How the Aston Martin Rapide Works. Basic design stayed the same throughout these 19 years, though there were running changes to engines, transmissions, brakes, suspension, top mechanisms, trim, and equipment. The latter two followed MGB changes and reflected the apparent unwillingness -- or inability -- of troubled British Leyland to do more than meet the letter of U. Fall brought the Sprite Mk IV and Midget Mk III with a more rugged, bhp cc A-Series, followed in by minor styling changes arranged to eliminate virtually all remaining differences between the two versions. Throughthe Sprite and Midget were built side-by-side as fraternal twins differing only in badges, grilles, and minor trim and equipment.
Thus, the last Midgets came off the line that autumn.
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The tail was also squared up and given a conventional trunklid. As the production figures show, these dreary changes plus steadily falling horsepower took a sales toll afterthough the Midget remained quite popular right to the end -- and likely profitable, what with tooling costs written off by the mid-Sixties. Sliding side curtains for the doors and British-traditional build-it-yourself soft top were retained, as were the central body section, diminutive inch wheelbase, the willing little cc four-cylinder engine, rack-and-pinion steering, coil-spring independent front suspension, and a live rear axle on cantilevered leaf springslocated by radius arms. See more pictures of MG sports cars. How the Aston Martin Rapide Works.