John McCue's 1972 MG Midget, Number 66Owner: John McCue
City: Charleston, West Virginia
Model: 1972 MG Midget
Engine: 1275cc BMC A-series
Built by: owner
Features and Specifications
|Engine:||1275cc Spridget engine with 0.040" overbore.
JE forged pistons.
Carrillo connecting rods.
Stock crankshaft, reworked by Moldex Crankshaft Co.
Steel main caps with ARP hardware.
Ported and polished cylinder head (1.4" intake valves and 1.14" exhaust valves.)
14.2:1 static compression ratio.
Huffaker Engineering camshaft and valve springs.
Titanium retainers and bronze valve guides.
ARP valvetrain hardware.
APT lifters, with radius recut.
Titan roller rockers (1.5:1 ratio.)
Mallory Unilite distributor.
MSD6AL capacitive discharge ignition system.
MSD Blaster ignition coil and plug wires.
S.U. carburetors rebuilt by Huffaker Engineering.
K&N air filters.
Winners Circle "Super" oil pan.
Accusump oil accumulator.
Remote oil filter.
|Cooling:||Ron Davis dual-pass aluminum radiator.
Modified aluminum water pump (with every other vane removed.)
16-row aluminum oil cooler.
|Exhaust:||Huffaker Engineering stainless steel through-the-tunnel exhaust system.
(The header is a "long center branch" design, with specially selected diameters and lengths.)
Megaphone (open) or Magnaflow muffler, depending on the noise requirements of the particular track.
(Note: a Magnaflow stainless muffler was installed when we viewed the car at Watkins Glen.)
|Transmission:||Taylor Race Engineering rib-case 4-speed dog-ring gearbox with
1.83:1 first gear and 1:1 fourth gear. Quartermaster flywheel.
Tilton 7.25" single disc clutch. Stock driveshaft.
|Rear Axle:||Spridget axle housing. 4.22:1 gears mounted to a Tran-X limited slip differential
(except when racing at Savannah, where 3.90:1 gears and a welded axle are used instead.)
|Front Susp.:||550lb/in coil springs.
Armstrong lever arm shocks modified by Apple Hydraulics.
Steering arms modified to reduce bump steer.
Winners Circle 7/8" anti-sway bar, mounted on aluminum pillow blocks and
connected with 3/8" Heim joints.
|Rear Susp.:||Gullwing (offset) semi-elliptic leaf springs.
Armstrong lever arm shocks with Heim joints.
5/8" anti-sway bar (which isn't used all the time!)
Watts linkage for lateral axle location.
A radius rod to the body eliminates axle rotation.
(Note: dual anti-tramp bars were installed when we viewed the car.)
|Brakes:||(master) Girling dual master cylinders with Tilton remotely adjustable bias bar.
(front) stock rotors and calipers.
(rear) stock drum brakes.
|Wheels/Tires:||Panasport Racing 13x6 aluminum wheels with Toyo Proxes R888 185/60R13 tires.
|Electrical:||Odyssey "Yellow Top" battery.
TSI gear reduction starter.
|Instruments:||AutoMeter Ultra Light gauges (left to right)
fuel pressure gauge (0-15psi),
coolant temperature gauge (100-280F),
pyrometer gauge (1 of 2, 0-1600F),
oil pressure gauge (0-100 psi),
pyrometer gauge (2 of 2, 0-1600F),
oil temperature gauge (100-280 F).
|Fuel System:||ATL 8-gallon fuel cell.
Facet fuel pump.
Holley fuel pressure regulator.
|Safety Eqpmt:||Simpson 5-point latch-and-link safety harness.
Sweet Manufacturing splined, quick release hub (part# 801-70055), mounted on
a Mountney "GT" steering wheel.
Firebottle centralized fire suppression system.
|Completion:||2005. Has raced about four times per year since 2005, with a podium finish
in every race of the last two years.
|Racing Class:||SVRA Group 1, F-Production
|Comments:||John has built four Spridget race cars over the years. This one was a street car that had sat for
several years waiting to be restored. A college kid decided that he didn't have the knowledge or
desire to complete the project, but it was a really solid car. John sold all the extra parts in
an amount equal to what he paid for the project.
Several changes are being made in preparation for the 2010 racing season, including:
(1) redoing rear suspension tie points so the rear sway bar will work with through-the-tunnel exhaust,
(2) rolling the fenders out about 1 inch, front and rear, to gain more tire clearance,
(3) rotating the driver's seat to a more upright postion for better feel,
(4) raising the rollbar to suit the new driving position, and
(5) switching to Hoosier T.D. bias ply tires.
1275cc Spridget engine with 0.040 overbore, JE forged pistons and Carrillo rods.
Unusual T-shaped engine steady bar.
