RE: Triumph Stag: Spotted

Sunday 21st October 2018

Triumph Stag: Spotted

Movie star looks and a thumping V8 make the Triumph Stag a desirable British classic



The Triumph Stag is the other, less well known, Sean Connery Bond car from the film Diamonds are Forever. It was only on screen for a few seconds which could either be down to the Triumph's propensity for breaking down (more on that later) or the fact that this open-top sports car would have played havoc with Scottish 007's toupee. Anyway, let's not split hairs for now and instead concentrate on the much maligned but very handsome Triumph Stag.

Penned by the deft hand of Giovanni Michelotti, the Triumph Stag was based on a 2000 platform but with around six inches lopped out of the middle. Strengthening was provided by the bigger sills, additional bars on the floor and the obvious Targa-style tee-bar that's above the driver and front passenger. It'll also provide additional occupant protection in the event of a roll-over - never a good idea in a 1970's car, but you should at least have a more sporting chance in this one.

Ambitiously, the Stag was intended to be more of a luxury car than the smaller Triumph sports cars that went before it. Given the success Mercedes was having with the SL, this seemed like a good idea. One of Triumph's biggest markets was America and due to their love of V8s, the new car had to have one over the initially intended in-line six that the car was developed for. This, sadly, would come back to haunt the Stag.


Instead of the Rover V8 that was busy doing sterling service in the Range Rover and various Rover saloons, the Triumph Stag had its own V8 made out of essentially two slanted Saab four-cylinder engines joined together. Power was modest at 145hp but a decent torque figure of 170 lb ft meant it was an effortless cruiser. Plus, there was that inescapable exhaust burble that no doubt sounded amazing whilst wafting down a country lane. Until it overheated, of course.

Now, there are a lot of reasons why these cars got a reputation for unreliability, not least of which was the industrial unrest that was a near daily occurrence at British Leyland in the 1970s. There were some engineering flaws, too, mostly brought about by the last minute decision to fit a different motor. The placement of the water pump didn't help and neither did the use of dissimilar metals in the engine that inevitably lead to corrosion and 'silting' in the coolant system. However, with the passage of time, most of these issues have been fixed by the diligence of enthusiastic owners.


This 1974 example has a larger radiator, for example, to help with the silting issue and, as long as you change the coolant on a regular basis with corrosion inhibiting anti-freeze, you should be alright. With the advances of modern technology, you can get an impressive waterless replacement that should cure the issue. Then all you have to concentrate on is the possibility of a stretched timing chain...

But, since most owners will only use their cars for high-days and holidays you're unlikely to lose sleep over it. And when you do get to drive a Stag, you'll appreciate the smoothness of its drivetrain. All the controls are light and easy to use, and this is mirrored in the gearbox that prefers lazier, slower changes as you ooze your way down the road listening to that sumptuous V8. Even the ride is supple thanks to its long travel and excellent damping that deals with lumpy Tarmac easily without becoming floaty. There's even power steering to make the Stag as easy to drive as possible.

Our Spotted is probably a Mk.III due to the stainless steel sills (although it has been restored in the not too distant past, so these could have been added later) and the engine was rebuilt 6,000 miles ago. The wood appears to be in good order and the tyres are relatively new around the recently refurbished alloy wheels. All of which means this very straight example is ready to go at £16,750 - not bad when a number of Stags are fetching over £20,000 these days.


SPECIFICATION - TRIUMPH STAG

Engine: 2,997cc, eight-cylinder, N/A
Transmission: 4-speed manual with overdrive, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 145@ 5,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 170@ 3,500rpm
MPG: Heavy drinker
CO2: Old smoker
First registered: 1974
Recorded mileage: 81,000miles
Price new: £1,995 17s 5d
Yours for: £16,750

See the full ad here.

Author
Discussion

Nerdherder

Original Poster:

508 posts

36 months

Sunday 21st October 2018
quotequote all
Give us topless pictures next time PH.

