1970-1977 Triumph Stag

1973-1977 Triumph Stag

The Stag saw relatively few changes during its seven-year life span. Perhaps the most important was the February 1973 debut of a Mark II version for the 1973-1977 Triumph Stag with numerous minor updates, including reduced compression and a revised interior with changed seats and a smaller steering wheel.

1973 Triumph Stag
The lack of rear-quarter windows mark this
1973 Triumph Stag as one built for the States.

Only a handful of these Stags reached the U.S. and can be identified by the absence of rear-quarter windows in the soft top. (Subsequent changes to the home-market Stags included brushed-aluminum sill covers, standard alloy wheels and tinted glass, and a return to painting the rear panel body color -- instead of black -- in 1975; and a switch to an improved optional Borg-Warner automatic transmission in 1976.)

Upholstery was always vinyl, though it looked nice, and real wood covered the dash from day one. For the car's size, there was ample luggage space in the fully carpeted trunk. The Stag also offered oft-praised ergo­nomics and a high level of standard equipment. The only major options besides the removable roof were air conditioning (about $500 here) and an AM/FM radio. U.S. Stags even included genuine wire wheels.

Something else to know: Given proper care, the Stag is little prone to rust and suffers few electrical gremlins -- downright surprising for a Seventies Brit, let alone a British Leyland product. Be aware, however, that Triumph switched to a lesser grade of body steel after 1972, mainly to save money, so the tinworm is more of a concern on 1973-1977 Triumph Stag models.

As for the unwanted rear-end sway under hard acceleration, chronicled in reviews by magazines such as Road & Track, it can be all but eliminated with harder polyurethane rear-subframe bushings. That fix was developed by Tony Hart of the aftermarket company Hart Racing Services, who over the years has also made the Stag V-8 what Triumph could not. For a price, he will not only rebuild your engine but modernize it with electronic ignition. He also offers a four-branch manifold with Holley carburetor giving 170-180 cool, reliable horses on unleaded fuel.

We mention all this because Yankee Stag fanciers will likely need to contact someone like Tony Hart -- assuming they can find a decent car in this country at all. An estimated 9,000 Stags survive in Britain, but there can't be many left here. The same goes for parts.

If you're lucky, though, a Stag seems worth fixing up and holding on to. It's ­no thriller and won't likely ever return real money, but it is pleasant and slightly amusing, possessed of that special Brit­ish quirkiness that some folks, including us, find hard to resist. Rather like Austin Powers, in fact. Groovy, baby!

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