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Ready to Show! 1973 Triumph Stag

We’ve covered several Triumph Stags at Barn Finds, nearly always reminding readers what stinkers they were when new. Meanwhile, the dang cars have been sneaking up in price despite their unsavory reputation. What the heck. Time to figure out what’s propelling the interest in these slightly eccentric Triumphs. Here on eBay is the perfect subject, this 1973 Triumph Stag, thoroughly restored, bid to $25,000 and about to go to a new home from its current residence in North Smithfield, Rhode Island. The seller’s son performed the restoration, hewing to the car’s original factory colors. It’s had only three owners.

The Stag was Triumph’s answer to competitive pressures from Mercedes, Jaguar, and others in the luxury GT niche. Giovanni Michelotti redesigned the Triumph 2000 saloon, giving it a targa/convertible top, and Triumph cobbled up a 3.0 liter V8 engine, so the new car could run with the big dogs. Only as we know, it didn’t. The poorly designed engine nearly ruined Triumph’s reputation. Shy of 26,000 Stags were made, and thanks to rust and that wicked engine, surviving examples in factory original condition are rare. If you can find one, though, many of its mechanical faults can be remediated. For instance, this car has a low-coolant alarm and a header tank. With the water pump sitting in the V of the engine and narrow water jackets in the block, this auxiliary engineering helps keep the motor cool. The seller has also converted from the original Stromberg carbs to a Weber; I’m sure this is a well-trod path, but I don’t like Webers. In factory form, the V8 reached sixty in about 9.5 seconds while top speed was around 120 mph. Ok, so it’s not selling on the basis of its sparkling performance.

The interior is another matter altogether. The instrument panel is viscerally appealing – the epitome of “if a couple gauges are good, six are better”. The only dash that’s more attractive is in the Lotus Elan +2. Here, the wood is perfect, the surfaces are perfect, the seats are perfect. Nothing detracts from the luxury appeal that Triumph was trying to serve up. This car comes with its hard top, and the convertible top is near-new. A large-ish proportion of Stags are equipped with automatic transmissions, in keeping with the notion of “luxury”. This one is a manual – worth paying up for.

The Stag is distinctive – nothing else looks similar. The trim edging the front and rear panels, the taut dip over the trunk, the indented waistline – whether you like it or not, it’s stylish. For the owner looking for a more unusual ride, the Stag fits the bill, while not breaking the wallet. The seller notes that good Stags sell in the $26k area; I’ve seen asking prices considerably higher. This is a lot of car for the money.


  1. HoA Howard A Member

    A Spitfire on,,,what’s stronger than steroids? Got to love the British, “low coolant alarm”? Like, okay, we should expect it to lose coolant? I can hear the engineers reply,,,,”absolutely not,,,but in case it does”,,,”boils” down to one thing, the money. These cost over $5grand new, and for a couple hundred more, you could have a Corvette. By all rights, this should have been one of the best British roadsters offered for the masses, certainly better than that TR7 abomination, again, poor timing. The absolute last thing Americans wanted then was a Stag, for a variety of reasons. Once again, with a ’73 240Z at around $4600, for a car that started, charged, blinkers blinked, idled, had almost as much power, and didn’t leak oil, the Datsun was a clear choice.
    Today? This is another of those cars that falls into either a stout Triumph fan, if any, or just a weird car that’s really cool, and no particular affiliation with Triumph.

    Like 11
    • Kent Prather Member

      I have owned a 1971 Stag since 1977. The engine was shot when I got it so I put a 283 Chevy in it with a T5 5 speed. Been to both Coasts with it. Very comfortable car and way ahead of it’s time!

      Like 1
      • Bill

        Nice what you did, I’d love to own it. IMO though, if the chance came I’d use the Buick/Rover aluminum V8

        Like 0
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Nice example. We run a header tank on our race cars but it’s primary use is to take the coolant directly from the last two cylinders through what used to be the heater outlet and put it back into the radiator. It’s like turning on you heater in the summer to cool down your overheating engine. Picture shows the black header tank before hooking up he hoses.The engines sure ruined what could have been a really good car.

