Sir Stirling Moss at the Goodwood festival of Speed, 2016
Sir Stirling Moss at the Goodwood festival of Speed, 2016

三级成人视频Sir Stirling Moss, who has died after a long illness aged 90, was the most important British racing driver of his generation and arguably of the entire history of the post-war sport. He became a benchmark against which all others were measured, either by themselves, or by the public. “As a racer one should go for it, as fast as possible,” was his credo.

In his 14-year competition career, he entered 530 races of all types and won 212 of them. This tally does not include hill-climbs, rallies, speed records or speed trials, at which he was also prolific and successful. Over his career, Moss drove in all classes of competition event, with the exception of Indianapolis.

Because he was often forced to retire, he generated a reputation as something of a car-breaker, but there is little evidence of this in fact, as for much of his career he often preferred to drive for independent, non-factory teams, few of which were as well-funded or as well-equipped as factory teams were and thus occasionally less reliable.

Over time he crashed seven times, at Naples, Castle Combe, Silverstone, Caracas, Monza, Spa and finally at Goodwood, which ended his career. He told his authorised biographer, Robert Edwards: “A racing driver will crash, if he’s doing his job properly.”

This standpoint was somewhat offset by a mild fixation with the number seven, which he considered to be a personal talisman.

Stirling Moss after winning the 1957 British Grand Prix Credit: LAT Photographic.

Moss was not only one of the few professionals in his chosen sport, it was his only activity. Many of his contemporaries funded their own racing through the motor trade, or industry connections, or simply because they were leisured, or sponsored. But Moss was always paid, sometimes handsomely, for his efforts and he was regarded as a sound investment, for his insights as a development driver in a fast-evolving period as much as for his wins. He was also teetotal, which was an advantage against certain opposition.

As he progressed through the minor formulae, opinions differed. Some regarded him as being too fast for his own good, predicting that he would frighten himself and disappear from the scene. But the great Italian driver Tazio Nuvolari was said to have opined in 1949: “Watch him: he will be one of the great ones…”

Enzo Ferrari agreed with his compatriot, and attempted to recruit Moss for two factory drives shortly afterwards, but a mutual misunderstanding was the result, which led Moss to declare that “Enzo Ferrari is no gentleman...”

三级成人视频The two men did not communicate for 10 years, until 1961, and although Moss meanwhile drove several privately-entered Ferrari cars and praised them unreservedly, he always enjoyed the pleasure of beating the factory.

三级成人视频His closest racing association was to be with Rob Walker, which would offer him possibly his finest victory, at the 1958 Argentine Grand Prix, the first postwar GP won by a rear-engined car. He beat the entire Ferrari works team, a trick he would repeat twice at Monaco, shortly after which Ferrari made the offer to build a team around him. That was not to be, as his final accident intervened.

Moss had struggled to obtain good works drives until he won the 1950 Ulster TT in a borrowed Jaguar sports car, having been turned down for a factory entry. He was promptly invited to lead the Jaguar works team, which he did until 1954.

Success in Formula One eluded him until he bought his own car, a Maserati, in which he campaigned as a private entrant unless it suited the works to support him. His efforts – third place in the World Championship, – earned him a contract with Mercedes-Benz for the 1955 season, at which point his career took off. He was teamed with the great Juan Manuel Fangio, who taught him so much and became a friend and mentor.

So lucrative was this deal that he established a limited liability personal service company with his commercial manager, Ken Gregory, and his father, Alfred. This was not only financially practical but also served to curb his boyish enthusiasm, as those around him often felt that too many of the cars which he would have driven were not of sufficient quality. Certain members of that circle, notably his mechanic Alf Francis (who was of Polish descent) disapproved of the German connection.

His victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia race (the only one he ever finished) – setting a record of an average 97.95mph which would never be broken, as the race ended two years later – ensured that as the undisputed master at sports car racing, he would henceforth be busy.

Formula One had taken time to recover from the systemic shock it had received from the majestic two-year impact of the Mercedes-Benz effort (they withdrew, mission accomplished, at the end of 1955). So, much as he would have preferred to work with a British team, none seemed competitive, Moss remained with Maserati for 1956.

三级成人视频Fangio’s retirement gave Moss – who had finished runner-up to the Argentine three years running, from 1955-57 – the real possibility of taking the drivers’ F1 title with Vanwall in 1958, together with the inaugural Constructors’ Championship, but his sportsmanship cost him the crown.

In the Portuguese Grand Prix his rival for the title, Mike Hawthorn, faced disqualification for rejoining the race against the racing direction after spinning off the track. Moss spoke up in his defence, and Hawthorn’s second-place finish behind Moss gave him the championship. Because of the scoring system the title went to Hawthorn by one point, despite the fact that he had won only one race to Moss’s four.

Nonetheless, Moss was by then the best-regarded driver in motor sport. His very name had become a British byword for speed: “Who do you think you are..?” became popular among traffic policemen and, indeed, can still be heard today. He did indeed secure the Constructors’ Championship for Vanwall, but missed the Drivers’ crown for himself. Under modern rules he would have won it four times.

三级成人视频Part of the fascination generated by Moss was that he made he what he did look so easy; his relaxed posture in the cockpit, (copied from Piero Taruffi) and his driving smoothness combined to convey the impression that he always had plenty of time to do his job. In truth, it was the consequence of intense concentration, combined with every tiny incremental advantage he could glean.

三级成人视频He unbalanced and rebalanced the car with equal facility by movements almost invisible to the spectator’s eye. His habit of waving to the crowds endeared him to the public and race organisers alike; his very presence on a grid would boost ticket sales – and his appearance fees.

