Racing great Stirling Moss dies at age 90

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Stirling Moss is reunited at Goodwoodin 2011 with the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR he drove to victory in the Mille Miglia | Mercedes-Benz Classic Center

Stirling Moss, widely considered to be the greatest driver never to have won the world championship in Formula One, has died at his home in England following a long illness. His wife, Susie, confirmed the news Easter morning. 

Moss racing an Aston Martin at Goodwood in 1959 | Motorsport Images

Between 1951 and 1961, Moss won 16 of 66 Formula One races. Four times he was runner-up for the championship, including 1958 when he would have won the title but gave testimony that overturned a decision to disqualify Mike Hawthorn from a victory in Portugal and thus handed the title to his fellow racer. 

Moss famously set a record in winning the Mille Miglia in 1955 in a Mercedes-Benz 300SLR with navigator Denis Jenkinson. During a career in which he raced in more than 100 different vehicles in a variety of forms of competition — including a speed record at Bonneville — Moss won 212 of the 529 races in which he competed.

Moss, 90, retired from competition after a crash in 1962 and since then had been a global ambassador for motorsports. 

Moss at the British the Grand Prix in 1955 | Mercedes-Benz Classic Center

“He died as he lived, looking wonderful,” Susie Moss told the Daily Mail newspaper.

“It was one lap too many,” she added. “He simply tired at the end and he just closed his beautiful eyes and that was that.”

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In 2010, at the age of 80, he fell three stories down an elevator shaft at his home and sustained broken ankles, feet and damage to his back. In 2016, he suffered from a chest infection while visiting Singapore and was hospitalized at the time for several months. He retired from public events in early 2018 because of health issues.

Stirling Moss and the MG EX181 set speed records at Bonneville | Heritage Motor Centre photos


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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

9 COMMENTS

  1. You should have mentioned the most incredible part of the Mille Miglia story.

    Moss and Jenkins mapped out the entire route on a roll of paper, similar to what we know as a roll of Bounty, and Jenkins unrolled it as they went along attaining incredible speeds around blind corners and switchbacks. It was truly momentous!

    Rest In Peace Sir Sterling.

    Along with Fangio, you were the best ever. Jimmy Clarke, the Flying Scot, was close behind.

    Ian Martin Davis
    Greenwich, CT

  2. Godspeed and rest well, sir. You have run the course, and completed your journey as best as any human could hope for- an example of what the term “gentleman” really means. You have earned honor, acclaim, and now to sleep.
    God bless and keep you.

  3. As evidenced in his successful ventures with the underpowered, but incredibly resilient Sunbeam Alpines in the Monte Carlo and Alpine Rallyes, Moss was a warrior! His success, with so many vehicles and in so many places, puts him in a rarefied field.

  4. Thank you Sterling for a wonderful journey. You will always be the first to take the checkered flag in my book! Sterling Moss will long live in our hearts!

  5. BMC dealers introduced the new Mini Cooper S to the Washington DC area in the late summer 1961. Invited to commemorate this roll out were Stirling, Denise McCluggage & Innes Ireland. The venue was the old Marlboro Speedway in Prince Georges County, MD, and because no racing was on the venue the celebrities were approachable. To the delight of this 16 year old Sir Stirling signed my autograph book — a signature I still cherish. R.I.P, #7

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