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Triumph Stag

Triumph Stag Published: 8th Aug 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Triumph Stag
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A ‘British Mercedes SL’, Triumph’s Stag looked a world-beater when launched back in 1970 and almost half a century on, this impressive V8 GT has never been a better buy thanks to continued, development by an army of specialists and a fantastic owners’ club, that combined, finished the work British Leyland wouldn’t – and couldn’t! There has been a sea change in attitudes towards this vastly underrated GT and values are rising because of this. So bag a Stag now.

Driving

Sorted Stags are so satisfying to savour. That troublesome V8 is actually a gem even if it sounds better than it goes. It’s no sports car mind, but more suited to long distance jaunts, especially in tall-geared overdrive mode where the legal limit is only a 2900rpm stroll and you could easily eke out 22-23mpg. While not a taut handler, the Stag is better and more refined than a TR6 plus there’s a raft of improvements that can turn a normal Stag into a bit of an animal. Refinement is pretty good but while the interiors are comfortable and inviting, it’s a shame that the hard top gives off too much wind noise when fitted. In its day, and before the reliability issues appeared, the press loved the Stag. In a 1973 test Motor said that the car was “unique in character and a highly desirable property”. They still are.

Best models

Condition and maintenance counts for more than year and by this we mean, that the original Triumph engine is made fully reliable and dependable. Given that recommendations have been around for decades, it’s surprising how many Stags haven’t been sorted yet. The vast majority came as autos and it suits the car’s character. Don’t be put off Stags now sporting a modern Jaguar ’box as it provides an extra ratio – but do now be wary of ones fitting with other engines including the Rover V8 which was once so favoured. Apart from originality issues, many conversions left the suspension alone and affects the handling.

Values

Scruffy ‘Snags’ still start from as little as £3000 but will be a veritable money pit or a badly bodged Rover V8 convert and both are best avoided. Decent examples sell between £5000-£9000, while truly nice ones now sell for £15,000 upwards from Stag specialists, They aren’t cheap to restore at home and professionally rebuilt cars can relieve you of £20,000 with ease. Once favoured, non standard V8 converts are worth up to 25 per cent less but other improvements – such as improved trim, better damping etc are worth having but don’t pay over the odds for them.

Buying advice

Rover V8 conversions were popular but now many cars are being reverted back to spec. Like the MGB, there’s plenty on the market so have a good look round. Restoring a wreck may not make financial sense as there’s so many good, ready to enjoy ones to choose from. Rust can be rampant; Mk2s are worst as thinner steel was used. Outriggers, jacking points, subframe supports, front and rear valances are common rotters as are slam panels. Also, inspect under the rear seat and the A posts for the tin worm.

Overheating remains the biggest worry of the V8 although modern materials and methods largely have this licked. Look for water loss, fresh gaskets etc. Heads warp (new ones are available now – but at £2000!). Is the cooling fan permanently on and has the thermostat been removed? The timing chains and their tensioners need changing every 25,000 miles or so or they’ll stretch and slip with dire consequences.

Oil pressure is 40-50lb if good. Biggest transmission worry is the quill shaft housing because, if it breaks, serious damage will be done. Modern driveshafts can remove famous ‘Triumph twitch’ under power and may be fitted already as many Stags are modified.



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