Rally & Racing

Moss, many memories except one: the blue Ferrari that remained silent

Photo credit: Massimo Grandi, Wheelsage, Mercedes-Benz

“British style” motoring couldn’t have asked for a more symbolic character than that of a white helmet protecting the clearly recognizable face of Stirling Moss. Moss, who left competitive racing in 1962 after a bloody accident at Goodwood, passed away on Easter Sunday and numerous classic car magazines have celebrated his life in the most diverse ways imaginable: Magneto featured a sequence of images that started from Stirling’s his first taste of competitive driving in the small Cooper Norton. Classic & Sportscar documenting his first Formula 1 victory with Mercedes at Aintree.

On board the Mercedes F1 W196R Stirling Moss won his Home Grand Prix in 1955 at Aintree in England, overtaking the great Juan Manuel Fangio

Petrolicious chose a photo that highlights one component of his career: bad luck. Moss is pictured sitting on the rear wheel of his Maserati 250 at Monza after breaking down, with the forlorn expression of a man whose dreams have just been scuppered, such as the World title that simply never arrived. Ruoteclassiche, like many, exalted his magnificent record at the 1956 1000 Miglia behind the wheel of the Mercedes 300 SLR.

Stirling Moss together with the journalist Jenkinson won the 1995 Mille Miglia with the Mercedes 300 SLR setting the unbeaten record of 157 km/h average speed

This summary, a brief synopsis of the many articles published in his memory, clearly illustrates just how effortlessly the young Londoner passed from one car to another: Vanwall, Cooper, Lotus, Maserati and even MG with which he set a land speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Stirling Moss at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1957 taking the land-speed record of 395,31 km/h behind the wheel of the MG EX 181

What about Ferrari? it would be wrong to neglect it: many will remember his numerous successes with the Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta in the classic blue and white livery of Scottish race team owner Rob Walker. Very few, however, remember that in 1962, before the cruel accident that forced him into retirement, he and Enzo Ferrari suffered from the same malaise: the fear of not having what it takes to win the World Championship. Rob Walker, heir the famous Whiskey family for whom Moss raced, had met Ferrari and reached the surprising agreement, knowing how protective the “Commendatore” was of his cars, to field a blue and white Ferrari for Stirling Moss during the following World Cup. He would have been the third man, alongside Surtees and Bandini and an excellent way to assess the management of a third car under the “British garage owners” who had revolutionized Formula 1.

Stirling Moss has written his name three times in the golden register of the Monaco GP, winning for the first time in 1956 behind the wheel of the Maserati 250F

However, everything ended before it began: the 1963 season was a difficult one for Ferrari but the new 8- and 12-cylinder engines were on their way and the following year Surtees, with his single-seater sporting the American blue and white colours, brought the Championship Title back to Maranello.

In an attempt to write a story that never happened, we wanted to imagine Moss in that race too, behind the wheel of the Ferrari in Scottish blue with that classic white touch from Rob Walker. Who would have won the title? No need to think, we are drifting in a dream that never came true much to the regret of two champions of the calibre of Moss and Surtees who knew how to conquer the hearts of their fans.

This 158F1 in Rob Walker livery might not look like a Ferrari, but with Moss at the wheel it could only have raced in these colours