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Newbie here for suggestions on a '77 Midget

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alconk AL Conkling
Hudson, Illinois, USA   USA
Hello,

My name is AL and my neighbor has a 1977 Midget that his Grandfather bought new and was left to him. It has roughly 45k miles and is in decent shape. He has lived next to me for 2.5 years and has always been in his garage. I've never seen or heard it run. He's not the mechanical type. I've looked at it several times and asked if he wanted to sell it but always declined. Late summer he wanted to get it running and I guess it needs a clutch slave cylinder which he bought but couldn't install it due to a mushroomed clutch pipe. Well the other day he asked me to come over to help him and asked him if he wanted to sell it yet and finally he said yes.

It needs a few things that he told me, clutch slave cylinder installed as I mentioned and told me the gauges didn't work. Other than that oh and it needs a convertible top I guess that's it. So I'm very interested but don't know anything about these little gems. He's asking $2000 but I would offer him $1500 don't know if he'll take it though.

I'm a car guy but have only worked on American cars. I'm pretty sure I could tackle about anything on this car except maybe the front suspension from what I hear it's like a king pin setup so if it would be worn out I'd have to sub that out.

Anyway I would appreciate any comments on what to look for and what to expect. Also from what I can see it looks to be rust free.

Thanks!

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Homerr Avatar
Homerr Jeff Kogut
Seattle, WA, USA   USA
1966 MG Midget MkII "For Sale?"
1970 MG Midget MkIII "Midget On A Spit"
1971 MG Midget MkIII "The Donor"
1975 MG Midget MkIV "General MG"
If the body and interior are nice and there is no rust then around $1000 would seem fair to me. If the car is well worn then even lower possibly.

You may have to put $2k in to it to get it running. Personally, I'd start by telling him what you value the car at. I'd start in the $800 range and go up to $1000 if you really want the car.

Non-running Midgets can be had for as low as $100 (I have two of these!). Sellers are probably more concerned about reclaiming garage space and/or avoiding wife aggro. Having bought 4 in the last year I've dickered a little on price but I've had outlandishly low offers accepted (by other car standards) since sellers were motivated and I've ended up paying about 1/3 of their price for non-runners.

bev sleet Avatar
bev sleet Bev S
Raunds, Northamptonshire, UK   GBR
three posts down from yours there is for sale rebuilt swivel axles, so you could do the suspension yourself and if you get stuck this forum will help you solve any problems you may encounter,

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Steve-in-Florida Avatar
Steve-in-Florida Steve Hill
Orlando, Florida, USA   USA
1974 MG Midget MkIII
1975 MG Midget 1500 "Good Lil' Car"
1976 MG Midget 1500
1978 MG Midget 1500    & more
Al,
Welcome to the forum.

My humble advice:

Look very carefully for rust and missing or otherwise damaged metal in the structure. Look all over and under.

Jack up the front, and wiggle the front suspension. Look for excessive play, in any direction.

Look for bastardized wiring.

Look for excessive fore-to-aft movement of the crankshaft.

Especially look for "funky" bodywork, or evidence of less-than-professional fixes throughout the car.

Did I mention rust?

Avoid a car that has this stuff, unless you like working on projects.

What's it worth to you? Get it, fix it, drive it, and be happy!!!

An alternative is to find an already running car, which can be had for the money he's asking.

Steve

littlecars Avatar
littlecars David Bassett
Nashville, Tennessee, USA   USA
1965 Chevrolet Corvair "Ski Team Transport SOLD!"
1965 MG Midget MkII "Buffoon"
1970 Triumph Spitfire MkIII "Tamara's Turd... SOLD!!!"
1974 MG Midget MkIII "Poupon"    & more
Rubber bumper Midgets being sold by clueless owners seem to be all the rage these days. As Jeff in Seattle said, I've had 1500 Midgets practically given to me to make room for more "normal" cars by locals who could care less about a little British convertible. I've bought in the $400 to $600 range and recently purchased an exceptional, driving chrome bumper example for $900. After all the checks for rust and wobbles, offer him what you feel won't break your bank and come here to the MGE as you delve in.

