I used to own a 1965 signal red TR4a. it was very pretty and very reliable but with the onset of children, not very practical without any rear seats!
My friend James, already a Stag owner, used to let me keep it in his farm workshop over the winter months and regularly told me that I really needed to buy a Stag.
My one disappointment with the TR4a had always been its lack of a throaty roar, so a couple of years ago, I bit the bullet and started searching.
I knew what I wanted so I only looked at a couple of cars before seeing an advert for one in the west of Scotland. I managed to tie a visit in with a business trip, and armed with cash from the sale of the TR, did a deal. The next challenge was to get my new Stag home to Kent which was solved when another friend recommended a local transportation company….money well spent!
So James and I lined up our Stags in his workshop and tinkered and fettled….as you do, until I looked at his commission plate. Despite his being purchased in Kent, and mine in the West of Scotland, they are only 9 cars apart. With a bit of research, I have discovered that they initially both headed to the West Country as the registration, WG is for Exeter and WV is for Bristol. Not so remarkable you might say until a couple of weeks ago when I was in the process of upgrading my ignition and coil.
With the coil out, I was able to read the engine number stamp and made a note of it – LE44741HE. Wondering what James’s engine number was, bearing in mind their close commission numbers, I peered into his engine bay with a torch. I couldn’t believe what I scribbled down – LE44742HE. Two cars sitting next to each other after 38 years with consecutive engine numbers. Why doesn’t that happen in the lottery?
So how were these cars built on the production line? Presumably, bodies on one and engines on the other. Were our engines built by the same person? If they were, he did a good job because they’ve both survived this far and have just returned from a 500 mile round trip thrashing down the French autoroutes to Laon.
Coincidentally my grandfather , CJ Peyton, was financial director at British Leyland having come across from Rover in the amalgamation. My mum remembers Spen King and Harry Webster who used to come to the house.
I remember as a small boy travelling in various “test” models when we visited at weekends including the prototype Range Rover which we took to Holland. My dad discovered a fault on a pre production Dolomite Sprint when he couldn’t release the handbrake after we parked up for lunch and I have a vivid memory of a white Triumph 2.5 PI estate that even then seemed incredibly fast!
I was fascinated by the overdrive on top of the gear stick and think of him every time I get my foot down in the Stag and flick the switch!
Our thanks to Simon Lord for his article