Moss, Lotus 21 Climax, Warwick Farm 100 practice 1961 (Mal Simpson)

Father Time waits for no-one, not even ‘the immortals’, sadly the great man’s time had come- Stirling Moss, 17 September 1929 to 12 April 2020.

What an extraordinary life of achievement.

To me he personified grace, sportsmanship and fairness despite being a fierce competitor, a certain clever conservatism but with an impish naughty streak and sense of humour. He was everything that is great about Britain and the essence of what to me it is to be a Brit.

Without doubt he was the living embodiment of motor racing, his passing deprives the sport of its greatest global spokesman and ambassador.

I can’t remember if I was aware of Stirling before seeing the Chrysler Valiant ‘Hemi’ ads as a kid on Australian telly circa 1970 (remember those?) or whether it was after my interest in the history of the sport commenced a couple of years later.

Whatever the case he has been a constant in Australia since he first raced here in 1956 through the 1961 internationals, then into the Tasman years after he had retired from the cockpit when more often than not he travelled with the circus, and from 1985, first in Adelaide and now Melbourne was a regular in F1 historic support parades and events.

I have a photo of him with my youngest son taken in the Albert Park historic tent, even though it was the five-millionth time he had done that, he still exchanged a few pleasantries with Nick- he still remembers it despite being six at the time, twenty years ago.

RIP from all your Australasian friends Mr Moss, we salute your achievements, applaud the way you conducted yourself and thankyou for all the entertainment and pleasure you gave us…

Behra, Moss, Albert Park, AGP 1956 (unattributed)

Credits…

Mal Simpson, Stephen Dalton Collection, John Ellacott

Etcetera: ‘For All The Right Reasons’…

For international readers the Chrysler, Valiant factory shown in the first ad was on a 65 acre site named ‘Tonsley Park’ at Clovelly Park, 12km south-west of Adelaide. The beach scenes will be closeby to that facility on one of the Fleurieu Peninsula beaches.

Etcetera…

A couple of Australian motor magazine covers from Stephen Dalton’s Collection with Stirling on the cover- as he so often throughout the world was!

This photo taken by John Ellacott posted on The Noatalgia forum by Ray Bell is of Stirling giving Paul Samuels’ Lotus 18 Ford Formula Junior a whirl at Warwick Farm in 1961.

His Rob Walker Racing Cooper T53 and Lotus 21 (car in the first photo) were late arriving in Sydney from New Zealand so he jumped into a couple of cars to do some familiarisation laps of the new, quite technical Warwick Farm layout.

(J Ellacott)

Finito…

 

Comments
  1. Rob says:

    Mark,

    Great to read your tribute to such a remarkable driver and, seemingly, such a remarkable gentleman to boot.

    Regarding Chrysler’s Adelaide facilities as mentioned in the caption to the Valiant TV ads, Tonsley Park wasn’t actually located at Lonsdale. The Tonsley Park manufacturing /assembly plant was at Clovelly Park, around 12 km south west of the Adelaide CBD. The Lonsdale engine plant was located at Lonsdale, around 27 km south west of the CBD.

    Cheers,

    Rob

    • markbisset says:

      Thanks Rob,
      I took half an hour trying to find out where the plant was and still got it wrong.
      In the Mitsubishi days one of my design business partners and I and a team from Melbourne competitive pitched and won some work at Tomsley Park (to Tom Phillips the then CEO and his team) to refresh the look and feel of their dealerships- just before they introduced the Verada. We had a ‘cooks tour’ of the site which was fantastic but it was not kosher to pull out your camera. It’s now a ‘Tech Park’?, intrigued to have a look.
      Mark

  2. Pamela WALTERS says:

    Hear Hear.

    Love your work.

    A very sad day indeed,but they happen, of course

    Phil Walters blue-sky@bigpond.net.au

    >

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