The cars : Triumph Stag development story

The Triumph Stag development story is a tragic missed opportunity – it had everything: looks, power, a soundtrack to die for and a market niche all to itself…

Yet it died after a short production run, and drove many of its first owners to distraction. The Stag was BL’s nearly car – it nearly had the armoury to take over the world, had it not been for that fragile engine.

Triumph Stag: The nearly car

It was early in 1964 when Giovanni Michelotti asked Triumph design chief, Harry Webster, whether it would be possible possible for the company to donate a used example of the recently-launched Triumph 2000. The reason for this request was simple – Michelotti wanted to produce a glamorous one-off motor show special and use it as a showcase for the emerging designer’s talents.

Given the relationship between the Michelotti and Triumph was rock solid by this time, Webster said that he would gladly hand over one of the company’s race support cars after it had finished with the car. There was a proviso, though: if Triumph liked the design, then it would have first refusal on putting it into production.

In June of that year, Triumph duly delivered its 2000 following the Le Mans 24-Hour race – and now it was up to Michelotti exercise his creative talents.

Michelotti’s masterpiece of design

Triumph Stag
Michelotti’s original 1965 convertible based on a shortened Triumph 2000 floorpan would prove an irresistible proposition for Harry Webster

The car Michelotti produced was based on a shortened version of the 2000’s floorpan. The main difference was that the convertible had several inches cut from the wheelbase in order to give the car more balanced proportions. The engine, gearbox and suspension were stock Triumph 2000 items – and had already seen plenty of action in their former life as a race support car.

The concept car’s frontal styling was certainly a departure from Michelotti’s then current line-up but, in time, the look would emerge to become the family ‘face’ of Triumph.

Needless to say, the handsome two-seater convertible easily won over Webster – and the project was taken over by Triumph for a full in-house development programme. Michelotti was never even given the opportunity to show the car publicly at the Turin Motor Show, such was Triumph’s keenness to keep the stylish car to itself. Early in 1966, work on the car began at Triumph’s headquarters in Canley, under the project name, ‘Stag’.

A case of limited resources

The reason for the delay between Triumph grabbing the car and the development programme getting underway was because of Canley’s limited resources.

Harry Webster put it in these terms: ‘It was the usual problem of priorities, and money to tool it. I’m afraid it had to wait – we were particularly preoccupied with cars like the 1300 and TR5 at the time and, of course, with the development of new engines.’

Another view of the Michelotti prototype - and the two men that were responsible for getting it into production. Harry Webster (left) brought the design back to Coventry and worked hard on productionising it, while Spen King (right) ensured that the engine used in the Stag was in three-litre form, as he felt the car needed more power
Another view of the Michelotti prototype – and the two men that were responsible for getting it into production. Harry Webster (left) brought the design back to Coventry and worked hard on productionising it, while Spen King (right) ensured that the engine used in the Stag was in three-litre form, as he felt the car needed more power

Shored up by the success of the 2000, Webster eventually convinced upper management that Project Stag would be the ideal vehicle on which to base an aggressive expansion of exports to the USA.

Harry Webster searches for new market niches

Webster later recalled: ‘Triumph realised back then that we couldn’t compete with the big boys – and we had to find a niche or market gap to fill, and that was where the Stag came in. It was aimed at the young executive, someone who’d gone through the motor bike/sports car/family and family saloon, and wanted something different, something sporty, but with creature comforts.’

Originally, the Stag was designed to use the 2.0-litre straight-six engine in TS tune, but this plan was soon succeeded by one which involved the use of the 2.5-litre version of the straight-six.

Several prototypes were built using this layout, but the company’s future engine plans were still somewhat in flux, and so the Stag’s engine situation changed pretty regularly.

Engine indecision: from straight-six to V8

Back in 1963, Lewis Dawtry, a distinguished member of the Triumph Engineering Team, drew up a report that laid out how he viewed the direction that Triumph’s engine range should go.

In it, he stated that the engine family should consist of only two engines: one, a slant-four of 1500cc, which should provide the potential of enlargement to 2.0-litres – and the other, a small V8 that, essentially, was created by joining two of these engines together, sharing a common crankshaft.

It was around this programme that the Stag needed to fit. So, the initial development of the car was centred around the straight-six, to be used in the 2500, with future variations to be based on the upcoming V8.

Developing the new V8 in-house

Webster was also adamant that in order to succeed in the USA, the straight-six engine would need to be replaced by a V8 – the engine configuration of choice on the other side of the Atlantic.

