|Occupation:||Race Car Driver|
|Birth Day:||September 17, 1929|
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He was educated at Shrewsbury House School and was an accomplished horse rider.
Moss began his career at the wheel of his father Alfred's 328 BMW, DPX 653. Moss was one of the Cooper Car Company's first customers, using winnings from competing in horse-riding events to pay the deposit on a Cooper 500 racing car in 1948. He then persuaded his father, who opposed his racing and wanted him to be a dentist, to let him buy it. He soon demonstrated his ability with numerous wins at national and international levels, and continued to compete in Formula Three, with Coopers and Kiefts, after he had progressed to more senior categories.
His first major international race victory came on the eve of his 21st birthday at the wheel of a borrowed Jaguar XK120 in the 1950 RAC Tourist Trophy on the Dundrod circuit in Northern Ireland. He went on to win the race six more times, in 1951 (Jaguar C-Type), 1955 (Mercedes-Benz 300SLR), 1958 and 1959 (Aston Martin DBR1), and 1960 and 1961 (Ferrari 250 GT). Enzo Ferrari, the founder of Ferrari, approached Moss 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 Apulia only to find out that the Ferrari car was to be driven by experienced driver Piero Taruffi and were incensed.
Also a competent rally driver, Moss was one of three people to have won a Coupe d'Or (Gold Cup) for three consecutive penalty-free runs on the Alpine Rally (Coupe des Alpes). He finished second in the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally driving a Sunbeam-Talbot 90 with Desmond Scannell and Autocar magazine editor John Cooper as co-drivers.
In 1953 Mercedes-Benz racing boss Alfred Neubauer had spoken to Moss's manager, Ken Gregory, about the possibility of Moss's 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 1954, he became the first non-American to win the 12 Hours of Sebring, sharing the Cunningham team's 1.5-liter O.S.C.A. MT4 with American Bill Lloyd.
Moss's first World Championship victory was in the 1955 British Grand Prix at Aintree, a race he was also the first British driver to win. Leading a 1–2–3–4 finish for Mercedes, it was the first time he beat Fangio, his teammate and arch rival, who was also his friend and mentor. It has been suggested that Fangio sportingly allowed Moss to win in front of his home crowd. Moss himself asked Fangio repeatedly, and Fangio always replied: "No. You were just better than me that day." The same year, Moss also won the RAC Tourist Trophy, the Targa Florio (sharing the drive with Peter Collins) and the Mille Miglia.
In 1955 Moss won Italy's thousand-mile Mille Miglia road race, an achievement Doug Nye described as the "most iconic single day's drive in motor racing history." He was paired with motor racing journalist Denis Jenkinson, who prepared pace note for Moss, and the two completed the race in ten hours and seven minutes. Motor Trend headlined it as "The Most Epic Drive. Ever." Before the race, he had taken a "magic pill" given to him by Fangio, and he has commented that although he did not know what was in it, "Dexedrine and Benzedrine were commonly used in rallies. The object was simply to keep awake, like wartime bomber crews." After the win, he spent the night and the following day driving his girlfriend to Cologne, stopping for breakfast in Munich and lunch in Stuttgart.
Moss won the Nassau Cup at the 1956 and 1957 Bahamas Speed Week. Also in 1957 he won on the longest circuit ever to hold a World Championship Grand Prix, the 25 km (16 mi) Pescara Circuit, where he again demonstrated his mastery of long-distance racing. The event lasted three hours and Moss beat Fangio, who started from pole position, by a little over 3 minutes.
In 1957, Moss published an autobiography called In the Track Of Speed, first published by Muller, London. In 1963, motorsport author and commentator Ken Purdy published a biographical book entitled All But My Life about Moss (first published by William Kimber & Co, London), based on material gathered through interviews with Moss. In 2015, when he was aged 85, Moss published a second autobiography, entitled My Racing Life, written with motor sports writer Simon Taylor.
Moss was married three times. His first wife was Katie Molson; an heir to the Canadian brewer Molson. 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 1958, Moss's forward-thinking attitude made waves in the racing world. Moss won the first race of the season in a rear-engined F1 car, which became the common design by 1961. At Monza that year, he raced in the "Eldorado" Maserati in the Race of Two Worlds, the first single-seater car in Europe to be sponsored by a non-racing brand—the Eldorado Ice Cream Company. This was the first case in Europe of contemporary sponsorship, with the ice cream maker's colors replacing the ones assigned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).
