Stag by name maybe, this car is extremely tame in its nature. Despite V8 power the innovative Triumph Stag is more laid back than watching cricket on a balmy afternoon whilst sipping warm English beer. So much so it will leave you feeling just as relaxed if you’d spent the time having heated volcanic rocks placed strategically down your spine.
Never was there a car better suited to being driven up and down the promenade of a coastal town at 30mph. You get a waffly V8 soundtrack, classy good looks and room in the back for two adult sized passengers. There is also the fact the roof can be erected if the rain comes in to so as not to ruin the day completely. The Triumph Stag is a natural born cruiser; getting better the slower you drive it. Push on in this particular car and its whole world starts to fall apart. There are rattles and shakes, groans and moans as it cries out for you to slow down and get back to cruising again. Something it does extremely well.
Triumph’s home grown 3.0 litre V8 could not be more different to its sister company, Rover’s, American inspired 3.5 litre unit. The latter being brash and lusty with a characterful offbeat patter. The original Stag motor on the other hand is smooth, almost like cream and best enjoyed with just a tickle on the throttle pedal. It is shame it had the troubled history it did when brand new, because these days all of the cooling woes are understood, meaning a general move away from retro-fitting the Rover V8 unit and a return to favour of original cars.
Whether an automatic or manual overdrive the Triumph Stag is well suited to how both transmissions deliver power to the rear wheels. In this car effortless changes can be made at will, with a simple flick of the gear stick mounted switch. Third and fourth being all that is needed whilst on the move, with the overdrive unit filling any gaps with its extra two ratios. There is something really cool about overdrive systems and thinking about it I’m surprised there isn’t a modern day version. All we seem to get is a choice of automatic, or an increasing number of ratios on manual cars.
Because it is such a relaxing drive, the Triumph Stag is the perfect car to take to the beach or on holiday with you. The Triumph 2000 underpinnings mean there is ample room in both the back seats and boot, so you can invite another couple or even bring your children with you. The practical soft top hinges neatly to and from its own space behind the rear seats, so as not to infringe and can be called upon at anytime. The Targa top on the Triumph Stag also gives a more enclosed feel with the roof down, so you and your passengers don’t feel completely exposed.
The Triumph Stag is the perfect companion for family trips out.
How does this car make you feel?
In a word: Chillaxed (If that is a word)
As a favourite meal: Picnic lunch on a warm summers day
Anything Else: A realisation of how close the Triumph Stag came to lasting success
Key Ingredients: Silky smooth Triumph V8 and the fact there is room for four, come rain or shine
With thanks to Great Escape Classic Car Hire.
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Matt, thanks for the informative site and videos. But if you think the Stag is tame – well, you’re not driving it fast enough or hard enough, my friend. Or you have been watching too much Quentin Willson.
Drive it more slowly? Methinks not. Stags are very much like BMWs of the same period: they dislike grumbling slowly through traffic, or meandering down a B-road. No, they drive better as you go faster. Both Stags and BMWs were built for the M1/autobahn.
Rattles? My ’77 Stag is remarkably free of them, particularly for a BL car.
The surge of torque from its peak at 3,500rpm, then on to peak power at 5,700rpm, is something to experience.
Conversely, if you want to cruise in eerie silence, you need a V12 Jaguar XJS automatic. There is nothing finer.
Ample room in the back seat? Not if you want your friends to remain friends.
Go on: try it, top down, at 90mph. The only thing stopping you is the wind noise.
RD – Thanks for commenting, your passion for Stags is clear to see. Yes I want to drive another Stag so I can shoot the video and have two lined up. It’ll be interesting to see how they compare and whether I get the urge to put my foot down as you suggest. I agree also with your point on the XJ-S V12 automatic, they are definitely super-smooth, again video review coming soon. Watch this space for future reviews and thanks again. Matt.