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Buyers Guide to:

Triumph Stag

Useful Info


1970 to 1977

Fuel Type


Engine Size


Engine Type


Drive Configuration


Stag Owner’s Club

Club Triumph

Just Kampers

01256 862288,


Launched in 1970, the Triumph Stag was designed by famous Italian stylist, Giovanni Michelotti. Initially, Stag was just a code name used during development but was soon adopted for the finished car, but while sales were ultimately disappointing it remains a much admired classic today. A key reason for those poor sales was a reputation for unreliability, often blamed on the 3.0-litre V8 engine that Triumph developed for the new car. For a number of reasons, the company chose to use their own engine rather than Rover’s proven V8 but the new motor would soon suffer from overheating and timing chain issues, and that damaged buyer confidence. But despite the problems, the Stag would remain in production until 1977.

  1. 1. Bonnet edges
  2. 2. Front panel behind headlamps
  3. 3. Front and rear valance
  4. 4. Front wings and wheel arches
  5. 5. Windscreen surround and A-posts
  6. 6. Sills
  7. 7. Door bottoms
  8. 8. Base of the B-posts
  9. 9. Rear wings and wheel arches
  10. 10. Boot lid

The Checklist

  • Every inch of the panels, looking for rust bubbles and any sign of filler. Many examples have been restored at least once and it’s crucial that the work has been done properly; ask for evidence of any work that’s been carried out
  • The panel alignment and the fit of the doors in their apertures – problems could be a sign of a poor restoration or, worse still, serious structural corrosion
  • The bumpers and exterior chrome trim for pitting and corrosion. Replacement parts are available but can be expensive; the alternative is having parts re-chromed by a specialist
  • Underneath as corrosion attacks the floor of the cabin and boot, the chassis legs and outriggers, and the jacking points. Replacing rotten sills means removing the front wings to do the job properly, and it may have been bodged. Check the fuel tank and battery tray as both are prone to rotting away
  • Whether the original Triumph V8 has been replaced with the 3.5-litre Rover unit – not a problem if it’s been done properly but it does affect originality
  • The Triumph engine for signs of overheating which could have led to head gasket failure. Any problems should have been sorted by now, but regular cooling system maintenance – correct anti-freeze levels are vital – and fitting an upgraded radiator will prevent future issues. Let the engine idle and ensure that the viscous- coupled cooling fan kicks in correctly. Some owners have fitted an aftermarket electric fan, but ensure this isn’t masking other issues
  • For oil and coolant links that point to warped cylinder heads, and rattles from the top of the engine caused by worn camshafts and valve-gear. Timing chains and tensioners need changing every 25-30,000 miles, and ensure the engine oil and filter have been changed regularly. Oil pressure should be at least 40psi when warm but blue exhaust smoke points to wear in valve guides, stem oil seals, or piston rings/bores
  • The manual gearbox for the whine of worn bearings, and tired synchromesh which normally affects second gear. And make sure the overdrive is working, although problems are often electrical rather than anything more serious. A heavy clutch pedal could mean the engine and gearbox are misaligned, leading to premature clutch wear
  • The Borg Warner automatic transmission for oil leaks, and ensure that it changes gear smoothly. Regular fluid changes will keep things healthy
  • For oil leaks from the rear axle, and for excessive noise from a worn differential. Lack of lubrication leads to premature wear in the driveshaft couplings so listen for clunks or groans under acceleration
  • The health of the suspension and brakes. The former could be suffering from tired springs and dampers and wear in the rear trailing arm bushes, while the brakes could be worn, or seized through lack of use
  • For leaks from the power-steering system; check around the pump, steering rack, and the unions for the hydraulic pipes. Excessive play could be due to perished rack mounting bushes
  • The condition of the cabin trim as age and neglect could mean an overhaul is needed. Look for splits and tears in the vinyl seats, and damage to the wood veneer on the dashboard. And check for damp carpets as water leaks could have allowed corrosion to take hold
  • Check the electrics as age and corroded connectors will cause problems. Electric windows can be problematic so ensure they work
  • That the folding hood and frame are undamaged, although replacements aren’t prohibitively expensive. Many, although not all, cars came with a hardtop – it’s a desirable thing to have but ensure the top and its mountings are undamaged. And if it’s fitted when you view the car, make sure it isn’t hiding a damaged or missing convertible hood

Everything Check Out?

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