Apr 29, 2003 update to the MG Midget project car

Getting the Midget to Michigan

The Midget strapped to the dyno.

Carl said, “It’s funny how things happen. A little over a month ago, Tim Suddard called me to sell me an ad that I didn’t need for the first issue of Classic Motorsports. Ten minutes later, I’d bought a larger ad that I didn’t need for longer than I didn’t need it and I somehow agreed to take on the Project Midget.”

Now, my shop is in Michigan and the Midget was at the GRM World Headquarters in Florida,” he continues. “Next thing I know, Tim calls again and says ‘let’s meet halfway—Atlanta.’ Okay, so now I’ve bought a larger ad than I didn’t need, for longer than I didn’t need it, I’ve agreed to restore/update this Midget, and I’ve committed to towing my trailer to Atlanta to pick it up.”

It turns out Atlanta is not halfway between Michigan and Florida,” Carl mentioned. “It’s much closer to Florida.”

Tim’s a cool guy, but I’m not sure I should talk with him on the phone anymore.”

About four hours after my friend Ted and I arrived in Atlanta with the truck and trailer,” Carl said,” the tornado warnings started, quickly followed by a violent thunderstorm and hail. We spent the night and waited to meet Tim, the Ro-Spit (stored at MazCare), and the Midget the next day.”

Our luck was changing,” he mentioned. “Tim rolled into the parking lot within minutes of our arrival, we got the Ro-Spit onto my trailer (the Midget was on his), and headed off to Balanced Performance to dyno both cars. “Follow me,” said Tim. Our luck changed back, as we slalomed through Atlanta traffic trying to keep our truck and trailer within sight of Tim’s van and trailer.”

When we got to Balanced Performance, we met up with Ed Senf who was there to help dial-in the new engine management system on the Ro-Spit. For a little comedy relief, we let him dyno the Midget first. It fired on the first try, came off the trailer and onto the dyno where it pulled a respectable 42hp at the rear wheels. Considering MGAs often make only high 40’s and some MGBs barely make 50hp, that’s pretty good for a worn out Midget.”

Tim was right that this car is a great restoration project. It may end up having a small rust hole here and there (we found one below the driver’s door hinge), but it’s one of the most solid Midgets around. It’s been repainted once, and it has not been messed up by previous owners. It’s pretty much a survivor.”

We made it back to Michigan effortlessly and pulled the car off the trailer. We’ll be driving it 50-100 miles in the next few weeks to get a good feel for it. We’ll put it through one of our standard four-hour inspections, then it’s coming apart for a complete, shell-up rebuild.”

The plan is still evolving, but we’re planning this as an updated Midget: The nimble and fun car developed in the last millenium combined with the technologies developed in this millenium. A significantly more powerful engine (likely fuel injected as Tim has suggested), five-speed gearbox, confident brakes, and creature comforts like nice seats, audio, maybe even cruise control. We’ll put a nice set of wheels on it and clean up the exterior a bit by removing some of the bumps like the ugly factory side marker lights. Color? We’re thinking British Racing Green.

By the way, it won’t be going back to Florida on a trailer. This car is being built to drive.

All this after a 10-minute phone call for an ad I didn’t need,” Carl quipped. “Now I’ve got Midget all over me.”

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