Australian Muscle Car

Vale: Stir­ling Moss

- Cross Paul Sports · Port Vale F.C. · Stirling Moss · Championship · Motor Racing Developments Ltd. · Australia · Chrysler · Jack Brabham · Chrysler Australia · Plymouth Valiant

Stir­ling Moss is widely re­garded as the great­est driver never to win the F1 World Cham­pi­onship. In a ca­reer that brought wide­spread suc­cess in open­wheel­ers, sports cars, tour­ing cars and in ral­ly­ing, Moss was run­ner up in the World Cham­pi­onship four times – be­tween 1955 and 1961 he never placed lower than third over­all.

What the ‘62 F1 sea­son might have de­liv­ered for Moss will never be known. His ca­reer ended at Easter that year in a heavy crash at the Good­wood track. Moss suf­fered a frac­tured leg (he had bro­ken both legs in a shunt at Spa less than two years ear­lier) and a head in­jury which left him in a coma for a month and par­tially paral­ysed on one side.

It took un­til the fol­low­ing year be­fore Moss was t enough to con­sider a re­turn to rac­ing.

But af­ter one pri­vate test ses­sion in a Lo­tus 19 sports car, Moss an­nounced his im­me­di­ate re­tire­ment from rac­ing. His times were com­pet­i­tive, but Moss felt that his re­ac­tions had been im­paired, that he had lost his in­stinc­tive feel for the car.

But Moss did race again. In a shock come­back, the English great teamed up with for­mer F1 ri­val Jack Brab­ham to share a To­rana L34 in the 1976 Bathurst 1000. The com­bi­na­tion of two of the big­gest names in world mo­tor­sport com­ing out of re­tire­ment brought wide­spread in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion to the Great Race. Sadly, there was no fairy­tale story to tell, with Brab­ham stalling on the grid and be­ing hit from be­hind. The car was re­paired and even­tu­ally Moss ran his rst rac­ing laps since the Good­wood crash 14 years ear­lier, un­til the en­gine blew.

If do­ing the Bathurst 1000 in an Aus­tralian tour­ing car with Jack Brab­ham was an un­likely come­back for the re­tired Bri­tish F1 star, it wasn’t his rst as­so­ci­a­tion with Aus­tralian mus­cle cars. Six years ear­lier Chrysler Aus­tralia con­tracted Moss to be the ad­ver­tis­ing gure­head for its VG Valiant range – and even pro­duced a (half­hearted) Stir­ling Moss Spe­cial.

Moss died over the Easter week­end of 2020 58 years af­ter the Easter Good­wood crash.

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