Australian Muscle Car
Vale: Stirling Moss
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.