MG Sports Cars

engine swaps and other performance upgrades, plus "factory" and Costello V8s

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Evan Ayers

(3 posts)

01/30/2015 10:41AM

Main British Car:

'79 Midget - Chevy V6 Swap
Posted by: Evanaka
Date: February 02, 2015 07:56PM

Long story short, I realized a subaru engine wasn't going to happen like I wanted to.

I have myself a rubber bumper Midget that I want to make fast. My current plan is to make a street legal roadster type Midget with a GM v6 (3.4L, 3.8L) - I have read differing opinions on the 90degree vs 60degree engines. I came across this Midget, and pretty much fell in love because it preserved the body style []

i've got lots of time and know-how and a budget of about $5,000 (but won't complain if I can do it for less)

> I will likely look for an early 90's camaro, el camino, impala engine to pull and add some bells and whistles (upgraded intake manifold and carb)
> Also get side pipes for exhaust.
> As far as the transmission I have read up that the T5 is a great fit for the MG's without massive fabbing or mods - but i am not sure of the best place to acquire it, or if it is even the best.
> Aditionally I would swap out the rear axel for something a bit beefier but narrow it for the size of the car and upgrade the rear rotors, pads and E-brake. While I am at it i would also upgrade rear suspension.
> Biggest hurdles I am imagining are seating transmission and getting an ideal rear differential.
> Other things I'm not sure of are replacement dash and gauges, wiring and ECU

I am just looking for some guidance for my first significant swap and build. - Let me know what you think. Any advise, links, thoughts or recommendations on where to get parts and where to start would be extremely appreciated. Thanks!

Bill Russell
(81 posts)

11/18/2008 06:01AM

Main British Car:
77MGB 350 Chevy with LT1 heads

authors avatar
Re: '79 Midget - Chevy V6 Swap
Posted by: theonlyiceman53
Date: February 03, 2015 07:10AM

Hi Evan,
I think you can study some more of the how it was done articles on this website for some pretty specific guidance. My advice is to get started by pulling the engine/transmission and seeing what you have and clean/detail the area for the new engine. Get the engine/transmission and try putting it in place. Cut/bang/weld anything that doesn't fit and go from there. Every swap has its own items that need to be fabricated and most cannot be prefabbed because of the nature of the beast. That is how I have done every engine swap except for the grey MGB where I started with the Jag rear end. Do the engine compartment first because once you put that engine in place a dozen times or so you will reach a point where you convince yourself you can detail the engine compartment after it is in place. Oh, not so true........ Yes, you will scratch/dent/burn the engine compartment but much easier to fix smaller areas once the engine is in place. Maybe it's just me that can't wait to get it on the road............

If you plan on going really fast I would recommend an automatic. One less thing to think about during rapid acceleration. It's amazing how quick these things can dart when things aren't perfect with the suspension during shifting. It does keep the blood flowing pretty good!

Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4411 posts)

10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: '79 Midget - Chevy V6 Swap
Posted by: Moderator
Date: February 03, 2015 11:06AM

If you haven't checked out the Midgets and Sprites on our sister website, start there: You'll find lots of photos of suspension mods, dashboards and gauges, etc. etc.

Spridgets can be set significantly lower and built much lighter than most other British sports cars - so they can be wickedly quick with smaller engines - and they FEEL even quicker than they are! IMHO, it's possible to spoil what's great about a Midget by installing oversize parts. A T5 is okay for an MGB but might be overkill for a <1500# car. Don't let anyone tell you that you need a nine inch axle, because you don't even need an eight inch in a car that light. Easier to fit, and ride quality will be better with less unsprung weight too.

Is your Midget drivable right now? If so, drive the wheels off it for awhile so you can be sure of your priorities. (Do you mostly enjoy carving up narrow and twisty roads, or should you prioritize stoplight to stoplight performance? Maybe heeling-and-toeing is a big part of the fun for you - or maybe not. Etc.)

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