Stirling Moss Says the Darndest Things

Today is Sir Stirling’s 86th birthday. He’s said a thing or two…

byA.J. Baime|
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Happy birthday, Sir Stirling Moss. If anyone on this earth has lived more than his share of lives, it’s Mr. Motor Racing, age 86 today. He competed during a shockingly violent era in motorsport, the Fifties and Sixties. (Five Formula 1 drivers in the 1958 season didn't live to see the next one—all crash fatalities). Yet, Moss survived. In April 1962, he crashed a Lotus at over 100 mph at Goodwood, his injuries career-ending. But he survived. In 2010, the 80-year old fell down an elevator shaft and broke both ankles. And he survived. During his career, he specialized in winning races in lesser cars, and saying the darndest things in interviews. To celebrate his 86th birthday, we offer some of our favorite Moss-isms.

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“I believe that if a man wanted to walk on water, and was prepared to give up everything else in life, he could do it. He could walk on water. I’m serious.”

“If God had meant for us to walk, why did he give us feet that fit car pedals?”

Sir Stirling Moss

“To achieve anything in this game, you must be prepared to dabble on the boundary of disaster”

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“What does count is speed…. If you go into a 100 mph corner at 101, that’s too fast, and 99 is too slow—and you’d better be able to feel the difference in the seat of your pants”

“I love to feel a racing car around me, to feel the way it holds me. I love to make it do all that it was built to do, and then a little bit more.”

“It is necessary to relax your muscles when you can. Relaxing your brain is fatal.”

“The best classroom of all time, I’m convinced, was the spot about two car-lengths behind Juan Manuel Fangio.”

“There are two things no man will admit he cannot do well: drive and make love.”

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“It is a fine thing to win, to hear your country’s anthem played just for you, but I believe I like the competition better than the victory, the fighting better than the winning.”

“Racing’s a gamble. I like to gamble, to bet I can do something no one else can do.”