On September 17th Sir Stirling Moss celebrated his 90th birthday.
Born in 1929 Stirling drove everything: Cooper-JAP, HMW, Jaguar, Austin Healey, ERA, Cooper-Alta, Connaught, Ferguson, MG, Maserati, Mercedes, Ferrari, Porsche, Cooper-Climax,Vanwall, Aston Martin and Lotus.
He was the only one who was able to challenge Fangio in a racecar. He was a phenomenon when it came to car control and braking technique. His strength was incredible, he always drove for a victory. He was vice-world champion in 1955, 56 57 and 58 but never became world champion. He started 68 times in Formula I and had 16 poles.
Between 1948 and 1962 he drove 466 races of which he won 194. Stirling was the most universal and best racer of all times and he was the only pro with manager and private jet. During his career he had several severe accidents. Almost all of these caused by material failure like blocked brakes, failing steering mechanism, stuck gas pedal. In 1962 a horrible accident in Goodwood ended his career. The insurance paid a high amount.
A year later he wanted to find out if he could still drive a racecar like before. But after the testdrive he knew: No, I end my career. Lateron he said: “This test came too soon; I should have waited…!” In 1980 he tried a racing comeback in the British touring car championship on Audi. “That was a mistake!” Stirling said lateron. Hi talent was – astonishingly - not made for slicks and front-wheel drive.
He invested in real estate and once he revealed in an interview: “I bought the building land for my house in London for 5000 Pounds. Today it is worth more than 10 million…!”
On June 9th 2011 he drove a legends race in Le Mans with his Porsche 550 Spyder. After only a few laps he stopped. “I was horrified!” where his words. Sir Stirling had reached his best before date.
But not even his accidents in his house in London – also a technical failure: the elevator was stuck in the 4th floor, the door on the 3rd floor opened, he stepped in and fell all the way down in the basement – could stop him from sticking to his enormous schedule. His wife Susie said: “Stirling is tough like old leather…” In his heydays his starting fee were 1000 Pounds but also in his function as an ambassador the brand “Sir Stirling Moss” had its price. Today’s Formula I has become “too safe” for him. “Danger is a part of racing, the challenge to drive within the realms of possibility without dying. In my times a mistake was deadly!”
In autumn 2017 he was infected with a virus in Singapore from which be was never able to recover. He became a nursing case. Always at his side his wife Susie. She is 21 years younger and his third wife. Together they have their son Elliot who was born in 1980. Susie was the leading figure of his life. She travelled together with him, she cooked, she coordinated his schedule, managed his contracts and has been his navigator at the Ennstal-Classic for so many years.
Throughout his life Sir Stirling became every award you can think of – from the Henry Segrave Trophy tot he FIA gold medal!
Happy Birthday Stirling!
Picture 1: Susie und Stirling Moss
Picture 2: Johnson Brian und Stirling Moss
Picture 3: Nigel Mansell und Stirling Moss