“My cars, my career” (Stirling Moss with Doug Nye, 1987)

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Having recently looked at F1 driver autobiographies from two different generations (Alex Zanardi and Niki Lauda) I decided to turn to another, even earlier subject – Stirling Moss.

He collaborated on this fascinating autobiographical work with Doug Nye in 1987. Its structure is a simple chronological ‘guide’ to every car he ever raced, interspersed with occasional chapters of driving technique.

It’s an unusual approach that has produced a uniquely interesting book.

Here is an example of a book that simply wouldn’t work if its subject were a modern Grand Prix driver. The book spans 15 years and 87 different racing cars encompassing Formula One, Formula Three, sports cars, touring cars and more.

In a similar 15 year period, what has a driver such as Michael Schumacher raced? At a rough guess, 15 Formula One cars, plus maybe the odd kart and whatever they gave him to drive at the Race of Champions a few years back.

It’s such a pity that the rigid strictures imposed upon Formula One drivers by their teams prohibit them from driving anything but their F1 cars.

For how are we to know that F1 drivers truly are the best in the world if they only compete against the same drivers in the same cars every weekend? Let them dip their toes into rallying, or the Le Mans 24 Hours, or the Indianapolis 500.

How refreshing it is to see a driver like Juan Pablo Montoya with the perspective to realise that their is a world beyond Formula One (even if it is NASCAR) and go off and give it a shot.

But I digress: Fifty years ago things were different and one can only measure the magnitude of Stirling Moss’s achievements by recognising that he did a damn sight more than race F1 cars.

The most compelling chapters of the book are those where he relates his experiences on the Mille Miglia, the 1,000 mile road race in Italy which he famously won in 1955 in a Mercedes-Benz SLR.

There are some fine photographs, an excellent colour section, and one picture I found especially endearing of his mother reading fan mail to him during his convalescence following his career-ending crash at Goodwood.

That, of course, had not been a world championship race; nor was the race in which Jim Clark died. The early heroes of F1 raced in multiple events because, for simple financial reasons, they had to – and they did so in spite of the dangers. That is the difference.

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Guild Publishing

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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2 comments on ““My cars, my career” (Stirling Moss with Doug Nye, 1987)”

  1. Of course Stirling’s Goodwood accident was in a Formula One race, just not a World Drivers Championship event.

  2. Yes, you’re quite right – I shall amend that final paragraph accordingly…

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