Motoring: The vanishing Stag cost me dear

my worst car
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Indy Lifestyle Online
It was called the Triumph Stag but was nicknamed the Snag. Mine had more than its fair share.

To be honest I knew nothing about these cars. The only reason I chose it was because it was a convertible. I am a passionate motorcyclist - I love to see the sky and feel the wind and an open-topped car is the best compromise.

The Stag could only have been about three years old when I bought it but it quickly became apparent that the engine had serious problems. Now I'm not a mechanic, so I took it to a specialist and they recommended that the sick V8 should be swapped for a Rover engine. I arranged to drop it off at a garage in Hertfordshire and trusted them to get on with the job.

I was busy working all over the country at the time, but still managed to keep in touch with the garage by telephoning them at least every other weekend. They kept telling me what I wanted to hear so the progress sounded promising.

Unfortunately I was in no position to check the situation personally, which was my biggest mistake. After six months though I became very suspicious and visited the premises one Saturday morning.

They had hardly started work on the car and worse than that, it had gone missing. There was no trace of it, so I had to call in the police. Eventually it was found in a garage in south London. No one knew how long it had been there. I strongly suspect it had been there most of the time. It all got a bit messy because the proprietor was eventually taken to court and fined.

There was no happy ending for me though as I never got any money back and worst of all never even drove the Stag. I had to sell a half-finished car. It was a very unpleasant experience and one I will never forget.

The Stag did not put me off convertibles - I have had a succession of open-topped cars ever since. My first love is still motorcycles. None of them have ever given me as much grief as that awful Snag.

Philip Madoc is appearing in 'A Mind to Kill', on Channel 5 on Saturdays at 9pm. He was talking to James Ruppert.

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