It’s a wel­come re­turn for a clas­sic last seen in CCW three years ago – Mike’s MG Mid­get is back!

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Living With Classics - MIKE LE CAPLAIN PRO­DUC­TION EDI­TOR


If you’re a long-stand­ing

CCW reader, you can stop rub­bing your eyes and won­der­ing if you’ve in­ad­ver­tently stepped back in time – that, or the ghosts of the three Har­vey Wall­bangers you downed be­fore Christ­mas Day lunch are still haunt­ing you. Don’t worry – you have seen this car within these pages be­fore, most re­cently fol­low­ing its re­turn from the Laven­ham Press Tour in 2014, with a crew com­pris­ing me (then CCW’s fea­tures edi­tor) and a chap called David Simister. Nice bloke. No idea what be­came of him.

PCB was, it has to be said, not in the rud­est of health back then. A rapidly fail­ing starter mo­tor stranded me at a petrol sta­tion be­fore we’d even left Peter­bor­ough, and I ended up hav­ing to push it out of a sea of other clas­sics and bump-start it be­fore we could head for home af­ter the tour the fol­low­ing af­ter­noon. Then we got stuck in a hor­ren­dous Fri­day af­ter­noon rush­hour traf­fic jam on the A14, watch­ing help­lessly as the wa­ter tem­per­a­ture gauge soared and the fuel gauge plum­meted. The fine line be­tween ad­ven­ture and stress was cer­tainly blurred that day.

Life has been pretty quiet for the lit­tle MG since those hal­cyon days. Ob­vi­ously, the starter mo­tor has been re­placed, but apart from that it’s needed only rou­tine main­te­nance and ser­vic­ing, and usu­ally starts first turn of the key, even af­ter weeks of in­ac­tiv­ity. And there’s been quite a bit of that. It spent late 2014 and most of 2015 snooz­ing in my garage while I shut­tled end­lessly around the UK and main­land Europe dur­ing a brief ca­reer hia­tus from the clas­sic car world. And it en­joyed an only slightly busier 2016, get­ting reg­u­lar, but pretty gen­tle ex­er­cise, in­clud­ing an ap­pear­ance at my lo­cal clas­sic car show in Bourne. Well, all that looks set to change in 2017. I’m de­ter­mined to ex­or­cise its MG Live! ghost (its first time there was marred by mon­soon con­di­tions and the afore­men­tioned knack­ered starter­mo­tor stymied my last at­tempt to take it there) and reckon that this is the year when I should fi­nally ful­fill a long-held dream of tak­ing it to the Clas­sic Bri­tish Wel­come in St Saturnin. Closer to home, it’s re­cently dawned on me that the prime Mid­geteer­ing roads of the Peak District are only a cou­ple of hours away from my Lin­colnshire home, too. Geog­ra­phy never was my strong point.

Hope­fully, the Mid­get won’t need much fet­tling for these ad­ven­tures, though it still marks its ter­ri­tory with Cas­trol GTX wher­ever it goes and the bon­net has re­sumed its age-old habit of rat­tling mer­rily over rough sur­faces. That said, I re­ally ought to change the wiper mech­a­nism for some­thing that can man­age more than a hand­ful of sweeps of the wind­screen in­side of a given minute, and I won’t be go­ing any­where near France un­til I’ve had a 12v socket fit­ted to power my sat­nav and charge my phone.

Mean­time, I’m do­ing my best to not look at cheap-but-sound six­cylin­der E28 BMW 5 Se­ries in CCW’s clas­si­fieds. I’d for­got­ten what a truly hor­ren­dous temp­ta­tion they are…

Solo Drive-It Day cruise last year en route to Heck­ing­ton Wind­mill. Mike’s Mid­get basks in the sum­mer sun­shine of the Bourne Clas­sic Car Show, June 2016.

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