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TELL US THE WHEN, WHERE, AND HOW YOU BOUGHT YOUR SPRIDGET!

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Yankeedriver Avatar
Yankeedriver Platinum AdvertiserAdvertiser Joel Young
Albuquerque, NM, USA   USA
This thread is inspired the memories and feelings that flooded over me as I read and responded to Kurt's recent post about driving home his new Spridget. I realized that if I were lucky enough to have a pancake breakfast with the people with whom I've interacted through this website over the past few years, I'd love to ask them to tell their stories about buying their Spridgets. I'll start things off.

I bought my '67 from a retired broker or banker of some kind, who lives behind the Sandias. My wife and I didn't have much money, and I had to save up while anxiously watching the ad and crossing my fingers (not many Spridgets in NM!). Finally, the day came to make an offer, and I met him at his airplane hanger, where he kept his prop-driven small plane and vintage Spridget racer.

He and a buddy had painted the car and replaced a lot of trim pieces, but as I circled the car, he would respond to each question like a parrot: "buyer beware, buyer beware..." I knew from driving it that the engine was tired (even as he informed me it ran great) and that the brakes were mushy and weak, but there was virtually no rust and everything was there. I paid more than I wanted to but less than he insisted it was worth.

I drove her home along Route 66 as the wife followed in our old Subaru (then, with only 185,000 mile on it). People were smiling and waving, the sun was out, the top was down, I could smell the pine trees and hear that unmistakable A-series exhaust note... and a glance in the rear-view mirror revealed a big smile on my lovely wife's face.

I got home and found even more evidence of mouse habitat that I'd detected at the airstrip, and there was brake fluid on the toe of my right tennis shoe--but I thought then and I still think now that it really didn't matter what kind of a deal I'd gotten. You only go round once, and there is nothing--absolutely nothing--like going round in an MG Midget or Austin Healey Sprite.

Joel


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trevorwj Avatar
trevorwj Trevor Jessie
Louisville, KY, USA   USA
All of mine have come home on a trailer and in boxes. Not sure if I can make any sort of entertaining stories from those days. I'll give it some thought...



Midget 50th - A Spridget Event
It was a Blast!
http://sprite-midgetclub.org/

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scouser1929 Avatar
scouser1929 Kenneth Edgar
Hudson, NC, USA   USA
1958 Morris Minor 1000 Saloon (2-door) "Bender"
1961 Chevrolet Corvair "Little Red Corvair"
1961 Ford Zephyr
1966 Triumph Spitfire MkII "The Spit"    & more
I didn't actually buy it...

My brother-in-law is working on converting his 1977 MGB to a Sebring clone and he needed the rear valence off a midget for the rear of his B. He found a '66 (I think) Midget body in Georgia (for free) and we went down to get it. The shell turned out to be in better shape than thought and he stated "This body is too good to cut up". He claims I talked him out of the thing. Long story short - it became mine.

I found a late Midget rear axle and hubs. A Spitfire parts car I already had gave up a 1500 engine (a 1275 would be nice but I already have the 1500) and I had a Toyota 5-speed and drive shaft lying in the basement. A local salvage yard yielded a set of Rostyles and I already have a set of early Spriget wheels.

Basically I have everything to build a Frankenmidget.


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Kerr Avatar
Kerr Platinum Member Norm Kerr
Ann Arbor, MI, USA   USA
found mine sitting out in front of a junk yard on my way home from work sick

They were going to part it out and scrap the rest. It had a speedo that said "35k miles", but the condition looked like 135k.
Had it towed home, and then one year (and a complete mechanical rebuild) later drove it for the first time. Only one single part didn't need to be rebuilt: the wiper motor. Everything else was worn out. But everything was there, and parts were easy to get and not too expensive (and bad, new parts were in the minority).

Over the next 5 years, or so, I got to re-do a bunch of it which I'd done on the cheap the first time, or done wrong out of ignorance, or both.

