On paper, the very idea of a luxury two-door open-top car with a V8 engine and Michelotti-penned lines would have most car enthusiasts salivating at the mouth. However, once you put the car in the context of its origins, development and after-sales care, the Triumph Stag becomes instantly vilified but not without good reason.
Born into a troubled industry at a troubled time, the Stag was doomed from the start. It took the dedication of its loyal owners and specialists to bring the car up to what it should have been in the first place - a torquey 3.0-litre long-distance cruiser for 4 people and their luggage. The majority of Stags in existence today have gone some way to overhaul the former negative connotations once associated with the car, and it’s proved to be a reliable, stylish and practical option for those looking for a top-notch British cruiser.
This 1977 ex-Jersey sourced car has just 36,564 recorded miles on the clock and has seen a host of all the upgrades and fixes one looks for in a Stag. However, it also retains much of its original metal, with many cosmetic aspects of the car having seen renewal. Let's get the elephant in the room out of the way first, and we can confirm that the cooling system has been renewed with sympathetic modifications to improve usability and reliability. It also has the sought-after upgraded four-speed automatic gearbox, along with a handful of carefully and pleasing interior details that could well entice a potential buyer as the right car for them.
The owner has a fascinating past working in the motor industry, with multiple years of experience from motor technician to PR exec, which obviously lends itself to driving something special. He bought the car as his father owned an identical version when he was young.
Spurred on by the warmth of nostalgia and the Stag's exceptional condition and provenance of the car, he added it to his impressive car collection six years ago. It has been used and enjoyed over the years, having attended several meets and shows. However, his true passion is in his Mini’s and decided that the proceeds from the sale of this car will go towards a recently acquired project.
Like all of its previous owners, he has continued to improve and refine the car, without composing any aesthetics or originality. The car has not only seen years of lavish attention to its maintenance and upkeep but has seen indoor storage, present company included.
One of the many attractive features of this car is its comprehensive history and paperwork. Originally ordered by a lady owner in St Helier dealer on the island of Jersey, the car remained on there for 13 years until it was brought over to the mainland and re registered. It has since seen extensive spending by all of its five owners and comes with its original handbook pack, including a service book stamped all the way to 1990.
The current owner has not shirked on his responsibility for the car and has installed several useful features. For example, there is a secondary bonnet release cable, acting as backup in case the bonnet release catch should fail, another sign of the owner engaging in preventative maintenance for the car. The original Unipart radio was sent off to a specialist to convert to accommodate bluetooth and FM radio with phone link if wanted. A pair of under-seat speakers have been mounted not to ruin the originality of the cabin.
There is also recent paperwork documenting a viscous coupling, hood catches, front callipers with hoses and a hardtop stand. The previous owner has protected the car with a waxoyl and under-sealing treatment, along with a front valance repaint, wheel alignment as well as a host of engine gasket kits and maintenance parts, including a significant mechanical overhaul in 2013. Going back through the carefully chronologically ordered invoices, the paperwork also suggests a new radiator, full set of hoses, rear seat belts and a Tate & Lewis 4 speed auto gearbox conversion.
The car also underwent a service earlier this year.
The current owner, with a keen sense of detail, has pointed out several ‘blink and you miss’ improvements to the Stag. The seats are in excellent condition, with invoicing outlining a set of new seat covers and foam showing no real signs of age or wear. The carpets and mats are in very good condition, with nothing of note that constitutes damage.
The dashboard is crack-free, with no issues noted on the facia - the veneer is very good with minor suggestions of age. The switches, dials and controls are all functional and all look clean, with just the electric window switches to suggest its age. The clock mechanism has been upgraded to a later Rover item but retains the face of the original.
As mentioned the original stereo is preserved, but now has bluetooth, FM and telephone connectivity if needed. The speakers are hidden under the front passenger seats. The door cards follow the excellent presentation of the interior and have no blemishes or damage. The T-bar padding is good, with no wear, even the easily lost chrome capping is immaculate. Little details like the door sill plates have seen their original screws removed and replaced with new items and nylon fasteners.
The owner as a wheelchair user has carefully adapted the steering wheel to utilise hand controls, which will be carefully removed before sale, showing no signs of ever being there.
First off as a general summary, it has to be said that there were no immediate negative issues of note regarding the exterior of the car. For something that is reported to have never been welded and still has all of its original panels, this is rather impressive and is a positive reflection upon its successive owners. Structurally the car is excellent.
The underside is very solid with no issues to the bulkhead, engine bay or boot well. The floor pan, inner wings and sills are straight with no evidence of damage. The panel fit is excellent, with even gaps throughout. The doors open and close with no obstruction, the passenger doors hang well with no sagging, the struts and hinges all working well.
The condition of the metalwork on all of the exterior panels is excellent, with no obvious signs of corrosion damage, scuffs or dents. The arches are good, with just a hint of age suggested on the lip on the edges, but generally, the lower half of the body looking in good health. The paint finish has a good lustre, with an even balanced coverage throughout.
There are no chips noted on the bodywork, with the door edges and bonnet free from damage. The only blemish as such is a patch on the driver side door, where a door mirror was once mounted. The chrome work and trim details are good throughout the exterior, with invoices suggesting that the rear bumper has been replaced. In addition, cosmetic items such as the grill and badges have also been renewed. The car also comes with its original hardtop (and stand), tonneau cover, jack and spare wheel.
The soft top is in great condition, no rips or tears and opens & closes with no issues - the seller often would leave it up during the winter when in the garage just to stretch it out and give it some air, understandably its not been wet in a very long time so he can’t make any comment on its waterproof-ness.
All are in very good condition, with the owner stating that the hardtop has hardly seen the outside world. The wheels would have seen some level of reconditioning and are in superb condition, the Kumho tyres are not much older than 10 years old and are in decent order with plenty of life ahead of them. The glass is all good, with no damage, cracks or chips observed. The glass and door rubber sealing is good, with no suggestions of water ingress at all. All of the lights and lenses are without significant damage.
The Stag’s engine does come with a reputation of woes, however, the issues that dogged the cooling system of the car in the past have been largely eradicated thanks to the recognised upgrades which enables the car to run better than when it left the factory. As a result, the engine has seen an upgraded cooling system with an electric fan and low fluid buzzer, along with an aluminium expansion tank.
The radiator is also a recent fitting. The car runs well, starting up with no issues. The engine runs smoothly, with no distressing noises, rumbling or knocking observed. The steering and running gear is said to be fault-free, with no issues reported by the owner. The steering rack was reconditioned a few years back, with front caliper work carried in in the last few years. The brakes work well, with no grind or noise.
With the benefit of what is believed to be the car's original metal, combined with some practical and pleasing mechanical and electronic upgrades, you have a car that combines the best of both worlds without compromising the aesthetics of Triumph's grand tourer.
With several long term owners, who have committed to the car’s survival and upkeep, you’ll be responsible for a car that will provide a great deal of enjoyment and satisfaction. As a well crafted, elegant, reliable long-distance V8 cruiser with exceptional parts availability and specialists, why would one need to look at continental cars when you have this at your feet?
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