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Sir Stirling Moss’s 1961 Porsche to be offered at Bonhams’ Festival of Speed sale

Sir Stirling Moss has asked Bonhams to offer his 1961 Porsche RS-61 at its Goodwood Festival of Speed sale on 26 June.

One of only 14 built, the 1605cc RennSport 61 Porsche is very similar to the car in which Moss and Graham Hill almost won the 1961 Targa Florio race. It’s also the model raced by Moss and Hill in the 1961 Nurburgring 1,000 Kilometres race in Germany’s Eifel Mountains.

On a damp circuit Moss took the lead on the second lap, but, as the course dried, he was overwhelmed by far larger and more powerful factory Ferraris. Commenting on the race, Moss said: ‘After 12 laps I handed over to Graham who rejoined fifth. Then it began to snow! Graham handed back to me and I found the little Porsche ideal for the Nurburgring in such conditions. We climbed into third, then second. I was set to take the lead when the little car broke – but it had been exciting while it lasted.’

The iconic racing driver describes the Porsche RS60/61 series as having been ‘Just super cars – beautifully balanced and simply tailor-made for such races as the mighty Targa Florio around 440 miles of Sicilian mountain roads. That was one morning when I woke up and really could say to myself, “For today’s race you have got the ideal car”.’

Moss never lost his affection for ‘this grand little Porsche’ and five years ago, when he saw the restored RS-61 chassis number 070 offered for sale in Gooding’s Amelia Island auction, he ‘just fell in love with it, all over again’.

He bought the car for $1.7 million and subsequently campaigned it at Historic level in the Le Mans Classic on the legendary 24-Hour race circuit in France, and in the USA in his very last competitive motor race. 

Chassis number 070 also has a good history of period racing. It was first delivered to leading American Porsche specialist Bob Holbert of Pennsylvania in early 1961. He competed in various Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) races in the Porsche, as did its second and third owners. In fact, by the time it retired from racing in 1963 it had achieved 13 victories and 20 podium places in SCCA races.  

The sale estimate for the very special Porsche is £1.7 to £2 million.

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By Claire Evans

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