Would You Pay $2,595 For This Stag?

1972 Triumph Stag

Everyday we receive dozens of emails from our readers containing links to seemingly good deals. Some really are bargains and others… well, not so much. When Rich G sent in this 1972 Triumph Stag, I got a very excited because $2,500 seemed like a great price for one of these V8 powered cruisers. It is always a good idea to stop and take a deep breath when you stumble across something like this though. You don’t want to jump into a bad purchase, but you don’t want to waste any time doing your research either. Let’s take a closer look together and see if it really is a good find.

Triumph V8

As previously mentioned, this four seat convertible is fitted with a V8 engine! All Stags were powered by Triumph’s own 3.0 liter unit and although it had some teething issues, it isn’t all that bad of an engine. Many specialists exist today who have figured out how to resolve many of the problem areas so keeping this luxury sports car on the road today is not an impossible feat. This particular one is going to need some help though. The seller claims that it turns over, but isn’t getting any spark. That should be an easy fix, but there is no telling what other surprises might be lurking in there once you start to dig into it.

Triumph Stag interior

From what I can make out in these blurry photos, the interior looks to be in great condition! The material on the seats appears to be more soft and supple than crispy and sun-burnt, which is surprising considering that the roof on these cars is removable. During the sixties the US was toying with the idea of outlawing roadsters, so some companies started to experiment with systems that would allow the open air feel while still providing rollover protection. Porsche’s Targa may be the most well known example of it, but Triumph also had their own t-bar that was fitted to the Stag.

Some body damage

Things were starting to sound too good to be true until this! The seller does mention some body damage and some that has been partially repaired… That could explain the low price and why it is still listed for sale here on craigslist after a whole week. This setback doesn’t necessary mean that this car is not worth saving though. A thorough inspection could easily determine the extent of the damage, so it may be wise to take a body man along who could give you a full estimate for repairs before making an offer. With that said, what do you think? Would you pay $2,595 for this Stag?

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Comments

  1. Rich G

    I am betting the reason it has sat on CL for a week is that it has been colder than a banker’s heart! It takes true dedication to go check out a non-runner in this weather.

  2. Liam

    Not all Stags were powered by Triumphs 3 litre V8. This engine was not known to be the best, so Triumph also offered the Rover 3.5 Aluminum V8 as an option which was preffered by many. Many Triumph engined owners, also swapped engines themselves in place of the Rover power plant, and of course Rover took this engine from Buick. The Rover V8 is well known, and was fitted in the Rover P5, P6 and SD1 models.

    • That Guy

      The Rover engine wasn’t ever offered as a factory option. All Stags left the factory with the Triumph V8. It’s possible that BL created prototypes using the Rover V8, but any Stag which has a Rover V8 today was converted later. I’ve seen quite a few with Buick V6 conversions as well.

      The Wikipedia writeup on the Stag’s engine design and production flaws is unusually thorough, and helps to explain why so many Stags lost their original engines over time. But today the engineering and quality shortcomings have generally been overcome, and cars with original engines are much preferred today because they can be made sturdy and reliable.

    • Robert J.

      The Rover/Buick V8 in a small British roadster is a thing of beauty indeed. I had the pleasure of owning a bored/stroked/balanced Rover V8 in an MGB. I will never forget the sound and feel of that engine.

      I would pass on this Stag. You can still buy these cheap all over the country and $2,500 will get you one from California with no dents.

      • tom999p

        Hmm, I heard a few of the u.s. import ones had factory installed ford v8’s…

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        Unfortunately, no, all had the ill-fated “2 TR7’s on a single crankcase” V8. Now if they had produced one with the 16 valve heads from the Dolomite Sprint, as a few prototype engines were, THAT would have been something!

      • Kyle D

        Biggest issue currently with Stag engines is ham fisted mechanics and machine shops who have screwed them up in the past… That and JB weld to fix the pock marks in the cylinder head. TRIUMPHSTAGPARTSUSA can get you just about anything for them, up to and including ready to run cylinder heads. There is some lead time on the heads, but they are beautiful and almost a shame to install on a new engine. A running driving car is definitely a plus on this model. Kyle.

    • Andy Nichols

      Not so! The Rover V8 was never offered.

  3. Vince Habel

    I don’t want it. They are junk.

    • Alweeja

      More trouble than it is worth

  4. Don Andreina

    No

  5. Scot in San Jose

    Always liked the styling of these and the sound of the stock engine. It takes a bit of work to sort them but many have been sorted. Prices are climbing for them with the original engine.

    If that is the worst of the body damage the price is fair. These did love to rust so that would be my major worry.

    Good points for this one is that it has the hardtop, original wheels and looks like a good interior.

    Would rather have a manual

  6. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Jesse, you knew I’d chime in on this one. This is not the Stag to get, for several reasons:

    1) The damage is in a place that while you can cut it out and replace the sheetmetal, it will be difficult to find a good fender because the lower part of that fender is the most common place for Stag rust. And believe me, after owning three, I know they rust.
    2) Almost a guarantee that the engine has a blown head gasket. And while there are many fixes that have been developed post-production for the Stag, they aren’t that easy to implement. Plan on replacing timing chains as well as fixing the head/s.
    3) By the way, the stripes and wheels place the car as a 1973, not a 1972. Hope that’s just a typo.
    4) I have seen good (not great) Stags for 4-5k. Most have been swapped for something else in the engine compartment. That’s not necessarily a bad thing (although a nice-running original Stag is a sweetheart of a car!)
    5) Unlike some, while I prefer a manual, especially with overdrive, in a Stag, the BW65 in this car isn’t a deal-killer for me. It matches the car’s character well–this isn’t a sports car, it’s a classy tourer.

