Sir Stirling Moss was and always will be one of motor racing's greatest drivers that ever lived, winning 212 of the 529 races he entered, and being inducted into the International Motorsport Hall of Fame, and winning runner up four times and third place three times during a seven year span 1955 and 1961, Stirling Moss was once described as "the greatest driver to win the world championship".
the legacy he had made and left behind, makes for a great bedtime story to share with future generations to come with a passion for automotive history.
but to understand Stirling better and how he came to be one of the all time great legends from yester-year that he is, you have to go back to the very beginning to where it began and that's exactly what were going to do, this is the story of Sir Stirling Moss.
Sir Stirling Crauford Moss was born on September 17, 1929 in West Kensingtin London, England as the son of Alfred Moss who was a dentist and a race car driver (which should sound familiar to racing historions out there, Dick Thompson anyone?), and Aileen.
Moss's last name was originally called Moses (his family is Jewish which is why their last name was Moses) but his grandfather decided to change their family name from Moses to Moss and that's how family name Moss came to be.
he was raised at Long White Cloud house located on the South Bank of the Thames River, his father, like I said, was an ameteur race car driver finishing in sixteenth position at the 1924 Indianapolis 500.
Aileen Moss Aileen Moss had also been involved in Motorsports as well, entering pre-war hillclimb races driving a sports car called the Singer Nine.
Stirling was a talented horse rider as well as his younger sister, Pat Moss, who became a successful rally car driver and married a Swedish rally car driver, Erik Carlsson.
Moss was also an educated at many different independent schools: Shrewsbury House School in Surbiton, Clewer Manor Junior School, and the linked senior school, Haileybury and Imperial Service College, located at Hertford Heath, near Hertford.
he didn't school (didn't most kids though?) and didn't attain a good academic performance.
At Haileybury, he was subjected to antisemitic bullying because of his Jewish roots, he concealed the bullying from his parents and used it as motivation to succeed.
soon Moss received his first car, an Austin 7, from his father at the age of nine (perhaps the youngest kid ever to get his first car) and drove it on the fields around Long White Cloud.
he purchased his own car at age fifteen after he obtained his driver's license.
when World War Two began, he was assigned to a two year mandatory National Service for teenage men, when the war ended, he was exempted from the service due to a medical condition he had called nephritis.
not long after the war's end, Stirling began persuing his driving career, from 1948 to 1962 Stirling competed in 529 races and winning 212 of them including sixteen Formula One grand prix races.
he competed in races in a single season and drove 84 different cars over the entire course of his career.
he preferred British cars, stating, "Better to lose honorably in a British car than win in a foreign one (though eventually he would wind up racing foreign cars).
at Vanwall, he was instrumental in breaking the German/Italian stranglehold on Formula One racing (as was Jack Brabham at Cooper).
he remained the English driver with the most F1 wins until 1991 when Nigel Mansell overtook him after competing in more races.
Moss began his career behind the wheel of his father's BMW 328 and DPX 653, he was one of the Cooper Car Company's first customers, using winnings from competing in horse races to pay the deposit on a Cooper 500 race car in 1948.
he then persuaded his father, who opposed his racing and wanted him to become a dentist like him, to let him buy it.
he soon demonstrated his driving talent with numerous wins at national and international levels, and continued to compete in Formula 3 with Coopers and Kiefts after had had progressed to to more senior categories.
his first major international race win came on the eve of his twenty first birthday behind the wheel of a borrowed Jaguar XK120 in the 1950 RAC Tourist Trophy at the Dundrod Circuit in Northern Ireland.
he went on to win the race six more times, in 1951 driving a Jaguar C-Type, 1955 in a Mercedes Benz 300SLR, 1958 and 59 in a Astin Martin DBR1, and 1960 and 61 driving a Ferrari 250 GT.
Enzo Ferrari the founder of the marque approached Stirling and offered him a Formula Two car to drive at the 1951 Bari Grand Prix before a full season in 1952, Moss and his father went to Puglia only to find out that the car would be driven by experienced driver Piero Taruffi and were incensed.
