Vale Stirling Moss

By: Mark Higgins - Unique Cars magazine

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stirling moss vg hardtop Stirling Moss famously lent his name to a local VG Valiant hardtop stirling moss vg hardtop
brabham and moss Sir Jack Brabham and Sir Stirling - fast company! brabham and moss

Sir Stirling Moss, the greatest driver to never win an F1 world championship has died after a long illness, aged 90.

 

British racing legend Sir Stirling Moss passed away on April 12, 2020.

Announcing his passing Lady Moss said, "It was one lap too many and he just closed his eyes."

Moss was the first British driver to win his home Grand Prix, at Aintree, and over a seven-year F1 career  from 1955 to 1961 he finished as championship runner-up four times and third the three other times.

Moss won 212 of the 529 races he entered across a variety of motorsport categories, including the 1956 Australian Grand Prix, but tragedy struck in 1962 with a career-ending crash at Goodwood that left him in a coma for a month and the left-hand side of his body partially paralysed for six.

It would be a year before he attempted a comeback, but after a private test run at Goodwood he discovered while he could produce competitive lap times his concentration was shot, and he announced retirement.

His most memorable victories include the 1955 Mille Miglia driving a Mercedes 300SLR, winning the World Sports Car Championship for Aston Martin at Goodwood in 1959, and his famous Tourist Trophy win at Goodwood in the Ferrari 250 SWB. Folklore has is it he was so far in front of the field he was listening to the race commentary on the radio!

Despite never claiming F1's ultimate crown he won 16 of 61 grands prix entered. His greatest rival in the 1950s was five-time world champ Fangio. He was also teammate to the great Argentinian for one at Mercedes.

When Fangio retired early 1958 it was expected Moss would romp in the title. Despite four wins and a second place, he also retired five times allowing fellow Brit Mike Hawthorn, driving for Ferrari, to snatch the title. What is remembered most from that season was Moss’ incredible sportsmanship.

At the Portuguese Grand Prix  Hawthorn was accused of reversing on the track and threatened with disqualification. However it was Moss’ defence of his friend and rival that allowed Hawthorn to keep his second place and eventually the title. Moss was badly injured in a crash at the 1960 Belgian Grand Prix and missed most of the year recovering, coming back to win the season-ending US Grand Prix.

He did make a racing return in the 70s with sporadic appearances in touring car races.

He raced at Bathurst in 1976 in a Torana L34 with Jack Brabham. It was a high-profile effort that came to nought on the startline when the Torana jammed in gear, didn’t move, and was rammed from behind. Several hours later it appeared on the track with Moss at the wheel, the crowd offering huge applause. After a handful of laps the Torana cried enough and it was retired.  

Before that Moss’ name was linked to Chrysler and the little remembered  Moss Edition VG Valiant of the early 1970s. 

From the mid 1980s Moss and wife Susie visited the Australian Grand Prix and was a regular at his beloved Goodwood behind the wheel of old GP or sportscars when well into his eighties, thrilling the crowd with his driving and his charm when out of the car at the annual Festival of Speed meeting.

That his autograph was as sought as current world F1 champs speaks volumes of the legend.

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