Sir Stirling Moss race suit will speed away

A race suit worn by motorsport legend Sir Stirling Moss is on the starting grid for auction – and such is its rarity it could roar to a five-figure sum. 

The vintage item, personally authenticated and signed by Sir Stirling, one of Britain’s greatest sporting legends, has belonged to mega motors fan Rob Arnold for nine years. The full-body racing suit in blue bears a Ferrari logo and the star’s signature on a front pocket.

Auction house owner Irita Marriott with Rob Arnold, owner of the Sir Stirling Moss race suit
Auction house owner Irita Marriott with Rob Arnold, owner of the Sir Stirling Moss race suit. Credit @chloecreativephotography

It’s set for auction with an estimate of £3,500-£5,000 but, due to its desirability, could hit the finish line at £10,000. 

Rob is also parting with a classic white racing helmet, £200-£400, and racing gloves signed by the F1 star. The gloves will be offered individually guided at £100-£200 each. All will go under the hammer at Derbyshire’s Irita Marriott Auctioneers on March 14. 

Rob, 70, owner of Automobilia UK, a firm based near Melbourne, Derbyshire, which supplies vintage petrol pumps, globes, signs and general automobilia, said:  “The race suit was found in America in a car used by Sir Stirling. It was sent to London for Sir Stirling to authenticate. I just happened to be in his PA’s office the day it arrived. 

I expressed my desire to purchase it on the day, before it had been authenticated by the great man. A deal was agreed and the suit was acquired for my private collection. The suit was taken to Sir Stirling’s Mayfair home where he authenticated and signed it. A helmet and gloves were then sourced and again he signed them to add to the display. Though the gloves and helmet were not worn by him they are of the period. Photos of him signing all the items accompany the authenticity papers. 

“I have owned this motorsport memorabilia for around nine years. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being the custodian but, having just turned 70, its time to reduce my private collection of some fantastic items which I have been lucky to own. 

Sir Stirling Moss race suit and other items relating to the late racing driver
Sir Stirling Moss race suit and other items relating to the star. Credit @chloecreativephotography

I did meet Sir Stirling and was in regular contact through his PA working on items which he was happy to sign. When my firm built a 722 petrol pump he was thrilled, even more so when it was displayed in London’s Belstaff store. 

He was very complimentary regarding a book I wrote to raise funds for the Air Ambulance. In fact he sent me a signed copy of his book, the one given to him by the publishers, an item I will not sell. 

Once in my ownership the suit was displayed in several locations around the UK, including James Martin’s Manchester restaurant and former F1 world champion Nigel Mansell’s The Mansell Collection in Jersey. It’s been seen and enjoyed by so many. It’s never been hidden away in a cupboard. It’s always been on display in my house where I can see it every day.  

Nigel Mansell wanted to purchase the suit when it was in Jersey but I declined the offer. I always maintained I would not sell it while Sir Stirling was alive. I’m not sure why but perhaps I felt one day he just might want to see it again and I needed to have it ready, just in case. 

I never spent time with the great man like I have, say, with Nigel Mansell. By the time I worked on projects with Sir Stirling he was elderly and spent most of his time in his Mayfair home with his dear wife. My daytoday dealings were mainly with his PA. When he sadly passed away at the age of 90 in 2020, I joined his PA for lunch at London’s Fortnum & Mason, a place where Sir Stirling loved to go to enjoy his favourite Welsh rarebit. 

I will certainly miss having the suit but it’s time for someone else to enjoy it. Would I be upset if it failed to meet its reserve? Absolutely not. I would see it as a sign from the great man to put it back in my collection and enjoy it.  

Stirling Moss signing the his race suit
Credit @chloecreativephotography

“Though the auction estimate is £3,500£5,500 my personal value would be around £10,000. Several leading auction houses in London and the south have been keen to acquire the suit for their sales but I have opted to go local and support a new business in my home town.”   

Irita Marriott, owner of the auction house in Melbourne, Derbyshire, where the items will be offered, said: “We’re privileged to bring this important motorsport memorabilia to the world. It’s an opportunity to own an amazing memento of a racing legend who will be remembered forever.” 

London-born Sir Stirling Moss OBE (1929-2020) won 212 of the 529 races he entered across different motor sports. He has been described as ‘the greatest driver never to win the F1 World Championship’. In a seven-year span between 1955 and 1961 he finished in second place four times and in third place three times. 

He never raced for Ferrari due to a fall out. In 1951 when Moss was 20 Enzo Ferrari invited him to Italy to drive a new Formula Two car. But when he climbed into the car an engineer questioned what he was doing as Piero Taruffi would be driving it. Enzo Ferrari had changed his mind without telling Moss. He immediately vowed never to race for him. However, Moss did compete in Ferraris in sportscar racing, but they were run by private entrants, not Enzo.