    Triumph intended the Stag to compete with the Mercedes SL. If they had executed it properly and put the Rover V8 in at the beginning (there were supply issues, supposedly, in addition to the Rover/Triumph rivalry) it would have made one heck of a car.

    BTW, the reason for the T-bar was a lack of structural rigidity. They put the roll bar in first but it didn’t do the job…then there’s a well-known, possibly too good to be true story of a development engineer fastening a broomstick between the windshield and the roll bar that solved the vibration issues.

    If you want one, find a better one. They are out there! I used to own one :-)

  7. LeftShark

    Cool design, poorly executed, but part of that is down to all the labor disputes in Britain, and in particular at BL, at the time. The t-bar was added because there was so much flex in the structure. I read that they even tried double-skinning the body before resorting to it.

  8. jim s

    i think this is just a parts car and not enough demand for the parts to break even at the asking price. i learned something new today as i did not know about the motor, always though it was a version of the rover V8. interesting find

  9. Ian

    Here in the UK it was (not sure now) the most popular classic car and even rough ones
    like this are snapped up. Agree re the engine comments and specialists here solve any inherent problems

  10. Pappy2

    Wouldn’t drag this heap home if it was free.
    Unknown degrees of pain securing parts to get it roadworthy.
    After the search, and labor involved… You have a Stag.
    So, unless you’re really bored, look for a project with more marketable potential.
    This one is a black hole.

    • San Jose Scot

      Interesting statement. From what I have seen cars and houses are assets and with rare exception investments. Choosing a hobby car by its marketability seems to defeat the purpose.

  11. Allen Member

    The only ones of these I’ve seen in that $4-5K range were converted to Ford V6s, etc. I would be very tempted at an asking price of $2.5K. I’ve dealt, properly, with rust repair for years and I’m not totally discouraged. I have a friend who has owned and driven one of these for at least 25 years and the heads and sump have never been off his. The trick, he says, is to keep the engine from overheating. ‘ Think he’s employed a few aftermarket devices to aid in that effort but don’t know what. Yes, the BOPR engine would have been better – in fact it was better than about 90% of all engines available at the time. But there were a lot of lesser engines that were still very good! BTW, the BOPR engines hung on in the Range Rovers up through about 1996! I believe this engine was in the Buick LeSabre concept car of 1953 – so that’s a pretty good run!

  12. 71 MKIV

    yup, I would buy it, if I could inspect it and make sure the bottom is intact. Nothing else scares me, and I’ve always wanted one.

    71 MKIV

  13. Don

    Interesting comments. I purchased my 1973 Stag in September 73 while stationed in Italy. Flew up to London took the train to Coventry where we picked it up at the factory. Yes I’ve had a few problems – blew one of the heads. It now has 39,000 miles and still running like a top. No rust and you can’t beat the sound of that engine Love to drive it..

  14. Ian

    Liam

    The Stag was never offered in Europe at least with any other engine than the Triumph unit. this was specifically built and poorly designed for the USA market. Any Stag can fetch good money and the engines are reliable although not powerful for a V8, keep it original as a few years from now they will be pulling big bucks

  15. HeadMaster1

    Good enough for Bond,,,,,,,,,,,, James Bond, then good enough for me :-)

    • Rover-owner

      Bond is fiction as is a functional Triumph V8.The tow cables are thin enough wire as to be unseen on screen. Special effects were always a Bond movie speciality.

  16. Rover-owner

    Stags do not have the Rover-Buick V8 3.5 all-aluminium V8 as standard. Swapping the toaster twinned Triumph out was a common private fix by Stag owners frustrated of perpetual repairing the self-roasting cast-iron twinned asmathic cobbled-together Triumph slant fours.
    A better script for a Yes Minister or Seinfeld could not be written than Triumph’s incompetent management. Inexplicably Triumph rejected intended injection for this over-weight, underpowered badly balanced lump- the entire drivetrain had to be modified. Despite this- it HAD to be overbored which impinged on cylinder head water galleries- making a hot, wheezy weak engine. So disastrous it was, engineering giant Charles Spencer “Spen” King was unable to sort out Triumph’s genius. Triumph- in a trademark displays of their brilliant wisdom decided to jettison time-proven industrial wisdom when as British Leyland board of directors members, (which had no Rover members as directors) threw industrial (incl British practice) of homogenisation and standardisation of reliable, proven powerplants and drivetrains where the law of cost–volume–profit would be realised and obtained- out the window.
    Bear in mind, the UK had decades prior in wartime conditions engaged in cost-volume efficiencies such as standardisation of powerplants (RR Merlins) across vehicles and platforms as achieving commonality, standardisation and the benefits of perpetually diminishing unit cost vs volume- with all the follow-on advantages of streamlined logistics, low spares costs etc.. The idea of a standard Rover V8 powerplant across the British Leyland range was so self-evident numerous rivals had been doing that precise concept for decades (see Ford, GM, AMC, BMW & Mercedes, etc ) even within the UK.
    Triumph’s genius as British Leyland board of directors can rightly go down in infamy as being major contributors to UK auto industry demise especially undercutting the image through poor reliability and continually kicking British motor industry in the pills for their myopia and unparalleled empty-headedness.

    • John Palk

      Financial constraints as Triumph had just been taken over by Leyland coupled with the cost of such an ambitious project and shortage of the Buick block coupled with the need to get cash flow to the crippled Triumph mark is what I understand to have been the main problem.
      Then the Leyland workers strikes coupled with deliberate sabotage destroyed confidence of the consumer and management should be factored in.

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