Home My Story TR4A Stag Pictures

Stag Restoration

1973 Triumph Stag MKII 

When I purchased LE23727, it was strictly to use the car as a "driver" for family trips and fun country drives. Since it was replacing the Spitfire, I still intended to restore the TR4A and use the Stag as our running Triumph. With Stag parts hard to get (or at least this was my first impression), I figured that the Stag would be too costly to restore.StagAs purchased The car was in good original condition. The mileage was high at 101,000, but the mechanical condition was excellent and it was obvious that the engine had been rebuilt at some time in the car's lifetime. The car's history was unknown, except that the previous owner had purchased the car from an owner in North Carolina. This may have explained the lack of rust on the perfect body. The car had been originally Carmine red, but had been repainted in a dark royal blue. The quality of the repaint was acceptable, but you could still see the original red in the boot, under the bonnet and in the convertible top well. The interior was saddle tan and was in decent shape, with the exception of the wool carpet that had completely deteriorated. The car had a tan convertible top in decent shape (but unfortunately in vinyl instead of the original mohair). I replaced the carpet with a decent nylon copy of the original wool set, carefully sewing the original footpads to the front carpets. Other then changing the oil, flushing the radiator and following the service manual for the basic maintenance procedures, this was all I did to the car the first year. We took the car to the TRF Summer Party (1992) and had an excellent time (although I got an education in to what an excellent Stag should look like). We enjoyed the Stag all summer and fall and it was with reluctance that I prepared the Stag for the winter months. I am a firm believer in driving a car all winter long (when possible), but with our old garage often getting snowed in, the car needed to at least have the oil changed and everything greased and cleaned up. I did not drive the car until one clear cold day in December. Little did I know that this would be my last drive until May of the following year. The following week, I got a call from a friend that owned a body shop. He needed a Novell network fileserver and several workstations installed for a new estimating system that he was purchasing for his shop. As I wrote up the quote for the system, it dawned on me that since the labor bill was over $2,000, that perhaps we could work out a trade. I called him up the following day and asked him if he might be interested in swapping a paint job for a computer network at cost. He was in agreement and met me at my garage that night to look at the TR4A. At this time, the TR4A had been returned to the frame (after having the floors, rockers, inner rockers, bulkhead panels and the front/rear valance panels installed). The outer sheet metal was mounted, but the original fenders all had a decent amount of rust and the car really needed a lot of work. Dave took one look at the TR4A and then looked at the Stag next to it. He said " I can't paint your TR4A in the current condition, but we could paint your Stag if you want". This was something that had not occurred to me. He told me to strip the car down as much as I felt comfortable with and he would pick up the car at the end of the month. This gave me two weeks to strip the car down. I decided that if I was going to paint the car, it was going to be done right. I proceeded to strip the car down completely, removing all glass, interior, wiring harness, gas tank and accessories. The chrome was removed and the result was a stripped rolling shell, with only the basic engine block and suspension remaining on the car. It was remarkable how rust free the car really ended up being. Dave picked up the car and promised me that it would be done in two weeks. I went out to visit the car after the first week and was astonished to see that they had stripped the car down to

