bugeye is the distinctive front end, but the other half of that charm  is the tail end, simplicity exonerated, and the relatively speaking squared off back of later Sprites so sharply contrasts with the design of a Bugeye compares to what would happen if you tried to mate the front of a Lotus Europa with the back of a Lincoln Town car. Failure. If you want to marry Bugeye looks with modern mechanicals then just get a donor Miata and attach it to a clean Bugeye shell. The term "attach" here greatly over-simplifying the actual amount of work involved.

dougie Reader
6/7/20 10:49 p.m.

UGH!..........No thanks!

sfisher71 New Reader
6/8/20 8:21 p.m.

When BMC gave the go-ahead to develop the Mk. II Sprite/Mk. I Midget, they told the M.G. and Healey design teams separately, without notifying each that the other was making their own new version. 

Fortunately, the two teams found out and coordinated their effort -- presumably to reduce the likelihood of just this sort of platypus. 

It illustrates something I saw (and commented on) many times on the Britcars list in the early Nineties: the challenge with doing a custom car that is Just How You Want It is that you will almost certainly have a tough time finding someone ELSE who has exactly your tastes (AND who is willing to fork over the spondulix necessary to acquire same). The French call this "folie à deux" -- shared madness.

As for "attaching" the mechanicals from a Miata to the bodyshell of a Bugeye, I think it was in these hallowed pages where I first read the advice that the best reason not to transplant Miata bits into an old car is the Miata itself. And after decades of owning both Miatas and Hopelessly Shot Old British (and Italian and German) Sports Cars, the whole point of owning an old car is to experience it as it would have been in 1958 or 1967 or even, heaven help us, the malaise era. Fix the rust, fix the wiring, refresh the engine and suspension, and suddenly it's 1960. Or whatever year your particular wayback machine is set to. You may not be able to go home again -- but you can at least drive to your old house, preferably by the winding road.

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