A Triumph Stag may not at first glance seem the most sensible choice for a leisurely international sortie down to Monte Carlo, given its reputation for unreliability and shoddy build quality. But those in the know have proven otherwise, as a recent trip by Great Escape Classic Car Hire’s own Triumph Stag hire car proves. The Great Escape car recently took part in a rally from Beaulieu to Monte Carlo in the company of several other classic cars. It acquitted itself superbly, completing the 950 mile route without fault and receiving considerable praise from the customers who drove it. The car covered several hundred miles each day, its long legged four speed overdrive manual gearbox coping well with the French roads. Despite the Triumph Stag’s reputation, Great Escape recommended the car to the customer for the route because of the design’s innate suitability. The Stag is a rare thing in the classic car world – a spacious convertible with four proper seats, a good size boot and GT refinements including comfortable seats, a good driving position and a quiet driving experience. What hampered the Stag from success in period was poor build quality and reliability caused by the badly designed engine. Great Escape has addressed these problems on its Triumph Stag hire car by completing an engine rebuild, including sensible upgrades to address the inherent weakness of overheating, and a full bodywork overhaul with new chromework and a new roof. This investment is coupled to a strict maintenance regime because the Stag needs a very exact coolant mix to remain reliable, as well as regular and frequent servicing. The result is a reliable car that is durable and up to the rigours of a long distance rally. Aside from the investment in the car’s mechanicals and bodywork, Great Escape did not have to do much to prepare the car for the rally. The Triumph Stag was serviced in advance and then subject to a safety check on Great Escape’s workshop ramp, which did not reveal any problems. The Triumph Stag became a byword for all that was bad about the British motor industry in the 1970s. Launched several years too late and competing against the bulletproof Mercedes R107 SL, the Stag suffered from poor development, lack of investment and variable building quality. Like Marlon Brando, it could’ve been a contender, but instead was another British Leyland own goal with sales falling well below initial predictions. The main problem concerned its 3 litre V8 engine, which was effectively a marriage of two 1500cc 4 cylinder Triumph engines. The design suffered from inherent overheating problems which, coupled with extremely bad production standards (some cars still had casting sand left in the sumps), meant the Stag struggled to compete against upmarket rivals from Mercedes and BMW. Now, 35 years after the last Triumph Stag left the production line, the model is beginning to find its feet in the classic car world thanks to a dawning realisation of its fundamental attributes. Good cars are reliable thanks to a useful network of parts suppliers who have developed effective fixes for the car’s many shortcomings when new. Great Escape Classic Car Hire has two Triumph Stags available to hire in the UK, one in the Cotswolds and one in Yorkshire. You can find out more by calling 01527 893733 or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk. Book either car during October 2012 and save 15% off the hire price.