So, he used this as a bargaining tool to convince management to throw their weight behind the V8 programme. As it was, by 1966, Triumph’s V8 engine was already in its early stages of development, and it seemed the logical choice for the new car at the time.

But in order to get the car onto the market within reasonable timescales, Triumph decided to introduce the car in 2.5-litre straight-six form, allowing for a careful development programme of the 2.5-litre V8, which could be phased in later.

Niggles in the new Stag’s design

There were problems with the Stag development programme, but nothing significant enough to dissuade the company from forging ahead with it. Structural rigidity – or rather a lack of it – was causing concern for the Canley team, despite the later addition of double-skinned body panels.

This led to the adoption of arguably the Stag’s most famous feature: the T-bar roll-over hoop. Harry Webster later recalled: ‘After Michelotti finished the prototype, we made some hand-built prototypes ourselves – and suffered from enormous scuttle-shake! Oh boy, it was horrid! You almost had to try and catch the steering wheel, if you know what I mean!

‘The torsional stiffness of the body had gone to hell, of course, and the only way to get it back in was to join up the A and B-posts with a good torsional box across the top, and that’s exactly what the T-Bar does. It helped with the roll-over conditions, but it’s very much part of the structure!’

Stag in the new scheme of things…

During the early months of 1967 and while the development of the Stag was in full flow, Triumph was joined by arch-rival Rover in the Leyland Motor Corporation. The reasoning behind this outwardly illogical purchase has been explained in The Whole Story, but the net result was that the two companies were now part of the same group – and competing models such as the Rover P6 and Triumph 2000 were now bedfellows.

The ramifications of the takeover soon made themselves felt – and one main asset Rover brought to Leyland was its magnificent aluminium ex-Buick V8 engine. However, by this time, development of Triumph’s own V8 was sufficiently advanced that Triumph felt it should continue to use it in the Stag – no matter how appealing this rationalisation may have seemed.

Following the formation of British Leyland in 1968, Harry Webster moved to Austin-Morris and, in his place, came Spen King. King had been working intensively on the Rover P8 when he changed camps – and one of the immediate questions coming to Triumph, was that concerning the Stag’s engine. Because of King’s intervention – his feeling was that the 2.5-litre straight-six did not have enough power, and the new V8 under development should be the car’s sole power unit.

Triumph Stag
Even with the hood up, the Stag was a most handsome car. It summed up all that was good and bad about BLMC: wonderful styling, brilliant concept – one fundamental flaw
Triumph Stag V8
Triumph’s new V8 was compact, efficient and reasonably powerful. The decision to use this engine in the Stag instead of Rover’s off-the-shelf V8 was an easy one for Triumph to make – development had been a lengthy and costly affair – and the last thing that the company wanted was to scrap it

So, why didn’t the Triumph Stag get a Rover V8?

The V8 had already been evolved from a 2.5- to 3.0-litre unit by this time, and where it once used fuel injection, reliability issues forced the use of a carburettor set-up instead.

Certainly, it was a compact and light unit, but it was not without its fair share of problems. Without doubt, there was still a great deal of in-house rivalry between Rover and Triumph, and it is understandable that Triumph Engineers would have been less than keen to use (what they perceived as) its rival’s engine in the forthcoming flagship.

King, however, was more pragmatic – and did raise questions. He recalled: ‘I was told that they tried to put it in and you could not put it in and I believed them. I probably shouldn’t have believed it.’

But, it was all about production capacity

However, the decision was not just based upon the pride of Triumph, but also one of production capacity. King continued: ‘…there were big investments, which had been recently made in both companies for making V8 engines. There wasn’t the capacity for stuffing them in Stags as well. If you are organized to make something, you have got to have a go at the balance between capacity for making things and what they plan (probably dead wrongly because that’s what they normally get wrong more than anything else) is planned amount of sales of any given future motor car.

‘As planned, as I remember it, there wouldn’t have been the spare capacity for V8 engines from the Rover Company to put into Stags. That was an extra thing that people forget about.’ British Leyland would ultimately pay a terrible price – because the car’s image suffered massively – for this decision.

As it was, King’s decision to delay the introduction of the Stag until the V8 was ready only added to Triumph’s problems – the car’s weight went up slightly, and because there was no longer a need to use the straight-six, extensive modifications were made to the engine bay. In the end, the Stag shared precious few internal components with the car it was originally closely based upon.

Triumph Stag: Caught in the BL trap

Wider corporate issues also beset the Stag’s development programme and, because of this, British Leyland would not stomach its launch being delayed any longer.

