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Reincarnation Magazine
Continuation, Reproduction and Replica Automobiles
Rein Car Nation Cover Spring 2020
						Stirling Moss
Remembering Sir Stirling Moss

Legend driver Stirling Moss passes away at age 90

"Better to lose honorably in a British car than win in a foreign one." — Stirling Moss

Being a great driver alone does not make for a legend. Sir Stirling Craufurd Moss is proof of that. Called “the greatest driver to never win the World Championship,” Moss is remembered for the immense strength of character he possessed, in addition to his memorable performances on race tracks all over the world.

Moss had a somewhat ordinary upbringing in London as the son of a dentist, except for one thing — motorsport. His father Alfred Moss had been an amateur race car driver who placed 16th in the 1924 Indianapolis 500 in a Fronty Ford (Frontenac OHV-converted Ford). His mother Aileen had competed in hillclimb races in a Singer Nine, and his sister would eventually become a successful rally driver as well. Stirling showed great promise as a young boy, but he also had a stubborn streak and did not perform well in school. Receiving his first car at age nine, an Austin 7, Moss learned the pleasures of driving in the local farm fields.

Stirling Moss2

Moss’s competition career picked up in the late 1940s, starting off in his father’s BMW 328 and eventually moving onto a Cooper 500 that he purchased. He proved successful in these early years, and got his first international win in a Jaguar XK120 in the 1950 RAC Tourist Trophy in Ireland. Success continued through the early 1950s in sportscar and rally racing, and Moss became the first non-American to win the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1954 with American Bill Lloyd.

By 1955, Moss had arrived so to speak, proving himself in spirited performances alongside the best of the day, including Juan Manuel Fangio and Alberto Ascari. Most notably, Moss beat Fangio in the 1955 British Grand Prix while driving for Mercedes. Moss would also take the RAC Tourist Trophy and the thousand-mile Mille Miglia that same year. The Nassau Cup, the World Championship Grand Prix at the Pescara Circuit and F1 victories followed.

A notable moment highlighting Moss’s character took place in 1958 at the Portuguese Grand Prix. Moss testified in favor of his opponent, Mike Hawthorn, who had been accused of reversing on the track after stalling his car on an uphill section. Moss shouted to Hawthorn to turn the car downhill, where he could get rolling and bump start the engine. Moss won the race, with Hawthorn behind him, and Moss’s defense of Hawthorn preserved the points he accumulated with the finish. At the end of the season, Hawthorn finished one point ahead of Moss, securing the Formula One World Championship.

Through the late ’50s and early ’60s, Moss continued to accumulate Grand Prix and trophy race victories, often racing for Aston Martin and Lotus. Even with a comparatively underpowered Climax-powered Lotus, Moss was able to defeat the quick Ferraris of Richie Ginther, Wolfgang von Trips and Phil Hill to win the 1961 Monaco Grand Prix.

Unfortunately, the end of Moss’s competitive career came in 1962 at the Glover Trophy event at Goodwood. While making a pass, Moss’s Lotus veered into an 8-foot bank, breaking his left arm, leg and shattering parts of his skull. It took an hour and a half to get him out of the wreckage, and Moss spent 38 days in a coma and was paralyzed on one side of his body for six months. While he was back in a car the next year, Moss felt that he hadn’t quite regained the instinctive control over the car he once had.

In the following years, Moss made appearances at various races, acted as a racing commentator for ABC and published an autobiography titled In The Track Of Speed. Moss was inducted in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1990 and knighted by Prince Charles in 2000.

Sir Stirling Moss died in his home in London on April 12, 2020. Moss was 90 years old and had been ill for some time.

Photos:

By Iain A Wanless, Stirling Moss, CC BY 2.0, https://www.flickr.com/photos/reemul/14537930075/in/photostream/

By Spurzem, Stirling Moss at the European GP at the 1961 Nürburgring, CC BY 3.0, https://hu.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/F%C3%A1jl:MossLotusClimax19610806.jpg

By jeremyparr, cropped and altered by uploader Mr.choppers - DSC_9467, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/...

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