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Already Restored: 1973 Triumph Stag

The Triumph Stag is becoming “discovered” as well as it ought – it’s slightly rare, stylish, and offers a V8, uncommon among less expensive British cars. While the Stag sold very poorly thanks to reliability problems, modern methods of rebuilding the engine and re-engineering the worst parts of the car have ensured that restored examples are often better than when the cars were factory-new. Here on eBay is 1973 Stag with a proper résumé of completed mechanical and cosmetic work, coming from a long-term owner. The seller is looking for an opening bid of $25,000, and the car is located in Parkville, Maryland.

As the Stag was developed, multiple delays plagued its timeline. The choice of an engine was one. The car was well-suited for any of a number of six-cylinders that Triumph could acquire, but management wanted an eight-cylinder. Rather than using the already-existing, excellent small-block Buick V8 that British Leyland was producing under license, the company developed its own V8, a half-baked affair that bedeviled owners with cooling issues. Still, the 3.0-liter, dual Zenith-carburetted engine makes about 130 hp (US delivery). Fully independent suspension, servo-assisted brakes with discs up front, and power steering put the Stag’s into the “luxury” category, particularly as compared to the aging mechanicals of the TR6, also on offer in ’73. This engine has been rebuilt, along with its carbs; it has a relatively new manual transmission, and the tires, front struts, and rear shocks are new. To aid cooling, the car has an upgraded radiator, but the seller doesn’t specify the nature of the upgrade.

The interior has received its share of attention, too. The T-bar upholstery and padding as well as the seat foams have been replaced; the wood dash is new burled walnut; the carpets are wool; and the car has a serious stereo system, with its components neatly arrayed in the trunk. The window switches and sun visors are new. The T-bar across the roofline was a safety concession to ease the acceptance of its convertible top, which – like a Mercedes SL – folds into the rear cockpit fairing. A hard top was also available, color-keyed to the body. Despite its convertible configuration, the Stag could be ordered with air conditioning – this unit works but needs recharging.

Speaking of color, the seller stripped this car completely to change its color from the original root-beer brown to black. The paint is clear-coated. The metal bits were re-chromed – a job that would cost a small fortune today. The seller installed daytime running lights on a relay, and when completing the bodywork, added European side marker lights. The car comes with a fat packet of receipts and a clear title. I wish it had a hard top and was clothed in its original color, but the price is reasonable given the work performed and today’s market.

Comments

  1. Avatar photo 370zpp Member

    Can’t believe even at this point in my life I am still being made aware of cars I was completely unaware existed. Thanks, Michelle.

    Like 10
    • Avatar photo Seasport

      As I. My folks had 2 Triumphs in the time I was a kid, but never heard of this model. Looks like around 8K was put into the engine in 2017. Hopefully it cured all of the ills
      These had from the factory.

      Like 6
      • Avatar photo Nevada1/2rack Member

        And should the motor go south, there are plenty of available V8 Rover motors (as was originally planned for the Stag) ranging from $1400 to $14000.

        Like 2
    • Avatar photo Michelle Rand Staff

      You’re welcome, and I feel the same way! Longer I live, the more cars I never knew about. Also, it seems that the “barn find” and “unrestoreds” just keep coming out of the woodwork….

      Like 3
    • Avatar photo PRA4SNW Member

      The only reason that I know of this car is that I used to work with a guy who drive a GT-6. When I told him that I was looking for a Corvette Convertible, he suggested that if I wanted a convertible with a V8, I should look at a Stag.

      Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I agreed that if he could find one for sale anywhere close to where I lived, I would go and have a look. That day never arrived and a Corvette was purchased. To this day, I still have not seen a Stag in person.

      Like 2
    • Avatar photo JustPassinThru

      The only reason I ever heard of it, was – for some reason – I remember a full two-page ad for it in a 1973 issue of Car & Driver. I wasn’t a regular reader, but I got hold of this issue – a friend of my older brother somehow left it behind, and I read it.

