Sir Stirling Moss

Born  : September 17 1929
Deceased : April 12 2020

Biography Sir Stirling Moss

Stirling Moss was born in what can be considered a motorsports family. His father Alfred Moss raced at Brooklands and when his studies took him to America he raced at Indianapolis. His mother competed in various trials and rallies. Only 9 year old his father bought him an old Austin Seven. At the age of 17 Stirling Moss went into the hotel business and was trained as a waiter first, later as a porter, a function he really didn’t seem to be qualified for.

Stirling Moss maintained his interest in cars and was soon driving on the open road, when of legal age, in a three wheeled Morgan. His next car was a MG and after seeing an advertisement for a racing car with an Aspen engine he promptly ordered one for 50 British Pounds. However, the order was canceled when Stirling Moss’ father found out. Instead, Stirling could convince his father to borrow him his brandnew BMW to compete in local speed trials. His first proper race car was a Cooper 500 which he used to compete in local hillclimbs. This car and its descendants formed the breeding grounds of future champions.

Sir Stirling Moss, Wolfgang von Trips and Joakim Bonnier

Early professional career.

In 1950 Moss got his first works team drive for HWM.  At the Monza Autodrome GP he was involved in a terrific dice with the veteran Ferrari driver Villoresi who later congratulated the young StirlingMoss on his driving skills. His record with HWM was uneven to say the least with the cars breaking down more often then not but Moss would remember this period as a great learning experience. During this time he also raced other cars including the Jaguar C-Type in which he won the sports car race leading up to the French Grand Prix. This would be the first win for a car using disk brakes.

His relationship with Ferrari

In 1951 he was contracted to race for Ferrari at selected events but when practice began for the first race at Bari he was told unceremoniously that the car he supposed was his had been given to Taruffi.  Deeply embarrassed he vowed to exact his revenge against the red cars. In 1955 driving for Mercedes alongside Juan Fangio, he tasted his first victory at Aintree. In 1956 Stirling Moss drove a Maserati and won twice more. The following year although again pursued by Ferrari he chose to drive for the British Vandervell team. This decision to drive for British teams whenever possible may have cost him future World Championships.

1961 Targa Florio – Stirling Moss – Porsche 718 RS61

Crash at Goodwood

In 1962 a terrible accident at Goodwood would eventually force his retirement. To say that his career was in any way a failure is not to know of the achievements that were made in his name in such legendary races as the Targa Florio, Pescara and the Mille Miglia . At home in any type of car he partnered with journalist Denis Jenkinson to win the historic Mille Miglia in 1955, the first foreigners since Caracciola and the only Britons to ever do so.

At the 24 Hours of Le Mans he was partnered with Fangio in the lead Mercedes, Neubauer rightly believing that if they were to race in separate cars they would race each other to the possible determent of finish the endurance race. While leading the race they had to withdraw with the rest of the team after tragedy struck and 78 spectators lay dead.

After his active race career

Stirling Moss at the 2016 Classic Days Schloss Dyck in Germany (c) Wilfried Geerts

Stirling Moss was considered by many as being the first modern professional driver who raced for the love of the sport but also was intent on earning a sizable income. Staying in top physical shape he would travel all over the world to race.
He was not above haggling for more appearance money and between races he would work at his home office dealing with correspondence, managing endorsements or recording his thoughts for his latest book.

Stirling Moss had begun writing books about the sport and would later comment that when he would race in a particular country the sales of his book there would increase. This would help to increase his fame and conversely the amount of money he could require in exchange for his appearance. He courted endorsements as no other driver of his day and was sometimes ridiculed for this when in truth he was just ahead of his time. In the end he was a racer who enjoyed driving all sorts of cars and raced only to win.