Sir Stirling Moss’ 1957 British Grand Prix-winning Vanwall VW4 has been announced as the latest historically significant car to go on display at the forthcoming Classic & Sports Car London Show, which takes place at Alexandra Palace from 30 October-1 November.
One of the most instantly recognisable Grand Prix cars of the 1950s, the VW4 holds the honour of being the first British car to take victory at the British Grand Prix at the hands of a British driver, and, along with its sister cars, became renowned for its superiority over its closest Italian competition during the following 1958 season.
Moss first got behind the wheel of a Vanwall in 1956, but only took part in one race due to being contracted to Maserati – the International Trophy, which he won. By the following year he had made the switch to the Vanwall team, finding greater success than either Harry Schell or Maurice Trintignant had managed in the previous season.
Together with Tony Brooks and Stuart Lewis-Evans, Moss campaigned a pool of 10 cars that were constantly being upgraded and improved. Moss’ first significant victory behind the wheel of the VW4 came at Aintree after taking over from an unwell Tony Brooks, and he later piloted its sister car, VW5, to success at Pescara and Monza, where he finished the race 41 seconds clear of Fangio’s chasing Maserati.
Despite a change in fuel regulations that led to the Vanwall losing more than 12bhp ahead of the ’58 season, the car’s superior coil spring rear suspension set-up and strong disc brakes offered enough an an advantage for the British trio to win in The Netherlands, Portugal, Morocco, Belgium, Germany and Italy, in the process ensuring Vanwall became the first team to ever win the Constructors’ Championship.
Though Moss put in one of the strongest performances of his career in that year, he missed out on winning the Drivers’ Championship by just one point to Mike Hawthorn, with Brooks ending the season in third.
The sensational Vanwall VW4 is now owned by Kevin Wheatcroft of the Donington Grand Prix Collection, who has generously loaned the car for public display for the duration of the event.