      British cars were rare in the Midwest Rust Belt back then. There’d be bug-eyed TR-3s, on Sunday afternoons; and a car I never heard of, called Sunbeam (made by the people who made my friend’s sister’s hair dryer?). And there were a light dusting of MGs about.

      Otherwise, no. Later I found out why – and watching BL in its last months, around about 1979, was like watching a suicide. First, kill off the best-known brand, MG. Then rename it the unwieldly, uninspired handle of JaguarRoverTriumph. THEN kill Triumph, and finally, sell Jaguar to Ford. Leaving the state-owned Rover as the only brand, and with zero will to build on it. Thus, leaving it open to “partnership” offers – which Honda offered, using the Rover network as the base for their own attack on the Isles.

      No matter. The sun was low in the sky when this came out, and as happens with nationalized industries, British Leyland made many mistakes and overlooked many critical matters.

      I wish the seller good luck. A lot of effort went into sorting this one out, it appears.

      Like 3
  2. Avatar photo Robert F

    GM sold all rights to the Buick alloy engine to Leyland then BMC, Later GM wanted to buy the engine back and Leyland wouldn’t sell. Not built with permission from GM the British owned that engine. Smart move as that engine was built until a few years ago. Too bad for the Triumph Stag but later used in the TR8 that was also a flop. Triumph, The Face of Failure.

    Like 5
  3. Avatar photo Joe Mec Member

    The Stag was a good looking car but it received a bad name from its performance. I almost pulled the trigger on a Corvette 327 powered Stag many years ago when the car market was not so inflated. I thought twice and did not…$25K is for the person who wants one and doesn’t care what happens. Nothing negative to say about this one… it looks good but it is a Stag!!

    Like 6
  4. Avatar photo jwaltb

    Lipstick on a pig.

    Like 1
  5. Avatar photo RichardinMaine

    College friend bought on after he got his first job.
    It absolutely beat him to death.
    Now of course the ills are all identified and the fan base keeps going on. Leyland made so many mistakes during this era, and the decision not to use their existing V8 in the Stag was one more spike in the coffin of Triumph.
    It was no accident that Douglas Adam’s skewered British bureaucrats so thoroughly in the Hitchhikers Guide series

    Like 2
  6. Avatar photo Doone

    I was under the impression that the V8 was a Ford sourced 289.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo SubGothius

      You may be thinking of another individual Stag or other Triumph models featured here that had a Ford 289 swap.

      Like 0
  7. Avatar photo jdb

    yep, nice car, bad engine. great place to spend money……for ever.

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo Darryl fling

    It is really sad how the Stag story played out.
    You are right BL already had the good aluminum Rover V8 that they could have used. But head of Triumph at that time. (Lord so and so )Said no non Triumph,
    motor will be used. And he still had enough clout at BL ti make sure that happened.
    So with no money, or time. They desingned the Stag V8 which was basicly 2 TR7 motors put together. And the TR 7 motor had is origins in the Herald from the 50s with an OHC head made for it. And 7s were notorius for warpping their heads. As the head studs were not parralel and different lengths. So had different clamping forces. So over time, and heat cycles they would wraped the head. And the Stag just doubled the problem

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo TouringFordor

      Don’t forget Saab had a hand in it also. When I overhauled my Stag V-8, I used readily available Saab crankshaft bearings. The biggest issue was waiting for Stag specific parts to ship from the UK.

      I loved the car; it sounded awesome and it was a great cruiser. I let it go when all of the upholstery foam disintegrated. Sold it to a USAF retiree whose British wife wanted it. She said it was like the one her old boyfriend had. :-0

      Like 3
  9. Avatar photo Mike

    My father in law had a 1971 Navy Blue Triumph Stag that was his pride and joy. He maintained it until he could no longer safely drive and reluctantly sold it to a young man in Malibu CA. Sadly, some years later we were told that the driver and car were destroyed in a tragic accident….

    Like 0

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