When Triumph released its new "gentleman's sports tourer" - the Stag - in 1970, the order books quickly overflowed. Waiting lists grew from weeks to months. It was a beautiful convertible with 2+2 seating that came with an optional hardtop that would soon become standard. Those expecting a TR6 eating, fire breathing monster were in for a surprise. It was more gentlemanly than manly. It was more touring than sports. It had more saloon comfort than the loosen your fillings, bone jarring firmness of a TR.
And now it is 40 years old.
And its list of devotees is growing. In England it has the unenviable reputation of most stolen classic car. The engine woes that struck after it was several years old have long been overcome and there is a movement to reinstall the original Stag V8, discarding the Rover 3.5 and saloon 2.5s that ended up under many Stag bonnets. The TSOAQ held a special celebratory club run to Imbil - a deer farm at Borumba.
Here is the video of the run: If you weren't there, please enjoy the day from the comfort of your computer chair.
This story is about my experiences with a TR7 as my daily driver.
TR7s are a pretty rare sight on the road today. I've only owned mine for a couple of months and because it is my daily driver, it has to be reliable. I had never driven a TR7 before I bought this one. When you factor in a motorcar that is thirty two years old, it's a sports car, it was purchased 'condition unknown', the possibility that it is a catastrophe waiting to disassemble itself is uppermost in my thinking. Added to this is the anecdotal evidence that TR7s are horrors.
I recently met a fellow who didn’t know about my penchant for Triumph’s oft-maligned Stag. He charged full gallop into his pet hate, Pommy cars, with a special revulsion for the worst of them all – Triumph’s big GT, the Stag. I didn’t bother trying to defend the car because he knew all about them. He’d never owned one, but friends of his apparently did. These friends, hearsay would have it, either died in debtor’s prison from trying to fix their Stags, or died from being hit in the head by bits that fell off while being driven. This is rubbish, of course. Stags were so bad that they weren’t capable of being driven long enough for any bits to fall off. Obviously, this acquaintance’s loathing for the Stag knew no bounds. Is there any information in circulation that reinforces his view? The short answer is “yes.” The long answer you are reading now.
What do you do when you have just run down to Nerang from the jaws of BrisVegas via a few flooded roads and forded only a few raging causeways to enjoy a perfect brunch with hosts Rita and Paul before starting up for a lunch at Binna Burra with the top on? Yes, it was patchy rain in the hinterland.
Well, you breakdown of course!!! Don't even make it out of their hillclimb driveway and you pick up a tack-tack-tack-tack-tack.
You know the sound don't you. No? Neither could any one else there. It wasn't that cold either. As it would turn out there was a brass monkey around. Under that cute bonnet. What is that? Tack-tack-tack-tack-tack.!!!!!!
No you lot press on. We'll be right, no you enjoy the day! We'll be fine.
90 minutes later a Harvey Tow truck meanders up the hill with a well spoken & fluent driver to get us back up the road before dark. A scary ride later the TR is reversed into it's ‘snug harbour' none the wiser.
What is that? Tack-tack-tack-tack-tack.!!!!!!
Several passionate calls go by, pleas of help, desperation, it's gotta be fixed by next weekend!!!!! Mt Cootha is on.!!!! We can't miss that, can we?
What is that? Tack-tack-tack-tack-tack.!!!!!!
Manifolds unfold, compression test, OK!! rip the head orf, Well, well, well, looky there!!
Tiny, little, mashed up, brass screw that parted from the butterfly of the Dellorto's at high speed and enjoyed a chat with the head and those nice "marhle" pistons. Closer inspection proved no damage to piston crowns or head, no valve damage, no scores to settle in the sleeve, by God, we can re-assemble by Saturday and be ready to slap it around the closed roads of Sir Samuel Griffith Drive with not a worry about the constable around the bend with his hair dryer hanging out the window. OOPS, sorry we were only the touring party not a competitor.
Keep those Brass Monkeys warm fellas, life does go on, and no more bloody, Tack-tack-tack-tack-tack.!!!!!!
An affair of the heart
My affair with the little English raver started in 1988, I had recently returned from a year in London, had just landed my dream job, and decided it was time to give my current model the flick and satisfy myself with something a little more exotic.
The current model was an old VW beetle and the more exotic was a 1969 Triumph GT6. I had always wanted an English sports car, ever since my first taste of driving, which was on a figure-eight Scalextric set at the age of 6.
