Recognising this strong image, Morris Garages were just as quick to develop a smaller, more affordable sportscar "to be enjoyed by the plenty". Enter the MG Midget at the 1928 Motor Show, based directly on the Morris Minor produced by Morris Motors. The "kudos" of the more powerful MG 18/80 range span onto the Midget and orders flooded in, in 1929. The range developed with a soft top and hard top, capturing the hearts of those who could afford the reasonable £185 over the next five years. It was in the early 1930's when the Midget saw a new look : refined engines, sleeker and smoother bodyshells. The first of this new generation was the attractive Airline Coupe, the price entry end of a comprehensive range of 2/4 seater sports cars ... remaining unchanged in design for the next twenty years. The more familiar MG bodyshape came into fruition in 1955 at the London Motor Show. This was the first product under the new British Motor Corporation (BMC) insignia, based at Longbridge. The engine and transmission were developed by BMC; the body and chassis by Morris Garages. The fact that three prototype cars had run at Le Mans and TT shortly before launch certainly helped with the sales, for here was a 'real' sports car, race-bred just like the old pre-war cars and for the MGA, as it was called, an unbeatable price of £844. Power was from a 1.5 litre engine with top speed at lOOmph. At the affordable end was the MG Midget at an affordable price of £689. MG had pioneered the small inexpensive sports car for everyone, young at age and young at heart.
Other competitors were quick to exploit this lucrative market segment, and along came the Austin Healey Sprite plus, later, the Sunbeam Alpine. Suddenly competition led to introducing new improvements of each other; thus the game of annual updating of models was born. Giving MG a run for their money was the Sprite, under-cutting the Midget by £14, and in the early 1960's the Triumph Spitfire. The Spitfire became the more popular car : from 1962-80 Triumph made just over 314,000 Spitfires compared to some 305,000 Midgets/Sprites (commonly known as "Spridgets" under the BMC banner).
The specialists came onto the scene, competing with the established sports cars on price by selling their own cars in kit form only, thereby avoiding Purchase Tax. A Lotus Super Seven cost £645 in kit form in 1962, virtually the same as a complete Spridget. The Mini-Marcos of 1966 cost £645 in kit form - at that time more than a complete Spridget. The tendency was always for these specialist car makers - Morgan was another make - to move their products upmarket, not surprisingly, as it is important for these small concerns to maximise the profit per car.
It was at this time that other worldwide companies were aiming at the same buyer, by offering alternative sporty-type cars albeit with different bodystyles. The sporty coupe generation began with the VW Karmann Ghia, the undisputed leader of the pack, followed by Fiat 124 Sport Special and the Renault Floride and Caravelle models. Then in January 1969 Ford launched the Capri, its base 1.3 litre model selling for £890. It may not have been a sports car but for an extra £ 120 over the Midget it offered four seater accommodation, a roof and a very comparable performance. Fiat brought in the X1/9 in 1977 and similar to the Capri, attracted attention away from the sports car niche.