    Like 10
    • bobhess bobhess Member

      Click on the picture for a better look.

      Like 4
    • bobhess bobhess Member

      See what you mean PatL. Your craigslist car is a real beauty.

      Like 3
    • Michelle Rand Staff

      Yes, that’s near the top end, as far as I’ve seen. There are a few in the $36k area, and then Bruce Canepa has or had a very low mile Magenta example that he wanted something like $65k for some years ago.


      Like 3
    • luckless pedestrian

      I can certainly appreciate the work that was done to that car, but I guess I think differently. The thing that makes the Stag interesting and unique is the original Triumph 8. Ya, I know it gets a bad rap – some of it deserved, but there is nothing like the sound of that engine. I had mine for 9 years and never tired of the noises it made… and I never had problems with its engine. Resto-mods have their place, but in my eyes they take value away…

      Like 3
      • TouringFordor

        Agreed! I had one also. A wonderful highway cruiser, with a distinctive sound and great looks. Using Viton seals for the O rings, an electric fan and recored radiator, it ran great and was a blast to drive.

        Like 3
  3. Jim

    I can do without the St. Christopher medal. Otherwise, quite the beauty.

    Like 2
    • Tony Primo

      The way that people drive nowadays, I would probably keep the medal. Every little bit helps!

      Like 7
      • Solosolo UK Solosolo UK Member

        The first, and only time, that I wore a St. Christopher I ended up in hospital after I crashed my friends AJS 600cc Sport motorcycle and wrote it off. It took me one whole year before I was able to ride my Triumph Tiger 110 again. The nurse in X-Ray told me that it was lucky that I had worn the St. Christopher necklace. I thought very differently so I gave it to her!

        Like 5
  4. LCL

    I saw one, once, in a packed rotary in London on a Friday afternoon top down, and even in traffic the driver looked happy to be him in his Stag.
    When we reached the exit he took off with a sweet exhaust burble, an upshift and a smile. Off to the Lakes probably.
    I hope he kept that glow for years.
    Truly a beautiful car.
    I was working on left handed shifting in my rented Contour.

    Like 5
  5. Martin Horrocks

    Although he knows cars, I seldom agree with Jeremy Clarkson. But on the Triumph Stag we are as one. Clarkson spent an entire program using the Stag to illustrate everything that went wrong in the UK car industry in the early 70s.

    Never met a car person yet who owned a Triumph Stag.

    Like 1
  6. Kelly Breen

    The Triumph V-8 was a terrible engine, but once it was sorted out it was a fine power plant.
    I think a common theme with the Standard Triumph branch of BL was they put a lot of product out to the public before it was properly evolved and the bugs worked out.
    This destroyed their reputation.
    The TR-7 and Stag were nice cars completely sabotaged by the first years of production which were completely substandard.
    Too bad. They put themselves out of business. The blame was in the mirror.

    Like 4
  7. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $26,600.

    Like 0
  8. Michael Hullevad

    Triumph’s need for a V8 was just as logical as a hole in the head.
    They did have a V8( in the Buick 3,5 clone from Rover). It could have been and was uprated to eventually the TVR 4,9.

    Like 0
    • luckless pedestrian

      Actually, when the project was first started in the early ’60s it did make some sense… the V8 was just one part of an engine “family” which included the slant 4 which wound up in the TR7. Those that are familiar know that the 4 is the 8 with one bank of cylinders removed. Interesting to note that the first engine in this family wound up in the Saab 99 and not a Triumph… and there are rumors that there was at least one experimental Saab built with the Triumph 8… Now that would have been interesting…

      Like 0
      • Michael Hullevad

        SAAB adopted the Triumph 1,8 but improved it with their own 2,0 edition. The PRL V8 had nothing to do with the BL V8. Due to the oil crisis, it was altered to a V6, not very clever, thirsty, and underpowered. The solution, 2,3 Turbo at SAAB, Renault used the V6 (90deg.) And I think Lancia dropped out. (they had a boxer 6).

        Like 0

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