Aloysius W 1972 MG Midget Mk III 2dr Convertible

1935 connects with 1972

MG Midgets are rather ubiquitous. They are neither rare or exotic, but they are fun to drive and they are, of course, small. My modern Midget is driven regularly, even through the Winter, if there is no snow and salt encrusting the road. And always with the top down and folded. What is the point of having a roadster if you are cocooned away from the elements. There is a great stoic joy in slipping into the heavy Irish fisherman's sweater, donning the Barbour coat and gloves and wrapping up in the long scarf, a la Isadora Duncan. (Mind you keep the scarf inside the car, away from the rear wheels.) I have an immediate historic connection with all the drivers from previous decades who squeezed themselves into little cars and drove off into the cold, misty morning, racketing along hedgerowed lanes. There is not a bit of the experience that I don't enjoy.

A dear friend was a collector of vintage MGs and had the excellent taste and forethought to buy a number of pre-War cars. Out of the entire lot, though, there was one MG I was particularly fond of. It was, to my mind, the ideal of roadsterdom, the quintessential little British motorcar. It was a 1935 iteration of the Midget, an MG PA in cream-cracker colors. Right hand drive, of course, with a giant steering wheel. The unsynchronized gearbox was a 'mirror shift' contraption with first gear next to your left knee. There was a technique and ability needed to drive the car properly and was a source of some amazement to passengers, who would announce from the left seat that they didn't quite fathom how one could drive on the "wrong" side, shift gears backwards while double clutching and carry on a cogent conversation at the same time.

In size, the PA was even smaller than my 1972 Midget, at least in width. When sitting comfortably in the biscuit leather drivers seat, I could casually rest my arm on the passenger's seat and feel my fingers draping outside the left side of the car. This without being either a giant or a gorilla.

This was one wonderful motorcar and, because a 1935 PA is not ubiquitous and could be considered exotic, I will likely not be able to drive another.

But on every occasion that I drive my 1972 Midget, I am connected viscerally and mentally with that 1935, cream-cracker, PA. Little car to little car, racketing down the hedgerowed lanes.

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