I didn't touch the body, it was pretty rusty and had been patched in the manner typical of old cars in the '70s and '80s, with bondo, pop rivets and bits of aluminum or whatever was handy. I just drove it like that, and liked its rough appearance while it drove and rode like a new car. An old foreign car mechanic who helped me with a few tough steps (this was pre-internet) drove it and thanked me for giving him the opportunity to feel, after many many years, again what it was like to drive a "new one".

Then, 20 years later, after driving it on various trips, cross country, and in all kinds of weather and all seasons, the rust had gotten so bad that I did it all over again, but this time the mechanical parts were all in pretty good shape. Now it is almost too nice to drive, but I do.



I've kept every receipt, and it has been fun to tally up everything from time to time. I paid too much to the junk yard that day, for a worn out, non-runner, and have sure spent a fair amount on parts and stuff since then, but since I am never planning on selling it the cost has been irrelevant (and still far cheaper than buying a new sports car of any make).


And I've learned a LOT.
One huge lesson I've learned is this: a restored car is nothing. One that has been driven a whole lot of miles after restoration, and has had all of its bugs worked out, that's really something.


N

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btinsley Avatar
btinsley Bishop Tinsley
Atl, GA, USA   USA
1976 MG Midget 1500 "Dino"
When: 1983
Where: Shelby County, Alabama
How: Used car lot. Guy wanted $1750. Got it for $1500.

I was 22 years old in school and working at a bank. Car was only 7 years old and looked better than it ran, although it did run fairly well. Had a ball as a young man with a sporty hoopty. Whatever you can imagine I either did with it, in it or on it....No not THAT...but you're damn close. devil smiley

Bought a Haynes manual. My first DIY repair was a blown head gasket. Still have every receipt from day one. The first coming from Graffeo's Imports in Birmingham, which was an MG, Triumph & Jag dealership. Here 34 years later car runs and looks very different...for the better of course. I love driving it as i did when i was just a kid. I think I will keep it the rest of my life.

Nowadays I only drive it early weekend mornings before the texting millennials wake up...seriously.



bishop



you can't trump the amusement of reality

Yankeedriver Avatar
Yankeedriver Platinum AdvertiserAdvertiser Joel Young
Albuquerque, NM, USA   USA
In reply to # 3730670 by scouser1929 I didn't actually buy it...

My brother-in-law is working on converting his 1977 MGB to a Sebring clone and he needed the rear valence off a midget for the rear of his B. He found a '66 (I think) Midget body in Georgia (for free) and we went down to get it. The shell turned out to be in better shape than thought and he stated "This body is too good to cut up". He claims I talked him out of the thing. Long story short - it became mine.

I found a late Midget rear axle and hubs. A Spitfire parts car I already had gave up a 1500 engine (a 1275 would be nice but I already have the 1500) and I had a Toyota 5-speed and drive shaft lying in the basement. A local salvage yard yielded a set of Rostyles and I already have a set of early Spriget wheels.

Basically I have everything to build a Frankenmidget.

"I got it one piece at a time, and it didn't cost me a dime..." --Johnny Cash smileys with beer


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wrenchingaround Avatar
wrenchingaround Silver Member Louis Zammit
Toronto, ON, Canada   CAN
Bought mine in 1988, I was 22, got this idea in my head I wanted a little convertable. I looked at Fiats, MBG's & TR-7's, never even knew there was a Midget till I saw a private ad in the Buy & Sell, basically a paper version of Craigs List or Kijiji at the time. When I saw it sitting in an underground parking I was hooked, came back with a friend, made an offer and bought it, it's been quite an adventure and learning experience that's for sure.

