Stag Owners Club Inc New Zealand
The Stag Car Club was formed after two gentlemen, John Cruickshank (Solicitor) and Paul Person (Real Estate Agent) had been working together in their professional capacities for a couple of years before realising they each shared a common interest in Stag ownership.
In June 1984, they placed an advertisement in an Auckland newspaper asking those interested in forming a Stag Car Club to respond to them. From this, a meeting was held in John Cruickshank’s chambers where it was a unanimous decision by all those who attended to proceed with forming a club.
The Inaugural meeting was held in July 1984 where the ‘Executive’ along with 3 other Committee members were elected.
John Parker’s duties as Secretary also comprised of sourcing spare parts and ‘Stag’ spotting which he accomplished from his work office window overlooking one of Auckland’s main shopping centers. From this a register of N.Z vehicles was formed.
At the completion of the 1st year there were 50 members (cars) of which we still have 4 founding members in the Club. Whilst it was initially set up as an Auckland club, word soon circulated and enthusiasts from other parts of the country wanted to be associated with a club where they could receive support, technical advice and the access to spare parts. Area Liaison Officers have now been set up in 9 regions throughout NZ to organize social events. Financial numbers have stabilized around 130 annually.
In the early years, Paul Rourke (Treasurer) was instrumental along with John Parker in the technical aspects of the Club and in the purchase of a used engine, pulling apart and inspecting it. Both felt that the engine could be modified to have a double row of timing chain system. They successfully made a set of sprockets for the LH bank but when it came to the RH bank there was insufficient room to easily accomplish this project. With the advent of David Nathan’s Targa Stag, this system was successfully manufactured by David using Mini Cooper and Datsun 180B sprockets. The RH front of the case was cut and an over-plate welded on giving the clearance the chains required.
Another contributor to the Stag improvement was created when Paul Rourke and Mike Holmes decided the rebuild of Mike’s car brakes was in order. From this exercise, John was able to determine the rear brake shoes were the same as a Rover 3500 of the same era and that they could use Hillman Hunter rear wheel cylinders in place of the OE Stag items which were about 4 times the price.
Another initialization that John and Paul were able to come up with was the advent of an oil cooler adapter to replace the factory oil transfer housing. This was long before commercially made items were available from the TR7 range. Several of these adapters were made and still in use today.
John was instrumental in casting and hand finishing aluminum door handles which were interchangeable left or right and ended up being shipped all round the world.
The Club on many occasions picked up a Stag that was deemed beyond restoring and dismantled it for parts, thus the Club holds many second-hand parts that just might be those hard to find bits.
Over the years many large imports of parts for the members have been made such as under-bonnet blankets, front and rear guards, valences and door skins.
The Club holds a large range of spare parts and there are not many parts the Club is unable to source for its members
A club magazine is published regularly and this has progressed from an A4 report to a professional production passing on technical advice either sourced from the SOC UK magazines or from members along with reports on organized regional social events.
Many of our members over the years have been involved in week long rallys, such as the ‘AA Classic Car Rally’ and ‘British Link Rally’ which covered both the North and South Islands. In both these events the Stag always out-numbered any other make as the most cars represented of the one model. Annual participation in the Intermarque Concours d’Elegance held at the Ellerslie Racecourse Auckland and Brit & Euro Classic Car Show, camping/motel weekends. In 1987 Triumphs at Taupo was started with a weekend event at central North Island’s Taupo Centennial Park race track with all models of Triumphs involved in timed sprints around the track. However over the years has seen a fall off of Stags participating as members find it becoming costly keeping their prized possession in full mechanical condition. As often as possible the various Triumph Clubs like to combine a social outing such as the Isadora Duncan Rally, Show N Shine the Kaiaua Fish & Chip run, a lovely drive down the firth of Thames to one of NZ’s best fish & chip shops to name a few.
In 1995, John Parker (driver) and Ian Skene (navigator) participated in the ‘Inaugural Targa NZ Rally’, which is a 5 day road race with closed stages on public roads, using Ian’s 1973 non modified Stag apart from the compulsory roll cage (removable). Much to the surprise of most competitors, who found it hard to believe a Stag could perform so well, they were placed 1st in their category beating off a challenge from a Dino Ferrari.
In 2004, David Nathan built up his special ‘QKSTAG’ and together with son Simon entered in the ‘Ultimate Driving Experience’ – Dunlop Targa NZ. This car was extensively modified to enable it to compete with the standard of cars entered. ‘QKSTAG” was placed 2nd in its class, but had it not pulled the LH drag strut out of the chassis on one of the stages, the Stag would have won its class pulling the winning Porche back at virtually every special stage.
1991 - 21 year celebration of the Stag’s first production was held in Auckland with a procession drive down Queen Street Auckland, followed by a dance and super.
2004 - 20th year of the Club was held at Mt Maunganui (N.I) with interesting drives, meals and photographic shots of the cars participating.
2009 - 25th year celebrated with a 2 week tour incorporating both the North and South Islands beginning in Auckland and finishing in Dunedin. A fantastic tour with most taking part in the whole tour and others joining and leaving at various stages along the way.
2014 - 30th year was held at Taupo (N.I) again with interesting drives & meals together with members travelling across the Stait from the South Island to participate.
2015 - Combined Islands get together in Picton (S.I) for a weekend get together with most that had crossed from the North Island extending their tour to cover travelling along the top of the South Island as far as Farewell Spit.
2017 - Another combined Island gathering in Masterton (N.I) over Easter weekend.
2019 - 35th year celebration was held in Methven (S.I) with a large contingent of North Island members participating in a further extended tour of the South Island.
2020 - 50 year celebration of the Stags first production in 1970 in Hawkes Bay and Canterbury.
To date there are about 320 Stags in New Zealand, we certainly enjoy our cars and it is not uncommon to see a group out in the middle of winter with tops down. Most never put the hard tops on the car, they just seem to spend their life suspended from the garage ceiling.
From a population base of 4½ million people, we, like the UK Club are the biggest single model club in NZ.