TR4man

3,120 posts

113 months

Sunday 21st October 2018
quotequote all
Many fond memories of my Stag that I owned for around six years.

One of the few convertibles that still looked good with the hard top on (not so much with the soft top though)

Didn't know there was a Mk 3 model though PH - assume this is typo?


GSE

1,175 posts

178 months

Sunday 21st October 2018
quotequote all
For 1974 the number plates should be black on yellow readit

Raygun

2,442 posts

59 months

Sunday 21st October 2018
quotequote all
GSE said:
For 1974 the number plates should be black on yellow readit
Not no more, if it's 40 years old or more and historic on the log book you can put b&w number plates on it. Even before the said new rules came in I'd like to think it was NOT on the high priority list to enforce it by the police force.

Raygun

2,442 posts

59 months

Sunday 21st October 2018
quotequote all
TR4man said:
One of the few convertibles that still looked good with the hard top on (not so much with the soft top though)
I always thought they looked great with the soft top up and the hard top on but all the time I owned stags I was never a fan of the T-bar and the door window frames on view.
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Equus

5,446 posts

40 months

Sunday 21st October 2018
quotequote all
"the Triumph Stag had its own V8 made out of essentially two slanted Saab four-cylinder engines joined together."

Saab used Triumph engines, not the other way around - the Scandinavians bought the design from Triumph, to replace the Ford-derived V4 they used previously

cerb4.5lee

10,906 posts

119 months

Sunday 21st October 2018
quotequote all
I've always really liked these and I've always wanted one. They do sound lovely, Its just a shame about the engine reliability though.

MrC986

2,234 posts

130 months

Sunday 21st October 2018
quotequote all
Ah, fond memories of my childhood when my mum had a 1978 auto Stag in white which she had as her every day car. The noise was so distinctive. Strangely having sold it about 10 or so years ago, the prices haven't moved up much IMO, nor has the mileage on her old car (about 150 miles in 10 years). I loved the Stag as a child, though as a grown up petrolhead it doesn't do it for me, even though it was a big part of my childhood.

Miserablegit

396 posts

48 months

Sunday 21st October 2018
quotequote all
Come on PistonHeads - there is no mk III.
Looks like a mark II based on:
Year of registration
Single window hood - I prefer the mki hood on my mk1 with rear quarter lights
Instruments - MK II had a more modern typeface as this does and the needles for the gauges were pivoted the other way round to the mk1. ( not near car at moment but I think mk1 gauge needles pivoted from top of gauge and mk2 from bottom- probably got that completely mixed up)
A few fundamental flaws from birth -
Casting sand left in block by BL workers of the time did nothing for cooling efficiency.
Water pump at top of block meant any coolant loss resulted in water pump spinning in hot air . Easily cured these days by one of the many header tank kits which keeps coolant level above level of pump.
Electronic ignition saves hassle with points.
A great car and a lovely noise from that v8. Have taken mine to Le Mans and back. Fuel isn’t so bad 25-30mpg on a run but less with a heavy right foot.

AC43

6,695 posts

147 months

Sunday 21st October 2018
quotequote all
When I grew up in provincial Scotland in the 70's my mate's dad would sometimes borrow his boss's yellow Stag.

In a world of live axled Fords, Marina's and Allegro's it was beyond exotic.

Used to love the looks and the noise it made.

Miserablegit

396 posts

48 months

Sunday 21st October 2018
quotequote all
On the basis a thread is no good without photos



Earthdweller

1,449 posts

65 months

Sunday 21st October 2018
quotequote all
Raygun said:
GSE said:
For 1974 the number plates should be black on yellow readit
Not no more, if it's 40 years old or more and historic on the log book you can put b&w number plates on it. Even before the said new rules came in I'd like to think it was NOT on the high priority list to enforce it by the police force.
Not unless it was a transfobic or hate crime number plate in which they’d be all over it smilesmile

Tabs

485 posts

211 months

Sunday 21st October 2018
quotequote all
Had one in the early 80's with a bigger bore stainless exhaust. Sounded beautiful. The burble on tickover and on the overun was addictive, especially as it was a manual. Currently have an ISF with a modified exhaust which sounds very similar.
So many restored examples have the side stripes wrong. The upper thin one should be continuous over the rear arch, with only the lower thick one broken.
Annoys me beyond reason! ( wrong thead )?

