1977 Triumph Stag MkII Convertible
Triumph's Stag has never really gone out of fashion and remains as popular today as it did when first unveiled back in 1970. Styled by the Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti, the Stag's unusual T-bar convertible roof arrangement made it a versatile sports tourer with room for four adults and as such, it had few peers. To give the new model the sort of power demanded of a car in this price bracket, Triumph developed a new single overhead camshaft V8, essentially by combining two Dolomite units with a common crankshaft. Unique to the Stag, this engine delivered a healthy 145 bhp at 5500 rpm from 3-litres, while the vast majority were fitted with Borg Warner Type 35 automatics, although it was possible to specify the Stag with a manual transmission. The top speed was around 116 mph, with a 0-60 time of around 9.3 seconds in manual form, both figures respectable for the day, and the V8 certainly made an impressive noise. The Stag handled well too, with struts up front and semi-trailing arm rear suspension combining to give predictable, sure-footed handling. To appeal to the American market, Stags were loaded with lots of standard equipment, including power windows, power steering and brakes, while air conditioning could be ordered as an option, along with uprated Koni shock absorbers and Lucas fog lamps. The clever roof, with permanent roll bar and both soft and hard tops, was the Stag's real party piece, making it a rival for Mercedes-Benz's more expensive SL. Launched in 1970, the Stag immediately drew praise for its well-appointed interior and effortless performance but an unfortunate tendency to overheat gave the early models a bad reputation. Triumph worked hard to sort out the problems and released a Mark 2 version in 1973 with updated trim and optional alloy wheels - in the years that followed, marque specialists have largely cured the inherent cooling problems. With the Seventies now very much back in vogue, Stag ownership has never been more rewarding and the model has a healthy following in Australia, with owners enjoying plenty of support from clubs and Triumph specialists around the country.