Sir Patrick Head, the legendary engineer and co-founder of Williams Grand Prix, once rather acerbically stated of Jacques Villeneuve that the 1997 World Champion “made rather heavy weather of winning” his title. In contrast, it could be said of Sir Stirling Moss that he created clear skies where storms were expected. He was a master of the luminous drive in a dull-witted car, a classic sportsman who lost a World Championship because he disapproved of a penalty which would have handed him the laurels, a pitiless self-assessor who retired from racing not because he was no longer good enough to race but simply because he was no longer as good as he had once been. Read the full article on Hagerty.com:
I read a rumor somewhere that Stirling had a reputation of being good in the wet. That during one race, he purposely appeared to have difficulty with car control in a wet race. Those following, seeing Moss have so much trouble slowed down because if Stirling is having such difficulty, the track must be really slick.
My first sports car was of course, British, a 1961 Austin-Healey 3000. When I drove it, especially on beautiful long winding roads I thought of myself as of course, Stirling Moss. RIP, Sir!
Striling Moss and Jimmy Clark - the best there ever were. They both raced in an era when cars were dumb and drivers smart, when the only sensor the car had was the driver, when a driver could tell if one tire had 2 psi less pressure than the others. And both sportsmen of the highest degree.
I talked to Sir Stirling once. 40 years ago I was living in the SF Bay Area and crewed for a guy who owned a Lotus 23b. He entered the car in the vintage race supporting the F1 race in Dallas, where I grew up. Our paddock was in one of the old barns used for livestock during the annual State Fair of Texas. Stirling, not yet knighted, was driving a car entered in our race, don't remember what make. He and his mechanic toiled on the car pitted near us. Don't remember what we talked about but he was very friendly. There were two Ferrari Daytonas, now worth huge bucks, running in the vintage event. I think one of them crashed. In the F1 race Nigel Mansell tried to push his Lotus across the finish line. My wife and I had seats in a grandstand just past the finish. We saw Mansell's struggle and I remember how the Dallas ladies around us were in their Sunday best, hair and makeup and all in spite of the unrelenting heat. Reminds me of the old saying: horses sweat, men perspire and ladies glow. Paul Haney
When I was in fourth grade at St. Augustine grade school in Kalamazoo, MI, during a "career day" event in which we were instructed to dress up as a profession we planned to pursue, I donned a pair of goggles and a sporty cap and told classmates I planned to drive race cars. Never happened, but as I aged I came to revere the name Stirling Moss and, in my moments of Walter Mittyisms allowed Ir Stirling to pursue my career for me. I am somewhat distraught at learning of his passing. Hopefully the pearly gates have opened wide enough to allow him to drive right through in the car of his choice. Thank you, Mr. Moss, for the career. Tom Stersic