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Stirling Moss: A Legend Hangs Up His Driving Gloves

Updated on August 30, 2011

Stirling Moss has officially announced his retirement from motor racing at 81 years of age. He is hanging up his driving gloves.

During qualifying for the Le Mans Legends race this year, he made a decision. He got out of his Porsche in pit lane and said, "This afternoon I scared myself and I have always said that if I felt I was not up to it or that I was getting in the way of fellow competitors, then I would retire."

Anyone old enough, and living, to remember a career in motorsport, surely must be a legend. Whatever he did, he did in style. Even his driving gloves had style; leather front, elastic for the back of the hand. He raced in the days when drivers sat in open cockpits. The cars were virtual death-traps. No full-face helmets. Gloved hands visible on the steering wheel.

Driving gloves were an added extension to the steering wheel. Just as Stirling Moss found out in his heyday, your hands would get cold in the winter or sweaty in the hot weather. Your grip on the steering wheel was the most important part of your relationship with your vehicle.

Today, although driving gloves are still worn regularly by professional race drivers, they are an important accessory for your car, even if you do have a non-slip steering wheel with finger indents. They are still a fashion statement.

And where do you put your gloves when you are not driving? In the glove box, of course! That little compartment built into the dashboard of your car, that was originally designed for storing gloves, but now used for storing numerous items of paraphernalia. Yes, all the trappings of driving are there:- CD's, aspirin, maps, pens, insurance papers, napkins and chocolate bars. The glove compartment was meant for gloves and always will be. The name is synonymous with driving, style and sport.

With the advent of the electric vehicle, I would strongly recommend you keep your driving gloves in the glove box. When it gets cold, you need to keep your hands warm. Using battery power for the heater may reduce your driving range, so it may well be back to the drawing board for automobile design, but our leather driving gloves will always remain.

Just ask Stirling Moss.


Le Mans is the oldest sports car race in the world. The race runs for 24 hours and tests the endurance of both drivers and cars alike. Stirling Moss was only able to come a creditable 2nd in the big race of 1953. Stirling's C type Jaguar never got a good start that year and was running rough for the first stages of the race. After some adjustments the car "never lost a beat", in Stirling's own words, but they were too far behind the leaders at the chequered flag.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is truly the race of Legends.


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