My old man had owned a Triumph Sedan while I was growing up so the marque was in my blood, and Jim, a close family friend who was a mechanic, was equally obsessed with them, so I figured maintenance was going to be no problem.
Its sunday afternoon and son Neil is in Brisbane and is having difficulty getting the TC into gear. After hunting around the TSOA website I ring President Stevan. We come to the conclusion that it may just be hydraulics and hopefully not a clutch plate problem. Stevan advises me who to get the RACQ to take the car to. I pass this info to Neil. 2 days later Neil rings to say we were correct and the clutch master cylinder needs a new Stainless Sleeve fitting. 2 days later again the TC is back on the road. Minor problem was they did not use silicon fluid, so that will be a little job sooner rather than later. So, thank you Stevan for your assistance. Chris Roberts, Gladstone.
A New STAG
Towards the end of 2006, purely by accident, I happened upon an advertisement for a Stag that was so cheap that I thought it was too good to be true. The price was low enough to encourage a phone call to ask if it was a misprint, assuming the ten thousand dollar figure had accidentally fallen off the front of the price. When told no, the price was correct, I ventured forth expecting to find a reality something like this:
Psssst. Wanna buy a really cheap Stag? Rust free (we don't charge for it) Rebuilt engine (some of the parts are genuine second hand, others as recent as third hand) Heater works REALLY well
This epistle began as an idea on power to weight ratios, complete with Triumph statistics. But then it moved on, as many stories do. A complex interlinking of ideas began to spin its web. The result is a technical article without the technical bits. Read on. Conventional wisdom would have us believe that it isn’t power, but power to weight that’s important in propelling our horseless carriages at varying velocities. Right foot goes down, car goes forward more quickly. If that was the be-all and end-all of motoring pleasure, everyone would be driving seven litre Chrysler-powered Jensen Interceptors. But let’s face it; Jensens are whale sized two ton vehicles with Mini sized interiors. They don’t have fuel economy. They have fuel consumption. When new they could reach 140 miles per hour, accompanied by single digit miles per gallon. The smaller six point something litre engine can reputedly reach 16 mpg on a gentle cruise (though I doubt that). Outright grunt, therefore, is not the holy grail of motoring.
As members of a sporting car club, we are no strangers to misty-eyed enthusiasm driving (sorry about the pun) individuals to restore all manner of vehicles. Sometimes there's the utterance of, "Wow!" in complete awe at the breathtaking result. At other times it's "Why would you bother?" As an example, I have a friend who honestly believes his HQ Belmont is a classic car (his description). I would never be so condescending as to tell him that his mass produced, bottom of the range, spectacularly unspectacular pleb-mobile was anything but classic. He believes it is and he loves it.
This month, Frank reviews “HOW TO IMPROVEYOUR TRIUMPH TR7, TR7-V8, TR8?” by Roger Williams
This book by Roger Williams follows his earlier work entitled “How to restore Triumph TR7 & 8”.Both books are published by Veloce Publishing and for anyone who owns one of these Triumphs the pair are a “must have” for your library.The “How to improve” volume is a logical follow up to the first volume given that these TR’s have been subject to more modification and change than any of the TR’s that preceded them.The reasons for that being the case are fairly complicated and would probably be the subject of a separate magazine article but put simply it has much to do with the deteriorating state of the Leyland corporate body, the industrial unrest at the time and the market uncertainty in the main market area, namely, the United States.This was a combination of circumstances that earlier TR’s didn’t have as an influence on their design, production and marketing and it shows in the different history of the early TR’s and the last TR’s.
We went to UK for 10months. This plan included getting to as many Triumph activities as possible. That was the plan but that's not the way it turned out. I had left my latest edition of Triumph World in Oz and bought the latest one on arrival in UK. That was when the problems started. For years they had had all the events listed but the new owners of the magazine decided not to put this information in the magazine, as they said "As you are all in Triumph clubs you know what is going on". Maybe they do but nobody else does.
We went to the Triumph 3 day weekend at Malvern at the Three Counties Showgrounds. We had arranged to meet the people we had met the year before but on arrival there was really no one there. It had rained for 3 days and the place was flooded. I went into the pavilions where the organizers were trying to run the show, no matter what. I did what I had to do and found the man from Triumph World, he was packing up. I commented about the lack of information in the latest magazine, and the fact that we were not all members of a UK club. He said he would heed my comments and see what they could do. Next month there was no reference at all to the UK events at all. Bye bye Triumph World.
