Despite the onset of cooler autumn weather, and occasional precipitation, I still insist on driving my MG, wherever possible, with the roof stowed. Not because I’m a hardy, pre-war sort with a wardrobe full of woolly scarves and flat caps and flying goggles who sees the battle against the elements as a rite of man – more because the thing is, after all, a convertible and it seems silly not to take advantage of an opportunity when it is presented.

Despite the onset of cooler autumn weather, and occasional precipitation, I still insist on driving my MG, wherever possible, with the roof stowed. Not because I’m a hardy, pre-war sort with a wardrobe full of woolly scarves and flat caps and flying goggles who sees the battle against the elements as a rite of man – more because the thing is, after all, a convertible and it seems silly not to take advantage of an opportunity when it is presented.

And that’s just as much the case if the opportunities present themselves during the cooler months of the year which, if you are not familiar with the vagaries of British weather, means any month other than August.

One of the nice things about the later Midgets – for those of you keeping score, mine is a Mk3 ‘GAN5’ model from 1972 – is that they have proper convertible hoods. Pre-1965 models made do with a kind of Boy Scout tent affair, a collection of poles with a tarpaulin to drape over the top. That has a certain period charm but takes a while to put up, which tends to mean you get very wet if it rains suddenly.

I peer knowingly into the sky like an old sea dog or a seasoned ploughman and pronounce, sage-like, on the weather to follow. Sometimes I even get it right

The trick, of course, is to avoid having to put it up in a hurry and since I’ve been driving the Midget I’ve cultivated a quite remarkable ability to forecast the next hour or so of weather judging by the clouds, the wind and so on. I peer knowingly into the sky like an old sea dog or a seasoned ploughman and pronounce, sage-like, on the weather to follow. Sometimes I even get it right. Anyway, despite the autumnal conditions over the last few weeks there have been many occasions where the Midget has been driven roof-down, vindicating the choice of an open car for everyday use.

You do need a good heater, though, which the MG fortunately has. Operation is simple compared to the multifarious knobs and sliders and ducts of modern cars’ heating equipment. There’s a heating duct in each footwell covered by a spring loaded flap which you can open or close depending on your requirements, and a pull knob on the dash to block air into the heater. Turn the knob and the blower fan operates. That’s all there is to it.

Despite its relatively rudimentary design the Midget’s heater works well. It’ll happily toast your toes even with the roof down on a crisp autumn morning, and if you’ve wrapped your torso with appropriate protective clothing and are wearing a suitable hat, you’ll be quite warm enough.

Just how effective the Midget’s heater is was brought home to me recently when I tried the cabriolet version of Volkswagen’s New Beetle. Now the Beetle cabrio was designed to look cool in California, not to be warm in Wigan, in winter, but I thought if my Midget could keep me warm enough then a modern Volkswagen ought to treat the chilly British autumn with disdain. So down came the roof.

Off we went without a care, until it became obvious that the Beetle wasn’t warming up, it was getting colder. Winding the heat control up to maximum didn’t help a great deal, but the (noisy) blower got some warmth through to the cabin. Still it wasn’t enough, but the Volkswagen had a trump card to play: heated seats.

With the seat controls swivelled to maximum, all was right with the world. So the Beetle cabrio could cope with a chilly day in Britain, just like my Midget. But I couldn’t help thinking that it needed a lot more technology to do it, in the shape of those heated seats. And I couldn’t help wondering whether I could fit heated seats to the MG…

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