Although many commentators have subsequently spoken of the ease in which a Rover V8 would fit into the engine bay, to do so as late as 1968 would have undoubtedly meant the launch date of the Stag would have slipped even further back.

As it was, Rover and Triumph’s model programmes were already being put under minute scrutiny – and that sense of rivalry was being fuelled by the fact that both Solihull and Canley knew there would need to be future rationalisation. And that would inevitably be to the cost of one or the other.

And on to the Stag’s launch

Triumph Stag
The Stag opened up new markets for British Leyland – the company was well served with both Triumph and MG sports cars, but the Stag was something else again: a grand tourer. Essentially, the Stag created a market niche and although it was phased out in 1977 after a production run of nearly 26,000, it is still viewed as the quintessential British classic sports car

The Stag was launched in June 1970 and immediately created a favourable impression with buyers, who were quite literally enamoured by its simple beauty and its gorgeous engine note with accompanying exhaust ‘woofle’.

Performance was adequate – its 2997cc engine certainly did everything asked of it and the 145bhp maximum power output compared favourably with the 143bhp from the 3528cc Rover unit. Sales started briskly and the effect on the Triumph range as a whole was marked – the uplift in image was there for all to see… The press weren’t quite so impressed.

Motor Sport magazine’s Editor, William Boddy, wasn’t particularly enamoured with the Stag, though, addressing his first drive of the car as an open telegram to Lord Stokes. ‘Although the Stag is outpaced by almost all the comparable GT cars such as the Ford Capri 3000 GT, Reliant Scimitar GTECitroën SM and Alfa Romeo 1750 GTV, it somehow feels faster than it is and decently disposes, smoothly and quickly, of the slower-moving traffic.

‘In fact, a 0-60mph time of 10.7 seconds and a standing start 1/4-mile time of just under 18 seconds is not impressive for a 1970 3.0-litre car; the product of 145bhp puts the Stag in the fast tourer rather than the GT category.’

Motor Sport‘s conclusion: must try harder

Boddy concluded in his passionate piece: ‘I tried to like this Triumph Stag, but it needs better steering, a better gearbox, and more poke — like Eartha Kitt’s Englishman, the Stag takes time to get going.

‘Given these changes, and a more easily erected top, the Stag could be a great success, for although its engine isn’t quite as silky as I anticipated, vibration being felt through the gear-lever, the Stag is a very nice-looking 2+2 coupe/convertible, reasonably priced at £2173 for a V8 car having power-assisted steering, electric windows, a concealed hood and Italian styling.’

The honeymoon period with buyer didn’t last that long either, and those who plumped for a new Stag in 1970 soon found themselves falling out of love with the appealing new car.

The troubles soon start

Despite its grand ambitions for the Stag, Triumph was finding it difficult to get the quality right on – and the situation wasn’t helped by the dispersed nature of its production (bodies produced at Speke in Liverpool, and final assembly in Canley). Tales of build issues and reliability niggles soon started doing the rounds and, as quickly as BL put one thing right, it seemed another problem would emerge. However, if minor fit and finish problems irritated owners, they were nothing compared with the tales of woe that would emerge about the brand new engine.

Although Spen King told us there were few engine problems in development, this certainly proved not to be the case when it came to production versions. According to Stag specialists today, inherent problems were aplenty. The excessively long single-link timing chains suffered from poor tensioning – and, to avoid expensive failures, they needed replacing every 25,000 miles – which would certainly seem to be a design fault.

Manufacturing issues such as inadequately sized main bearings, cylinder head warpage due to poor castings, and water pump failures related to drive gear shearing could not be blamed on design weaknesses. Whoever was to blame for these faults, the end result was a shattered reputation, and declining sales from the point stories of Stag engine failures became widespread…

A unique car…

When the Stag hit the market, there literally was no opposition for it. In contemporary advertising, Triumph highlighted the glamorous nature of the Stag, comparing it positively to Mercedes-Benz and Alfa Romeo’s products… Certainly, the Marketing Department was correct to do so, as it was a very satisfying GT car to drive…

Given the laid-back and pleasantly long-legged nature of the Stag, it comes as no surprise that most owners opted for the Borg-Warner three-speed automatic transmission. Its smooth-shifting nature really suited the car – and did a far better job of cog-swapping than the manual ‘box, which was a derivative of the ancient Triumph TR2 gearbox.

Thankfully, the Stag was offered with the option of overdrive, and that made for relaxed high speed cruising.

