Thanks to Covid-19, it had been over twelve months since our Club was able to come together at what had been our regular monthly dinner meetings at the Drouin Golf Club. But with restrictions now easing, we have made a tentative move back to normality.
There was an impressive row of sporting and classic cars parked out front of the clubrooms and Steve Austen’s Triumph Stag was on display in the dining room. Around fifty members had pre-booked for dinner and they enjoyed a two-course meal of roast pork and a dessert. The Annual General Meeting was chaired by our Vice-President, Ray Youlden with the assistance of Secretary, Glenn Campbell. The Annual Reports and membership fees for 2021 were accepted, we thanked Ron Brooks, our retiring President, for his leadership over the last two years, and also acknowledged the committee work that Dave Anderson, who is also stepping down, had done throughout his time on Committee. Ian Maud was duly elected as Club President for 2021 and Mike Whitford has joined the Committee, which apart from those changes remains the same. In keeping with our philosophy of keeping things simple, the AGM was dispensed with in 2 minutes and 45 seconds.
Following the AGM, Ian relieved Ray as chair of the meeting and conducted some general business before introducing Steve Austen to speak about his Triumph Stag.
Production of the Stag was between from 1970 and 1977, with 26,000 units being built. It is a Michelotti designed 2+2 sports-tourer with hardtop and soft-top options, it is powered by a 3-litre Triumph V8 which drove through either a 3-speed auto or 4-speed manual transmission with overdrive to an independent rear end. The Stag was not one of Leyland’s glowing success stories, it soon developed an appalling reputation for engine reliability thanks to some inherent problems associated with water pumps, timing chains, head gaskets, poor casting quality control and an inefficient cooling system. This stigma remains with most people today unfortunately remembering the Stag for its faults. Fifty years down the track, the problems have been rectified and the car is no worse than any other 50-year-old classic – in fact, of the 18,000 cars built for the UK home market, 7500 are still driving on British roads. There is good availability of spare parts in the UK and the cars are now becoming quite sought after.
Steve has owned his Stag for 7 months. It is one of only 112 manuals exported in the final year of production. Because of the Covid situation, Steve bought the car from the seller in Adelaide, without having driven it, or even seeing it. However, it was an honest car which had seen little use in the past nine years and had been restored about 20 years ago. There was plenty of work required to bring it up to scratch – it needed a new radiator core, new tyres, the overdrive wasn’t working and the interior and bodywork needed a general clean up. Steve would like to have it resprayed, but apart from a couple of small marks, the paint and bodywork are in very good condition.
After seven months Steve is still happy with his purchase. The car drives very nicely and he believes they are under-rated as a classic. Perhaps his presentation to the Club will help to make them more recognised as the capable open-topped tourer they were designed to be.