He appeared on the starting grid quite suddenly as if dropped from the sky, this young man from French speaking Africa. His name was Guy Moll, but little else was known of him. The son of a French father and Spanish mother who had emigrated to Algeria, it was rumored that he had only started racing two years previous to showing up at the 1933 Grand Prix de Marseilles at Miramas, host to the 1926 French Grand Prix where he finished an astounding third. Brought there by Marcel Lehoux who in addition to having driven in and won several Grands Prix owned a large trade company in Algeria. While watching Moll drive in local events driving a Lorraine-Dietrich he was struck by the young man’s confidence and natural ability. Lehoux entered Moll in the Grand Prix of Oran, in April 1932. Providing Moll with one of his own cars, a Bugatti 35C, Moll immediately took the lead, only to surrender it to Jean-Pierre Wimille before eventually having to retire due to mechanical problems.
For 1933 Moll ordered one of the latest Alfa Romeo 2300 Monzas. What followed was a series of podium finishes. Lehoux’s wasn’t the only eye he caught; Enzo Ferrari too saw something special. Signed to drive for the Scuderia in 1934 he promptly scored a win at the Grand Prix of Monaco. Ferrari would later remark that “…a debutant. His name was Guy Moll and he was showing that he belonged to the small group of top drivers. It is true that Moll was not the first foreigner that drove for me, but I acknowledge that he was the most sensational one. That day Moll showed his champion style, established his personality as driver and proved me right when choosing him for my team.”
In one short season he was not only challenging the best but beating them. Achille Varzi provided back-handed proof that the Algerian was making an impression when he was accused of having tried to force Moll off the road while the two “teammates” battled for the win in Tripoli. Moll would win again at the daunting Avusrennen driving an Alfa Romeo in streamlined configuration.
The Coppa Ciano was held without the Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz teams. The race developed into another fight between Varzi and Moll and Enzo Ferrari remembered: “Moll had just overtaken Varzi, but immediately after had a puncture quite close to the pit box. Varzi overtook Moll then, but just after changing the tyre, Moll chased Varzi like a madman and, after just one lap, was breathing over his neck. I decided to make him a signal to hold positions; I do not think it is a good idea for a team to engage the drivers in such battles, which might sometimes be too close of provocation. So I prepared the signal, but just in the moment that I was showing it to Moll, his car started a frightening spin in the middle of the corner. Moll changed gears and managing a science-fiction manoeuvre solved the spin, whilst at the same time he waved his hand at me telling that he had read and understood my message! I have to reckon I was puzzled. I had never witnessed such coolness, such a self-belief and confidence all mixed-up in the middle of an obvious moment of danger. I understood that, at that precise moment, danger for him was more related to others than to himself. He was ready to solve a difficult situation even with an unorthodox manoeuvre, and probably that was exactly what he did.”
At the next race, Pescara, Moll, racing to re-take the lead from Fagioli met his end when he came upon the soon to be lapped Ernst Henne in a Mercedes, a full lap behind and having his first taste of real Grand Prix racing. His concentration broken Moll braked, lost control, nearly missed Henne, ran off the track, almost regained control but then ran into a ditch before finally coming to rest against a barn wall. The 24-year-old Algerian died shortly after the crash. Even when the powerful German cars were starting to eclipse the Italians, he was still able to race them on level terms when the conditions favored his astounding talent. He was giving proof of this in his last race.