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Stirling Moss Rally Driver

by Vic Quayle

2020 review by James Loveridge

There are myriad books about Stirling Moss but this one, “Stirling Moss Rally Driver” by Vic Quayle with a Foreword by David Richards, he of the Prodrive “Scoobydoos”, is rather special. It details a less well known part of the great man’s career.

Vic himself announced his book to us a few weeks ago (see our recent News item), but we have now had a chance to read and review it.

The book covers not only the major Rallies in which Stirling competed, often as an official works driver, but also other similar “endurance” events such as the Tour de France and the Pirelli Classic Marathons. Twenty-one events are covered, ranging in detail from the 1950 Daily Express 1,000 Mile Motor Rally through to the 1992 5th Mitsubishi Classic Marathon as well as a few minor but still demanding events.

This book is very obviously the result of a great deal of very careful research enabling Mr Quayle to describe Stirling’s performance in the Rallies almost stage by stage as well as his many adventures in the other events. It’s not quite like sitting next to him as co-driver but it doesn’t take a lot to imagine it.

Probably very few people know that Stirling was among the very best Rally Drivers of the time, gaining a Gold Coupe d’Or for winning three Coupe des Alpes in the extremely tough Alpine Rally. He also had a second place in the Monte Carlo Rally. His regular vehicle in the rallying world was one or other of the Sunbeam Talbots but he did drive a variety of other makes along the way such as an Aston Martin in the 1950 event, a Humber Super Snipe, a couple of Jaguars, a Ford Mustang, a Saab in his unsuccessful Safari Rally, Mercedes Benz not just in his fantastic Mille Miglia win but also in the near fatal 1974 UDT World Cup Rally, a couple of Maseratis and various MGBs. Any kind of car, it was all the same to him.

His and Denis Jenkinson’s amazing achievement in the 1955 Mille Miglia driving a Mercedes Benz 300 SLR is given a lot of coverage. Unfortunately, there is one rather significant factual error but, as this part doesn’t relate to the strictly Rallying stuff, Mr Quayle’s speciality, it is perhaps forgivable. The roads for the 1955 Mille Miglia were definitely not closed to the public. Mortimer “Mort” Morris-Goodall was very much an Aston Martin man though he did drive several other makes. However, it is generally thought that Lofty England was Competition Manager at Jaguar during this time; might be worth a bit more research.

Interestingly there is no mention of Stirling’s win with Peter Collins of the 1955 Targa Florio, also in a 300 SLR. It was a similar type of event to the Mille Miglia: staggered starts, open public roads but up and down a mountain and on much worse roads. But then, when you are writing about Stirling Moss, you have to stop somewhere.

Many of the significant figures in the world of rallying and endurance racing are talked about, particularly Norman Garrad and Stirling’s very successful rally-driving sister Pat.

This is a very welcome addition to the history of motor sport.

Publisher: Herridge & Sons Ltd, Lower Forda, Shebbear, Beaworthy, Devon, EX21 5SY.

Price: £30.00

Description:   112 pages, Hardback.  270mm x 210mm.  With 150 colour and black-and-white photos.

ISBN: 978-1-906133-93-1.

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