At Shelsley Walsh on 28th and 29th July at their “F1 Through the Ages” event, the Stag Owners’ Club were out in force – and set up a wonderfully straight line of Triumph Stags on the main field. It was heart-warming to see so many of these excellent machines, all in very good condition, together in one place.
The Triumph Stag was a 2+2 sports tourer sold between 1970 and 1978 and was styled by Giovanni Michelotti.
The Stag was designed to compete directly with the Mercedes-Benz SL class models. All Stags were four-seater convertible coupés, but for structural rigidity – and to meet new American rollover standards of the time – the Stag required a B-pillar “roll bar” hoop connected to the windscreen frame by a T-bar. A removable Targa top was a popular factory option for the early Stags, and was later supplied as a standard fitment.
The initial Stag design was based around the saloon’s 2.5-litre six cylinder engine, but was launched with the new Triumph-designed overhead cam 3-litre fuel injected V8.
The car was launched in 1970 to a warm reception at the international auto shows, but soon acquired a reputation for mechanical unreliability, usually in the form of overheating. These problems arose from a variety of causes, which eventually led to many Stags having their engines replaced by the reliable 3.5-litre Rover V8. Nevertheless, these overheating problems were gradually overcome, and a Stag with the original engine is nowadays a trusty and smooth-running classic car.
Perhaps as a result of the Stag’s reputation for unreliability, only 25,877 cars were produced between 1970 and 1977, in Mark I and Mark II versions. These can be differentiated by the sills and tail panel, which are body-colour on the earlier car and low-gloss black on the later. The addition of twin coachlines is an indication of a Mk II variant.
The majority of cars were fitted with a Borg-Warner 3-speed automatic transmission.