Dep-O Magazine

Our Cars: SC’s MG Midget

Simon Charlesworth November 28, 2012 No Comments on Our Cars: SC’s MG Midget

SC's MG Midget arrives at Brabazon Motors

A day of fevered spannering and finally the Little Red Bugger is running sweetly. Put this nugget of info together with the above photo and well, all’s well that ends well – surely…?

No. I can’t be dishonest with you.

The Midget made it to Brabazon Motors in an all too familiar style, on the back of a flat-bed recovery truck; all thanks to the cavalry – in the form of Jeff Marsh – rescuing the MG from the folks’ increasingly wet driveway.

It’s been there ever since its rented home was having a new roof fitted (I seriously expect this terrible wet weather to clear up now that the MG is back indoors) and I feared a plunging roofing tile or two would end up restyling its crisp lines.

Attempting to resurrect an old car which hasn’t been used for five years will always be a challenge. The reason? A bank account which is full of little but cobwebs, which struck just when the MG seemed to be on the cusp of becoming reliable. At first it wouldn’t crank, the battery was charged, so the solenoid was stripped and the earth connection cleaned, I then remembered that my ‘new’ battery was probably at least 15 years old. So off to Moss I went.

SC's MG Midget arrives at Brabazon Motors

Cranking achieved, the tank was full of nothing but fumes, so off to Esso I went – but still nothing. Out came the fuel pump, the points were cleaned and the pump refitted, but all we got was plenty of rumper-dump-thumper-dump but no action. So off to Millard’s the motor-factors, I went for some more fuel line.

It would run but only with Gez on his knees, blowing into the tank to help the pump prime – even then during its few minutes of life, it was impossible to select a gear. The gearbox, it howled and screamed, at all attempts…

So off I went to the local petrol station for a tow rope, and the Midget was rolling again thanks to Gez’s Rover 75.

Cue a few weeks wait whilst the Little Red Bugger did nothing but get very wet, and our diaries did nothing but get in the way of our attempts to complete the mission.

Before Round Two, I ordered an SU mechanical rebuild kit from the SU people (I know it’s old skool, but I like the idea of repairing rather than replacing a component – plus if electro-mechanical was good enough for the Bristol Aeroplane Co then it’s good enough for me) and Gez set about rebuilding the pump. Meanwhile, off I hooned down to Moss to get a master-cylinder, which we thought was the probable cause of the clutch issues.

SC's MG Midget arrives at Brabazon Motors

Sadly, we ran out of time because all attempts to disconnect the existing master-cylinder failed – there is one nut and bolt in the pedal-box, which are impossible to undo with a conventional/ring spanner or socket. At this point the air around the Little Red Bugger turned very blue, as a quick attempt to bleed the slave produced no change in the increasingly infuriating situation.

At the back of my mind was another issue which is common to Midgets – wear in the pedal box. This reduces the leverage and thus the master’s hydraulic assistance which only becomes an issue when the gearbox heats up, when the resultant lack of hydraulic oomph, meant that the MG would stick in gear. Usually in heavy traffic. Usually in first – which is really rather low in a Midget. Almost as low as modern car drivers’ patience levels when stuck behind a small red sports car doing 10mph…

SC's MG Midget arrives at Brabazon Motors

Fast forward to the recent Avenue Drivers’ Club meet in Queen Square where I happened to bump into Jeff – a man who possesses the useful combination of immense mechanical experience and Midget previous.

It turns out that if a Midget’s clutch develops a fancy for the flywheel, then the only solution is engine out. Luckily for me, he said he’d have a look, which is where we came in – on the back of a flatbed truck.

Jeff is going to try a couple of tricks out to see if he can set the clutch free, but if not then the A-series will be foot-loose and fancy-free. Giving me a chance to have a close shufty at the Midget’s front H-section chassis legs (it’s a semi-monocoque, similar to a D-type) to see what state they’re in.

I know they did suffer a biff when I spectacularly ran out of talent around Chew Magna and they’ve also come up as requiring welding for past MoTs, so it’ll be interesting to see what fate has in stall for both of us.

Well, apart from me thinking how well a Bristol 410 complements the little red horror…

In good company, next to the ex-Sir George White Bristol 410

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