Stirling was not only a good grand prix river, he was also a very good rally driver too, he was one of three people to win a Coupe d'Or for three consecutive times all of them penalty free runs on the Alpine Rally, he finished second in the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally driving a Sunbeam-Talbot 90 with Desmond Scannell and Autocar Magazine editor John Cooper as his co-drivers.
in 1954, he became the first non-American driver to win the 12 hours of Sebring, sharing the Cunningham team's 1.5 liter O.S.C.A. MT4 with American driver Bill Loyd.
a year earlier in 1953, Mercedes Benz racing boss Alfred Neubauer had spoken to Stirling's manager, Ken Gregory, about the possibility of Stirling joining the Mercedes Grand Prix Team.
Having seen him do well in a relatively uncompetitive car, and wanting to see how he would perform in a better one, Neubauer suggested Moss buy a Maserati for the 1954 season.
He bought a Maserati 250F, and although the car's unreliability prevented his scoring high points in the 1954 Drivers' Championship he qualified alongside the Mercedes front runners several times and performed well in the races.
He achieved his first Formula One victory when he won the non-Championship Oulton Park International Gold Cup in the Maserati.
In the Italian Grand Prix at Monza he passed both drivers who were regarded as the best in Formula One at the time—Juan Manuel Fangio in a Mercedes and Alberto Ascari in a Ferrari—and took the lead.
Ascari retired with engine problems, and Moss led until lap 68 when his engine also failed, Fangio took the victory, and Moss pushed his Maserati to the finish line, Neubauer, already impressed when Moss had tested a Mercedes-Benz W196 at Hockenheim, promptly signed him for 1955.
1955 would be a good year for Stirling, he his first world championship victory in the British Grand Prix held at the Aintree Motor Circuit, he was also the first British driver to win that race, leading a 1-2-3-4 finish for Mercedes he was able to beat Juan Manuel Fangio for the first time, his teammate and rival but was also his friend and mentor.
it's been suggested that Fangio in good sport let Moss beat him to win in front of his home crowd, Stirling himself repeatedly asked Juan but he always answered "no, you were just better than me that day".
the same year, Stirling also won the RAC Tourist Trophy, the Targa Florio, and his most famous victory of his career as well as the most memorable, the Milli Miglia, let's talk about that race for a moment.
in April 30 through May 1, 1955, Stirling Moss entered the Mille Miglia, an endurance race that was held on nearly 1,000 miles of country roads going in a big circle in Italy, the route it ran on was mostly based on a roundtrip between Brescia and Rome with the start/finsh line being in Brescia.
teaming up with racing journalist Denis Jenkinson who wrote the pace notes for that race for Stirling, the two of them driving a Mercedes Benz 300 SLR would win the race, finishing it in ten hours, seven minutes, and forty eight seconds, becoming the only british duo to win the race, Doug Nye, a motoring journalist and author, described the victory as the "most iconic single day's drive in motor racing history.
Motor Trend headlined it as "The most epic drive ever".
before the race began, Stirling had taken a so called "magic pill" that was given to him by Fangio, and he has commented that although he didn't know what was in it?, dexedrine and benzedrine were commonly used in rallies.
the reason for these drugs was obvious, the goal for competing in this race was to stay awake much like a soldier standing guard and keeping watch.
after his win in the Mille Miglia he spent the night and the following day driving his girlfriend to Cologne, stopping for breakfast in Munich and lunch in Stuttgart.
continuing on now to the next period of his career (1956-1962), Stirling competed in the Nassau Cup and won in 1956, and later in 57 won the Bahamas Speedweek event, in that same year, he won a race on the longest circuit ever devised, the sixteen mile Pescara Circuit, where he again demonstrated his mastery of long distance racing, the event lasted three hours and he once again beat Fangio, who started from pole position by a over three minutes.
in 1958, Stirling's forward thinking attitude made waves in the racing world, he won the first race of the season in a rear engined Formula One race car, which became the common design by 1961.
at Monza that year, he raced in the "Elderado" Maserati, the first single seater car in Europe to be sponsored by a non racing brand "The Elderado Ice Cream Company", this was the first case in Europe of contemporary sponsorship, with the ice cream maker's colors replacing one's assigned by the FIA.
