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Sir Stirling Moss (1929-2020)
I was thrilled to meet the legendary racing driver Sir Stirling Moss at the Autographica event held in Birmingham in September 2009, just 5 days before his 80th birthday!
He was very easy to chat to, and he told me about his house with all its remote-contolled gadgets!
In the 1950s, he was one of the world's most famous sportsmen.
Stirling Craufurd Moss was born in Kensington, London in 1929. His mother Aileen was brought up in Scotland which is why they decided to give him a Scottish christian name. Craufurd was his mother's maiden name. He has a younger sister Pat. His father Alfred Moss, a dentist by profession, race
Sir Stirling Moss signing a photo for me
Aileen Moss in 1937
raced at Brooklands and his mother competed in rallies, so car racing was in the family. Stirling's father bought him an old Austin Seven when he was nine, and the
the boy would drive it in fields near their home. The Moss family was also involved with horses and both Stirling and Pat took part in various horse show competitions.
Stirling Moss aged 14
Moss in his Cooper MkII in 1948
Moss was a weekly boarder at Clewer Manor junior
school, near Hertford, from the age of six to 13, from where he moved to the nearby Haileybury and Imperial Service College. It was expected
expected that Stirling would eventually take over his father's dental practice, but his poor record at school made that impossible.
With his passionate interest in cars, seventeen year old Stirling was soon competing in local speed trials using his father's BMW sports car. His first proper race
race car was a Cooper 500 which he used in local hillclimb competitions. Moss bought this £600 car after selling most of his possessions and persuading his parents to make up the difference on his eighteenth birthday. This would be the beginning of a long ass
Alfred Moss with Stirling in 1948
association which saw him driving Coopers on and off for much of his career.
Moss also got his first works team drive for HWM (Hersham & Walton Motors), who owned three four-cylinder
Moss began to notch up Formula Three wins, and in 1950 he successfully moved up to Formula Two, competing in many races and winning the Tourist Trophy.
Formula Two cars. Reliability wasn't all it could have been, but Stir
Stirling Moss learnt many valuable lessons that would later help his rise to stardom. He also tried rallying, finishing second in the Monte Carlo Rally on his first attempt. His sister Pat also took part in this race on several occasions.
Moss racing a C-type Jaguar in1953
Stirling Moss driving a Formula 2 car for the
Stirling Moss in his Cooper MkII in 1949
Stirling Moss with his sister Pat in 1955
By 1953, he was driving in Formula One races and two years later, in 1955 was signed up to drive for Mercedes, and won his first British Grand Prix at Aintree. In 1956, driving a Maserati, he won two more.
HMW works team in 1953
Moss racing a Maserati 250f in 1956
In the Formula One Drivers World Championship he was not so successful, finishing second four times in a row from 1955 to 1958. In 1958 he sportingly allowed Mike Hawthorn to win the title by half a point at his expense. Officials wanted Hawthorn was disqualified for
Moss racing a Vanwall in the
Italian Grand Prix 1957
for restarting in the wrong place after spinning his car, but Moss saw the incident and spoke up for Hawthorn who was eventually given the race.
One of his most famous drives was in the 1955 Mille Miglia, the Italian 1500 km endurance race on ordinary Italian roads. Racing at speeds of up to 180 mph, Moss and his co-driver Denis Jenkinson won in a record time of 10 hours and 8 minutes, ahead of second placed Juan Manuel Fangio. Stirling Moss was the first British driver to win this event.
Stirling Moss after winning the
Mille Miglia in 1955
(above & left) Moss & Jenkinson in their
Mercedes which won the 1955 Mille Miglia
Of all the races, Moss regards the Monaco Grand Prix as his favourite because of its atmosphere. He won this race three times, in 1956, 1960 and 1961. Also during this period, he won the gruelling 1000km sports car race at Germany's Nurburgring for three consecutive years from 1958-60.
Stirling Moss racing his Maserati 250F to win
Stirling Moss racing his Aston Martin DBR1
at the Nurburgring in 1958
In 1962, whilst driving a Lotus in a race at Goodwood, Moss was badly injured in a horrific and still unexplained crash which left him in a coma. He recovered, attemped a comeback, but retired because he no longer felt fit enough for Grand Prix racing. In total, throughout his career, he had taken part in 585 races using more than 86 different cars includ
the Monaco Grand Prix in 1956
Stirling Moss racing his Ferguson P99 to win
the Oulton Park cup in 1961
Stirling Moss after a Grand Prix
win in 1958
including a Ferguson P99 in which he won the Oulton Park Cup in 1961. This is the only time that a four-wheel drive car has ever won a Formula One race!