Stag: caught in the BLMC crossfire

Once it became clear that BL was in a financial pickle, and needed to be bailed out by the Government in 1974, the Stag’s production development became a low-priority issue – and it is for this reason that it didn’t really change much during its seven-year production run. Two versions were produced – what was retrospectively referred to as the MkI (1970–3) and MkII (1973–7). But there are very few differences between the cars.

In the end, 25,877 Stags were produced between 1970 and 1977. The Stag died simply because there was no money in BL’s kitty to put it right – and a car which used a unique engine and which accounted for so few sales was a luxury a company fighting for survival could not afford.

When it quietly slipped into obscurity, the Stag was mourned by few – but, within the space of a few short years, it picked up a cult following, and remains today the doyen of classic British cars – and lines up alongside the MGB and Morris Minor as the most iconic classics of the time.

That might account for the Stag’s amazingly high survival rate.

We wonder how different things would have been had the Rover V8 been fitted at the earliest possibility… assuming BL workers could ever have been coaxed into building enough of the things…

Triumph Stag

Keith Adams
Latest posts by Keith Adams (see all)


  1. The midlands mercedes,this is simply a stunning car even with all its faults,i think it gorgeous and you can never mistake the noise of the stag 3 litre V8-music.

  2. The Stag never quite did it for me although I have to conceed it does have something going for it.
    The shocking quality issues hit a lot of the most expensive BL products in the 70s – like the modern day “halo” models; just in BLs case, in reverse – mainly due to a disaffected, striking workforce and money wasted instead of being used in a more targeted fashion.
    I’m not sure about the comparison to models like the Maxi, Princess and Maestro are justified. After all, those were never “right”, the Princess a case in point, the original design being far better than the end product, but also including slightly wobbly suspension. How that was supposed to compete with the Cortina or Cavalier etc I don’t know!

  3. This is an excellent account of the history of this car. I’ve always considered it to be the most beautiful car ever made.

  4. Probably one of the best designs to come from BL competeing with the likes of the Mercedes 350 and some other continental designs of that time.
    If you had a Stag in the 70s you were an individual and someone who had money or done well.
    In my opinion the best colours of the time were Saffron yellow or white with the PI rostyle wheel trims.
    In the early 80s you could pick up a decent un restored runner for £1000 that did the job aalthough it may have had looming engine problems which were a nightmare blown out of proportion by the motoring press for all time.
    One of the best cars i had a 1977 auto in Inca, those were the days.

  5. @1 – Yes the Stag nearly hit the bulls eye. As for the Maxi, Maestro etc I think they ended up off the board bouncing off the wall! – The Stag was such an excellent concept with real potential that I wonder why BL didnt have another go, basing a car off a shortened SD1 platform, with of course the Rover V8 – Its the sort of thing a premium manufacturer would do without thinking these days. Minimum investment with the opportunity to charge a premium over the base product. Would also have filled up all the spare capacity at Solihull.

  6. There still seems to be an awful lot surviving too, but not sure how many will still be on Triumph v8 power

    • About 80 % have the Triumph V8. Don’t be suprised – it is one of the two things that makes a Stag a Stag (the other being the body shape)

      I speak as Registrar of the Stag Owners Club. The Club register contains nearly 16,000 listed throughout the World – all reported to me as having Club owners since 1979. A truly phenomenal figure for a car which the press (and those blokes down the pub) reckoned was a dud.

      And to correct the author on two things. i) There was only one Stag – the Mk1 and Mk2 designations were not Triumph designations, they were terms coined by enthusiasts after production finished and ii) It is not true that the majority were fitted with the automatic box. The options were taken up in roughly equal proportions over the 7 years of production – although the earlier cars were more likely to be manual and the later cars automatic.

  7. As an engineering student in the late 1970s, I spent my university holidays working for an engine re-conditioning firm which had gained a reputation for specialising in Stag engines. I witnessed some real horrors – failed attempts to literally hacksaw cylinder heads off because the angled steel head studs had corroded solid to the alloy heads; big holes in the sump coupled with a piston/con-rod count of seven due to timing chains slipping or breaking; broken water pumps because the impellor retaining screw was left hand threaded; failed head gaskets due to massive erosion of the alloy head around the waterways – the list goes on.
    Yet for all that I loved, and still love, the Stag. Nothing compares to that wuffly V8 note and smooth, relaxed driving style. I only wish I’d bought one when they were cheap…

  8. A colleague has one that he and his brother have restored, complete with the ‘correct’ Triumph V8, brown velour interior and original wheels. It’s a daily driver through the summer, and he reckons it’s pretty reliable.
    They’ve fitted an upgraded alloy radiator, and installed an aftermarket expansion tank into the cooling system. With that, and religious coolant changes, he reckons it can sit for hours on the M25 in the middle of summer without any overheating problems.
    Beautiful car. Looks and sounds a million dollars, and always attracts an admiring crowd in the office car park.

