1978 MG Midget Mk IV
4-cyl. 1493cc/50hp 1bbl
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Faced with falling horsepower due to emissions regulations, British Leyland fitted the final MG Midget Mk IV with the 1493-cc Triumph Spitfire engine in 1975. The car was simultaneously raised to reduce the likelihood of damage during a crash, and the car gained huge rubber safety bumpers at both ends. The bumpers added weight, and performance of the Mk IV is slightly less than earlier versions of the car. U.S. cars were fitted with a single Zenith carburetor and had a top speed around 80 mph.
Even though sticker prices had reached $4,150 in 1977 (nearly $1,500 higher than 5 years earlier), sales lingered on until 1979, when the last Midget left the factory. Some cars went unsold that year and were titled as 1980 models. The Mk IV closed the 20-year run for the car.
Good examples of Mk IV Midgets can still be found at the back of garages in better neighborhoods where they were a popular second car for sunny days, but time has not been kind to those living on the streets. Finding bone stock rubber-bumper cars is becoming increasingly difficult as many owners have opted to rebuild their Midgets with chrome bumpers from earlier cars. As always, look out for rust and check the front suspension is stiff, without having tube shocks fitted. The lever shocks are also on the top a-arms and if they’ve failed, the suspension bushings are worn out too. First gear should be quiet, which is uncommon in most cars now. Prices for the MG Midget are remarkably cheap, and represent one of the most economical ways to get into vintage motoring.