Clarkson on calamity

I always seem to miss watching the BBC’s Top Gear programmes, but I had to see Jeremy on ‘Who killed the British Motor Industry’ (BBC 2, June 22). To do this the “burly host with the vocal mannerisms of a man under-going surgery without an anaesthetic” (the Daily Mail’s words, not mine) focused on the Triumph Stag, with a team including Sir Michael Edwardes, Derek Robinson and Tony Benn to explain why the BMC failed.

JC said he had quite liked some aspects of the Stag but was rude about its V8 engine. When I road tested this Triumph for Motor Sport I was quite impressed with this sporting car from Coventry. Not being as tall as Clarkson, I did not bump my head on the roll-bar, and the easy-running 145bhp 3-litre smoothness was liked equally by both of us. The first Stag! tried had unacceptable steering feel, but a later version was so improved as to be recommended, although I conceded that the steering was still disappointing.

In the headlamp beams a real stag jumped into the road ahead near Eastnor Castle and then jumped over a box hedge, a feat I do not think either Jeremy nor! could accomplish. Clarkson also set out to decide which was worse, the Austin Allegro or the Morris Marina. I found the Allegro 1750SS acceptable when new but with too flexible suspension, baulky five-speed gearbox, and some body shake (not mine!). I know about the stupid ‘quartic’ wheel, but a round one did come later. As for the Marina, I was disappointed with the it coupe, and thought the ordinary Marina a car for the masses. Finally,! was stuprised JC did not castigate Lord Stokes for suppressing that extremely promising mid-engined Rover coupe with V8 Buick power.