Fiercely patriotic, Sir Stirling preferred driving cars made in his own country. He once said it was “better to lose honourably in a British car than win in a foreign one”. He is often referred to as 'the greatest racing driver never to wi
For many years now, British policemen, when stopping speeding motorists, have asked, "who do you think you are, Stirling Moss?" Moss tells how he himself was once stopped for speeding and asked that question. Apparently the traffic officer had difficulty believing him!
win the World Championship'.
Tee shirt slogan!
Stirling Moss with his scooter
Nowadays, Stirling Moss drives a small scooter and a Smart car! Moss owns the registration numbers SM7 and 7SM as the number seven has always featured very highly in his life and he regards it as his lucky number. He often had a horseshoe with seven holes painted on the side of his cars, along with the race number seven. “I took it from my mother, she thought seven was lucky too and always liked to have the number on her personal plates.
Sir Stirling & Lady Susie Moss
There are a number of books about Sir Stirling Moss, many of which he has himself written or co-authored. He himself has put together a number of 'Scrapbooks' using many of the newspaper articles, photographs, and reports that he has collected throughout his career.
The Stirling Moss Scrapbooks
A biography by Robert Raymond was produced as early as 1953, whilst another by Edmund Burke appeared in1962. Robert
Caricature of Stirling Moss from
80 Cars for 80 Years
Stirling Moss is married to Susie, his third wife, who he has known since the early 1950s when she was just five years old. They married in 1980 and have a daughter Allison and a son Elliot who is a cordon bleu chef. His first marriage was brief ("I wasn't ready for it - right person, wrong time"), his second marriage was a mistake, ("she was a swinger and I wasn't, we had nothing in common").
Edwards' Stirling Moss: The Authorised Biography was published in 2002 and remains the most authorative book about the racing driver.
2009 saw the publication of All My Races another book to celebrate his 80th. Birthday. In it, Moss com
comments on every race he took part in from Grand Prix to rally and saloon cars to sports cars even including his hill trials. All his results, good or bad, are described, even giving details about the causes of his retirements. The book is full of terrific photos, many in colour.
All My Races
80 Cars for 80 Years
Moss driving his Lotus 18 at Goodwood
Stirling Moss has signed this photo for me. It shows him in his Maserati
including the Lotus 18 in which he won the Monaco Grand Prix in 1961. During the 2005 Goodwood Revival event, Moss signed the bonnet of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR in which he won the 1955 Mille Miglia. This car is now in the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart.
before the 1954 Belgian Grand Prix in which he finished third
Moss was awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire) in 1959 and a Knighthood in the 2000 Honours List for his services to motor-racing. As Moss drove away afterwards, he was stopped by a Buckingham Palace guard who joked: "Who do you thing you are - Stirling Moss?" Moss smiled and replied, "Sir Stirling Moss, actually."
Moss driving his Mille Miglia-winning Mercedes
at the Goodwood Revival event in 2005
One of the original jet-setters, he remains in huge demand around the world to this day, fulfilling engagements and competing in historic racing events.
Sir Stirling Moss
Sir Stirling Moss lives in London's Mayfair, in a high-tech house that he had built to his own design in 1962. Sir Stirling told me that he is no computer expert but his house is almost all computer controlled, with everything operating at
at the touch of a button! To see a video of his amazing house, click here.
My autograph from Sir Stirling Moss
To mark his 80th birthday, Goodwood tracked down 80 cars that Moss had raced, and displayed them at the Revival event they staged for him in September 2009. Peter Russell's book 80 Cars for 80 Years was pub
published as a record of those 80 cars, with a short description of each of them, and the part they played in his racing career. The Goodwood Revival is a three-day festival held every September for the types of cars that would have competed during
during the circuit's original period between 1948 and 1966. Stirling Moss has driven some famous cars for these events
The Authorised Biography
Sir Stirling Moss died on 12th April 2020.