To this career he added that of an energetic bachelor life. His friend Rob Walker said: “When he wasn’t married, his only real hobby was chasing girls.”

Stirling Moss, the young racing driver Credit: National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

三级成人视频Stirling Craufurd Moss was born in West London on September 17 1929. His father, Alfred, was a prosperous dentist, businessman and amateur racing driver, who twice entered the Indianapolis 500. His mother, Aileen, was a successful horsewoman and de facto Ladies’ British rally champion. She was a descendant of a prominent Scottish family, the Craufurds, one of whose members, Robert “Black Bob” Craufurd, had been Commander of the Duke of Wellington’s Light Division during the Peninsular War.

三级成人视频A sister, Patricia, always known as Pat, arrived in 1936. She too became highly successful, both behind the wheel and on horseback. Both were preceded by “Cousin” John Craufurd, born before Aileen’s marriage, who spent holidays with the Moss family at their home near Tring in Hertfordshire. The two boys were not close, but developed a wary mutual respect.

Moss attended Clewer Manor preparatory school before moving on to the Imperial Service College, which had recently been amalgamated with Haileybury College in Hertford. He did not enjoy the experience, being subjected to prolonged bullying, for reasons of his presumed Jewish origins; (the family name had originally been Moses, changed by Alfred’s father Abraham for reasons of assimilation).

三级成人视频He departed after his school certificate and, after attending a “crammer” to explore the possibilities of further education (which proved fruitless due to his total lack of interest) he resolved to get a job.

He became a trainee at the Ecclestone hotel in Victoria, working under an assumed name, “Toni”. In London, he met Ken Gregory, the man who would become both his manager and friend.

Stirling had discovered motor cars early, given his parents’ interests, but his own competitive interests were initially displayed on horseback – he became a prize-winning entrant at junior events. But, as he put it later: “I always hated horses – I only rode them to please my mother.”

三级成人视频He had, however, been driving a car since the age of seven, bouncing about the family orchard in an Austin 7. As soon as he acquired a driving licence he attempted to buy a racing car, which triggered a token resistance from his parents, both of whom understood its perils. But they relented, and he bought the first of a series of Cooper F3 cars.

Stirling Moss after winning the Italian Grand Prix at Pescara, with Tony Vanderwell, designer of his winning Vanwall Credit: Keystone/Getty Images

By 1949 he was winning five races in a day at Brands Hatch and within a year, scarcely out of his teens, he was competing with an HWM in races on the Continent against such giants as Alberto Ascari and Luigi Villoresi in Ferraris. Moss always said he really learned his craft in the little 2-litre car produced in Walton-on-Thames.

His career ended at Goodwood on St George’s Day, 1962, when, driving a hybrid Lotus Formula 1 car, he left the track at St Mary’s and hit the banking. The car neither inverted nor burned, but he was left with massive injuries, mainly to his head. He was in a coma for more than a month, during which hourly bulletins on his health were broadcast. He never recalled the details, but research indicated that it was a “racing accident” involving Graham Hill.

三级成人视频His bodily injuries mended relatively fast; he was physically very fit. The neurological wounds healed far more slowly. He was unable to stand, walk or talk properly for several months and his friends recalled that he was now a different man. He considered a return to driving, but by his own measure he fell far short of his previous skills. He had never done anything else but race.

三级成人视频He was advised during his recovery by Berenice Krikler, a behavioural therapist at the Atkinson Morley Hospital, who told him firmly that he should “never race again”. They remained lifelong friends.

三级成人视频Moss needed to re-invent himself, which he did simply by “being Stirling Moss” in the field of promotion, race commentary, public relations, guest appearances, endorsements, cameo film roles and demonstration drives, which ensured that he remained as well known (and as well regarded) as he always had been.

 Stirling Moss at his home in Mayfair in 2013 Credit:  Andrew Crowley

He became the go-to man for a racing comment, several of which caused minor controversy, albeit from those who did not know him. For those who did, he was a man of infinite small kindnesses; a solicitous and generous host, scrupulously polite and possessed of a deeply felt desire to level the playing field for those less fortunate than he, whether it was to buy and equip a mobility vehicle for a young man with polio, or encouraging his fellow drivers to wave at the segregated enclosures at the South African Grand Prix.

三级成人视频There were many other examples, but Moss was also highly protective of his reputation; in 1968, the BBC commissioned Athol Fugard to write a play about the relationship between Moss and his navigator, Denis Jenkinson, before the 1955 Mille Miglia race. Moss cooperated, but when he saw it he issued an injunction: “It portrayed me as a slob, and I’m not a slob,” he recalled.

A distraction upon retirement had been the construction and fitting-out of his extraordinary house in Shepherd Street, Mayfair, laden with labour-saving gadgets. A failure of one such nearly became his undoing in 2010 when a faulty indicator light caused him to plunge three storeys down a lift shaft, an accident which could easily have killed a younger man. The lift car, designed and built out of carbon fibre by Frank Williams’s F1 team, was actually one floor above when, chatting over his shoulder, he stepped in.

In December 2016 he was taken to hospital in Singapore with a serious chest infection; following a lengthy convalescence, in January 2018 he announced his retirement from public life.

Stirling Moss was appointed OBE in 1959 and knighted in 2000.

三级成人视频He married Kathleen Stuart in 1957; the marriage was dissolved in 1960, and in 1964 he married Elaine Barbarino, with whom he had a daughter. That marriage was dissolved, and in 1980 he married Susie Paine (whose sister married Sir Philip Green); they had a son. His wife and children survive him.

Sir Stirling Moss, born September 17 1929, died April 12 2020