Stirling's sporting attitude cost him the 1958 F1 World Championship, when rival Mike Hawthorne was threatened with a penalty after the Portuguese Grand Prix, Stirling defended him, Hawthorne was accused of reversing on the track after spinning out and stalling his car on an uphill section.
Stirling had given advice to Mike to steer downhill against traffic to bump start the car.
Stirling's quick thinking and his defense of Mike Hawthorn before the stewards preserved Hawthorn's six points for finishing second behind Stirling.
Hawthorn went on to beat Stirling for the championship title by one point, even though he had won only one race that year to Stirling's four.
Stirling's loss in the championship could also be attributed to an error in communication between his pit crew and the driver at one race.
a point was given for the fastest lap in each race, and the crew signaled "hawt rec" meaning Mike Hawthorne had set a lap record, Stirling mistook this as "hawt reg" and thought Hawthorne was setting regular laps, so he didn't try to set a fast lap, the crew was supposed to signal the time of the lap, so Stirling would know what he had to beat.
Stirling was as gifted in sports car racing as he was in grand prix racing.
to his victories in the tourist trophy, he won the 12 hours of Sebring and the Mille Miglia as I mentioned earlier, and added three consecutive wins at a 1,000 kilometer race on the Nurburgring to his career from 1958 to 1960, the first wins at the ring done in an Astin Martin (a car he did most of his racing in) and won the third race on the ring in a Maserati "birdcage" Tipo 61, co driving with Dan Gurney.
the two of them lost time when oil hose blew off, but despite the wet weather, they made up for lost time and took first place.
in the 1960 Formula One season, Stirling Moss won the Monaco Grand Prix in Coventry-Climax powered Lotus-18 owned by Rob Walker (a private owner of his own F1 racing team called Rob Walker Racing Team).
seriously injured in an accident at the Burnenville Curve during practice for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, he missed the next three races but recovered sufficiently to win the final race of the season, the United States Grand Prix at Riverside, California.
for the 1961 F1 season under new 1.5 liter rules, Enzo Ferrari fielded the "sharknose" Ferrari 156 with an all new V6 engine, Stirling's Climax powered Lotus was underpowered compared to the V6 Ferrari, but he won the Monaco Grand Prix again that year, beating the Ferraris driven by Richie Ginther, Wolfgang Von Trips, and Phil Hill by 3.6 seconds and went to win the 1961 German Grand Prix, racing in partially wet rain conditions.
in 1962, he violently crashed his Lotus during the Glover Trophy at Goodwood held on April 23rd, the accident put him in a coma for a month, and for six months the left side of his body was partially paralysed.
he recovered, but retired from racing after a testing session in a Lotus-19 the following year when he lapped a few seconds slower than before.
he felt he had not regained his instinctive command of the car.
he had been runner up in the driver's championship four years in succession, from 1955 to 1958, and third in each of the next three years.
during his career, he set three different speed records, first in 1950 at the steeply banked oval track at the Autodrome De Montlhery near Paris, Moss and Leslie Johnson took turns at the wheel of a Jaguar XK120 to average 107.46 miles per hour for twenty four hours, including pit stops for fuel and fresh tires.
changing drivers every three hours, they covered a total distance of 2,579.16 miles, it was the first time a production car had averaged over one hundred miles per hour for a full twenty four hours.
his second speed record came in 1952, once again at Autodrome De Montlhery, Stirling was part of a four driver team led by Johnson who drove a factory owned Jaguar XK120 fixed head coupe for seven days and nights.
Moss, Johson, Bert Hadley, and Jack Fairmen average 100.31 miles per hour to take four world records and five international class c records and covered a total of 16,851,73 miles.
his final speed record came in August 1957 at the Bonneville Salt Flats, he drove a streamlined purposed built MG EX181, he broke five international class f records at a speed of 245.64 miles per hour in the flying kilometer.
during his time away from his driving career, he worked as a commentator for ABC's Wide World of Sports for Formula One and Nascar races.
he eventually left ABC in 1980.
