1973 Stag V8 Auto

  • Model:Stag
  • Year:1973
  • Purchase Date:2005-06-20
  • Reg:SLF 967L
  • Comm No:LD22173
  • VIN:T21000/21094-LD
  • Engine No:LF21651HEBW
  • Paint Name:Sapphire Blue
  • Mileage:41300
  • Location: GB

Car was built on 22nd February 1973 and dispatched to Dealer on 6th March. Dealer was Lex Motor Company, Bexley Heath, Kent. It seems it remained in Kent all of it’s life until I took it to see west London. Colour scheme and Auto transmission are original spec.

Mods so far include, Special made one-of suspension springs (1″ lower/stiffer), Spax Shocks, Polyurethane Bushes, 14″ American Racing wheels with Cooper Tyres, Drilled Brake Discs with EBC Greenstuff Pads, Stainless Steel Exhaust, Rear Seat Belts, Motolita Wood Steering Wheel, Chrome Dial Bezels and light entertainment system including 10 inch Subwoofer. Interior is Shadow Blue and has been kept as Standard looking as possible with no over enthusiasm fitting speakers and the like.

Future plans include lower suspension with thicker front Anti Roll Bar and possibly a rear one. Performance wise, I am thinking about the Holley 4 barell carb, along with piper camshafts and tubular exhaust manifolds. Gearbox has just been rebuilt so should handle the extra power. A Phantom Grip LSD has been purchased and I will be installing that when I have time. Watch this space for photos of these Modifications.

Most people don’t write a lot of text here, but for a change here is a little story for you all about my Stag experiences.

I have always been into cars from a very young age. This must have come from my Dad and Grandad as they were both engineers and enthusiasts. Where I grew up in the ’80s, the cars to have were Stags and V6 Capris. Mk1 Capris in particular. I remember the noise of the cars as they used to roar past with glistening chrome and burbling exhausts. As this was the time when de-chroming and square body styles were coming into fashion, the cars of the previous decade just stood out then as much as they do now. As the years passed I experienced the usual ’80 and ’90s fun cars but really wanted a proper classic. I watched the Stags highs and lows and generally heard bad press about them. My Dad was more a Capri 2.8i man rather than Stag but was still impressed when I pulled up in the late ’90s in my first Stag. By then it was a definate classic car and I haven’t looked back since.

A strange choice for a young lad like me (aged 29 when writing this in Dec 2005) but I’d seen the usual boy racer brigade and was actually after a Saab 900 Turbo when I came across the first Stag. This made me realize I could easily have this elegant classic machine with V8 sound that always made me stare at it from when I was a kid. What could go wrong? it is only a car after all. It helps being an enthusiast if you own a classic car as you get to know a lot about it, and once you do, you can fix anything and as a bonus tuning is much more understandable and fun. A turbocharged hooligan chariot in comparison, seemed bland and boring. So Stag it is. Classic cars (pre 75) have so much more character with their chrome detailing, curvy body designs, dashboard/controls layout, suspension/steering feel, engine noise etc. It all feels relaxed and made for a time that was simpler than todays hectic and complicated lifestyle. The driving position, strong torque, autobox and light power steering make for a nice chilled out time. Driving the car winds me down and taking the long way home from work is often the case. There are days when I use the modern cars but the Stag is in a league of it’s own.

I work in England for a major Classic car parts manufacturer/distributor in the R&D Dept, which usually helps me get whatever parts I need cheaper and makes locating them a bit easier. Many of my colleagues here say it would be more sensible for me to fit a 3.5/3.9 Rover V8 and then fit all the performance parts to it from our stock if I want to increase my Stags performance. Whilst this would make for a strong, reliable 280 BHP (approx) the car would not be a true Stag. This is the 4th Stag I’ve owned and this together with the last Triumph engined car have been trouble free fun, with no electric fans and no overheating shenanigans. I found I preferred Auto Stags, not because I’m of a lazy lardy nature, but I find I’m constantly changing gear in manual cars which feel they have a narrow power band. Either that, or flicking in and out of overdrive all the time can’t be too good for it. The Autos have longer gears and makes for long acceleration bursts. One of the previous cars was fitted with a Rover V8 and manual box, but had the MGB V8 style inlet manifold which locates the carbs towards the bulkhead. Enables Bonnet to close (without need for bulges) but saps a lot of power. The sound of it was not Stag like (too fast and high pitched) and this is due to the firing order and pushrod configuration I imagine. I understand the issue about the lightness of the all alloy V8 also and this made the Stag very unpredictable when having fun, even though it had the relevant suspension mods. I could have stripped that engine and turned it into a monster as it was very weak I felt for such a large engine but every time I saw another Stag with the original engine with the proper Stag noise, I always felt my car wasn’t ‘real’ so it had to go. If you’re going to spend a lot of money on something, you need to be fully satisfied with the end result otherwise it feels like a kick in the bollo***. Stags are only really worth anything in my book if they have the original OHC Triumph V8, sometimes an unwanted item becomes valuble later on it’s life as with the Stag engine. If Triumph had more time to develop the engine and Stags had not received bad press when new, they would be worth twice as much as their current value now I imagine. I’m glad in a way that they did not get round to fitting the Lucas Mechanical Fuel Injection as it requires a lot of maintenance these days on the TR6. Power would have certainly gone up and I estimate would have been between 160 to 170 BHP. Although not the most powerfull engine in the world for it’s size now, 170 ish lbs/ft of torque is still respectable today and must have been stonking in the ’70s. The fact that this engine had a ‘few’ faults when new, resulted in good examples becoming rare and valuble in todays market. But find a good one and there is nothing like it.

