Triumph Stag

Triumph Stag Triumph Stag

The Triumph Stag was produced from 1970-78. Although it is a classic British sports car, it's best remembered for its Italian styling, penned by Giovanni Michelotti. A 2+2 convertible, Michelotti's design featured a four-lamp grille and sculpted front and rear ends, a new look that was set to appear on many Triumphs.

The 3-litre V8 was based on an overhead camshaft four-cylinder engine, later to power the Dolomite range. A 'T' shaped roll-over bar, one of the Stag's most distinctive features, braced the door pillars and windscreen - with the model available in soft top, hard top or a combination of both.

With a 118mph top speed and capable of reaching 0-60mph in 9.3 seconds, the Stag was fast, stylish and practical, and was clearly envisioned as a luxury sports car aimed at the Mercedes 280SL. Best of all, the Stag was equal in performance but almost half the price of the 280SL at £1,996, compared to £3,850.

The Stag's exclusive image was enhanced further by its role in the James Bond film, Diamonds are Forever. It handles well, with MacPherson struts in the front, front disc brakes and power assisted steering. Initially, the Stag was greeted with a warm welcome due to its styling. But shortly into production, dealers began to see large numbers of customers experiencing engine problems with their Stags.

Recurring problems were numerous and blamed mainly on the design of the engine and poor build quality (which was a problem rife in British Leyland products of the time). Some refinements were made to the Stag over the following years, but due to budget constraints with British Leyland these were few and far between and never enough for Triumph to oficially designate a new iant of the Stag.

As such, Stags have bcome unofficially designated as  a) 'early' 1970 b) Mk1 1971-73 c) Mk2 1973 and d) 'late', between 1974 and 1977.

The Stag's option list was sparse to say the least, with electric windows, power steering and power assisted brakes as standard. On offer was little more than a choice of a manual box in place of the Stag's standard 3-speed automatic, air conditioning, luggage rack, Lucas Square Eight fog lamps and Koni shocks. The list of factory options was complemented by ious dealer supplied, after-market accessories.

The Stag is now considered a very collectable classic British sports car, well supported by ious, established owners & enthusiasts' clubs. In general, most of the problems the Triumph Stag suffered from in its hey-day have now been alleviated, especially engine problems with the Triumph-built 3.0 litre OHC V8 engine, which are usually solved by swapping to a Rover V8, a Ford Capri 2.8 V6 or a Triumph straight-6.

It is also worth noting that these converted cars are usually valued less than cars with the original Stag V8.


VITAL STATISTICS

1970 Triumph Stag

Engine 2997cc/8-cyl/SOHC

Power 145bhp@5500rpm

Torque 167lb ft@3500rpm

Top speed 115mph

0-60mph 11sec

Economy 21mpg        

Gearbox 4-speed manual + OD


WHAT TO LOOK FOR

BODYWORK & CHASSIS

The front valance and wings are common rot spots, so check carefully. Also inspect the curve of the front wheelarches thoroughly for filler and check the seam between the front wings and the panel above the headlights. The windscreen frame is another area prone to corrosion, unfortunately often bodged as it can be difficult and expensive to repair properly. Also inspect the sills thoroughly.

Door trims can warp when water is let in to the doors from the glass seal and no polythene is fitted between the trim and door itself. Exterior chrome trim can corrode and especially with bumpers, re-chromed originals are often a better bet.

Beneath the car, check the crossmember under the radiator, the main chassis rails, and all the outriggers and the footwells. Check inner sills and rear footwells, including their vertical rear face and the chassis legs that run rearward from them. Rot here is rare, but tricky to deal with if it has taken hold. Inspect the bootlid around its rear edge and check the rear wings where they join the sills and above the arches. The rear valance often rots out at its lower edge where it joins the boot floor, plus the boot floor itself rots at its forward edge.

ENGINE

Much derided when new, the Stag engine is now a reliable performer, providing regular maintenance has been kept up. Overheating issues can be avoided – antifreeze with corrosion inhibitors is essential all year round, otherwise the aluminium cylinder heads corrode and water passages will become blocked with silt. A silted up radiator is another common cause of overheating, so replace this if suspicious, as it’s much cheaper than a full engine rebuild. Timing chains need replacing every 30,000 miles.

RUNNING GEAR

The majority of Stags were autos, but enthusiastic drivers may prefer to search out a manual example. Either way, both gearboxes are relatively trouble free. On the manual, check the clutch is working smoothly with no rumbling noise that could be the clutch release or the gearbox bearings on the way out. Also check that reverse works as it should, and that the gears are not difficult to engage – although the gearbox is not super-slick, it should still be positive in when in use. Overdrive problems are usually caused by electrical faults, so check for loose connections and blown fuses. Differentials often whine, but are long-lived, provided they are kept topped up. Look for a leaking differential nose piece, which requires a new seal. 

