Here’s a good motorsport trivia question: what was the very last car driven by Stirling Moss as a professional racing driver? Here are some clues: it was in April 1963. At Goodwood. In the Lavant Cup. A gold star to all those who said Lotus 19.
In fact it is the actual Lotus 19 you see here. In its early ‘60s heyday chassis 953 was far and away the best sports racing car around. It was driven to win after win by the cream of the grid: Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Innes Ireland and Olivier Gendebien, as well as Moss.
The little Lotus giant-killer was named “Monte Carlo” by Colin Chapman, perhaps as a tribute to Stirling’s victory in the 1960 Monaco Grand Prix. Moss had after all helped Chapman develop the 19.
And he was back in it at Goodwood in ’63 for testing to see if he could take up his racing career after it had come to a sudden halt a year earlier in a Lotus 18 against the grass bank at St. Mary’s. He was only a couple of tenths slower than he had been before the crash that nearly killed him, but he quickly decided to hang up his helmet anyway. The 19 Monte Carlo was the last car Stirling Moss drove as a professional race driver.
As such this survivor from the ‘60s occupies a special place in British motorsport history, even if after various mishaps in the course of its long career it is not exactly totally original.
What it is today is fully restored by marque experts and prepared to go racing again for the first time since 1965. It has new FIA HTP papers and a fresh engine, a 2.5-litre Coventry Climax that shows 240PS on the dyno and still bears Stirling Moss’s signature on the engine cover. All it needs is to be shaken down before it hits the track again when it will surely be welcome at all the best historic racing events.
It is also for sale. Silverstone Auctions will be auctioning it to the highest bidder as one of a number of competition cars in its Race Retro live online sale on 5th-6th March. The auction house, which hasn’t so far given a guide price, says the 1960 Lotus 19 Monte Carlo is an important car with impeccable provenance that is “superbly presented for competition”.
So, budding Lotus 19 racers where are you? Someone will surely take on this car, if only to hear others say: Who do you think you are, Stirling Moss?