Some years ago, I purchased a new Austin Healey Sprite and was highly delighted with it. Last year I bought a new Midget, and have now had twelve months to assess the various “improvements” that have transpired since Lord Stokes and a price increase of nearly £300.
(i) The excellent steering wheel which gave a clear view of all the instruments has been replaced by something which may be more trendy but obscures bath speedometer and rev.-counter.
(ii) The heater, which was perfectly adequate, now issues forth vast quantities of heat which necessitate it being off except in severe frost.
(iii) The toggle switches which one could easily find in the dark have given way to fiddly “rockers”.
(iv) The hollow in the door which gave that little bit extra elbow room is no longer, making life cramped for the longarmed.
(v) Various flashy badges and expanses of black paint have appeared, which certainly do nothing for the car’s looks and do not appear to have any function. Why has the lovely old MG grille been replaced by this awful black thing ?
(vi) And the wheels—what was wrong with plain wheels with chrome hub-caps ? Now we have “artillery” or something, which are the devil to clean and look ghastly.
I applaud interior lights and self-propping boot and bonnet, neither of which is necessary to the enthusiast. Thank goodness Leyland have not decided to muck about with the engine. One shudders to think what further they can inflict on the only decent thing they now make—quartic steering wheels, hydra-gas suspension, the Rover V8 engine ?
I still enjoy Midget motoring, in spite of Leyland’s attempts to the contrary.
Sale. JOHN L. WOOD.