Sir Stirling Moss OBE is arguably the greatest all-round racing driver of all time and a true icon of the motor racing world. Known during his career as ‘Mr. Motor Racing’ he became a professional driver in 1948, at the age of 18, racing a Cooper 500.
His early career was meteoric, with works drives for both Jaguar and HWM. 1955 was a seminal year; he was signed by Mercedes-Benz, the famed “Silver Arrows”, to partner the legendary World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio. That year saw Stirling shadow the great Argentine in most Grand Prix, famously beating him to win the British Grand Prix at Aintree racing the Mercedes-Benz W196 Monoposto. In that same year, he also won the epic 1,000 mile Mille Miglia road race in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, at an astonishing average speed of 97.9mph on public roads, the Targa Florio road race, again in the 300 SLR, and the Tourist Trophy at Goodwood.
“In 1955 he was signed up by Mercedes-Benz to partner World Champion Fangio…”
For four years he would finish runner-up in the Formula 1 Drivers World Championship, his sportsmanship at the Portuguese GP allowing Mike Hawthorn to win the 1958 Championship title by half a point at his expense.
After Mercedes-Benz retired from motor racing following the 1955 Le Mans tragedy, Stirling led the Maserati and Vanwall teams. He raced more than 80 different types of car, across all classes of motor sport, during his remarkable career.
In the late 1950′s and early 1960′s, he led the changeover to rear engine Formula 1 cars with the Cooper-Climax, achieving the first victory for such a car at the 1958 Argentine Grand Prix and was in a class of his own during this period. His victory in the 1961 Monaco Grand Prix, racing a Lotus 18 against the more powerful Ferrari’s, his third Formula 1 victory around Principality, is still regarded as one of the best Formula 1 races ever. Out of the 529 competitive races (585 in total including rallies, hill climbs, speed record attempts etc) he entered during his professional racing career, he won an astonishing 212. A near-fatal accident at Goodwood in 1962 ended it all.
Once the decision to retire from competitive motoring racing was made Stirling expanded his commercial interests with the same vigor that he employed when racing, chief amongst these being his property business, which he runs to this day with his family. He also designed his home in Mayfair which incorporated home comforts and gadgets which were ahead of their time in the 1960′s, including an automated system for running a bath at a pre-set temperature, which could be triggered by pushing a button on one of many control panels located around the house. Stirling is well known for his love of design and the latest gadget. In 2009 the Stirling Moss brand was created, see above, which has led to to the brand being licensed.
One of the original jet-setters, he remains in huge demand around the world to this day, fulfilling engagements and competing in historic racing – a true British legend.