Stirling narrated the official 1988 Formula One season review along with Tony Jardine.
Stirling also narrated a popular British children's series titled "Roary the Racing Car", starring English comedian and actor, Peter Kay.
Stirling had retired from racing in 1962, but during his off-time he made occasional one off appearences in motorsport events in the following two decades.
he also competed in the 1974 London-Sahara-Munich World Cup Rally in a Mercedes Benz but retired from the event in the Algerian Sahara.
he then competed in the 1976 Bathhurst 1,000 in a Holden Torana shared with Jack Brabham, but he was hit from behind on the grid and eventually retired from the event with engine failure.
Stirling who at the wheel of the Torana, the V8 engine let go and he was criticized by other drivers for staying on the racing line for over two-thirds of the 6.172 kilometer long circuit while returning to the pits as the car was leaking large amounts of oil onto the track.
he also shared a Volkswagon Golf GTI with Denny Hulme in the 1979 Benson & Hedges 500 at Pukekohe Park Raceway in New Zealand.
in 1980, he made a comeback to regular competition in the British Saloon Car Championship with the works backed GTI Engineering Audi team.
for the 1980 season, Stirling was the team's number two driver to team co-owner Richard Loyd.
for the 1981 season, Stirling stayed with Audi as the team moved to Tom Walkinshaw Racing management, driving alongside Martin Brundle.
throughout his retirement he raced in events made for historic race cars, driving on behalf of and at the invitation of others, as well as driving his own OSCA FS-372 and other race cars.
on June 9th, 2011 during qualifying for the LeMans Legends race, Stirling announced on Radio Le Mans that he had finally retired from racing, saying that he had scared himself that afternoon, he was 81 when he made the announcement.
in June 2016, Lister announced the build and sale of the Lister Knobbly Stirling Moss at the Royal Automobile Club in London.
the car is built to the exact specifications of the 1958 model and is the only magnesium bodied car in the world and would be the only car endorsed by Moss.
Brian Lister invited Stirling to drive for Lister on three separate occasions, at Goodwood in 1954, Silverstone in 1958, and at Sebring in 1959, and to celebrate these races, ten special edition lightweight Lister Knobbly cars were built.
the company announced that the cars will be available for both road and track use and Stirling would personally hand over each one.
in 1990, Stirling Moss was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
in the New Year Honors 2000 list, Stirling was made a knight Bachelor for services to motor racing.
on March 21st, 2000, he was knighted by Prince Charles, standing in for the Queen, who was on an official visit to Australia, he then later on received the 2005 Seagrave Trophy.
in 2006, Stirling was awarded the FIA gold medal in recognition of his outstanding contribution to motorsports.
in December 2008, McLaren-Mercedes unveiled their final model of the Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren, the model was named in honor of Stirling Moss, hence the name, Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss, which has a top speed of nearly 220 miles per hour (217 MPH to be exact) with wind deflectors instead of a windsheild.
in 2016, in an academic paper that reported a mathematical modelling study that assessed the relative influence of driver and machine, Stirling was ranked the 29th best Formula One driver of all time.
Sir Stirling Moss like many great drivers was even featured in biographies over the years, in 1957, Stirling published an autobiography called "In the track of speed", first published by Muller in London.
in 1963, Motorsport author and commentator Ken Purdy published a biographical book entitled "All but my life" about Stirling Moss (first published by William Kimber & Co, London), based on material gathered trough interviews with Stirling Moss.
in 2015, when he was 85, Stirling published a second autobiography entitled "My racing life", written with Motorsports writer Simon Taylor.
Sir Stirling Moss was a giant among legends in would become a permanent part of popular culture, during his driving career, Stirling was one of the most recognized celebrities in Britian, leading to many media appearances.
in March 1958, Stirling was a guest challenger on a tv panel show "What's my line?".
in 1959, he was the subject to a tv show "This is your life".
on June 12th, 1960, he was interviewed by John Freeman on "Face to face": Freeman later said that he had thought before the interview that Stirling Moss was a playboy, but in their meeting he showed "cold, precise, clinical judgement...a man who could live so close to the edge of danger and trust entirely to his own judgement, this appealed to me".
