Legendary Pat Moss Passes Away At Age 73

Posted on 18. Oct, 2008 by in 2000-2009, Personalities

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Photo Credit: Mr. Saab / Saab Automobile

It is my sad duty to report that Patt Moss, legendary rally driver and wife of Erik “On the Roof” Carlsson has passed away on Thursday, October 16th at the age of 73.

Here is a well written report of her incredible life in the U.K. Telegraph.

Please let’s pause and give respects to her passing and wish Erik Carlsson and family, our deepest condolences.

Pat Moss, who died on Thursday aged 73, became one of Britain’s leading horsewomen and factory-team rally drivers, winning the European Ladies’ Rally Championship five times, the Coupe des Dames on the Monte Carlo Rally eight times, and scoring the Mini Cooper’s first big rally victory in the Tulip Rally of 1962.

Taught to drive at the age of 11 by her elder brother, the great motor racing driver Stirling, in the family Jeep, Pat Moss was a confident driver of Land Rovers on the family farm by the time she was 17, when her father treated her to her first car, a 1936 Morris Ten.

She enjoyed factory drives with all the major teams of the day for 20 years, starting in 1954 in a local car club rally near her home at Tring, Hertfordshire, in her own Triumph TR2, accompanied by her groom, Ann Riley. They won the event, the pair being the only crew to find both a worm and a feather.

With the success of this treasure-hunt behind her, she offered her services to all the major car companies – she badly wanted to drive for Triumph, as the two-litre TR2 was winning all the club rallies of the day, and was a major contender on the international scene.

When she was turned down by Triumph’s motor sport manager Ken Richardson – rudely, in her view – she tried out her persuasion on Marcus Chambers, of MG, who had been charged with trying to beat the Triumph team.

Chambers took Pat Moss under his wing and gave her the encouragement she needed. She drove in the RAC Rally at the end of 1955 in an MG TF, finishing the third-best woman, before riding in the back seat of a three-girl team’s Austin Westminster in the Monte Carlo Rally in January 1956.

The car ran out of brakes on a mountain hairpin, crashed over the edge and finished upside down: not a great start. Drives in a Morris Minor nicknamed “Granny” followed, Pat Moss finishing fourth overall in the 1958 RAC, the BMC team’s best rally result to date.

Patricia Moss was born on December 27 1934 at Thames Ditton, where her father practised as a dentist and – with his wife – was a keen competitor in car rallies and trials.

As an eight-year-old Pat won a string of pony events, competing against her brother Stirling. Both were presented to King George VI after winning the Victor Ludorum at the 1945 Windsor Cup horse trials. Pat’s success on horseback continued with a victory at the Horse of the Year Show in 1950, and in 1953 she was presented to the Queen after winning the Queen Elizabeth Cup at White City.

As well as show jumping, Pat began rallying, insisting on being paid a cash fee by the British Motor Corporation (like all the other drivers), as well as on having the use of a company car and of a BMC truck converted into a horse-box. Pat Moss’s major achievement was winning outright the toughest rally in Europe, the 1960 Liège-Rome-Liège, behind the wheel of the fearsome Austin Healey 3000, then regarded as a particularly difficult car to tame. It was the first time any female driver had won an international rally.

Her successes continued with a second in the Alpine Rally the same year, and another in the 1961 RAC Rally. Pat reckoned she would have won the latter outright had she not stopped to lend the Swedish driver Erik Carlsson a tyre; such was the camaraderie in rallying at the time that stopping to help rivals was regarded as the natural thing to do. She was third in the 6-cylinder Austin-Healey on the RAC the following year, but the crowning achievement of 1962 was her victory in the Tulip Rally in the newly-introduced Mini Cooper.

This was the first big win for a car that was about to change the face of international rallying, but Pat Moss could not disguise her dislike for the car, which she found “twitchy, and pretty unruly on the limit”.

In 1963 Pat Moss and her fellow Healey driver David Seigle-Morris were persuaded to join Ford with the promise that a Lotus-tuned Cortina would soon be coming along that would help them win events. In the meantime, the best she could manage was sixth in Greece on the Acropolis Rally. She married Erik Carlsson in the same year.

Things looked up in 1964 when she switched to the Saab team for a full season. She finished fifth in that year’s Monte Carlo rally, one of 11 internationals in which she drove that year. And in 1965 she came third in the Monte, an event she rated as one of her toughest-ever drives: a blizzard hit the rally before Chambéry, which suited the Saab as Pat Moss put in a string of rapid times on the final night. She was beaten only by Timo Mäkinen’s Mini Cooper, and the factory racing special Porsche 904 of Eugen Bohringer; both cars were substantially lighter and more powerful than the Saab.

Now at the peak of her powers, Pat Moss was persuaded to join Lancia to drive the new Fulvia, but she found the steering over-heavy and disliked the strong understeer. Her best results with Lancia were a second overall in the San Remo in 1968; an outright win the same year in the Sestriere; and a third, with Susan Seigle-Morris navigating, in Italy’s 999 Minutes. An eighth on the rough goat tracks of the Acropolis and a seventh on the twisty Tarmac roads of Corsica underlined her versatility.

Drives with Renault Alpine followed, with a 10th overall in the 1972 Monte Carlo. By now all her contemporaries from the 1950s had either retired or were in team management, and by the mid-1970s she was driving for Toyota in the Monte Carlo; it was when she was with that team that she finally decided, in 1974, to retire.

In later life she settled down with her husband (who kept up a managerial role at Saab), travelled the world, kept horses, and found room in the back of her garage for a Morris Minor, in its original livery of almond green. She never slowed down, and recently collected a speeding ticket while towing a horse-box.

Pat Moss is survived by her husband and their daughter.

Source: The Telegraph

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3 Responses to “Legendary Pat Moss Passes Away At Age 73”

  1. Nancy Kaymen

    14. Nov, 2008

    My Condolences to the family of Pat Moss.
    I am writing to inquire if Pat once lived in Chesire during WWII and if her father was from Waukegan, Illinois, USA. If so, my father, Richard Kaymen, was her Uncle. (He was stationed at the AVRO Woodford Aeroplane facility).
    I very much hope to hear from Pat’s husband or his daughter (if we are indeed distant relatives).
    Best regards,
    Nancy Kaymen

    Reply to this comment
  2. Ryan

    26. Nov, 2008

    Nancy,

    Thank you for your comment back on November 14th.

    I apologize for my delay, but I don’t currently have any way of figuring this out for you at this time.

    I know that Erik Carlsson still lives in the U.K. though.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Patton

    13. Aug, 2010

    Pat Moss’s brother is the famous driver, Sir Stirling Moss. His website is http://www.stirlingmoss.com/

    Reply to this comment

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