Farewell to a legend: “The Last Blast”

Stuttgart, Germany: 

“Who do you think you are? Stirling Moss?” 

This, so the story goes, is what a Police Officer asked the legendary British Racing Driver following a particularly “daring” overtaking maneuver on the streets of London. 

The honest reply: “Yes, sir, I am!”.

There is a nod to this legendary tale – and a number of other aspects of Moss’ life and career – in “The Last Blast”: A short film by Mercedes-Benz Classic. A Police Motorcycle Outrider admonishes the over-enthusiastic driver of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR which was made famous by Moss’ win in the 1955 Mille Miglia race. While the camera zooms in on the front wing of the bike, we see a sticker bearing the famous question.

With this, part of a police-escorted drive across central London, “The Last Blast” celebrates the life of Moss, who died on April 12, 2020, at the age of 90. Filming took place at the end of September, 2021, in London – where he lived for more than 60 years – yet, somewhere, the famous Mercedes-Benz racing car, with its legendary Mille Miglia starting number of 722, has never been driven before.

But, while the Silver Arrow is the visible star of the show, there is an invisible one, too: the late racing driver himself. In this very car, together with Navigator Denis Jenkinson, he achieved a famous victory for Mercedes-Benz in the 1955 road race from Brescia to Rome and back. And it is in Moss’ honor that the company had the straight-eight engine howl for one last blast on a drive across central London before the car was retired: returning to its permanent home in the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany.

The result is a moving three-and-a-half-minute film. The starting point of the drive – early one Sunday morning – is The Temple; then, it takes in the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, the Royal Automobile Club, and the The Ritz hotel. On the way, “722” passes what was Sir Stirling’s very own 300 SL “Gullwing” – the car in which he traveled from London to the Mille Miglia in 1955. Its drive through the city ends in front of Moss’ own home in a Mayfair mews. There, his son, Elliot Moss, stands in front of the door and looks at the watch on his wrist, that his father wore for many years. It is exactly 7:22 am, the original start time of Moss and Jenkinson’s Mille Miglia entry and the reason for the car’s racing number. The 300 SLR rolls to a halt one final time and its engine is switched off.

This is Mercedes-Benz Classic’s tribute and thanks to Sir Stirling Moss who dedicated decades of service to the brand. Also, to his family, for the unwavering support they showed him and their personal involvement in this special film project.

Factsheet for “The Last Blast”:

  • Feature-film cinematography and production:
    • Drive with the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR (W 196 S) through London
    • Designed to honor Sir Stirling Moss and “his” 300 SLR number 722 from the 1955 Mille Miglia road race
    • Multiple references to the life and work of the British Racing Driver
    • Also, a farewell tour for this original 300 SLR racing sports car before it returned to the Mercedes-Benz Museum: It has also made guest appearances at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the British Grand Prix, and the Goodwood Revival, in 2021.
  • Elaborate film work:
    • Filmed on a Sunday morning with around 50 cast and crew
    • Eight Police Motorcycle Outriders on duty
    • Renowned production advisers INP Media Limited and Samuelson Wylie Associates with considerable Hollywood-action-movie experience
    • Helicopter shots by the team best known for their aerial work for the James-Bond franchise; as well as, for flying under Tower Bridge for the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony film
    • Preparation of the 300 SLR by Mercedes-Benz Classic
    • Special permits for trucks entering London.
  • Media mix and period of playout:
    • Planned channels: television and the established worldwide Mercedes-Benz social-media channels.