"Great Triumph Stag" is Kind of like "Great case of Ringworm"

1972 triumph stag for sale
Look up your personal car (or personal favorite car)’s Wikipedia page. Are there eight paragraphs, roughly 25% of the word-count, dedicated to its design and manufacturing flaws? Then you don’t drive a Triumph Stag, arguably one of the worst engineered vehicles in history. Among the 3.0L V8 powered touring car’s failings:

  • The water pump is mounted above the engine, such that a low coolant level causes it to 1) stop pumping and 2) self destruct
  • The mismatched iron/aluminum block and heads required rare-at-the-time anti-corrosive coolant, which owners and dealers were not aware of, leading to electrolytic corrosion of the water passages.
  • Timing chains that stretched and failed in under 25k miles
  • Head bolts at different angles that stressed the head and gaskets to the point of failure
  • Block and head castings of abysmal quality, leading to clogged passages and warping heads
  • A manual transmission under-specified for the power this new gem of a V8 was making, leading to premature failure

And yet, this one looks pretty good. The paint and interior look well cared for and the engine bay’s as good as it was leaving the factory (though that dual carb setup…shudder…). The seller’s even opted to skip the cute-but-not-that-cute unnecessary model in favor of a couple of cute-and-actually-cute mastiffs in frame. The seller’s asking $5,000, which seems cheap for a car in this condition if it weren’t notoriously awful…but I’m not all that up to date on the Stag market these days.

According to the seller, the engine’s been completely rebuilt and there’s a whole parts car worth of spares. It’s been sitting for a while so you might as well start from scratch it needs some fresh fuel and probably a few seals replaced. Still, image yourself touring the countryside in your most stereotypically British outfit on a nippy autumn afternoon in that proper green roadster. Just don’t go too far out of town.

1972 Triumph Stag for sale – eBay Motors

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  1. Fred Avatar

    Well it’s not impossible to drive this car long distance

  2. dukeisduke Avatar

    Is there an engine and transmission you can swap into these? What about the Buick/Rover aluminum V8?

    1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

      Sacrilege! The Triumph V8 is a masterpiece. It’s just a case of keeping it running.
      Oh. I see.

    2. smalleyxb122 Avatar

      The most common swap I’ve seen in Stags has been the Buick 3800 V6.

      1. JayP Avatar

        Ditto. I almost bought that config from a Cheby dealer in 1990.

    3. Batshitbox Avatar

      I think I’d go for a classic combo like the Sunbeam and AC cars Caroll Shelby put together in the ’60s, and put a 289 in there. Then I’d go out and find a Jag with an SBC conversion and drag for pinks.

    4. P161911 Avatar

      I don’t remember seeing a running example for sale that didn’t have an engine swap of some sort, usually Buick V-6 or Ford V-8.

    5. neight428 Avatar

      If one insisted on keeping that powerplant for authenticity’s sake, I would see it as a form of asceticism, which has a nobility of its own, but ain’t exactly my cup o’ tea. Chebby has all kinds of options to make this thing go for a long time with minimal fuss, if that is your goal, but I doubt “minimal fuss” enters in to the whole Triumph Stag ownership gestalt.

  3. mdharrell Avatar

    The Wikipedia page on my car’s engine is only five short paragraphs but it does manage to include such endearing phrases as “stop gap,” “very short production run,” “half-developed power unit which cost the company dearly,” and “premature crankshaft failure.”

    1. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      We are so lucky that the engineers made their mistakes on the ‘R’ Series, and having learned from them made the later similar capacity ‘K’ Series such a paragon of reliability.
      As any LandRover Dealer will attest.

  4. HycoSpeed Avatar

    It has the maintenance requirements of an exotic, but at such an entry price! Which, it seems someone has already ponied up (bambied up?).
    Plus I could have finally gotten a coveted spot on the Stag Mad forums…

  5. Dabidoh_Sambone Avatar

    Dustin Hoffman drove one in Straw Dogs. A close pal of mine lucked out recently and was Dustin’s chauffeur while he was in Austin filming a recent project. What I wouldn’t have given to have picked him up at the airport in a Stag … (or a Duetto). http://pics.imcdb.org/0is12/triumphstag13th.4899.jpg

  6. Lokki Avatar

    I peeked through my fingers in horror at a blog where a FedEx pilot with plenty of time and money attempted for almost two years to put a 1973 Stag back on the road. He finally abandoned the project with a whimper. The problems he encountered went beyond the engine bay…. They were everywhere, including, as I remember trunk (boot?) hinges that bent. He had the best chance of succeeding of anyone I could imagine – plenty of time, plenty of money a dedicated garage, two cars to pull parts from….. And he failed miserably. I do think he managed to drive it into town once or something so he could declare victory and move one, but ….fail.
    You have been warned.

  7. Lokki Avatar

    Not Impossiblr.but enough of an epic adventure to be worth writing a book about the trip apparently

  8. keith beme Avatar
    keith beme

    Quit yer cryin. My Stag is all original, runs fine. It just requires some attention, and that’s part of the fun.
    This is a U.S. 1973 MK 2 AC works, All electric works. The clock works. The sexy works.