Alfred Ethelbert Moss
30/5/1896 - 23/4/1972
Alfred Ethelbert Moss was a pioneer in English auto racing. He raced at Brooklands and in 1924 travelled to America where he competed in the Indy 500. He raced on various dirt tracks around the USA before returning to the UK in 1925. In 1927 he married Aileen and in 1929 the couple had a son, Stirling. Alfred Ethelbert Moss died 50 years ago, he was 76
Alfred Ethelbert Moss was a highly successful London dentist and a pioneer in English auto racing.
He started in the early 1920s, at the wheel of a sporting cyclecar. He took part in hillclimbs and sprints with an AV Bicar and a GN before acquiring a 1496cc Anzani-engined Crouch 11.9 hp light car.
He first competed with this car on the February 1923 in the Essex MC Winter Trial, run over two 50-mile circuits of a course laid out in Epping Forest.
In March, he entered his Crouch for the Junior Car Club’s Annual Trial, which took place at Brooklands both on the track and the Test Hill.
Moss had the fastest flying lap at 61.64 mph. In the afternoon two-lap handicap race, Moss started on scratch, too far back to catch the more favourably handicapped GN’s that kept ahead of the faster cars and finished 1-2. Moss came second in Class 5 and fourth overall in a very respectable field.
He won the Private Competitors’ Handicap at the Easter 1923 meeting in the Crouch.
In August he raced the Crouch in the Small Car Handicap without success but at the autumn meeting he won the 75 mph Short Handicap.
In mid-October came the 200-Mile Race, Moss was in the 1500cc race in the afternoon. However it was not to be Alfred Moss’s day. He retired with a blown head gasket on the 29th lap after a good scrap with Parry Thomas.
In 1923, 27-year old Alfred managed to persuade his grandfather that Indianapolis was the world centre for studying dental bridgework. So he arrived in Indianapolis, Indiana, ostensibly to study "advanced dental practice" at the Indiana Dental College. However, his primary motive for coming to Indianapolis was to participate in the Indy 500 race.
On Friday, May 30, 1924, 22 car racers started the 12th running of the Indy 500. Among them was Alfred driving the Barber-Warnock Ford. He finished a respectable 16th, ahead of Eddie Hearne, Joe Boyer and two-times winner Tommy Milton. Thus, he became the first dentist to compete in the famed Indianapolis 500 race.
In 1925, after months of racing on various dirt tracks around the U.S. and having completed his dental studies, Alfred Moss was returned to England. Presumably, while in Indianapolis, he had picked up a copy of the $2.00 booklet “How to build a Fronty-Ford” from the Chevrolet Brothers, builders of the Barber-Warnock Specials.
When he arrived home, he planned was to continue racing and built himself a Fronty-Ford-Speedsport on a shortened Model T chassis, which he raced at Brooklands in 1925-26. The high point coming in 1925 with victory in the Short Handicap at the Brooklands August Bank Holiday Meeting.
However, his motor racing career had to be put on hold permanently as his dental career flourished. Soon he had developed a large and prosperous dental practice in London.
In 1927, he married Aileen, herself a keen racing driver who successfully competed in sprints and rallies and in 1929, the couple had a son, Stirling.
By the 1950s, Stirling Moss had become Britain's best-known sports star and one of the world's fastest and most versatile race drivers.
Alfred also designed the Morrison Air Raid shelter. Though he retired from driving he stayed active in motor sport with, amongst other things, forming the BRP racing team. He died of cancer in 1972.