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Sir Stirling Moss retires (again) (copyright image)

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Legend has it that in his racing heyday, whenever Britain’s best loved racing driver encountered the long arm of the law, he was greeted by the phrase: “Who do you think you are, Stirling Moss?”

But, after finally hanging up his crash helmet this month, the 81-year-old Moss (who has gained a knighthood and an OBE over the years) has admitted he’s not as fast as he used to be.

Due to race a 1961 Porsche RS in an historic event at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, Moss suddenly realised he had had enough. “I was going around quite slowly and I suddenly thought that if I’m going to go as fast as I feel I want to go, I’m going to be scared,” he said.

He pulled into the pits and decided there and then to retire from competitive driving… though that won’t stop him staying involved with the sport, as his busy diary would confirm.

On 4th September, for example, Sir Stirling will be turning the clock back to the 1960s at Chelsea AutoLegends, London’s celebration of motoring and motor racing held at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

Moss, who is Patron of the event, is just one of the personalities who promises to be at the show. Eight times motorcycle world champion Phil Read will also be there, along with a host of other drivers and riders from the past.

But the cars will be the real attractions. More than 30 classic Le Mans racers will be on display alongside countless other important historic machines, such as the Ferrari 250GT SWB in which Moss won the 1961 Tourist Trophy at Goodwood.

There’ll be displays of Group B rally cars of the 1980s, classic motorcycles and ten significant road cars of all times, as well as 50th birthday celebrations for two iconic British cars of the 1960s – the E-type Jaguar and the Mini Cooper.

There will be super car and bike cavalcades, themed displays and a special tribute to some of the British ‘Patrons’, the private race team entrants of the Fifties and Sixties, who took on the factory teams… and often won.

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Eric Verdon-Roe, Chairman of Chelsea AutoLegends, said: “Sir Stirling’s decision brings the curtain down on a remarkable career, but we are delighted that his involvement with Chelsea AutoLegends means this great man can still be seen by his legion of fans.”

“And, as for the ‘Who do you think you are…’ story, I’m not sure whether it’s apocryphal or not, but I’ve always wondered how the police ever managed to catch him. We shall have to ask him on the day.”

Next Car understands that Sir Stirling Moss will be a guest at 2011 Motorclassica, the Australian International Concours d’Elegance and Classic Motor Show, which will return to Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building 21st to 23rd October, 2011. Stay tuned to Next Car for confirmation closer to the holding of the event.

Note: Chelsea AutoLegends is staged on the South Grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London (England) on Sunday 4th September 2011. This year’s Chelsea AutoLegends builds on the huge success of last year’s inaugural show and, once again, will centre around a display of iconic cars that have contested the Le Mans 24 Hours, one of the world’s most famous motor races.

Adding to the celebrations will be a special focus on the greatly enjoyed cars of the Sixties – a decade when Chelsea’s Kings Road was a hub of global fashion, design and pop music. Chelsea AutoLegends also raises funds for Chelsea Pensioners, residents of the Royal Hospital.


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