bare metal. The car continued to remain rust free and intact under the paint. No surprises or accident damage could be found on the car. We looked in all the paint books and he even had a color sample for the original Triumph colors. We decided that even thought the car was originally Carmine Red that it would look better in a brighter red. We found a 1991 Honda Rio Red that was available in the base coat/clear coat formula. I got a call the following week that the car was done and he would be out that night to return the car to my garage. When I got home, the car was there to greet me. It was absolutely stunning in the bright red finish. The car was completely straight and smooth and the paint was free of orange peel, blemishes or other defects. This was a great paint job and now the problem was making the rest of the car stand up to the quality of the paint. All at once, the old parts that I had removed from the car did not belong on the car. As I started the long process of rebuilding the car, it quickly became obvious that I was going to have to detail all the old parts and purchase many new parts to do the car justice. The result was a cosmetically restored Stag that was worth all the time and effort. Over the winter, I replaced the windshield, rubber trim, seals and chrome. I detailed the engine compartment, painting components and replacing components that were available new. I installed the original door glass and frames. Much time was spent removing the blue over-spray from the previous paint job that was on many of the original parts. The original black stripe was applied to the side of the car. I ordered many of the parts from Eight Parts in Arizona. I put in the original interior, but I decided that I needed to find a black interior to match the paint. I priced out a new interior ($3,000 from Eight Parts), so a used interior was ordered from a guy in Florida. Thus finished, I drove the car to the Carlisle Import show in May of 1993, with my Dad. The Original British Car Day in Bowie, MD was the next show on the circuit. The car looked great, but I was to learn that the little details needed sorted to be competitive. At the TRF Summer Party in August, we had a great time, but the car was still lacking what it takes to win. I left Armagh convinced that I would spend the winter preparing the Stag to be competitive. Over the winter, I examined the car to determine what needed replaced. I ended up replacing all the turn signals, side makers, rear tail lights, re-chromed the front bumper and replaced the exhaust with a stainless big- bore system. I replaced the carpet set with a black set, again carefully sewing in the original foot well pads. I replaced all the headlights with Halogen units. I replaced the front Stag emblem with a new one, and carefully painted the front grill. I also stripped the wheels and repainted the black sections. The alloy rims were hand- polished and buffed to a luster. All the remaining rubber trim and weather seal was replaced and the engine was tuned up and Bosch Platinum plugs installed. I also switched to Mobil 1 Synthetic oil (big mistake, leaks past all the seals), and replaced all the filters. During this time, I purchased most of my parts from East Coast Jaguar, in Delaware. John always was willing to order parts for me and his pricing was much better than Eight Parts. At this point, the Stag was looking new again, and the details were finally coming together. We had a successful summer of driving and showing the car and took a second place at the TRF Summer Party and a third place at Meeting of the Marques, at Allenberry. The third place award was especially satisfying as the show at Allenberry is grouped by year. Our class was the 1968-1973 range, and this meant that the Stag was competing against V12 Jaguar E-Types and other expensive cars. First and second were won by the previous mentioned E-types, but we took third place over many other Jags and other nice cars. The following year, I replaced the old vinyl top with a proper Mohair convertible top. This was hard work, as the top frame needed to be recovered in black cloth, painted black and the top carefully installed. It is still not tight enough, but it looks okay and the top is normally stowed away for most of the year. The car remained a reliable, fun car to drive and we enjoyed driving and showing the car over the next few years. In 1995, I rebuilt the front suspension, sandblasting all the components, painting and installing new bushings, shocks, etc…The only other mechanical component that needed replacing was a rear u-joint on one of the half-shafts. This needed to be replaced by a machine shop, as Triumph used "non-replaceable" u-joints on these half-shafts. The Stag has won the following awards over the years:

1993 TRF Summer Party Second Place
1993 Meeting of the Marques Third Place
1994 Original British Car Day (Bowie) First Place
1994 TRF Summer Party Third Place
1995 Original British Car Day (Bowie) First Place
1995 Meeting of the Marques Third Place
1996 Original British Car Day (Bowie) First Place
1996 TRF Summer Party Third Place
1998 TRF Summer Party Second Place

The Stag did not win at Bowie this year (1997). A beautiful Mallard Stag that was completely restored from the ground up, took this show. The Stag is finally receiving the attention that it deserves and we look forward to seeing many more restored Stags over the next few years. Our car still looks good, but 4 years of wear and tear are beginning to take their toll. We will continue to show the car, but more to drive the car and be a part of the event, rather than to try to win. The Triumph Stag is a fantastic car that never really deserved the lack of effort that British Leyland placed in solving the problems of the first few years of production. It was an excellent design (concept) and could have been a great success. Through the effort of a few dedicated enthusiasts, the Stag will live on and offer the brave owner, one of the classiest rides available anywhere. The combination of open air motoring, combined with V8 sound and power, all wrapped in a designer Italian body, is only available to the proud owners of the Triumph Stag.




Latest Update: 12-10-2003 - V8 TR4A pictures and description

British Car Article Judson Supercharger Rover V8 Other Cars GRM 2006 Challenge