  9. When I was 13/14 yrs old I’d dream of a stag. Just like the one on the 70’s series ‘Hazel’. Now at 54 I’ve finally got one, a white mark 1 with 4speed manual with overdrive. It’s great, and filled with history. British leyland did make some great cars and this is one of them. Thanks to all those Canley factory workers, god bless them all.

  10. While understandable that Triumph didn’t want to use the Rover V8 to power the Stag, why didn’t they consider the 2.5 Coventry Climax CFA V8 engine that was originally intended for the stillborn baby XJ project?

    After all, the engine was installed on Leonard Pelham Lee’s personal Triumph 2000 Estate that going by Coventry in Climax by Walter Hassan produced more than 200 bhp at 7000rpm (engine weight only 300ib) in flexible sports-car tune.

  11. Read up on another site that the original idea behind the Triumph Slant-4 and V8 engines was to build a family of 4, 6, V8 and V12 cylinder engines with the 6 and V12 being killed off very early on in the concept phase (via the Code Name: Triumph Stag Michelotti’s Masterpiece DVD).

    What other Triumph sources mention the Triumph Slant-4 / V8 originally being part of a larger engine family?

    Would have been interesting to compare the Triumph Slant-6 with the Triumph I6 and later SD1 Six, assuming it was indeed a Slant-6.

    Also interested to know whether a Triumph V12 would have retained the same 90-degree V-angle as the Triumph V8 or instead feature the familiar 60-degree V-angle as found in other V12s by Ferrari, Lamborghini and Jaguar.

  12. Sounds interesting, I’ve not heard of those engines before.

    I was wondering if the 6 cylinder could have been a V6 as Ford & Chrysler Europe were developing engines of this layout at the same time, with & Renault, Peugeot & Volvo soon to follow with a joint effort.

    This could have also have lead to a 3 cylinder of around 1124cc, assuming the cylinders were the same size as the V8.

    IIRC 60 degree is best for a V6 & V12s & 90 degrees for V8s, though the PRV V6 seemed to cope with being 90 degrees.

  13. Shame about the penny pinching that went on to weaken the strengths of the original slant 4 which was the basis of the long living Saab engine and developed by them into the turbo and T16.

    Early 70’s, as a Technician Apprentice at Hepworth and Grandage (Hepolite & Powermax piston manufacturer)I worked on Product Development (engine test) for six months. Ran a Triumph 1700 c.c. slant 4 (proposed Saab engine) for a 500 hour endurance test, totally reliable and dead easy to work on. At the same time another team was running a Dolomite Sprint engine, actually produced more than the claimed b.h.p. This was as production engine and not a prototype although stripped, inspected, measured and rebuilt by the engineers before test as normal.

    Interesting other tales to tell including the time spent in the Drawing Office, hours spent looking at archive work on BMC/BL engines including the o.h.c. A series with variable valve timing. Designed the ring pack for the O series engine. Calculations in those days were using a new fangled electronic desk top calculator with a till roll print out resulting in yards of paper which had to be checked and submitted with the drawings for review and approval.

  14. It might have been a 90 degree V6 instead of a Slant-6 though cannot be sure, know that Maserati and Buick also had 90 degree V6 engines.

    A 3-cylinder engine derived from the 1850 Dolomite Slant-4 (including 6v and 12v versions) was allegedly looked into during the 1970s (in Jeff Daniels book on BL) long after the 6 and V12 were killed off.

    • We looked at packaging that engine into the ADO88 and LC8, along with the Daihatsu 3 cylinder 1.0L engine and the Norton twin-rotor Wankel unit. There were two of the later built as drivable cars, although I don’t know what happened to them.

      • Kev

        Interesting also read that the 6v/12v Triumph 3-cylinder engines were used in the Allegro at one point, was it down to costs that eliminated the Triumph unit (along with the Daihatsu and Norton engines) in favor of the A-Plus for ADO88 / LC8, a flaw in the design or the fact that the Triumph unit was simply not a great improvement over the A-Series?