During his driving career, Moss was one of the most recognised celebrities in Britain, leading to many media appearances. In March 1958, Moss was a guest challenger on the TV panel show What's My Line? (episode with Anita Ekberg). In 1959 he was the subject of the TV programme This Is Your Life. On 12 June the following year he was interviewed by John Freeman on Face to Face; Freeman later said that he had thought before the interview that 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 death and danger, and trust entirely to his own judgement. This appealed to me". Moss also appeared as himself in the 1964 film The Beauty Jungle, and was one of several celebrities with cameo appearances in the 1967 version of the James Bond film Casino Royale. He played Evelyn Tremble's (Peter Sellers) driver.
In the 1960 Formula One season, Moss won the Monaco Grand Prix in Rob Walker's Coventry-Climax-powered Lotus 18. 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 one of the season, the United States Grand Prix at Riverside, California.
In April 1960, Moss was found guilty of dangerous driving. He was fined £50 and banned from driving for one year after an incident near Chetwynd, Shropshire, when he was test-driving a Mini.
For the 1961 Formula One season, run under new 1.5-litre rules, Enzo Ferrari fielded the "sharknose" Ferrari 156 with an all-new V6 engine. Moss's Climax-engined Lotus was comparatively underpowered, but he won the 1961 Monaco Grand Prix by 3.6 seconds, beating the Ferraris of Richie Ginther, Wolfgang von Trips, and Phil Hill, and went on to win the partially wet 1961 German Grand Prix.
In 1962, he crashed his Lotus heavily during the Glover Trophy at Goodwood held on Monday 23 April. 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 professional racing after a private test session in a Lotus 19 the following year, when he lapped a few tenths of a second slower than before. He felt he had not regained his previously instinctive command of the car. He had been runner-up in the Drivers' Championship four years in succession, from 1955 to 1958, and third in each of the next three years.
Away from driving, in 1962 he acted as a colour commentator for ABC's Wide World of Sports for Formula One and NASCAR races. He eventually left ABC in 1980. Moss narrated the official 1988 Formula One season review along with Tony Jardine.
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 driving licence revoked and finally "hosting television programmes 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 ostensibly retired from racing since 1962, Moss did make a number of one-off appearances in professional 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. The Holden Torana he shared with Jack Brabham in the 1976 Bathurst 1000 was hit from behind on the grid and eventually retired with engine failure. Moss, at the wheel of the Torana when the V8 engine let go, was criticised by other drivers for staying on the racing line for over ⅔ of the 6.172 km long circuit while returning to the pits as the car was dropping large amounts of oil onto the road. He also shared a Volkswagen 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 Moss was the team's number two driver to team co-owner Richard Lloyd. For the 1981 season Moss stayed with Audi, as the team moved to Tom Walkinshaw Racing management, driving alongside Martin Brundle.
In 1990, Moss was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
In the New Year Honours 2000 List, Moss was made a Knight Bachelor for services to motor racing. On 21 March 2000, he was knighted by Prince Charles, standing in for the Queen, who was on an official visit to Australia.
Throughout his retirement he raced in events for historic cars, driving on behalf of and at the invitation of others, as well as campaigning his own OSCA FS 372 and other vehicles. In 2004, as part of its promotion for the new SLR, Mercedes-Benz reunited Moss with the 300 SLR "No. 722" in which he won the Mille Miglia nearly 50 years earlier. One reporter who rode with Moss that day noted that the 75-year-old driver was "so good . . . that even old and crippled [he was] still better than nearly everyone else". On 9 June 2011 during qualifying for the Le Mans Legends race, Moss announced on Radio Le Mans that he had finally retired from racing, saying that he had scared himself that afternoon. He was 81.
In 2006, Moss was awarded the FIA gold medal in recognition of his outstanding contribution to motorsport.
In December 2008, McLaren-Mercedes unveiled their final model of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. The model was named in honour of Moss, hence, Mercedes McLaren SLR Stirling Moss, which has a top speed of 217 mph (349 km/h) with wind deflectors instead of a windscreen.
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. In 2004, Moss was a supporter of the UK Independence Party.
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 DBR1.
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 plunged 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.
Lister Cars announced the building for sale of the Lister Knobbly Stirling Moss at the Royal Automobile Club in London in June 2016. The car is built to the exact specification of the 1958 model, is the only magnesium-bodied car in the world, and is the only car that was ever endorsed by Moss. Brian Lister invited Moss 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, 10 special edition lightweight Lister Knobbly cars are being built. The company announced that the cars will be available for both road and race use, and Moss would personally be handing over each car.
In 2016, in an academic paper that reported a mathematical modelling study that assessed the relative influence of driver and machine, Moss was ranked the 29th best Formula One driver of all time.
Moss died at his home in Mayfair, London, on 12 April 2020, aged 90, after a long illness.
Currently, Stirling Moss is 93 years, 8 months and 22 days old. Stirling Moss will celebrate 94th birthday on a Sunday 17th of September 2023.
Find out about Stirling Moss birthday activities in timeline view here.