Ads on Test: 1974 Triumph Stag

With any major issues seemingly corrected, this sweet-driving automatic Stag is ready to be put to work, says Paul Hardiman

Price £15,995

This Stag, in bright and attractive Java Green, was in the hands of the previous owner from 2006 during which time it had two new front wings in 2010, and a respray, which helps explain why it presents so well in an even hue all over. Up close if you look harder there are a few small blemishes in the paint – one crack near the right front wing joint over the headlights, some small bubbles towards the back of the bonnet and some dust marks in the scuttle.

The history file includes photographs of body repairs done in 2007. It had quite a lot of new metal in the sills, floors and wing bottoms, some of it to put right previous bodged repairs, and there’s a further bill for an outrigger in 2008. The main structure now appears solid and well-protected from rust, and all of the work is detailed in pictures on a CD.

Slight rippling to the bumpers – the rear is better – gives away the fact that they’ve been rechromed at some point, probably a while back because the plating is beginning to polish through. The sill finishers are fairly straight, there’s one ding in the bright trim over the left door and the wheels are only lightly corroded, shod in five matching SP Sport 300s dated 2004. They show very little wear (and the spare is unused), indicating how little mileage the car has done in recent years. A new steering rack was fitted in 2015, plus some of the power steering pipes.

Inside, the seat vinyl is good aside from one small hole in the driver’s side base – the seat bolsters were redone not long ago – and the dash top and veneers are OK, as is the headlining, though the hardtop’s side trims are a little tired. The carpets are newish reproduction items. As well as the hardtop, there’s a wind deflector and rear belts. The soft top was new in 2004.

Under the bonnet, the front spring towers are uncorroded. Though the motor is some way off concours, there are shiny covers on the Strombergs, and repro stickers for engine settings and emissions standards. The exhausts look in good shape, with various new clamps.

Bills from Rimmer Bros indicate that it had timing chains in 2005, unleaded cylinder heads (undated but presumably at the same time), and a starter overhaul in 2006. Engine oil is clean and to max, automatic gearbox fluid nice and pink (the ’box had a new sump gasket in 2016) and the header bottle is almost empty. There are new plugs, a new coil and under the distributor cap we find an electronic ignition trigger replacing the points – plus there’s an electric fan.

It starts easily, sounding mightier than it really is, and drives sweetly – it had the trailing arm bushes replaced in 2006 and the chassis is well behaved, the brakes smooth. The gearbox is responsive, though there was a clunk on drive take-up both forwards and back, suggesting the propshaft’s rear UJ needs looking at, which concurs with an advisory on the 2018 MoT.

The temperature gauge sits in the middle, oil pressure is 40psi on warm tickover and the voltmeter shows 12 – all normal. Offered with handbook and a new MoT test at sale, if required. This is one of four cars for sale tested in the latest issue, part of 16 pages of buying tips and advice, including Quentin Willson’s Hot Tips, Ads on Test and Buying Guide in the latest issue of Classic Cars.

Price £15,995 Engine 2997cc ohc V8, two Stromberg carburettors Power 145bhp @ 5500rpm Torque 170lb ft @ 3500rpm Performance 0-60mph: 9.7sec; Top speed: 117mph Length 4420mm Width 1612mm Fuel economy 20mpg