Rich Weaver has been a regular at Leacy Classics for quite some time. His project - a rare Black Tulip MG Midget with a yellow ochre interior. His father was the original owner and after many years of looking for a similar car, he found the original vehicle and lovingly restored it to its former glory. We are proud to have helped Rich source the majority of the parts he needed for this restoration and the car has even been featured in Classics Monthly July edition. Here is the full story.

"The Midget was built in January 1973 it was dispatched to Evans and Kitchen Ltd. in Birmingham and sold to a Mr Wheatley in February 1973.

My father at the time lived nearby and was looking to upgrade his current little red Mini. He visited the showroom with the aim of getting a purple Wood and Picket Mini - unfortunately the insurance was too much for this but next to it in the front showroom was this MG Midget - in the super rare colour combination of Black Tulip with Yellow Ochre interior 

He then used the Midget for a year or so and took it on holiday to Tintagel in Cornwall. In later ownership of the car Dad fitted a period PECO back box exhaust - old pinstripe - painted the wheels gold, fitted Lucas spotlights and a Mountney steering wheel (I still have these).

My father drove the Midget for a while and used it to tow his caravan - he added the radio, console and the Selma car alarm. He then got rid of the Midget in favour of a more powerful GT6 - and sold the Midget to another Birmingham based car dealer - Birmingham Cardrome.

Dad sold the car in 1975 and moved up to a Vauxhall - the car was then sold to a dealer who then sold it (according to the old log books to a petrol station - now Texaco – then it went  onto another lady in Birmingham).

I found the car in a barn after placing an advert on one of the MG forums looking for a project to build a car to similar spec as Dad had. As my search had found no trace of the car - a chap sent me a message saying he may have a car suitable to my needs - purple with yellow interior - a deal was done and I bought the Midget, which although was stripped and was a mismatch of hand painted panels was totally rust free - it still bears the original floors - sills and wings etc. I believe it was stripped to carry out a restoration but must have been stalled. After obtaining the car history from the DVLA and checking the VIN number it turned out that it was the very car I had been looking for nearly 15 years!

Since I saw a Midget whilst on holiday in Cornwall as a child, which Dad said would be a nice first car for me - he mentioned he still had some photos of it from when he had it, which I obsessed over for years. As a teenager I tried many times to find the Midget - contacting the Owners Club but all I could find out was that it hadn’t been on the road since the early 1980's.

Still in love with Midgets my first car was a 1978 Midget 1500 in green - described as restored but turned out to be a death trap with rusty sills, floors and no seatbelt anchors. My grandparents came to the rescue and got it repaired for me. I used this for a while and decided to upgrade to a B - a deal was done with a guy wanting a Midget and I walked away with a white 1974 MGB but with red leather interior and walnut dash - I added a aluminium MGC bonnet and being a young lad I wanted to put a bit more mph in the mob so i bought a Derrington Crossflow aluminium head from Bromsgrove MG - this subsequently caused the weak engine to loose a piston ring and start a full engine rebuild. Then the head warped so I reverted to the original cast iron head - later the MGB overheated and covered me in boiling water when I opened the bonnet. I then decided enough was enough and moved onto a more reliable MK1 MX5.

I managed to source the last new old stock yellow ochre interior with a custom made carpet set  and recently found original ochre door seals. The original engine has been professionally fully rebuilt to unleaded spec with Kent 266 Cam, it's just about run in now so will soon be taking it to the rolling road to get fully set up.

I did some research and found out that only 195 Black Tulip Midgets were built - 9 with Navy interior - 5 with Autumn Leaf and the remainder in Ochre, mine being one of these - according to owners club there are only about 15 ‘Purple’ Midgets still registered.

I have gone to every detail I can on the restoration - finding the often misplaced or discarded clips and brackets - I have managed to get an ‘Evans & Kitchen’ tax disc holder which was an original dealer add-on. The original manufacturer did me a small run of new ones for my car but I'am still looking for an ‘Evans & Kitchen’ key-ring to finish it off!

The only welding needed on the shell was a 5p size hole on the inner A post.

The wings were an eBay bargain: £100 for a pair of heritage panels - the bonnet is an original rust free one.

When the car was being built up I found out the gearbox and differential were incorrect and from a Morris Minor - a purchase of a rotten donor car sourced the remaining parts I needed. Gearbox, differentials, the correct engine bay plastic heater pipe which are no longer available - various clips and brackets and a very good original front bumper which still had the British Leyland sticker underneath. I had the original parts re-chromed.

The vast majority of new parts came from Leacy Classics who offered pretty much everything needed to make the Midget as new! Martin on the desk was very helpful and knowledgeable and put up with my very short timescales between ordering and collecting the parts - only a few things are needed now to complete the Midget to a 100% complete restoration".

Thank you to Richard for his custom and for his detailed history of his rare vehicle. Happy driving!