Running Brit: 1973 Triumph Stag

When it was formed in 1968, British Leyland stood as one of the world’s largest vehicle manufacturers. Its portfolio included such brands as Rover, Triumph, Jaguar, and MG. However, the company was dysfunctional, and the lack of market success of the Triumph Stag was an ample demonstration of the problems. Today the Stag has become a vehicle that can be transformed from its initially unreliable state into a reliable and comfortable cruiser. This Stag is listed for sale here on eBay. The location of this Stag is a bit vague, but it appears to be located in Arizona. The seller has a lot of positive feedback on eBay, but if you are interested in the car it might pay to make contact first. The car comes with a clear title and the opening bid has been set at $1,000 in this No Reserve auction.

While the car wears its original color, it appears to have received a repaint at some stage in the past. The paint quality is not great, so any new owner will probably want to address this. Stags are generally not prone to rust issues, and if this one has been residing long-term in Arizona it should be quite safe in that respect. The car is rolling on wheels of unknown origin. However, the original wire wheels and center-lock adaptors are included in the sale.

The interior looks to be a bit tattered in places, and while the shots that we get are limited, any new owner can expect some work if the car has been exposed to the sun for an extended period. Vinyl trim and the dash pad are particularly prone. In this shot, I can see a split in the door trim along with some deterioration in the trim around the gauges. The rear seat looks to be in good condition.

This is the heart that can potentially cause so much grief with the Stag. As part of the British Leyland group, Triumph had easy access to Rover’s 3.5-liter V8 engine. Instead, they chose to go their own way with a newly developed 3.0-liter engine. This engine was prone to over-heating issues and timing chain failure. Better radiators and thematic fans can address the former, while stronger timing chains are available to address the latter. Some owners have chosen to bin the original engine in favor of the Rover unit, and this can be a pretty savvy move. This engine is said to run, but it sounds like it may need to undergo some maintenance to the fuel system before it is close to driveable.

The Triumph Stag should have been a sales and motoring success. Instead, it was built by an imploding British Leyland that was being torn apart by industrial disputes and quality control issues. Today a Stag can be transformed into a reliable car that is really nice to drive. This one appears to be a solid car with potential. Would you take it on, or would you consign it to the “too hard” basket?

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  1. eastlex91

    IMHO as an armchair expert, Triumph missed the boat on this one on more than just the powerplant. Yes, they should have used the Rover 3.5 V8. But, as a convertible, I think it was rather homely. However, it starts looking remarkably better with the hardtop in place. Frankly, the Stag could have made a fantastic GT, even as a fastback or maybe a shooting brake! At the time, Triumph really didn’t need yet another ragtop. Buy it, drop in the rover 3.5, ditch the convertible top assembly completely and use the hardtop full time. And maybe add in a 5-speed conversion if there is one for the Stag.

  2. JimmyJ

    Definitely NOT the triumph v6

  3. Ken Nelson

    That’s a GM V6 – Delco HEI distributor right on top, Delco alternator on the right side. Plastic brake fluid reservoir broken off the MC, and GM emissions cannister next to the alternator – definitely nothing British about the engine, unless they cannibalized a Chevy at PickNPull – but a V8 NOT! Come to think of it, it could be a ’60’s Buick oddfire V6, which wasn’t a bad engine. That dizzy could be the one the Citroen SM club guys convert to use in the SM to replace the ridiculously expensive Maserati dizzy’s parts.

    • George

      Definitely not a Stag engine. I noticed that immediately too, also that it was a V6. Probably hooked to an auto in that case.

    • Rusty

      Didn’t the HEI distributor cap for the oddfire Buick look like one for a V8 with a couple of connectors removed? I’m trying to stretch my memory back to the 70s when we had one, but I am no longer sure. That would make this a later, even-for engine.

      • Ken Nelson

        Rusty, the oddfire Buick dizzy was smaller than the V8 and there wasn’t room on top for the coil as I recall, but otherwise same design just smaller.

  4. Jimmy

    Is that a IH quad cab 4×4 in the background, if yes I would be more interested in seeing that featured.

  5. George

    The IH grabbed my attention even before I looked at the Stag. That looks hardcore.

  6. Martin Horrocks

    One of the worst cars to come out of BL. Made even worse…..

  7. Mark

    Mean international, may be a diesel, should check that out

  8. chad Member

    I’m w/Jim, Geo’n Mark. Those were huge.
    Does the Stag have the alu v6 already?
    (It’s a buy – just 4 that).

  9. Ken Nelson

    You’re probably right Chad – that might be the alu V6, but I sure thought that engine had the smaller normal-looking GM HEI dizzy – that’s what we put in the Citroen SM with its oddfire V6. The Buick oddfire dizzy is a perfect fit – just swap drive gear & reverse the centrif. advance as the SM dizzy runs backwards vs the Buick.

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