Your classic: MG Midget

| 13 Jan 2023
Classic & Sports Car – Your classic: MG Midget

Retirement has arrived – or, as I like to put it, I’m in the fortunate position of not having to work.

I’d always wanted two things in my retirement: to move somewhere warm, and to build a kit car.

My wife and I bought a villa near Dénia, on the northern Costa Blanca in Spain, and we started our new life in the sun.

Classic & Sports Car – Your classic: MG Midget

A scenic Spanish backdrop to fun MG motoring

Next up was building a car. The only issue was that I first had this dream back in the ’80s, when there were myriad kit cars to choose from.

Today, with modern cars going on and on, the kit-car market has almost dried up. So my next thought was: ‘How about running a classic sports car?’

I’d had a few as a young man, from a Triumph TR5 (why didn’t I keep that?) to an MG Midget.

Classic & Sports Car – Your classic: MG Midget

The Midget’s lightly fettled 1275cc A-series engine now runs well

The car needed to be left-hand drive and, after some research, there seemed to be a number of dealers in The Netherlands with a good selection.

I located a 1973 ex-California Mk3 MG Midget that appeared to be in great condition.

My wife had always wanted a city break to Amsterdam, so in August 2019 a trip was arranged, including a drive up-country to the dealer, Hofman Leek.

Classic & Sports Car – Your classic: MG Midget

Brian Spickett’s MG looks just as good underneath

The car was just as good as it was described, a deal was done and the MG was duly transported to me in Spain.

When it arrived, I was shocked to see that it didn’t have any numberplates. I called the dealer, who informed me that, because the car had been exported, the plates had to be removed and cut up.

Because it wasn’t registered, I couldn’t get it insured or start using it. ‘Never mind,’ I thought, ‘the registration process in Spain can’t take that long, can it?’

Classic & Sports Car – Your classic: MG Midget

The Midget is a regular at the Marina Alta Classic Car Club’s local meets

I talked to a firm that specialises in obtaining Spanish registrations, and we agreed the best route was to get the car on historic plates because, as in the UK, a historic car doesn’t require road tax and the ITV (the local MoT) inspections are greatly reduced.

The process began, and within a few weeks the car had been inspected by the University of Alicante to ensure that it was a genuine classic.

The inspection was very detailed, with every measurement taken and all identification numbers checked against manufacturer data. The car passed with no issues.

Classic & Sports Car – Your classic: MG Midget

Brian purchased an SU HIF44 carburettor, an inlet manifold and a new exhaust system for his little roadster

The next step was to get the documents issued by the Spanish vehicle authority. I was told this could take up to three months, but in fact it took eight – although, to be fair, COVID-19 may have caused the delay.

The final hurdle was then to get the car through the ITV.

This threw up a new problem: how to transport a car without numberplates and with no insurance to the test centre. A tow was arranged and the MG was duly transported.

Classic & Sports Car – Your classic: MG Midget

The unregistered MG had to be transported to an ITV test centre

I had started the car a few times in my garage with no issues, but inevitably when I took it in it went on strike.

Fortunately, there were no emissions checks required and, because it doesn’t have power steering or brakes, I was able to push the car through the test.

The MG passed, the numberplates were issued and I got it insured. Back home, I checked it over to find out why it wouldn’t run, and found some very worn carbs.

Classic & Sports Car – Your classic: MG Midget

Brian’s desirable ‘round arch’ Midget is now registered at last

I purchased an SU HIF44, an inlet manifold and a new exhaust system.

On the first run out the alternator packed up, but Moss Europe sent one over from the UK.

The Midget is now running like a dream, and is the perfect toy for me to fettle and run around the beautiful Spanish countryside.

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  • Owned by Brian Spickett
  • First classic This car
  • Dream classic Ferrari Dino 246GT

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