The first car raced by British driving great Stirling Moss, a 1937 BMW 328 Frazer-Nash roadster, was a special guest at the recent 2021 Goodwood Revival, where it performed demonstration laps and competed on the race circuit.
The roadster was owned by the driver’s father, Alfred Moss, who bought the car in 1946 and kept it through 1950. The son was allowed to compete with the sports car, showing off his formidable natural talent by winning his first race, the 1947 Harrow Car Club Trial, at the age of 18.
Other victories quickly followed, Moss demonstrating time and again that his ability behind the wheel could prevail against more-powerful machines. Moss, who died in 2020, had a celebrated professional racing career, driving a multitude of brands until he was sidelined in the 1960s after a serious crash.
The 328 was an amalgam of ingredients created when British automaker Frazer-Nash acquired the rights to build the BMW 328 in England with right-hand drive. The little 328 was highly successful in racing as well as a road-going sports car.
Moss was reunited with his earliest race car in 2012 at the Prescott Hill Climb and the Goodwood Revival, when the roadster was brought by members of the Wills family, who have owned the car since 1983.
Patrick Wills arrived with the BMW/Frazer-Nash for the 2021 Revival, driving it in the opening parade before handing it over to pro drivers John Ure and Alastair Pugh for the Brooklands Trophy.
“I’ve raced it myself, but it was a while back,” Wills said in a Goodwood Revival article. “I have raced it at Silverstone and Donington, but I haven’t raced it at Goodwood myself.
“Last time I competed with it was with Stirling at Prescott, so I was in the passenger seat. Stirling drove it quite a lot in his last years and loved it. He learned to drive on this car. His father Alfred bought it for him probably thinking it’s a relatively safe car to learn in.”
The 328 has been used by the Wills family primarily as a road car, though with some track exposure over the years.
“We drive it in Suffolk around the roads very happily,” Wills said. “It’s quite comfortable. It’s a little tight in there to be honest but it’s pretty comfy.”
Wills expects the 328 to spend more time on the track in the future, he said.
“My prediction is that we’ll be doing more proper track racing in it, and I’ve just bought a (BMW) 326 which has got a roof but looks the same inside, and I’m going to use that for the rallies,” he said.
“I have a 1960 Alfa and it’s not as nice to drive, and it’s 23 years newer. The Frazer-Nash is much nicer, the steering’s tighter the brakes are better. It’s really ahead of its time.”