Gojira

185 posts

62 months

Sunday 21st October 2018
quotequote all
A 1974 Stag wouldn't have been £1,995 17s 5d...

We moved over to Toytown money in 1971! nerd

rtz62

1,607 posts

94 months

Sunday 21st October 2018
quotequote all
There’s a lovely Staaaaaaaag I see regularly near where I live (Chesterfield area) and whilst it looks in gorgeous condition it never ceases to amaze me how small it is compared to modern fayre.
The last time I saw it was at some traffic lights and a BMW 1 or 2 series convertible pulled up next to it, and appeared to dwarf it.
Rose-tinted glasses time, but I do ask myself if we actually need anything bigger than this as a convertible, what does a modern car do that is better (other than not rust, potentially break down, and have better mpg figures)?
I may be bonkers but to me the Stag is eco-friendly, it’s been around for all these years and doesn’t get scrapped every few years, using up natural resources (ok I’m sure a good number have died over the years but I’m sure you get my point?)

Equus

5,446 posts

40 months

Sunday 21st October 2018
quotequote all
rtz62 said:
There’s a lovely Staaaaaaaag I see regularly near where I live (Chesterfield area) and whilst it looks in gorgeous condition it never ceases to amaze me how small it is compared to modern fayre.
The last time I saw it was at some traffic lights and a BMW 1 or 2 series convertible pulled up next to it, and appeared to dwarf it.
And yet I had a girlfriend with one, back in the day, when I had just passed my driving test - and used to think of it as a lumbering great bus of a thing, next to my Fiat X1/9.

Mind you, I tried an X1/9 again a coupe of years ago, with thoughts of buying one for nostalgia value, and I'm sure that the damned things have shrunk over the years. grumpy

unsprung

2,675 posts

63 months

Sunday 21st October 2018
quotequote all
I remember seeing these infrequently but on a consistent basis, when I was small; a sort of upper-middle-class weekend pursuit these seemed to me; somebody's second or third car

if sales planning resembled that of other popular British two-seaters, most units will have been intended for LHD export to the US

there is a notable owners club there and the technical support documents are both interesting and just a little bit amusing

"An electrochemical reaction between the aluminum head and the steel studs causes the head studs to seize in place, making head removal almost impossible... Some people have had to lift the car with an engine hoist and pound on the head studs with an air hammer, using the weight of the car to pull the studs through the head."

https://www.tscusa.org/buyers_guide.asp

https://www.tscusa.org/tech/technical_articles.asp



Edited by unsprung on Sunday 21st October 15:05

MikeGalos

235 posts

223 months

Sunday 21st October 2018
quotequote all
rtz62 said:
... what does a modern car do that is better (other than not rust, potentially break down, and have better mpg figures)?...
Not kill you if someone runs into you or you run into something, for starters.

Miserablegit

396 posts

48 months

Sunday 21st October 2018
quotequote all
Which is why driving standards are now so piss-poor with feckwits hurtling along at speed whilst updating their Facebook status “status update : still being a massive tt”

People are so cocooned away these days they really don’t make the link between poor driving and possible death- partially because the engineers have done their bit to make life safer for occupants. I’d like it to be made a requirement that if a phone is in use all airbags are turned off...

vixen1700

10,873 posts

209 months

Sunday 21st October 2018
quotequote all
Never really got these when I was a kid, had too much Triumph 2000 about them which made them (to me anyway) a little too mundane.

Obviously had no real idea about them at that age, but remember a magazine ad for them which showed one in a car park and there was a Citroen SM in shot behind. That interested me much more than the Stag.

I'd imagine a sorted one these days would be quite nice though. smile