Went to S&S Preparations, had a talk with them about buying some cars but after a close look I could buy better in Oz. More rust than paint, but the price was right. We decided not to carry on with that venture. After touring Scotland, Ireland and Wales where we saw very few Triumphs (saw more Morris Minors than anything else) we went to Robsport International. We had not dealt with them before but after this visit, I was impressed. Yes we did go to Rimmers as well and bought some sedan parts.
When we read the brochure from P&O about luggage on the cruise ship "Aurora", it said "bring as much as you want". So we did, 23 suitcases, with a lot of Triumph parts inside, and 2 TR7 nose panels. The Aurora did not even sink down a millimetre!. For those interested in engines, the Aurora is fitted with 4, V14, M.A.N. diesels. These drive 4 alternators which supply electrical power to the 2 electric motors to drive the 2 propellors and the rest goes to run the ship. (ie, keep the lights on in the bar) This gave a cruising speed of 26knots and about 28knots flat out. One engine runs all the time in port as there is a large enough hotel load to keep one of these large engines under a decent load. Despite Reception saying there were no engine room tours, I did get one. Depends how you write the letter and being a Marine Engineer helps too. In other words, do not take no for an answer.
Now, back to Triumphs, I was impressed with the turnout for the Tech Talk at Greg Tunstalls recently, if you did not go you missed out on a good day. My son said he learnt something, not bad for an accountant. I'd like to go to the next one but it depends on what we are doing. We will not be attending the Qld National Rally as we want to go to WA next year and we cannot afford to go to both, even if it is in Brissys back yard. So we will put the money for this years event towards the WA trip. (Have to get the TR7 registered now.) After being able to move a medical appointment we now are able to go to the trip to Bowdens museum. It will be Gladstone to Brisbane on the Thursday, medical on the Friday, Bowdens on the Saturday then back to Gladstone after the museum.
Is this enough to qualify for the "C" word.? Commitment to you!
Chris Roberts. Gladstone.
E Toll news
Toll roads and bridges have been around for many centuries, it is a sign of the times however that our public roads are again being sprinkled with private roads. These major links do save us time and fuel on our journeys but at a cost. These manned sections do cost the Toll companies with increased overheads for the salary/wages of the booth operators. The bean counters don’t like these expenses and as a consequence Capt Bligh will phase out all manned toll booths by 1 July 09.
That has little relevance to me, however, members of TSOAQ might want to know what is about to happen. New accounts or E toll transponders don’t cost anything to acquire. But it does make a huge difference if we are in convoy and some of the convoy have to stop and pay cash which does hold up the whole group.
My suggestion is to get an E toll transponder sooner rather than later so our touring party can move through these bottlenecks quicker and we can get to our destinations faster.
WHAT CAN GO WRONG WILL GO WRONG. (TALES OF A THRASHED TR) It is now eight years since Rusty our then newly restored 1959 TR3A has been put through its paces in countless club events and a number of bitumen rallies. Over this time I’ve been asked how many things go wrong and break surely since its an old car it must be a problem and isn’t it costly ? RUSTY DISPLAYING HER BEAR BEHIND AT TARGA Well to answer these questions I’ve put together a rough chronology of what’s gone wrong over this period.
Being in the enviable (?) position of owning these 2 icons of the British Motor Industry with my wife Lynne, and being doubly blessed in being able to drive them around the balmy environs of South East Queensland, a thought has occurred to me on many occasions - why does the world love the 6 and shun the 7?
Having access to both must surely put me in a position to undertake some form of comparison. So here it is - the "road test" I've never read, Triumph TR6 vs TR7. (Pass my Jezzer Clarkson head please).
Enough of the introduction then and on to a brief review of the ‘DNA" of these two very different cars;
Hi, .I,m one of the members who because of other commitments never get to meetings etc. I have been a member of T.S.O.A for 40 years, joined in Sydney in 1964,when we moved to Gold Coast 1971 stayed with NSW until joiningBrisbane about 1975 & have been a member ever since so could waffle on about Triumphs for some time but first if anyone is interested let me tell you youngsters of 40 & 50 about cars only us oldies would remember.
Please Note: Membership renewal forms are posted out to all financial members in January each year. Payment is due by 1st March.
TSOA Nationals 2013
The TSOA of each state take turns to host a National Event. The 2012 National Event was hosted by TSOA Victoria. The 2013 TSOA National Event will be hosted by TSOA Queensland. Thanks to TSOA Victoria for an excellent week of events and we all look forward to the next National event.