Smoking Tires


Some of the early sports car “rides” for Stirling Moss were with Jaguars, such as this factory-owned XK120 shown here during the afternoon one-hour Production Sports Car Race at the BRDC International Trophy Meeting at Silverstone on May 5, 1951. This was the first win of the year for Moss and he had the rear tires smoking under power all the way around the fast Silverstone course. For Moss, it was a pretty relaxed win.

Behind the car you can see one of the marker barrels then used to delineate the course on the former RAF airport runways. These lasted until knocked all over by the envelope-bodied Mercedes-Benz grand prix cars during the British Grand Prix in 1955, being thereafter replaced on the inside of the corners by low cement walls.

During 1951 Moss was concentrating on building an international level reputation with his drives for H.W.M., an F2 car built, and sometimes driven, by John Heath and George Abecassis. The H.W.M. used a four cylinder Alta motor but was both under-powered and too heavy. It was not at all competitive with the much faster Grand Prix cars fielded by Alfa Romeo and Ferrari but provided an important training ground and some success in lesser European events.

At Silverstone in the International Trophy Race Moss, seen above with his H.W.M., was down in 14th place due to having run afoul of one of those marker barrels just before the race was red flagged after six laps due to violent rain and hail.

Photo by Louis Klemantaski ©The Klemantaski Collection –

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