Send pics if you need our unending opinions before you buy. We love pics!

flat350 Avatar
flat350 Steve Alleman
Schaumburg, Illinois, USA   USA
I'm in Illinois and the car in my avatar came home for $1200 3 years ago as a running,driving complete car with next to no rust which will be your worst enemy if it has any.



1971 MG Midget MKIII

Homerr Avatar
Homerr Jeff Kogut
Seattle, WA, USA   USA
1966 MG Midget MkII "For Sale?"
1970 MG Midget MkIII "Midget On A Spit"
1971 MG Midget MkIII "The Donor"
1975 MG Midget MkIV "General MG"
As David eluded - my Midgets have been bought for a total of $950 for all 4 cars including delivery of two of them and the rotisserie that one is on. None run.

The 1975 (gold-ish) is getting its transmission rebuilt and is about 95% complete (but what 5% is missing is the question!), $450 delivered from 70 miles away; the 1970 (darker blue on rotisserie) I bought as a project in-progress of replacing floor pans including all the new sheet metal, I'm guessing 70% complete - most notably it needs an interior, $300 including rotisserie and delivered (no easy feat!) from 15 miles away; the 1966 (blue at right) is a total project as it is a bit rusty and probably had carburetor issues given the number of spare ones in the trunk, 99% complete, $100, I trailered it about 10 miles home; and the 1971 (red) is really a rolling parts car I bought with no interior, no engine/trans, $100, I trailered this one 150 miles to get it home.

I've also bought a cache of ~$3,500 of mostly new in box parts (with receipts) for $500; hood/LH fender/doors for $400; spare 1975 motor/trans for $100; and another smaller cache of parts for the 1970 and 1975 for $200 which I'd say was market value. I got a set of Rostyle wheels and another set of surface rusted wires for free off Craigslist.

Maybe this will help you judge what to offer.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018-01-03 02:37 PM by Homerr.

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CountBasey Avatar
CountBasey Thomas Basey
Brunswick, Ohio, USA   USA
1976 MG Midget 1500 "Opus"
I agree with the other posts. For a non-runner that needs a roof, $1000 would be the top end if all else looks good (did someone mention rust?). And I am going as high as $1000 because it depends on your location (there are very few midgets around here - $1000 would be cheap in my neck of the woods, but farther south and west where salt hasn't eaten them up - they do get cheaper).

Personally I never owned a British car until my midget, but moving from all the other domestic engines I've "tinkered" with to the midget 1500 engine was not a large leap - and I don't consider myself a "mechanic".

For another reference... I bought my 1976 in running condition, no rust, newer paint, newer roof, for $1500. The engine compartment was filthy, but I wouldn't budge on the price until we installed a new battery and alternator (at my gamble - $150) to prove everything worked and ran as stated. The prior owner was a "friend of a friend" so my haggle down from the original $2000 asking price and the install of a battery/alternator was well taken.



Thomas (Count) Basey
Member of Emerald Necklace MG Register - www.mgcleveland.com
________________________________________________________

“With each replacement of parts, my British car slowly becomes Chinese.”

kmcgr6 Avatar
kmcgr6 Kevin McGowan
Williamsport, PA, USA   USA
I look at Midget ad's everyday here in PA and you will be hard pressed to buy a running Midget that looks decent with average interior and fair paint with no major rust for less then $2500.00

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ice Avatar
ice Gold Member Larry Ice
Lawrenceville, GA, USA   USA
Al, according to your description I would go for no more than $1000. If the PO refuses the offer let it sit awhile and then offer him $900. If he sells it so be it, be patient, you will find one in better condition for less or equal money. I think one of the guys mentioned you will put $3000 into it to get a good running car.



