Driving an MG Midget across the country to Arizona in 1977

Driving an MG Midget across the country to Arizona in 1977

Let's time travel and drive an MG Midget to from Minneapolis to Phoenix

(Editor’s note: This post was originally published on History Adventuring. It was republished with permission.)

Although I usually time travel back to old-time Phoenix in my imagination, I actually did this in real life. I was 19 when I moved myself from Minneapolis to Phoenix, and I did it in a 1965 MG Midget.

If you’ve never seen an MG Midget, I’ll see if I can describe it to you: Just imagine two motorcycles next to each other — two very small motorcycles! Every once in a while, I still see an MG B out on the Phoenix streets, but I never see Midgets anymore.

The Midget was the smaller version of an MG B, which may boggle your mind if you’ve ever seen an MG B, which is itself a very tiny car!

An MG is a roadster, not a convertible. The difference between those two things is that, with a convertible, you put the top down in nice weather, whereas with a roadster you always drive topless.

I drove across the United States in the summer. It was glorious.

I brought along everything that I would need to start a new life in Arizona. As I recall, I had a small bag of golf clubs, a tennis racquet, a drawing board, and possibly some other things.

Midgets weren’t cars that carried a lot of stuff and it didn’t go very fast.

There is a song called “I Can’t Drive 55” and it really was the theme song for the Midget. The speedometer didn’t work, but somewhere out in the middle of nowhere there was a sign that registered my speed as 54. It was probably Nebraska.

I drove down through Omaha and remember being amazed at how much there was of Nebraska.

I made one stop at a truck stop, where I got myself cleaned up (I think it cost fifty cents to use the showers). I slept in the car, as well as I could — I must have been more flexible at 19!

I had never even heard of sunscreen, so by the time I got to Phoenix, I was pretty toasted.

I got a newspaper, looked for an apartment, had time to look at two places before the sun went down, decided on the the first one I had looked at, parked the MG in its very own parking space, and looked forward to a new life in Phoenix. The air conditioner didn’t work in that apartment, ever, but the place was cheap.

I was very happy in Arizona, and still am. I was born in the summer of my nineteenth year, coming home to a place I’d never been before.

-Brad Hall in Phoenix, Arizona

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  • Jim Sutherland
    May 14, 2018, 5:26 PM

    Short Midget & B stories: Summer 65 drove Opel Kadet to NOLA at top speed 50 mph. Bought 60 Falcon – SOLD both after Hurricane Betsy – no water damage. One of the officers got transferred & I bought his 65 red Midget. The dog (Brem) and I loved the ride – she could get in and out without touching anything. Came back from VN headed for flight training in Pensacola. I found out that all the student Naval Aviators bought Vette’s from Pensacola Buggy Works. I wanted a B. Shopped in Cleveland in a snow storm – found 5, fell in love with B – guy wanted bigger bucks than I wanted to pay. So, took it for a ride – good – wrote a check for $500 less than he wanted. Placed the check face down with the keys – had coffee & cookies with his wife and told him to either take the check or pick up the keys and tear up the check. He pocketed the check and pushed the keys to me. It all started in the late 40’s on the Pennsylvania turnpike when we passed a guy in a TD – canvas down, tonneau buttoned up, gloves & heavy jacket & cap ON doing about 50 and the temp was probably in the high 40’s – he was having a ball and I fell in love – promised myself that WHEN I would own one. Kept that B till 71 and traded for a NEW B. Four years later I got a wife & we had two kids – B had to go. Now 40 yrs later, I’ve had a 1969 Jeepster Commando for over 30 years – no rain /snow but I love it. Go to web site & the promo movie we did and see Jeep.

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  • scott
    May 15, 2018, 6:32 PM

    No you don’t see Midgets on the road any more.
    Bought my "63" in "73", I was 14.
    We lived near Dreamy Draw and Dad drove me out to east Mesa to have a look at her, east Mesa was the other side of the state in 1973 and it was the only "sports car" in the paper that was in my price range. I had saved up all of 600.00 and since I was almost 15 and in my mind 16 was right around the corner and I was determined to get ahead of the game. Dad talked the guy down to 400.00, I couldn’t believe it. Drove it home at 14 {Dad was cool that way} even though he really wanted me to spend my car money on a truck. Spent the next year redoing every thing I could on the Midget, Drove it on and off for 5 years, don’t remember ever having the top on it in all that time. Finally let it go for the same 400.00
    Just bought one out of Texas a 66. I should be done with it in about a year and I’m gonna drive it so look for me.
    PS don’t think I’ll ever have the top on this one either, can’t get in it with the top on. believe it or not they’ve some how gotten smaller!!

    REPLY
    • Mike@scott
      May 15, 2018, 7:55 PM

      A guy I worked with in Lincoln Nebraska in the late 60s decided that he had to see a girl in California. He left Friday at 5:00 p.m. in his MG Midget (don’t remember the model year but it had a few years on it). He was back at work Monday at 8:00 a.m. At lunch time we bought him a beer. Then we took him home and poured him in bed.

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