        Speaking of ADO88 and LC8, was wondering if you could confirm that diesel powered variants by Daihatsu and VM Motori were looked into?

        Seem to recall an article by Car Magazine about BL looking into a 1.5 3-cylinder version of the 1.8 3-cylinder VM Motori diesel found in the Alfa Romeo 33 for use in what eventually became the Metro, though not sure how accurate the info is.

  15. Fair enough that capacity concerns initially drove the engine decisions in the direction of the 3 litre Triumph unit. But by the mid 70s it was clear that this unit was a dog whilst SD1 volume was coming nowhere near wiping out Rover V8 production. A cheap fix would have been to drop the Rover unit into the Stag and give it a go in the phase 2 cars rather than simply throwing the towel in.

  16. If the Stag was derived from some variation of the Triumph 2000 platform that at one point was to feature SD1-Six engines, then surely the Stag would have been a suitable recipient of the 2300/2600 6-cylinder engines used in the Rover SD1? Even an unrestricted 2600cc engine would put out the same power if not more then the underdeveloped Stag V8.

    While Triumph did look at using the earlier 2000/2500 6-cylinder OHV engine, could they not develop an earlier V8 derived from the Standard wet-liner 4-cylinder given the latter was said to draw upon the Citroen Traction Avant that itself was to spawn a shelved V8 variant as well as Triumph being successful in the US?

  17. There’s at least one Triumph Stag driving around in the area I live and looks in great restored condition. One thing that stands out when I’ve been behind it in my Focus is how small it looks nowadays… when they were in production and I was younger, they looked larger. A car with character…

  18. The Triumph Stag gained some early publicity when it appeared in Diamonds Are Forever, as the car James Bond uses to travel to Amsterdam.

  19. We never owned a Stag, but had a Triumph 2000 and two 2.5 PI’s. All great cars. I loved the styling of these cars. The overdrive on the PI’s was neat!

  20. Maybe the Triumph 2000 & 2500 should had adopted the wheelbase of the Stag and the Stag the 2400 inline 6 engine

  21. It was just the bad quality of the manufacturing, the servicing of the car didn’t help the engines at all. BL dealers had so many cars to deal with they missed the requirements for the v8 and so this helped the engine silt up, overheat and eventually warp. Tony Hart showed that these engines are really good if looked after properly.

    The interesting thing is SAAB actually looked at the v8, even produced their own prototypes, and ran them for a while. If I remember rightly they didn’t proceed as the fuel crisis hit and they thought v8s wouldn’t sell, and went down the Turbo route to extract more power. I know SAAB were very disappointed with the quality of the slant 4 engines were providing them with, and once they merged with Scania they had the tooling and capacity to bring it house.

  22. Ruaridh Macveigh has an excellent video “The Worst Engine Ever Made – Triumph V8” on Youtube which explains all the many problems Triumph had with its engine design – not just cooling.

  23. In a scenario where a Leyland composed of Triumph and Jaguar went its own way, could Jaguar have made use of some or most of the Stag V8’s tooling to develop a viable correctly angled V12-based V8?

    Before anyone cites Jaguar having a NIH syndrome, am basing the above on Jaguar’s previous background of using clapped out or second hand tooling from companies like Standard.

    • Thing is, had Jaguar got into bed with Leyland, would have Triumph been allowed to build the V8?

      • Would have probably been a similar situation to real-life where Jaguar supposedly set a glass-ceiling for the Rover SD1 3500 V8, yet it is not clear if Jaguar were ever an obstacle to the SD1 Vitesse when it appeared in 1982 just before Jaguar were floated off in 1984.

        Does seem like a gordian knot on the face of it from looking at what both Triumph and Jaguar were developing, maybe Coventry Climax could like a way of increasing commonality between the upcoming Triumph and Jaguar engines depending on when the merger happened.

        Other thing to consider is Jaguar were planning on thoroughly updating the XK6 into a short-block all-alloy 2.6-3.0-litre prior to looking a V12-based V6 and later the AJ6, while Triumph were considering the early beginnings of what became the PE166.
        Could PE166 have benefited from a Jaguar touch and could it or a V12-based V6 have been a suitable alternative to the Triumph V8 had Jaguar appropriate it or at least its tooling to develop its own 90-degree V8 from V12 architecture?

        At the same time the Triumph Stag and V8 at least in stillborn fastback guise (and early 2.5-litre V8 FI form) were not too far removed from what Jaguar were planning with their similarly sized stillborn 1.8-2.5-litre Coventry Climax V8 powered Baby XJ project.

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