Stirling Moss: More than Mr Motor Racing

Stirling Moss was a unique bridge across motor sport history, but his values never changed. Andrew Frankel shares his personal recollections of the man behind the moniker

Stirling Moss at the Motor Sport offices in 2009

Moss pictured at Motor Sport’s office ahead of his 80th birthday in 2009, when he was guest editor of the October issue to mark the occasion

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Normally a few pages such as these, if properly written by someone who knew their subject, would be enough to provide some meaningful insight into a life, even one as great as that lived by Sir Stirling Moss. It would be no biography for sure, but at least provide a skeleton image of the person, which the reader could then flesh and clothe with more extensive material at his or her leisure. But called upon to do as much for Stirling, I fear I may fall woefully short.

I knew him well since my days editing this title over 20 years ago, but when I try to think of words to describe my friend, contradictions flood my brain. For Stirling could be thoughtless at times and quite astonishingly kind at others. He could be one person in a crowd of adoring well-wishers, and another entirely across the dining room table. He was a complete professional, probably the first in his sport, yet a large part of him never really grew up. He had a highly commercial brain, at times perhaps a little too aware of the value of the Stirling Moss brand, yet at others was almost embarrassingly generous with his time.

Stirling Moss gets ready for practice in his HWM-Alta at the 1951 Swiss GP in Bern