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Site updated
20 March 2011

How it Started

by James Mather

MG Midget 1500 5 Speed Conversion how it started...

It was June 2003 and I was at the Newark Kit Car show with a friend (on a bit of a summertime jolly). I hadnít gone to start an affair, but all dressed in immaculate white, she just looked at me with those sexy eyes, and I was smitten. True, her bottom end was rumbling a little (something she ate?), but a set of shells would soon sort that out. At least there was plenty of oil pressure.

And so I bought Bridget, (my second 1500 MG Midget,) in June 2003, 20 years after my first lemon yellow, rubber bumpered chariot. She was an absolutely immaculate GAN6 1500 in White. 55,000 genuine miles with the last 18 years MOTís and lots of history. Welding in panels isnít a problem, metal is cheap, BUT spray painting afterwards costs an arm and a leg (or even more) and I am not a painter. I wanted something which didnít need welding and/or painting. I found it...and not too dear either.

The important thing is that the trim, paint and body was brilliant.

So I dropped the sump to cure her rumbling tum. Well, the idea WAS to have something to play with and so I was just playing. My regular Ford Mundano, just went on and on I was getting bored. (If the Mundano needed fixing, I stuck it into the garage!). Besides, I just bought a new tub of hand cleaner and needed to try it out. Bridget did get a bit hot in traffic, so perhaps flush and clean the radiator and engine block too. It will just be some sludge...won't it? Won't it????

Well the shells were like new. I guess the previous owner had tried the quick shell fix already. So out came the motor. Crank reground, unleaded valve seats in the head, re-ringed (after thorough deglazing of course). The bores are still cross hatched from the original honing. Rocker shaft like new. Oil pump like new. Inside of motor really really clean (witness lots of service receipts and oil changes).

The coolant was like new. The inside of the water passages are seriously like new,(grey cast iron like the day it came out of the foundry) so how the heck does the radiator get full of scale then? It beats me. I had it recored. That saved me a whole £10 on the cost of a new one, but I did get the LH inlet moved to the top. It beats me why the radiator in the 1500 is like it is.

Bridget always felt stressed, particularly on fast A roads or Motorways. She needed an overdrive really....oh well, they (MG) never made one. What about Spitty overdrive then? No, I discounted that as being unavailable...and then I found....the MG Enthusiasts site and that was it.

A Ford Sierra box. 5 speeds. Cheap as chips. Growing in every garden. Last forever.

I read lots of info which I found on Google. I visited my local breakers. ďSierra gearboxes? 5 speed? How many do you want?Ē. I ended up buying 2 at £40 each (the story of trying to move the gear lever mechanism forward by 4Ē is a website by itself. The cut and shut box showed a reluctance to use more than 3 gears. It went in the scrap bin.

I looked at various other sites including the most common maker of conversions, Frontline and read some other peoples experiences. The problem was that the recognised conversion kits cost 2 arms and 2 legs (at least). I will make my own, I resolved.......and so it started.

I shall put more info on the site as the mood takes me, but meanwhile follow the links on the left.

More to follow......all in good time.......