It wasn’t too long before Moss earned a name abroad. No matter what vehicle he drove, from a saloon car to a land speed record car, his achievements seemed to know no boundaries. He raced at Goodwood, Le Mons, Monte Carlo and even The Mille Miglia (the thousand mile race.)
As a child, growing up, prior to WW2, Moss followed the then iconic drivers of the era - Tommy Wisdom, Donald Healey and the like.
So let’s take a look at some of the cars driven by Mr. Moss.
First, his Jaguars, many of which got him into the top three positions in competitions of their class.
In 1948, Jaguar unveiled what was intended as a concept car - a test bed for new innovations. The XK120 Roadster, Drop Head and Coupe proved to be a big hit, following the 55, 90 & 100 (these were manufactured and produced between 1936 and 1940,) the first cars to carry the Jaguar name. Powered by a 3.4 litre twin cam straight G, with triple carburettors, making for a good competition car or yahoo’s plaything.
William Lyons, Mr Jaguar and his team wanted a fresh start after WW2 and initially aimed the new cars at the overseas market but following their launch, they became best sellers at home too.
Stirling Moss had the privilege of driving several Roadster XK120's, the fixed head version in both standard and modified forms. This usually meant removal of the non-essential fittings to lighten the car for racing, including bumpers and rear seats.
The Roadster XK120 was usually turned into a single seater for Moss to race.
1951 saw the introduction of an out and out full blown sports model of the legendary C-Type, which it may surprise you to read, was listed in the catalogue for road use. I’ve not yet seen a road going version, though. Also known as the XK120c, this car was able to cope much better with road racing than the normal XK's.
Between 1950 – 1954, the C-Type underwent several modifications. An early car had less vents in the upper surface of the surface of the bonnet. Improvements to the engine meant that these were necessary.
The C-Type had an aluminium body and multi tubular construction, making it strong yet lightweight, perfect for racing and endurance events, such as the Le Mons 24 hours race or Mille Miglia.
Although the C-Type competition car was new, it retained the same six cylinder twin cam engine as the 120. However, tuning was the order of the day.
You’ll have to forgive me, Jaguars are amongst my favourite cars. They are classic machines that don’t go out of fashion.
Stirling Moss drove a C-Type at Le Mons in 1952 with P. Walker. The car was british racing green and wore race no. 17. The front of the car appears to be slightly different to the normal C-Type, possibly as a result of refinement. The C-Type was later replaced by the D-Type Jaguar of 1954 – 1957.
More on Stirling Moss and Jaguars, next time.