Auctions

Triumph Stag Fastback expected to set auction record at Goodwood

by Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
29 March 2023 2 min read
Triumph Stag Fastback expected to set auction record at Goodwood
Photos: Bonhams

A unique Fastback prototype is expected to set an auction record for a Triumph Stag when it goes under the hammer at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting.

Only three Stag Fastback prototypes were built, two designed by the Italian Giovanni Michelotti, and a third by Triumph’s in-house stylist, Les Moore. The plan was to sell the Fastback alongside the standard Stag, but the project was shelved in September 1970, rendering the cars obsolete.

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Michelotti’s cars were scrapped, but Moore’s part-finished Fastback was developed into a running car by Canley’s engineering department, with the work completed in March 1971. It was registered for road use soon after and driven by a British Leyland director.

There are several possible reasons why Triumph canned the project. One is that the company was reeling from the warranty claims for engine problems following the June 1970 launch of the convertible. Another is that Triumph feared it would steal sales from the drop-top version.

British Leyland L was also preparing a couple of ‘enemies’ from within, in the form of the Jaguar XJ-S and Rover SD1, both tabled for launch in the middle of the 1970s.

Triumph Stag Fastback

Whatever the reason, the Stag Fastback represents another missed opportunity for the British car industry.

Danny Hopkins drove ‘PAE 755’ for Practical Classics magazine and said: “In every important respect this Stag does not feel like a one-off. It feels production ready, which makes it all the more surprising that that readiness was never acted upon.”

Chief engineer Spen King, who had given initial approval to work on the Fastback project said: “I thought it was a nice sensible car, much more useful than an ordinary Stag.”

Following its time as a work hack for BL, ‘PAE 755’ fell off the radar until being discovered in 1985 by Alan Hart. A two-year restoration followed, before the car was displayed at several classic car shows, including the Cartier Style et Luxe concours at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Another restoration followed in 2016, this time by Stag specialists E J Ward of Leicester. Its condition is described by the vendor as “excellent”, with the odometer showing just 48,000 miles from new.

How much will it fetch at auction? The current record stands at £34,875 for a 1977 example, while the Hagerty Price Guide quotes a figure of £34,100 for a 1971 convertible.

But this is no ordinary Stag, so it’s likely to fetch considerably more. Bonhams has listed it with a pre-auction estimate of £50,000 to £80,000 – you wouldn’t bet against it doubling the record, especially if two bidders are in the mood for hunting a rare Stag…

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Comments

  • John Moore says:

    I am Moore grandson it is good that you said about this design he did a lot more my dad has some drawings of a triumph 1300cc which has the stranded badge on
    This stag looks great

  • Steve Divall says:

    I think there was also a tr7 hatchback made in several guises, what happened to them ?

  • Stephen Allcroft says:

    There were at least two TR7 derived hatchbacks, the Crayford Tracer and the Triumph Lynx, the last survivor of the conversions has been bought by a restorer, while a Lynx is on show at Gaydon.

  • Christopher A Wolfenden says:

    Dude get your dad’s pictures framed for keep sake. Myself I think this little lady looks a useful little car . One of my old bosses had the soft top Stag , of which I thought was a wonderful piece of artwork. Then we’re talking about when British cars were built by hand not by robots.

  • Glenn Merrell aka StagByTriumph Garage says:

    Thank you Hagerty for the feature update.
    I have actually had my hands on this particular prototype on several occasions while in the UK and as a prototype it has some unique features like an asymmetrical left and right showing different styling options. You just do not see that in a vehicle, the Fastback Stag which has not only been well restored and preserved, but actually used, maintained and driven often to events and shows by Alan himself

    Stags in any configuration remain one of the better and affordable classic hobby bargains of the day (I’m on my 4th Stag restoration) having stunning timeless Giovanni Michelotti Italian styling, comfort, handling and performance coupled with the rarity of a seldom seen “what is that” classic collector vehicle.
    An important hobbyist factor is that the Triumph Stag remains today supported by large global enthusiasts, clubs and technical specialists producing upgraded replacement parts including solutions to every factory design problem that once plagued the success of the Triumph Stag. Stags today are restored to a reliable and high quality performing standard as was the intent of the factory production but not achieved due to budget and management woes.
    The production vehicles feature a well matched high revving 2998cc (3 liter) OHC V8, coupled with its most sought after configuration of a 4 speed with J-Type Laycock OD (automatics and straight 4 speed manuals were produced in much higher numbers), full independent suspension, a 2+2 sport touring seating two door with both soft top and removable hard top.

    With this Fastback Stag being truly the only remaining last of two very unique prototypes also fitted with the rarer overdrive manual transmission, I fully expect it will exceed the predictions because there is only one and it is simply pristine and truly a unique specimen.

    You should also feature the first Federal Specification Triumph Stag, LD2UBW which had been barn find located by myself, and accurately restored back to press car concours condition by US Triumph Stag enthusiast, Joe Pawlak. That first Federal Specification Triumph Stag should one day grace the Pepple Beach and Amelia Island Concours due to its historical provanance.
    Keep ‘em driving on the road!

  • Stanley from Enfield says:

    +been 2years and I am still doing my stag Phil in Watford doing all the work

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