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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Help with Dashboard


For the first time I need some help and am relying on my new friends to see if you can help me out.

I am currently removing my dashboard (along with everything else) and need a little help identifying some of the switches on it.

I have uploaded a photo and labeled what I can.

But there are a few custom additions on there that I would like to know more about them and why they are needed.

The most puzzling ones are the other pull switches labeled "Choke" and "Starter". Both of these are covered in a sticky gunk.

I am wondering what the other switches do such as Unknown 1 & 2. I checked the colour wiring diagram ( the colours suggest they are to do with the alternator and fuel pump.

If anyone has a 1965 MkII, I would be very grateful to find out what was original as I am sure the Volts gauge wasn't and why would someone add a Volts Gauge?

I have uploaded more pictures to my blog if it helps:

Many thanks


J Paul

hi james. ill try help you as much as i can. i have 65 mkii. no volts gauge.on dash i have 3 toggle switches. lights, wipers and interior dash lights.choke to the left i believe and i think heater switch to the right but i dont have pull starter either. try and get yourself terry horlers book "original sprite and midget" very helpfull in restoring a car.i have one and can take pictures of certain bits if that will help.
regards bob.

Hi Bob,

I do have a similar book, admittedly I haven't checked that, but I am wondering what modifications have been done to require these extra switches and certainly when they seem to have been labeled incorrectly.
J Paul

somewhere on the BBS is a link to the owners Handbook from another Spridget web site it'll show how the dash was laid out when it was new, how much that helps I'm not sure with your dash but hopefully you can follow the simple original wiring systems, sorry I can't find the links
Nigel Atkins

The unknown switches could be anything, you will just have to feel them back to there source... Luckly just 2,

the unknown choke im guessing could be hooked up to the dissy to advance/retard the timing plate manually or could be used to open a vent door in the engine bay...but it should be easy enough to track down by just feeling the cable to its source....this is not factory of course...agian it could be anything thats neds to be turned on and off manually ... Even a battryshut off , or a he is choking the carbs individually

Good looking project...

You can never have to many gauges

Prop and the Blackhole Midget


Prop, the choke isn't a cable it is an electrical pull switch. I'll get searching later in the week for the answer (hopefully!!!)
J Paul

An electrical pull switch... Interesting, im looking forward to see what this becomes.... Im guessing it goes to the radio to turn it off and on, ... Its alot of effort to reach all the way over to power the radio.... Thank god for remote contorls today in car radios
Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Unknown 2 may be the lights switch. If it is, it will have three settings, off, sidelights and headlights.
The pull electrical switch could be for the starter?
Unknown 1 is where my push button for the windscreen washers - albeit on a 71 mk III.
You're right the voltmeter is a PO addition.
Jeremy 3

James, the questions you're asking, lead me to suspect that you are younger than the car.

Why a volts meter?
1). Because back then you weren't always sure if the dynamo or regulator was working and charging the battery.
2). Customising your car was all the rage, and it was 'fun' to have gauges, and lights for everything.

" --- I am wondering what modifications have been done to require these extra switches and certainly when they seem to have been labeled incorrectly."

Only to the way you are thinking now, as a suceeding owner. Whoever added those mod's thought they were the bees knees. The pull starter was quite popular. I have to confess, I've often thought of adding one. But then I'm from that era too.

Being labled incorrectly, believe it or not, might have been a ruse to confuse a car thief. I knew someone who did something similar. You had to turn on the ignition, AND flip an incorrectly named switch, AND pull the starter switch.

Who knows why the statues on Easter Island were built?

Lawrence Slater


You say voltmeter, the pics from what I can see show two large cables which would suggest an Amp meter.
Both do monitor the charge as Lawrence noted.

richard boobier

Hi Lawrence,

So there was a point last week when I connected up a battery just to see what was working. First tried the starter motor by turning the ignition key all the way in conventional manner. The result was the starter switch clicked a lot. What you and Jeremy are saying is that turning the key and pulling the starter switch would engaged the starter motor, Yes?

And yes I'm 37 the car is 10 yes older than me! Hope I don't look that rusty in 10 years!!

Make sense to have the volts meter. I was just wondering if it was a sign that something was starting to play up, so install a meter to monitor it.

Jeremy I think you are right if the logic is a switch for interior and a switch for exterior lights.

I will hopefully have the answers later in the week when the wiring loom is out and labeled up!

