Recommended books

If you are thinking of buying one of these and you’ve found ShoestringMGracer of interest or of use please buy them through Amazon and me. You’ll get a good price and I’ll get a tiny amount of commission towards the running costs of the site. Thanks

    The MG Midget and Austin Healey Sprite High Performance Manual (Speedpro) (Speedpro Series) Daniel N.J. Stapleton


Before attempting any modifications on a Midget, you need to read this book.

It’s really detailed and presents lots of options from every thing from engine, transmission and suspension to special bodywork. The author clearly knows what he is talking about and has done it all before so this book is really detailed yet written in an easily understandable format. Unlike most Midget books, it covers the 1500 in detail (although I get the feeling that the author is an A-series man at heart). He goes through lots of options from mild to wild so you can make decisions according to your wants and the depth of your pockets. What I particularly like is that he is not afraid to tell you which options he personally recommends and you could build an excellent car just by copying him. Highly recommended.

    MG Midget and Austin Healey Sprite Owner’s Workshop Manual – 1958 to 1980

It is quite fashionable for online “experts” to make sure everybody knows how knowledgeable they are by deriding Haynes manuals. Because they are a connoisseur they use the Official Workshop Manual (below) and mock the Haynes books as only being “OK for an oil change in a lock-up”. The OWM has its place, but I think the Haynes manuals are great. They are written in a more user friendly format and have photographs too. Also, using a Haynes manual makes you feel like your dad. Recommended.

    The Official Workshop Manual


These are exactly what you would expect. They are more detailed than the Haynes manual but are written in a very dry tone. These are the manuals that would have been sent out to dealers when the cars were new. If you like to imagine yourself wearing a brown workshop coat then its perfect for you. If you want everything in exact detail and exceptionally clear exploded diagrams it is also for you. Make sure you get the right one – 1500s have a separate one with all the others in the Mk1-3 version.

    Four Stroke Performance Tuning by A G Bell


Very technical and not remotely Midget-specific this book is still an excellent read. Its big and dense and uses information from production-based engines and purpose-built race engines. It won’t tell you the answers but it is helpful. The author has been around motorsport for ever and offers lost of general advice. For example, he talks about a race car driven by both professional racers and skilled amateurs. Without telling the drivers they switched the full race engine and a rally spec (less power, wider power band). With the rally engine the pros were slightly slower but the amateurs were faster than with the more powerful engine. Something to consider before you invest in that race engine… It also has lots of excellent detail and theory but is written in a very understandable stye. It allows you to dream of modifications during long winter’s nights. Highly recommended.

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