This car is the best Stag I’ve owned as you naturally progress on to better machinery. It is a very well looked after car and was totally original when bought with service history from the last 8 years from a Stag specialist. It still has all the original sundym glass with triplex written on all pieces. Everything works and the electric windows raise and lower faster than usual. On collection of the car the Hardtop was fitted and I couldn’t believe how smooth and silent it was at 90 mph. No vibrations in the cabin even while braking hard at high speeds. I was amazed that it still had very strong pulling power at this speed and 110 mph was easily acheived before lifting off (all tested on private land of course). That was nearly at the red line in top so was practically the full potential of the thing. I don’t usually carry out high speed runs in the Stags as that’s what the other toys are for, but it highlighted that this is a very strong GT car just as Triumph intended. The modifications carried out so far have only enhanced the feel of the car and not taken anything away from it’s character. This is why I will modify the current engine and Not install a Rover/Buick V8. All will result in a car with the Stag feel but a bit modernised for todays roads. The suspension work so far has greatly improved handling and it now stays very firm and controlled on bumpy high speed corners. The only item I need now is an uprated Anti Roll Bar if I can find one. I don’t know what sort of power and torque increase I’m looking at after the planned engine parts are fitted, but am not greedy or unrealistic, so around 180 BHP and 200 lb/ft of torque will be enough to justify the costs involved. This should then substantially increase straight line performance and make it go like it sounds. Even in current form, it will keep up with my Alfa 155 V6 from 50-100 mph at which point the Alfa’s gearing and aerodynamics enable it to dart off into the distance. So I am still quite pleased with a 1960s engine 40 odd years on. The Stag was however, never seen as a fast car and the 0-60 time of 9 or 10 seconds doesn’t help it’s reputation either. I suppose it meant using 3rd gear in a manual car which greatly slows the sprint time down. So while sitting at the pub next to younger, smaller engined machinery with wheel sizes matching their owners ages and 0-60 times of 8 seconds or less, the real performance of the machine is shadowed. Standing starts isn’t one of the car’s strong points and mid range acceleration is when it shines and says to you, I’m still a 3 litre mate. This is when Mr monkey boy racer 2.0i Twin Cam GSi 16V GTI Sport nutter Doo Dah wotsit, gets a surprise. Always good fun.

I have not seen any other Stags with modified Triumph V8s (apart from Tony Hart’s car @ Hart Racing here in England) I heard about a Twin Turbo conversion some years ago and there was one car with this fitted but I can’t seem to find it anywhere or any info as to what sort of power it produced. NOS is the usual instant power increaser but is not long term and will probably run out when you need it most no doubt, causing a red face and a FOR F***S SAKE! moment. Con rod bolts would probably be hard worked too with even a +25 BHP kit, as the NOS kicks in quite abruptly. So I would not consider this as an option. There are strong tuftrided bolts on the market which I will get but they seem to be rare at the moment.

A Supercharger would be another good bet and less work to fit than the Turbos but again, I have not found anything on my adventures. At my place of work, we sell many Superchargers for all the MGs and shortly the TR6 (should be good for 200BHP!) and this is still the best way to get a lot of power out of an engine, especially at the lower RPM range without having to stress it too much. This sounds ideal for the Stag V8 as it would then have strong torque all the way through the rev range. It doesn’t look like one will appear on the market soon as there isn’t enough demand for it. The Stag engine, in the past has been enough of a handfull for some unfortunate owners and just the thought of forced induction is enough to cause battered wallet and watery eyed syndrome. There are still many people out there who are dead set against the Stag engine and think people like me are loons. Maybe, but such persons should open their eyes now and realize that in this day and age, a Stag can be used as an everyday car with no more trouble than cars up to 30 years it’s junior. Modern technologies and materials have enabled this so as the unreliable reputaion withers away, Stags will be valued like they should have in the first place.

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