Stirling also appeared as himself in the 1964 movie "The Beauty Jungle" and was one of several celebrities with cameo appearances in a 1967 version of a James Bond movie "Casino Royale", he played Evelyn Tremble's driver.
For many years during and after his career, the rhetorical phrase "Who do you think you are, Stirling Moss?" was supposedly the standard question all British policemen asked speeding motorists.
Moss relates he himself was once stopped for speeding and asked just that; he reports the traffic officer had some difficulty believing him.
Moss was the subject of a cartoon biography in the magazine Private Eye that said he was interested in cars, women and sex, in that order.
the cartoon, drawn by Willie Rushton, showed him continually crashing, having his driver's licence revoked and finally "hosting television programs on subjects he knows nothing about".
It also made reference to the amnesia Moss suffered from as a result of head injuries sustained in the crash at Goodwood in 1962.
Although there were complaints to the magazine about the cartoons, Moss rang Private Eye to ask if he could use it as a Christmas card.
Although there were complaints to the magazine about the cartoons, Moss rang Private Eye to ask if he could use it as a Christmas card.
He was one of the few drivers of his era to create a brand from his name for licensing purposes, which was launched when his website was revamped in 2009 with improved content.
Moss was a Mercedes-Benz Brand Ambassador, having kept a close relationship with the brand, and remained an enthusiast and collector of the brand, which includes the Mercedes-Benz W113, Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss among others.
in his personal life, Sir Stirling Moss was married three times.
His first wife was Katie Molson; the heir to a Canadian brewing fortune.
They were married in 1957 and separated three years later. His second wife was the American public relations executive Elaine Barbarino, they were married in 1964 and divorced in 1968, their daughter Allison was born in 1967.
His third wife was Susie Paine, the daughter of an old friend, they were married from 1980 until his death in 2020, their son Elliot was born in 1980.
In April 1960, Moss was found guilty of dangerous driving, he was fined £50 and banned from driving for twelve months after an incident near Chetwynd, Shropshire, when he was test-driving a Mini.
Moss's 80th birthday, on 17 September 2009, fell on the eve of the Goodwood Revival and Lord March celebrated with an 80-car parade on each of the three days.
Moss drove a different car each day: a Mercedes-Benz W196 (an open-wheel variant), the Lotus 18 in which he had won the 1961 Monaco GP, and an Aston Martin DBR3.
On 7 March 2010, Moss broke both ankles and four bones in a foot, and also chipped four vertebrae and suffered skin lesions, when he fell down a lift shaft at his home.
In December 2016, he was admitted to hospital in Singapore with a serious chest infection, as a result of this illness and a subsequent lengthy recovery period, Moss announced his retirement from public life in January 2018.
tragically, on April 12 Easter Sunday, 2020, Sir Stirling Moss passed away in his home in Mayfair, London, England, he was ninety years old when he died after losing a long battle to an illness.
Sir Stirling Moss in my opinion was a giant among motor racing legends, and as far as I know?, he was the only driver that kept on racing even in his old age before eventually throwing in the towel in 2011, and I've seen him drive, watching youtube videos of him from recent years driving in vintage race car events and festivals and he still drove as good as he did back in his youth, he's earned my respect and surely enough the respect of any driver out there including Lewis Hamilton whom recently took a drive with Stirling a couple of years ago, driving one of of Stirling's old Mercedes race cars and you can see this in the link in the description below.
and there's even a special documentary produced by renowned actor Patrick Stewart who believe it or not is also racing driver as well but as an ameture driver not pro, and he does a fantastic live cinematic talking piece about Sir Stirling Moss where's he's interviewing him and going for rides with him in of his cars drove in his lifetime and his career, it's really cool to watch and I highly recommend watching it too and you could it also in the link in the description below as well.
and this pretty much wraps up my tribute review on Sir Stirling Moss, I hope you all enjoyed this review, this was my way of paying tribute to a great man who will surely be missed.
rest in Peace Mr. Moss we will all forever miss you, and as for my viewers reading this, I'll see you all on the next AutoSkunk review. :3