Triumph have been responsible for designing some important cars over the years, such as the Herald and Vitesse. One of the company’s most popular models was the Triumph Stag, which started off as an experimental machine. Designed by Giovanni Michelotti, the Italian had an agreement with the Director of Engineering Harry Webster. If he liked the the car then it could be used as the prototype for a new model. Webster loved it and the Stag was born. We’re looking into the history of the car.
After Webster signed off on the design, the Stag came into being to compete with the Mercedes-Benz SL. It was based around a 1963 pre-production 2000 saloon, with the end result being a two-door drophead convertible.
The Stag came with a 2997 cc 2.5-litre PI V8 engine that helped it meet emission standards in America. The US market was a key demographic, so Triumph wanted to maximise sale chances.
The original launched in 1970, but it soon gained a reputation for having mechanical issues. This came down to a late change in the engine, which proved to be unusual from an engineering point of view. For example, the water pump was placed above the engine, leading to a reduction in fluid volume.
The materials used for the engine also caused problems. The block was made from iron and the heads from aluminium, meaning antifreeze needed to be used on a regular basis to stop corrosion.
Due to the Stag’s unreliability, only 25,877 were produced between 1970 and 1977. Triumph went back to the drawing board, creating the Mark II. The new version was fitted with a Borg-Warner Type 35 3-speed automatic transmission and a high-pressure cooling system. Standard features included power steering, power-assisted brakes and electric windows.
The Stag never had a direct successor, though British Leyland planned on introducing a derivative of the Triumph TR7 called the Lynx. The car never got release because the Triumph factory in Liverpool was shut down.
Today, the Stag is popular among classic car enthusiasts, with a large club existing in England. It’s been estimated there are around 9000 surviving Stags in the UK.
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