Car of the Month
Owners name: Dave Saunders
Owners location: Surrey, GB
Model: Midget GAN3 Mk2 w/up windows 64-66
Engine size/type: 1275cc
Year of manufacture: 1965
Colour: British Racing Green
How long owned: 18 Years
History of Car and any work or modifications carried out: Back in 1965 following the success of the Jacobs Midgets at the Nurburgring, it was recognised by Stuart Turner that MG had the opportunity to win the Grand Touring 1300cc Class of the World Championship of Makes if any further successes were achieved. As a result of this two MG Midgets were taken from the production line and prepared for the Bridgehampton Double Five Hundred Championship race in the USA in September 1965. The cars were prepared using Aluminium body shells and fitted with in-line Cooper S engines with close ratio gearboxes and limited slip differentials. The cars were finished in British Racing Green as required by the international racing regulations. The cars were to be driven by Rauno Aaltonen and Timo Makinen both with US co-drivers Gil Page and Leo Picard. In the event the American co-drivers were not used as they were too slow, and so the pair of flying Finns drove the whole event. The sensation of the race was that the Aaltonen Midget, which not only won its class but finished a superb sixth overall against such cars as Porsche 904 GTS, Lotus 23B, Lotus Elan 26R and Alfa Romeos. The Makinen car was third in class and finished in eleventh place overall.
Following this success the cars remained in America, undertaking promotional activities with the MG main dealers to facilitate the launch of the 1275cc Midget in 1966.
This car passed into the hands of Ray Cuomo and was raced by him at such events as the Nassau International Speed Week in the Bahamas and other events at well known American circuits such as Sebring and Daytona etc.
The car disappeared into storage and eventually found its way back to the UK in late 2002 and was then acquired by its current owner. The car was a complete time warp and was authenticated asAaltonen’s car by former Works personnel, Peter Browning, Bill Price and Den Green. It has been completely mechanically restored and repainted in its original colour of British Racing Green. It is the only known survivor of the five MG Midgets prepared by the Abingdon Competitions Department.
The car has been prepared for racing and the original seats and aircraft harnesses etc are being preserved. During the restoration the car was rewired by Stan Charmers, formerly of Lucas Competitions Department, who originally wired the car in1965 and who recognised his original handmade loom!
The restoration has been carried out by John Palmer of Specialist Cars and theengine has been prepared by Nick Swift of Swiftune. The car has been raced in historic events since being restored including at Paul Ricard in November 2008 with a first in class.
Nickname of Car: None