Iceman

Atlanta GA

60 AH MK1
62 AH MKII
67 Midget
71 Midget

alconk AL Conkling
Hudson, Illinois, USA   USA
I've been reading all of the post and first off thank you for replying. I plan on contacting him in a couple days since ILL. as well as the rest of the country is in a polar plunge but Sat suppose to be in the lower 30s so hopefully I can check it out even more. As far as rust there isn't any to be seen.

littlecars Avatar
littlecars David Bassett
Nashville, Tennessee, USA   USA
1965 Chevrolet Corvair "Ski Team Transport SOLD!"
1965 MG Midget MkII "Buffoon"
1970 Triumph Spitfire MkIII "Tamara's Turd... SOLD!!!"
1974 MG Midget MkIII "Poupon"    & more
Al, one final note. Installing a new top properly (perhaps even blasting the frame before you do) will set you back something like $200-$400 depending on the quality of the fabric. Luckily, in my experience I have found gently used tops on the MGE Buy Sell Trade forum, sometimes still in the box, for little to no cash! Super easy for a newbie to install as I have done.

infinity2018 Joe T
Denver, Colorado, USA   USA
DO NOT offer him $800 for a car he's trying to sell for $2000. The super gutsy lowball offer will just piss him off and then you'll have a neighbor that doesn't like you. As someone said before in this thread, because you think it's worth one price, doesn't mean that the seller agrees whatsoever. He came up with his selling price obviously because he thinks that's what it's worth. If you don't agree, then buy an $800 car elsewhere. In case you haven't noticed, the selling price often has nothing to do with the condition/value of a car.

I'm not a dealer, just a regular car guy, but it burns me up heavily when people come with a straight face and have the nerve to offer me less than half for whatever it is that I'm selling. If they can't afford my price then they can hit the road. Coincidentally, I always end up selling my cars for my price to people that think it's a reasonable price, go figure....

refisk Avatar
refisk Rick Fisk
Frankenmuth, Michigan, USA   USA
A few years ago I found a car offered for sale for $4,000. I went and looked at it and found it had some issues. I offered $1,500. The seller said no thanks. A month later he called me up and said come get it for $1,500. grinning smiley

In reply to # 3657852 by infinity2018 DO NOT offer him $800 for a car he's trying to sell for $2000. The super gutsy lowball offer will just piss him off and then you'll have a neighbor that doesn't like you. As someone said before in this thread, because you think it's worth one price, doesn't mean that the seller agrees whatsoever. He came up with his selling price obviously because he thinks that's what it's worth. If you don't agree, then buy an $800 car elsewhere. In case you haven't noticed, the selling price often has nothing to do with the condition/value of a car.

I'm not a dealer, just a regular car guy, but it burns me up heavily when people come with a straight face and have the nerve to offer me less than half for whatever it is that I'm selling. If they can't afford my price then they can hit the road. Coincidentally, I always end up selling my cars for my price to people that think it's a reasonable price, go figure....

Homerr Avatar
Homerr Jeff Kogut
Seattle, WA, USA   USA
1966 MG Midget MkII "For Sale?"
1970 MG Midget MkIII "Midget On A Spit"
1971 MG Midget MkIII "The Donor"
1975 MG Midget MkIV "General MG"
Joe, I think non-runners are a different game.

My experience:

1975 offered at $1900, got it for $450 delivered.
1970 offered at $500, got it for $300 delivered.
1966 offered at $500, I declined, seller called back a couple of days later asking to offer anything. Got it for $100.
1971 was a parts car offered at $100 and I paid that.

I look at the car and I end up telling the seller what the car is worth to me, not necessarily any number related to their advertised price. I don't think I've been outlandish at all with my offers. On the contrary, the sellers have had high prices for cars that are going downhill more every year, taking up space - physical and mental - for them. They have been relieved when I bought their 'problem'. The most I've gone up on my initial offer was $50 each on the 1975 and 1970 and I agreed to $50 more if they delivered them.

This also creates an easy walk-away situation too, whereby I've stated what the car is worth to me and the seller is free to counter. I avoid any 'you price is too high', 'there is another car advertised for $xxx I could go buy instead', or 'good luck finding a seller at that price' type of statements since they introduce ego. It's very possible to have a friendly transaction where both parties get what they want, or a parting without a sale where both walk away neutral or friendly. But not if it becomes an ego battle.

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