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Triumph Stag Story

Triumph Stag Story

In the Coventry factory, the Triumph Stag Mark I has received much care and attention since it was purchased in June 1999 for four thousand pounds. Since then, restoration has been an ongoing affair. But this hasn’t compromised anything as it’s still been enjoyed to the full, clocking up a full 85 000 miles. Although mass production of the Triumph stack began in 1970, the idea was planted several years before in 1964, where Giovanni Michelotti decided to create a car for the forthcoming Turin Motor Show.

Giovanni Michelotti

Triumph Stag Creation

Already on good terms with Triumph, he approached engineering director Harry Webster to see if they had a surplus works vehicle that he could use as a basis. The result of Michelotti’s stylish talents could be more superbly displayed in the 1972 model. It was one of about 3 500 to be produced in the UK that year.

But it was still a few years after Michelotti’s initial idea that the final model would be produced at the site. The Stag type originally Harry Webster had and provided Michelotti with an old Triumph 2000 hot off the racing circuit. There it was a support vehicle for the Spitfires in the 24-hour race.

Triumph Stag Mark I

It was provided on the condition that Triumph could get the first refusal if they thought they might want it for themselves. Whilst retaining the drive, train suspension, and floor, Michelotti transformed the 2000 saloon model into a shorter, forcing two-door grand. Once again, Michelotti had applied his unique flair, wowing the people at Triumph so much that the new creation was taken in and reviewed for mass production.

It was the first Triumph Stag!

Triumph Stag Mark I

It never did grace at the 1964 Turing Show. Sales release was set for 1968, but the Triumph Stag, originally designed as a showpiece, was not quite ready as a production vehicle. A few alterations had to be made before the public could safely get their hands on it. One change was the incorporation of an overhead bar to provide rollover protection and to secure a rigid frame. This table has become a distinctive characterizing feature of the Triumph Stag. At the same time as these developments were being made, Triumph was also producing an in-house engine, a 2.5 liter V8 with fuel injection. Soon, Triumph enlarged it.

Triumph Stag

Eventually, by June 1970, the Stag featuring Triumph’s new V8 engine was available to the British public, and exports to America began the following year. The new Stag also featured all-round independent suspension, power steering, and the 4-speed manual gearbox with optional overdrive. The Stags made for the American market were slightly different.

These American market Triumph Stags had lower power and side backlights with the Stag motif positioned under the rear side. Holding so much promise with its sleek appearance and stylistic hallmarks, the Stag was a potential hit.

Triumph Stag Story

However, this was not to be. The main offender was the unreliable V8 engine that had the tendency to overheat and worse – explode, which was usually triggered by a blocked radiator. America wasn’t impressed.

A number of warranty claims soared to a great height. In 1973, just two years after it had appeared, Triumph saw no other option than to remove the Stag from all the American showrooms altogether.

In total, America imported about 3900 Triumph Stag cars.

Triumph Stag Mark II

Triumph was working hard to overcome the various problems and luckily for this American model, a new radiator had been installed by 1972. Another improvement made at this time was a redesigned air filter box. A heat-sensitive vacuum with a control flag was installed to draw in either hot or cold air, depending on the engines. With some further technical and cosmetic changes, the Triumph Stag Mark II model was introduced in February 1973. Among other alterations, the front seats were adjusted for headrest fixtures and the smaller steering wheel was fitted.

The U.S. version of the Triumph Stag on the road

A few changes were made to the engine, including a reshaped combustion chamber and a domed top added over the pistons. The manual gearbox with overdrive became standard in Mark II Stags and used a better overdrive type.

Other differences incorporated to the Triumph Stag: a laminated windscreen, the absence of side windows in the soft tops, and the stylistic tweaking of the interior designs. 

But even with such modifications, the Triumph Stag did not go on to be an outstanding marketing success and low further minor improvements were continually made.

Triumph Stag

Triumph discontinued production in June of 1977. In total, over seven years, Triumph produced 25 877 of the Stag models. Today, the Triumph Stag makes a much happier story and is a great key celebrated model of the Triumph range. As we can see for ourselves with proper care and attention, the Triumph Stag performs to a superb standard. The original maximum speed of 120 mph and 9.3 seconds to 60 mph could certainly give some vehicles on the road today a run for their money.

Triumph Stag Mark II

Restoring a classic car is always a satisfying process. Anyone embarking on a project of their own will be pleased to know that obtaining spare parts for Triumph Stag shouldn’t prove too problematic.

Embraced by thousands of loyal devotees, the Triumph Stag has become a true classic with the whole network of clubs at home and abroad to pursue interests and gain knowledge. Events for the Stag followers held at both local and international levels and can vary from competitions to social activities on a weekend break to admire and show different models of a preserved Triumph Stag cars.