HMDIV Avatar
HMDIV Harry Dent
Brooklyn, NY, USA   USA
When: July 25th, 2012
Where: Brick NJ
How: Craigslist


I had recently moved to New York City and had to sell my gigantic 1988 suburban that I had practically lived in for the previous year. I was really sad to see it go and Immediately started looking for something smaller to replace it. Sports cars were on my mind. I looked on craigslist for Spridgets, Spitfires, Fiat 850s, 914s etc. I went to the infamous gullwing motors and almost spent my whole budget on a very incorrect MGA because it was so pretty. Looked at a few cars; A rust bucket bugeye that they wanted too much for, a triumph with a 5.0 swap that needed too much, a Fiat 850 that was also swiss cheese, a 914 that was "track ready" but too rough for a DD.

Finally I found what I was looking for, a 1275 Midget with the 5-Speed conversion, no paint and a few "speed" parts thrown in for good measure . I took two buses from the port authority on 42nd down 9 to a random stop in Brick and then walked along the side of the road to the suburban home of Phil and his girlfriend. Phill had 3 spridgets (one running), a 1950's Lincoln (with the funky diagonal headlights) and too many bikes to keep track of. His girlfriend was happy that someone was coming to take something away but also admonished me for being so trusting of people on the internet (I told her about some truly terrifying CL deals I had been part of which made her even more worried). After driving it around the block I told him I was interested, but not at the listed price because it obviously wansn't running very well. We went back and fourth about price, finally we agreed on 1600 for not only my car but a parts car (no title). Then I said that I was going to drive the Midget back to Brooklyn...Phill got a bit worried about that and we went to work making sure it had fluids etc. Drove it back to Brooklyn over Staten Island and then through park slope, bedstuy and finally to my street in Bushwick. A few friends had gathered outside to see me roll up. I rolled up, parked it right outside and turned it off. Someone asked for a ride, tried to start it, no power devil smiley


The parts car came on a flatbed a few days later and ended up in a lot up the street. After ripping allot of parts off of it the person I rented the space from suddenly passed away and I could no longer access it, I then spent a summer climbing over the fence, removing parts and climbing them back out (had to steal my own car, one piece at a time).

My car ended up getting a shady tree paint job by a local guy named Louis. Its been through allot as a New York City car but it has never left me stranded and never fails to cheer me up. Couldn't have kept it this long without the MGEXP forum/community, best forum on the web!


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refisk Avatar
refisk Rick Fisk
Frankenmuth, MI, USA   USA
My first Spridget was a '59 Austin Healey Sprite - a Bugeye. I was 19 and my rust bucket '55 Chevy hot rod blew it's rear end and I decided I needed a new (used) car. On January 18, 1968 I found my Bugeye on a used car lot on Commonwealth Avenue in Fullerton, California. The lot was called (I kid you not) "Sir Lance's Lot" and only sold British sports cars. They had Jaguar XK120's, a couple of E-types, MGB's, Midgets, a few T-series cars, Sunbeam Alpines, and two Bugeyes. These cars were all southern California cars and totally rust free. I couldn't afford most of them and wanted a Bugeye anyways. So I picked the best one, gave the salesman a check for $500 and drove off into the sunset. I still have the car today 50 years later. smiling smiley

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gossie Avatar
gossie Howard Gostelow
Queensland, Gold Coast, Australia   AUS
Bought my MK2 new in 8/62.
Young brother with it in '63.


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66jalopy Avatar
66jalopy Silver Member Phillip Jolliffe
Lake City, FL, USA   USA
I have owned several. I don't remember how I got the 1962 back in 1968, I think I paid $100.00 for it, I was living in Puerto Rico at the time. Next one was a 1968 Sprite I bought in 1972. It was sitting on the side of the road with a For Sale sign. It had a bad wheel front wheel bearing. I gave them $200.00 for it, went and bought wheel bearing, installed it on the road and drove it home. Used that one to drive all over Puerto Rico servicing accounting machines. Have had a couple more since but currently can't get in and out of them so the last one is living inside my Morris Minor.

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gossie Avatar
gossie Howard Gostelow
Queensland, Gold Coast, Australia   AUS
Bought this Bugeye in '98.
Had it for 4 years.