Many thanks for the help

J Paul

the wiring and dash switches and layout aren't standard but that's not unusual for old cars

the voltmeter may have been put in just for the sake of another gauge (you wouldn't believe how far some go with that - shhhhhh, don't wake him)

or it could have been fitted as the batteries in 1965 weren't as good as they are now and dynamos weren't great at charging the battery with short journeys and night driving (in the cold and rain)

a '65 car wouldn't originally had interior lights

the clicking might just be the battery is very low - charge it up fully anyway as a low battery will hinder you in sorting the wiring whereas a fully charged one will help

disconnect the battery and check the electrode levels in all cells - check out battery safety on web - your car was originally positive earth so unless it's been changed be aware of that

whilst the battery is off clean up and check all the connections, cables, wires and earths you can you want them all clean, secure and protected

this DVD contains the original factory Workshop Manual, Parts Catalogues and most importantly Driver's Handbook for you car that contains, dash layout, wiring diagram and loads more you need to know -

not as convenient as paper copies but still very good
Nigel Atkins

Hey james....

In 10 years even if you dont look rusty, trust me, you are going to feel it, in 10 years ill be 57, and i cant imagine what ill feel like then

As to the volt gauge.... If your going to keep the dyno and not convert to an alt. Then id keep the volt or even upgrade to an AMP gauge

If your driving in winter and have the heat on full blast, the wipers in 3rd gear, head lights on, the radio blaring away and the fog lights at full tilt, PLUS your on a back curvy contry road with top speed of 40 mph... You wont have a battry for long

Normally dynos dont start charging until a certian rpm is reached, and its higher then on an alt... I think my alt starts charging at 800 rpm i think
Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Just for reference, here is a picture of my 1966 MII Midget dashboard. Your car should have a key starter, not a pull knob. My switches are in the right places but you will notice that I have an electric button for the washers.

Mike Howlett

Thanks Mike.

You reminded me...Washers! That could be the one of the unknowns.

Interestingly your red and blue lights are next to the indicators lights. Mine are mounted above the fuel and oil/water gauges. Although the blue light doesn't have a connection or bulb.

Do you know what the blue light does?


J Paul

If I'm not mistaken, Mike has electronic rev and speedo. Hence he's moved the RED ignition light, and BLUE main beam light to the centre of the two gauges.

You may be referring to an a blocked oil filter warning light on yours, that was originally AMBER. But I can't quite make it out in your picture.

Lawrence Slater

Correct Lawrence. The speedo and tacho are electronic and so don't have the red (IGN) and blue (MAIN BEAM) warning lights. So I fitted the pair you see in the photo.

Mine originally had the blocked oil filter light - it fits in the recessed bit above the oil gauge. I welded up the hole as I didn't need it with the 1275 engine and cartridge filter.
Mike Howlett


So on mine I have the red ignition in my rev counter and a blue (main beam) on the speedo, so why would I have two separate lights on the dashboard? Maybe the dashboard isn't original? Hense the Amp meter?

I'm sure I'll find out once I have checked out all the connections

J Paul

I can't see them in the photo one might be that amber blocked filter light Lawrence mentioned and/or they could be warning lights for other switches or items fitted (just as an example warning light for rear/front fog light or electric cooling fan)

photos of them might (underlined) help

that DVD or paper copies or even free downloads of such will help you no end even if your car isn't entirely as standard
Nigel Atkins

The extra switches were probably spot lights and reversing lights - the switch where the washer manual pump was is likely to be for an electric conversion - easy to check from the wash reservoir.

The oil filter blocked light was fitted I think up until the change to canister filters - my my 1275 '67 had one.

I've used Richard Wooley quite a few times for parts - up in Derby but mails quite cheaply and is usually at the mg spares day at Stoneleigh in Feb ?

I may have a spare fuel gauge - will need to venture out into the workshop to check - but off for a few days tomorrow.

richard boobier


Nigel I will hopefully get to the bottom of the wires this weekend when I am planning to remove the wiring loom, which will expose a few loose ends I am sure.

Richard, thank you for the ideas, I will consider them when trying to trace them back to the engine bay.

Also if you have a spare fuel gauge for sale that would be great. I have a picture of mine (after cleaning) on my blog:

I will give you a call when I am next due in the workshop.

Many thanks

J Paul

do what I always intend to do but then often forget - take loads of good quality digital photos before and during each stage and area of dismantling

and label things up as they are at removal, in red pen, even if they're wrong as it might help explain the wiring termination later even if you alter it later hence in red pen

unless you're completely rewiring the looms
Nigel Atkins

James your car was made as Positive earth, is it still, or has it been converted? Any replacement gauge ideally wants to be the right type.
David Smith

This thread was discussed between 20/11/2012 and 22/11/2012

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