Girling dual brake master cylinders with Tilton remotely adjustable bias bar mechanism.
S.U. carburetors rebuilt by Huffaker Engineering. K&N air filters.
Ron Davis dual-pass aluminum radiator.
Two spring-loaded clips hold the radiator in place. It can be removed and replaced in minutes.
Airflow is prevented from bypassing the radiator core by this black, painted, aluminum shield.
Every second water pump impeller vane has been removed to slow coolant flow and prevent cavitation.
To provide improved access to the balancer, a V-shaped cut-out was made in the front crossmember.
(The new metal added back in is significantly thicker gauge than what was removed.)
The timing pointer is mounted to a bracket Huffaker Engineering makes for a crank-fired ignition sensor.
After V-notching the front crossmember, more strength was gained by fitting a Monte Carlo bar.
(That's what the pony car crowd calls a brace that spans from one front shock tower to the other.)
Notice the high capacity oil pan with side extensions. It has trap doors and a windage tray to
keep oil away from the spinning crankshaft, to prevent oil aeration and improve power.
Mallory Unilite breakerless (optical sensor) distributor.
Harrison coolant header tank.
MSD: Multiple Spark Discharge ignition controller.
At Watkins Glen, the rev limiter feature of the MSD6AL ignition system was "chipped" at 8500rpm.
Coolant catch tank (left) and oil system breather tank (right).
Taylor Race Engineering rib-case 4-speed dog-ring gearbox with 1.83:1 first gear and 1:1 fourth gear.
Oil cooler and brake cooling duct grilles in the front apron.
Tubular reinforcement of front structure.
7/8" anti-sway bar with aluminum pillow blocks and 3/8" Heim joints.
By class rules, the car is obliged to use stock front brake rotors and calipers.
Brake cooling ducts help fend off brake fade.
ATL fuel cell. (Note: the tailpipe reveals that the engine has been tuned to run on the lean side.)
A Magnaflow stainless steel muffler was installed when we viewed the car at Watkins Glen,
but isn't required or used on tracks with more liberal sound rules.
Anti-tramp bars were installed when we viewed the car, but they've subsequently been replaced
with a single radius rod to the differential housing.
Aluminum lowering blocks.
Watts linkage for lateral axle location.
Armstrong lever arm shocks, installed with Heim jointed linkage.
Gullwing (offset) leaf springs from The Winners Circle accommodate wide wheels and tires.
These springs are most popular for vintage racing, where class rules prohibit fender flares.
If the wide tires could be placed further outboard, straight leaf springs would be used.
These springs have a significantly lower spring rate than stock leaf springs, so they provide less
resistance to "tramp" or "wrap". Some sort of radius rods are needed to supplement the springs.
Panasport Racing 13x6 aluminum wheels.
Toyo Proxes R888 185/60R13 tires. For 2010, John is switching to bias ply tires because they're more
forgiving. He believes the radials are faster, but they break away quickly and without warning.
John molded his own low profile windscreen. Note also the Tilton remote brake bias adjustment knob.
Mountney GT steering wheel, installed on a Sweet Manufacturing quick release hub (PN: 801-70055).
AutoMeter Ultra Light gauges (left to right), voltmeter (8-18V), fuel pressure gauge (0-15psi),
coolant temperature gauge (100-280F), pyrometer gauge #1 (0-1600F), oil pressure gauge (0-100 psi),
pyrometer gauge #2 (0-1600F), and oil temperature gauge (100-280 F).
Simpson 5-point latch-and-link safety harness.
Aluminum door panel. Note also that the door latch has been replaced with simpler mechanism.
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Footbox and pedals.
6-position fuse block.
Power and ground studs.
Firebottle centralized fire suppression system.
Since the Accusump oil accumulator is within reach, it's operated manually instead of via solenoid valve.
Optima "Yellow Top" battery. The battery box lid is padded because it's a "passenger seat", per class rules.
Engine "kill" switch. (Disconnecting the battery is sufficient since there's no alternator.)
John McCue finished second overall in the Group 1 feature race of the 2009 U.S. Vintage Grand Prix
at Watkins Glen. His 2:22.972 lap time represents a very impressive average speed of 85.6mph
around the challenging 3.4 mile circuit.
A great team: John's pit crew consists of Lydia McCue and Larry Born.
Back home, John's friend Laury Simpson does much of his machine work.
One sign of an exquisitely well-prepared race car is that the crew has plenty of time
for relaxing activities like polishing the paint and brightwork.
Who can resist such a cheeky grin!
Dzus quarter-turn fasteners are both lighter and more secure than the original boot latch.
All photos shown here are from September 2009 when we viewed the car at The US Vintage Grand
Prix at Watkins Glen. All photos by Curtis Jacobson and Don Moyer for BritishRaceCar.com, copyright 2010.
All rights reserved.
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