Saturday, April 23, 2011

Another Golden Jubilee

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the MG Midget MkI and the Austin Healey Sprite MkII. While overshadowed a bit by the celebrations planned for the iconic Jaguar E-Type, these great little cars deserve their spot in the limelight as well.

MG had been without a sports car carrying the Midget name since 1955 when the MG TF went out of production. With the success of the Austin Healey Sprite, the BMC overlords decided that there should be an MG version, too. Since the development engineering (and eventual manufacture) of the original MkI Frogeye Sprite was done by MG at Abingdon, it was a fairly simple matter to badge engineer an MG edition of the new MkII Sprite. Sporting a modern update of the classic MG grille and a chrome bonnet trim, the new MG Midget was launched in June of 1961. 

Like its Sprite brother, the new Midget was powered by a 948cc A-Series engine cranking out 46BHP and was stopped by drum brakes on all four wheels. Sports cars were still considered a bit of primitive motoring so it retained the MkI Sprite's side curtain setup. 

For me the earliest cars are the purest ones. My dream garage would include a '61 Midget on disc wheels in Clipper Blue.

Happy birthday, little friend!

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