21/10/2014 **Stop Press** This car will no longer be at the Show as advised by the Owner.
The idea behind the ADO34/50 Project is to design and build what could have been an economical replacement for the Midget in 1964. The project takes the Midget to the next level. There were plans to replace the Midget in 1964 with a car based on a Mini platform, ie a front wheel drive car, known at the time as ADO34, but these plans were scrapped and the new Midget for 1964 never happened.
Project ADO34/50 marks the 50th anniversary of the Midget that might have been, but not as BMC envisaged. My project retains the same basic Midget configuration and uses only components and developments that would have been available to BMC in the mid-sixties.
Instead of adopting the Mini platform, with its high frontal area and small wheels, ADO34/50 has retained the Midget tub, with some modifications. (see below) The monocoque is light and strong and is a proven basis for a sports car. The tub itself appears to take its design cues from the 50’s D type Jaguar, so in many ways it may be considered a ‘mini’ D Type in structure. The Midget’s inline mechanical layout also lends itself to a low frontal area with the consequent potential for a better shape for a traditional sports car.
For the standard car, the front set up will be retained for economic reasons and because it works well. But for a serious competition car, which is what we are building, we have substituted the standard set-up with a fully adjustable/double wishbone arrangement worthy of the Abingdon competition department. This set up uses the same locating points as the standard car. This arrangement has been developed by Jonathon Heap of J L H Minor Restorations, Napton. The rear suspension of both the envisaged standard car and the competition car have been modified with the aim of creating a better located back axle. This new arrangement required modification to the rear tub. We have created turrets in the rear tub to house a coil/damper arrangement. The original cart springs have been replaced with radius arms and an ‘A’ bracket. By redesigning the rear suspension with these simple modifications, we believe that the short-comings of the original set up have been addressed improving handling, power delivery and comfort. The rear suspension was built by Craig Chapman of CC Coachwork at Cannich near Beauly, Inverness. Engine/Gearbox/Back Axle
The modifications to the engine are the most radical in the project. These modifications could have been accomplished in 1964. As well as increasing the engine capacity to 1275cc, the new Midget will feature an 8 port head. It is not widely known, but Weslake who designed the ‘A’ series engine, designed and built a prototype 8 port head for the same engine in the mid 1950’s. For a variety of reasons, this design was never taken up by BMC. The ADO34/50 project will use this cylinder head which is currently on test at Weslake. This should give our Midget a new lease of life in terms of performance, torque and smoothness. It also has great potential for competition use. The gearbox will use the stronger internals of the later Midgets and the axle will be higher geared with strengthened half shafts and bearings. We are looking into the possibility of a 5 speed box, similar to the one used in the Le Mans Sprites in the 1960’s.
The body shape takes its cues from the styles of the 1960’s and for economical reasons it will retain the doors, sills and scuttle of the Midget. However the roof, rear and front of the car has been completely re-designed as a fast-back, the aim being to make it more aero-dynamic and attractive. Richard Oakes designed the body and I think that you will agree that it looks fantastic. It is period perfect. Craig Chapman has been responsible not only for building the rear suspension, but he has also modified the tub and built the body.
Version to be shown at NEC
The version of the car which will be displayed on the MG Car Club stand at the NEC in November 2014 will be a light-weight competition version which BMC could have developed for racing or rallying. It will be made of aluminium, have Perspex windows and its weight will be taken down to the bare minimum. The engine will be a competition version of the 8 port head and it should develop over 120 bhp.
This is an exciting project which could have been produced by BMC in the mid-1960’s and it would not have incurred huge development costs. It would have transformed an already excellent design. I think it could have been BMC’s Stratos!
Douglas' car will be on the MGCC stand at the NEC and should be a stunning exhibit.