Rides from the Readers: 1979 MG Midget
Hagerty readers and Hagerty Drivers Club members share their cherished collector and enthusiast vehicles with us via our contact email, firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re showcasing some of our favorite stories among these submissions. To have your car featured, send complete photography and your story of ownership to us at the above email.
Today’s featured ride is a 1979 MG Midget, representing the fourth and final generation of British Leyland’s petite roadster. You can most easily distinguish 1975–80 models by their chunky rubber bumpers. That is, if their owners didn’t swap them for the earlier, lower-profile chrome units. Unfortunately, the safety bumpers added enough weight that the performance of Mark IV Midgets suffered, despite the power of the single-carb, 1493-cc four-cylinder from the Triumph Spitfire under the hood. (Mk IIIs got a 1275-cc four-cylinder.) However, you didn’t buy a MG Midget for straight-line speed. In those days, and now, a British roadster is a vehicle for producing delightful top-down memories.
Which is exactly what owner Brad Koehler treasures about his 1979 MG Midget. He only owned the roadster for a year and a half (during his gap year between high school and college) but it remains his all-time favorite car. The Midget succeeded two red VW Beetles and two brown Fords, the last of which was a 1966 Falcon. Koehler bought the Midget as his daily driver at 18, honing his stick-shift abilities and road-tripping all over the the Midwest. “Freedom and a sunburn,” as he sums it up. “How about the time a few of us decided to go to a party a couple towns away and discovered, to our delight, that the Midget was built to hold exactly two guys, three girls, and ten cases of beer … with the top down, of course.”
What’s your most treasured memory of a beloved car? We want to hear about it in the Hagerty Community comments below.