Strange Minds

Yes, I am talking about myself. Yesterday, a much needed afternoon nap was cut very short by a disturbing dream. (I woke up yesterday at 3 AM, so I don’t think an afternoon nap is a sign of sloth.) A large dog, probably a German Shepherd, was standing on our screened-in porch just outside the glass sliding doors to the kitchen. This dog either had a broken leg, a missing leg or maybe even a damaged prosthetic leg. I was heartbroken at the sight, so much so that I woke up.

One Sunday night when I was 10 years old, our beloved German Shepherd came to the door between the back porch and the kitchen whimpering and holding one of its front legs off the ground. That is still one of the saddest memories of my life. Despite setting the leg in a cast, eventually he had to be put down. Of course, we were told he was going to a farm, but I knew better.

Despite my sadness from the dream, part of me was relieved because the fact that I had dreamt meant that I had slept. Sleep has been a precious commodity for me for many years and has been much more rare these days in the stressful times in which we live.

So, why was I dreaming about this dog so many years later and why was part of me happy just to have dreamt? (Oh, WordPress…dreamt is a real word, why is it underlined in red while I am composing a post?) Like I wrote, strange minds.

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Taking advantage of my early rise yesterday I went for a drive before 6 AM. I have long wanted to take a picture of this railroad car that is sitting in someone’s yard not far from where we live. I got a two-fer, the railroad car and the sunrise. A woman came out of the house while I was parked across the street taking the pictures and seemed quite displeased by my presence.

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This Hemmings piece is the reason I am writing about and showing this car that has appeared before on Disaffected Musings. The title of the article is, “Still Stag-gering: Triumph’s star-crossed flagship turns 50.” Here are some photos from Hemmings:

 

Still Stag-gering: Triumph's star-crossed flagship turns 50

 

Post Image

 

This car was featured in an episode of For The Love Of Cars, a series hosted by Ant Anstead–before Wheeler Dealers–and Philip Glenister. I very much enjoyed most of the episodes of the series, frankly more than I enjoy most new episodes of Wheeler Dealers.

The Hemmings article is long, but worth reading, in my opinion. From the first paragraph:

 

“…With glamorous Italian styling, a luxurious interior, four-wheel independent suspension, a removable hard top, an overhead-cam V-8 engine, and a stirring exhaust note, it was conceived to surpass the Mercedes-Benz SL series. Unfortunately, though brilliant in conception, its execution fell short of expectations. With a half-century of experience behind us, we can now see where Triumph succeeded, why it failed…”

 

The Stag developed a bad reputation for overheating and for other mechanical failings. Given the large number of people that belong to the UK Stag Club and the relatively high number of comments for this article, some people love the car despite the reputation. I am not going to feature this car in an In Or Out? post, but for me it’s an In. Hey, In Or Out? is somewhat of a dream exercise so if I can acquire In cars then I’m going to assume I have the means to do whatever is necessary for the cars to be reliable. Maybe my affinity for this car is just another manifestation of my strange mind.

 

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Stag!

I must acknowledge that I am an idiosyncratic person. Is that by choice or is it innate? What do you think of ignorance and apathy? I don’t know and I don’t care; I am who I am.

Who else would note the anniversary of the first Triumph Stag coming off the assembly line? On this day in 1970 the first Stag was produced. I have always really liked these cars; don’t ask me why. (On a total tangent: 1970 was a great year to be a young Baltimore sports fan as the Orioles won the World Series and the Baltimore Colts won the Super Bowl for the 1970 season. Of course, it’s been 35+ years since the Orioles won the World Series and the Colts play in a different city although the Ravens have won two Super Bowls in their 20+ year existence.)

 

https://www.classicargarage.com/assets/images/8/xtriumph-stag-17-1432204663-abfa11f8.jpg.pagespeed.ic.OJTvg3b2Go.jpg

Back to the Stag…this picture is from classicargarage.com. Another picture, this one from classic-chrome.net:

 

https://www.classic-chrome.net/upload/Photos/201504211618271527252607_2.jpg

 

If the styling looks Italian, it is; the exterior design was by Giovanni Michelloti. He designed many bodies for Ferrari and Maserati before becoming the de facto head of styling for Triumph although he did so as the boss of his own company. Michelloti would later design the iconic BMW 2002.

The Stag was powered by Triumph’s own newly developed 3-liter/183 cubic-inch V-8 that produced 144 HP/170 LB-FT of torque. From the Wikipedia article about the Stag:

“…[A] key aim of Triumph’s engineering strategy at the time was to create a family of in-line and V engines of different size around a common crankshaft. The various configurations Triumph envisaged would enable the production of four-, six-, and eight-cylinder power plants of capacity between 1.5 and 4 liters, sharing many parts, and hence offering economies of manufacturing scale and of mechanic training. A number of iterations of Triumph’s design went into production, notably a 2.0-litre slant four-cylinder engine used in the later Dolomite and TR7, and a variant manufactured by StanPart that was initially used in the Saab 99. The Stag’s V8 was the first of these engines to be fitted to a production car. Sometimes described as two four-cylinder engines siamesed together, it is more strictly correct to say the later four-cylinder versions were the left half of a Stag engine.”

The Stag quickly developed a bad reputation for reliability, particularly for overheating. In response to the perception or reality that these engines overheated, some owners replaced the Triumph engine with Rover’s 3.5 liter V-8, which itself was really Buick’s small V-8 of the early 1960s that Rover built under license from Buick.

The Stag was a disappointment for Triumph as the reliability concerns kept sales way below expectations. Only about 26,000 were produced from 1970 to 1977. Only 7,000 of those were exported and, most importantly for Triumph, only about 3,000 went to the United States.

The Stag has a large owners’ club in the UK. The club claims that 9,000 Stags remain in the UK; hard DVLA data (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in the UK) suggests the number is closer to 7,000. Whatever the number, that’s actually a large percentage of those produced especially given the car’s poor reputation and the number that were exported.

Once again, don’t ask why these cars are appealing to me. I don’t know. It is a virtual certainty that I will never own one and with only 3,000 exported to the US 40-ish years ago I doubt many remain here.

What inexplicable attractions do you have?

 

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Stag

No, not a post about a bachelor party.

One recurrent theme in this blog is the discussion of how peoples’ interests arise. Why are some drawn to science fiction films whereas others like romantic comedies? (Not that they have to be mutually exclusive, either.) It’s not a mystery on the surface: interests are almost always some combination of genetics and environment, like virtually everything else. However, strong attachments can sometimes be difficult to explain, even to one’s self.

See the source image

From magazine-cars-for-sale.com a picture of a Triumph Stag. These cars were a huge disappointment for British Leyland, the large conglomerate that seemingly had a monopoly on British makes in the 1970s. The Stag developed a bad reputation for being unreliable, especially for overheating. (TheĀ Wikipedia article about the Stag has a detailed description of the many flaws.) All that being said, I love these cars.

Why? I don’t know, really. I do like roadsters with small displacement V-8s (these were equipped with a newly built 3-liter Triumph V-8, which was so bad that many people dropped in the Rover V-8 that was actually a Buick V-8, but that’s another story), but why do I like roadsters with small displacement V-8s?

I think it’s a great looking car, but why? (Well, the body was designed by the famous Giovanni Michelotti.) Does it really matter? I don’t want to “break a butterfly upon a wheel” to quote Alexander Pope, but unlike the implication in Pope’s famous line, our interests are significant, after all.

Anyway, I really like this car. I wonder if I could buy one and then drop in a small block Chevy V-8?!