INTERIOR

Trim is fairly hard wearing but there are a few items you need to check. The passenger side of the dashboard can crack around the glove box lid area due to the seat backrest leaning on it when the seat is folded forward to gain access to the rear seat. The top of the dash can also crack near the speaker grille on the dash top. Seat foam can go crumbly with age and the front seat base rubber diaphragms often split and lead to saggy seats.

ELECTRICS

Check for iffy electrical connections, bad earths and sticky switches, as these are the main problems. Problems can arise if less than ideal modifications have been made to fit accessories like stereos and alarm systems. If the brake lights appear dim then the night dimming relay could be to blame. The relay is a BL addition, situated in the front left corner of the boot compartment behind the trim; it dims the brake and indicator bulbs when the sidelights are on.

SUSPENSION

Knocking from the suspension, and uneven tyre wear is an indication that new rubbers are required. Shock absorbers can be weak too, especially if they’re leaking, so check carefully. At the rear, inspect the trailing arm bushes and rear subframe mounts. If there’s no gap between the bush and its cover plate on the back of the sill, then its failed.


OUR VERDICT

Triumph forged a new market sector with the Stag – that of the the four-seater fully convertible sporting grand tourer that Mercedes-Benz had overlooked.

A strong and refined GT, with – at a pinch – room for four adults, the Stag is both simple and cheap to maintain. It also has superb, dateless styling, boasts a wonderful V8 soundtrack and offers impressive amounts of performance. When you peruse contemporary Stag road tests, it’s shocking just how many detail aspects of the car were evidently wrong and frustrating. Yet it’s also clear that everyone loved its exotic styling.

Today the Stag is a much-loved stalwart of the classic car scene, its plus points enjoyed and its few faults looked upon with rose-tinted glasses. As a patriotic alternative to the Mercedes SL, the Stag makes a superb classic.



Reviewed by ClassicCarsForSale.co.uk on

Customer Reviews

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Sidi-M Fahim

It’s a Very good car super
Excellent

Performance 5   Maintenance 5
Reliability 5   Overall 5

Don Bolger

A very steady, secure drive. Roadholding which would beat many modern cars. Exciting to look at and to drive.

Performance 4   Maintenance 4
Reliability 4   Overall 4

Thackers

Make sure you have lots & lots of spare cash before you buy one of these old girls, as they'll empty your wallet very quickly!

Fantastic road presence, sound from exhausts unbeatable, very smooth car to drive.

Flawed, but fantastic anyway!

Performance 3   Maintenance 5
Reliability 2   Overall 4

Spiv

spent loads on her !!. but well worth it every where i go people want 2 stop me & talk about her !!. even the police gave me the thumbs up!! at the lights the other day !! & the sound out of this world !!.

Performance 4   Maintenance 5
Reliability 3   Overall 5

Jenny

Just bought my second stag having been stag-less for nearly twenty years! Oh heaven......the look, the sound and the smiles both from me and the onlookers as I drive it around town and countryside........in heaven again!

Performance 5   Maintenance 5
Reliability 5   Overall 5

Jimmy The Gent

im living in oz and just bought a stag dont know what to expect yet but cant wait

Performance 2   Maintenance 3
Reliability 3   Overall 3

Michael

I have had my stag for over 17years and would never sell, what else could ever take its place.

It is original and better than the day it left the caryard.
They need love and attention and as a result become part of the family. They give as good as they recieve.

Turn off the radio and listen to the purrr of the v8 as the wind blows through your hair and the stags stylish presence and design fills you with a feeling of extacy and presence.

Performance 5   Maintenance 5
Reliability 5   Overall 5

Jad

A Comfortable,fun,nostalgic,head turner of a car. Just taken the plunge and We are lovin it, lovin it,lovin it! Roll on summer and the start of the rallies.
If you are thinking about it... don't ,cos you'll never do it otherwise, lifes too short.If you can afford to maintain it, go get it and have fun!.

Performance 5   Maintenance 5
Reliability 4   Overall 5

Tam

Wanted one of these since a mate of mine got one in our early 20's. Now pushing 50 so waited just over 25 years, but wish I had bought one sooner - I'm like a kid in a sweetshop. You can keep your Porches, Jags, Beemers, Astons, Ferraris etc...... Nothing looks, feels, sounds or gets admired like a Stag!

Performance 4   Maintenance 5
Reliability 4   Overall 4

Lionel-The Councillor

I bought my Stag 7 years ago.. Re-build of engine,,
Larger fan.. new BIG radiator.. a re-sprayand i have a real "Head turner"..
The "grunt" from the exhaust is wonderful..this is a real
British Sports car..
My wife thinks its wonderful too.

Performance 5   Maintenance 4
Reliability 4   Overall 4

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