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The Highs And Lows Of The Triumph Stag

By raccars Published

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The Triumph Stag represents both the highs and lows of the auto industry in the UK. It was gorgeous to look at, with a sexy soundtrack to boot, but is most famous for being a bit rubbish. Ironically, its faults have turned it into an excellent popular classic, as time has solved all its known problems and remaining models tend to have benefited from some mechanical upgrading. If you can find a good example, you'll have a refined and robust grand tourer that's easy to maintain and draws admiring glances everywhere you go.

Originally conceived as a more glamorous version of the Triumph 2000, the Stag was designed as a one-off show special by Giovanni Michelotti in 1964. The concept impressed Triumph enough for them to put it into production, although development dragged on for a few years due to financial restrictions at Canley, corporate discord and a lot of argument over mechanical details. When the Stag was eventually released, it filled an important gap in the British Leyland line-up and was an immediate success. Unfortunately, its quality issues did for the Stag in the end.

25,877 Triumph Stags were produced between 1970 and 1977, of which 6,714 are still registered by the DVLA. Stag owners become part of a large and enthusiastic owners' community, which ensures excellent mechanical support and parts availability. Its unreliability means you'll find few untouched survivors, so make sure any restoration work has been carried out to a high standard. While the Stag is renowned as an easy car to work on, you'll still find plenty of bodge jobs out there.

One of the Stag's most favourable qualities as an everyday classic is its ability to carry four people in comfort. While the three-speed automatic versions are more common, they are pretty thirsty compared to the manual/overdrive models.

Whenever you are planning to buy a classic, it makes sense to take someone along to examine the car who knows what they're doing. Stags are prone to suspension problems, rust in later models, leaking convertible hood compartments and, above all, engine-cooling issues. Warped cylinder heads are common, as are worn timing chains and coolant leaks. Fortunately, the majority of the Stag's problems are so well documented that fixing them is straightforward.

In order to combat the problems, Stag owners often replaced the original fragile V8 with a Rover V8 — these tend to need less maintenance but do lose that famous Triumph V8 burble that provides so much of the car's character. These versions tend to be cheaper now than those with the original engines.

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