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Triumph Stag

Triumph Stag Published: 20th Oct 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Triumph Stag
Triumph Stag
Triumph Stag
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Why should i get one?

This British sportster had it all back in the 1970s – apart from reliability – and, as a result, this classy Triumph earned a lousy reputation, and a damning ‘Snag’ moniker hung around for decades. However, unstinting development by a growing army of specialists and a fantastic owners’ club has seen a steady sea change in attitudes towards this cut-price Mercedes SL, and rightly so. Now the Stag is viewed as a prestigious 2+2 GT that is value for money and as easy as a Spitfire to run.

 

What can i get?

There was only one model, that ran from 1970 to 1977, with a Mk2 facelift for 1973 featuring double coachlines along the body flanks, sills and with rear panelwork in matt black, together with new wheel trims, although most cars sported those nicer alloy wheels. Critically, the V8 featured higher compression heads while the troublesome cooling system benefited from a tweaked radiator set-up, although many cars will now sport modifications in both these areas. Always a soft top, the factory tin lid may well be missing from most cars now, due to it being heavy to manhandle and very noisy once fitted. A veritable cottage industry evolved in the ‘70s, swapping Stag engines for something more trustworthy, with the Rover V8 unit the default choice. It was a logical fit that served the troubled Triumph well enough, although conversion quality varies enormously and now owners want originality because that vexed V8 has been sorted out thanks to specialists.

 

What are they like to drive?

Sorted Stags are so satisfying. That V8, when on song, sounds better than it goes (road tests when new bemoaned its lack of ultimate guts) but the 145bhp is still plenty enough for modern roads. It’s no sports car, mind, and, in truth, this Triumph is more suited to long-distance jaunts, especially in tall-geared overdrive mode, where the legal limit is only a 2900rpm stroll. However, the vast majority are autos and, to be fair, it suits the car’s character well, even if it’s fussier at speed. Handling, never that taut even when new, is actually better and more refined than a TR6, but many converted models can feel downright dangerous because the front springs aren’t matched to a new engine’s changed weight. That quirky T-bar ensures a strong bodyshell, giving little scuttle shake, while the interiors are comfortable and inviting. It’s a shame that the hard top gives off an inordinate amount of wind noise when fitted, but overall Stags are highly usable, civilised 2+2s that are easily as good as a pricier Mercedes SL.

 

What are they like to live with?

The classic community took the Stag into its care early in its life and over the last 46 years has given this wounded animal a new lease of life, with most examples in better shape than ever. Rust is the major concern, now that the engine can be sorted, and, while panels are available, corrosion can be rampant, so watch for past bodges.

Mechanically, the car is easy and quite inexpensive to own and the owners’ club is one of largest and best around. Buy the best you can; superb Stags can hover around the £15-20K mark but you try restoring one for the money; you’ll still net a good one for around ten grand and projects as little as two, but it’s the old MGB syndrome of why bother to revive a rough one when there are plenty of super Stags around that you can enjoy right from the outset?

 

Verdict

For the money, it’s hard to find a GT that’s as prestigious, classy and easy to own as the Stag, a car that’s conceptually better than a Merc SL. If you owned one back in the day, when they were nothing but trouble, it could be time to revive those Stag nights!

 



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