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Triumph Stag

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Whatever kind of aircraft he flies, navigates or maintains, all RAF officers are intimately acquainted with the Triumph Stag, which, to a man, they think of as their personal Spitfire. Visit any RAF Station on a sunny weekend and, come Saturday afternoon, the garages open, the Triumph Stags are driven out, washed, turtle-waxed and polished. Then driven back into the garage. In the event that an RAF officer actually has to drive anywhere, he will invariably borrow his wife's eight-year old Nissan Micra.

In many ways, the Triumph Stag is an apt metaphor for British Military Procurement.

Instead of using the excellent off-the-shelf Rover 3½ litre V8 engine already in production within the same company (British Leyland), Triumph spent a fortune on developing their own 3 litre V8 engine for the Stag - which was underdeveloped as there were no synergies of production or economies of scale. Which meant it kept overheating and breaking. Which was pants.

After many years, the engine has been reworked into what it should have been in the first place, and now works just fine. Remind you of anything? Perhaps a rifle used by a certain army? See British Military Procurement Mysteries for more of the same.