A living legend of British motorsport since the late 1940s visited Swindon on 30 January.
As a brand ambassador for Safe and Sound vehicle warranties, Sir Stirling met Skurray’s Vauxhall Managing Director Nick Plevey and his staff at the West Swindon showroom on Mead Way.
Sir Stirling Moss OBE, is widely recognised as the greatest all-round racing driver in the history of motorsport.
Known for his amazing driving skill across a variety of vehicles types and racing categories – when cars were a great deal less safe than they are today, he is known as the greatest British driver never to win the world championship.
At the peak of his racing career, between 1948 and 1962, Sir Stirling was one of the original jet-setters – and he continues as energetically as ever in his eighty-fourth year. The visit to Swindon with Lady Moss was one of his many appearances and promotional engagements across the globe.
Pictured by Richard Wintle: top, Sir Stirling with Nick Plevey; middle, with Nick and Peter Jacob, principal consultant for Safe & Sound. Below, with Skurray’s backroom staff
Before he arrived in the town Sir Stirling and Lady Moss were entertained at Raymond Blanc’s famed Michelin starred restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons outside Oxford, as the guests of Safe and Sound, together with representatives of car dealers in the region.
At Skurrays he said he keeps a close eye on the motor racing scene and thought that in his day drivers contributed a lot more to the performance of a team as they had a lot more control over the cars they were driving, because they didn’t have the hi-tech features of a modern racing car. But he acknowledged that drivers nowadays are a lot fitter because they have to cope with the greater speed and down force of the cars.
Sir Stirling and most of his contemporaries were famous for never wearing a seatbelt when racing. He said: "There was a great fear of fire. If you’re driving a Maserati with 45 gallons of fuel behind you and another tank in front, you preferred to take your chances in a crash and hope you could get away when the car came to a stop."
At Skurray’s he admired the Ampera, the Vauxhall electric saloon, taking pride of place in the showroom. Whilst Lady Moss now drives Aston Martin, Sir Stirling is currently without a car but will be taking delivery of an electric car which he can use around his London home without cost.
Skurray’s managing director Nick Plevey said he was absolutely delighted Sir Stirling was able to come to Swindon. "Sir Stirling is an absolute legend, you don’t often get the opportunity to meet somebody like him. We know his mobility is a bit limited by an accident a couple of years back, but the man is a fount of knowledge and experience. It’s a great honour to have him come to our showroom.
"Earlier we had a very convivial gathering at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and even the great Raymond Blanc came out of his kitchen to meet a man he holds in such high esteem."
Sir Stirling agreed it had been an excellent gathering at the restaurant. "My wife and I enjoy a great many lunches meeting many nice people, but we always have to remember not to have a meal in the evening otherwise we’d become very unfit."
Pictures by Richard Wintle of Calyx
Find out more about Sir Stirling at www.stirlingmoss.com