VotW – Triumph Stag British Leyland Training Video

Compiled from the original 35mm filmstrip and vinyl LP record soundtrack, this is a training film from 1970 which introduces the BL salesmen to the new Triumph Stag. Well, new to 1970. I love using our video of the week to look back at how cars were viewed in the period versus how we think of them now. OK, I will admit that it is also fun to view the world pre-PowerPoint.

Even though Time lists the Stag as one of the “50 Worst Cars of All-Time, I have always liked them. And, they have a pretty good following these days. The issues can be sorted out these days, the wrongs set right, and then you have a very stylish, comfortable, touring sports-car. Sure, the Stag should have gotten the Rover V8 that went into so many other cars of the day, but BL politics got the better of that decision. But just look at those lines! It is hard to argue with understated muscular attractiveness of the Stag.

To quote Wikipedia’s entry on the Stag:

Envisioned as a luxury sports car, the Triumph Stag was designed to compete directly with the Mercedes-Benz SL class models. All Stags were four-seater convertible-coupés, but for structural rigidity – and to meet new American rollover standards of the time – the Stag required a B-pillar “roll bar” hoop connected to the windscreen frame by a T-bar. A removable hardtop was a popular factory option for the early Stags, and was later supplied as a standard fitment.

The car started as a styling experiment cut and shaped from a 1963–4 Triumph 2000pre-production saloon, which had also been styled by Michelotti, and loaned to him by Harry Webster, Director of Engineering at Triumph. Their agreement was that if Webster liked the design, Triumph could use the prototype as the basis of a new Triumph model. Harry Webster, who was a long time friend of Giovanni Michelotti, whom he called “Micho”, loved the design and took the prototype back to England. The end result, a two-door drop head (convertible), had little in common with the styling of its progenitor 2000, but retained the suspension and drive line. Triumph liked the Michelotti design so much that they propagated the styling lines of the Stag into the new T2000/T2500 saloon and estate model lines of the 1970s.

Personally, I think these cars are a bargain these days. And if you do what the factory should have done and replace the engine with the ubiquitous 3.5 V8… well, then you will be a heretic to the purists, but you will have one amazing car.

Michael Carnell
Editor at Just British
Michael Carnell is the editor and founder of the Just British Online Motoring Magazine. As a lifelong British car fan, he has owned or driven British cars of all ages from Austins and MGs to Jaguars and Triumphs. He currently owns a 1966 Vanden Plas Princess 1100, a 1977 MGB, and a 2002 Land Rover Discovery.