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76lucas Avatar
76lucas Gold Member Josh L
Floyd, VA, USA   USA
1978 MG Midget 1500
1979 MG Midget 1500 "Parts Car"
When: June 2015
Where: Floyd auto show Floyd Va.
There is a place near my house called Chantilly Farm that is an outdoor venue mostly they do music and weddings plus they have camper spaces for rent. One of the events they do is a car show in June. 2015 was the first year they did it. I used to go to alot of shows with dad when i was younger but never really brought anything so I wasn't planning to this time either. I had been sort of looking to replace my Lebaron convertible which had gotten beyond hope for repairing but hadn't been trying hard. The show was 2 days and we went on Satuarday. Both cars were sitting in the swap meet areas looking pretty sad. The blue had been in a field for about 10 years top was shot tires were flat and the paint was gone. The brown was a little better it had sat in a garage but it had about an inch of dust on it. I looked them over and walked away the first time. But something made me go back. Maybe it was the fact they were the first midgets I had ever seen or heard of for that matter. I thought it over for awhile before getting the number off the car. I still wasn't sure about buying them. Honestly I didn't see much at the show because I was too busy thinking it over. Finally went back and found the owner. He give a price for each and for both. But said someone had already asked about the blue one but hadn't been back for a couple of hours. So I left my number and headed home with the hope of getting at least one. Sunday evening the phone rings and it's him. The other guy had never came back and had never gotten his number or left one. He asked me you want just one or both. I asked what's the difference in price. "Oh about 150 dollars" so I took both. Now I had already knew that the body of the brown car was in much better shape but the engine was locked up. But the blue car would run so evryone said swap engines and scrap the blue one. Three years and a lot of long nights and days I drove it down the road. I am still fixing little ood things like the seat recline and the engine will need to come out because it's pretty wore out but I don't regret buying it one bit plus I think it looks good for a car everyone wrote off has a parts car. I have started on the brown car but plan to do a much more detailed and proper job on it. Oh and the bad engine was actually a locked up starter bendix. It helps to check everything before assuming the worst.



If you never try to do it You will never be able to do it



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018-05-06 07:51 PM by 76lucas.


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ngarman Avatar
ngarman nick garman
dayton ohio, USA   USA
**Below is part of an article my club asked me to write for a featured car of the month. Pretty much tells my story.**


Being of the younger generation (under 30) I didn’t grow up around MGs or any British cars. When I started dating my now wife (Amy) her father had a little British car that was in a thousand pieces in his 1 car garage, basement, shed and patio. Over the next 4-5 years his car started to take shape and look like a car again which started to intrigue me. I liked that I didn’t see one on every corner, parts were easy to come by and they were fairly affordable. After the sale of my old Chevy pickup I was on the internet searching for a British car. Between craigslist, eBay, newspapers and word of mouth I spent many of hours searching. I knew what I wanted and finally found a 72 MG midget just outside of Richmond Indiana. After a few phone calls and work, I jumped in the truck with my father in law and headed over to Richmond with some cash in my pocket and high hopes! After a test drive I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face and I knew I had to have it. I did my best to put on my poker face and after some friendly negotiation I bought myself an MG midget! It wasn’t perfect but I wanted a car that I could drive and restore. I drove it up on the trailer and headed toward Dayton with my new car. The next day was a scramble trying to get titles, insurance and license plates so I could drive it. It just so happened that the British car show at Eastwood Park, British Car Day Dayton 2011. I was bound and determined to drive my MG there and enter it in the show.(I even put on the special features section of the placard "owned for 24 hours"winking smiley. I have been driving the wheels off it ever since. It runs so good and I don't want to tear it apart to restore so I am restoring the 71 "parts car" that came with the sale of my 72 so I won't be without a running drivable midget in my garage! after the 71 is done the 72 will receive the same treatment!

zippy brian j
vista, CA, USA   USA
traded my tr3 for my first bug eye straight up

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