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The Man in the White Suit [Hardcover]

Ben Collins
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)

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Book Description

16 Sep 2010

The Stig gets his kit off and reveals how he came to be Top Gear's iconic racing driver and so much more - including what it's like to thrash an Aston Martin DBS, train for the Army and face the terror of Jeremy Clarkson's underwear…

When the Black Stig disappeared off the end of an aircraft carrier in 2003, we were introduced to The White Stig. Faster. Stranger. Harder to keep clean. And ever since, millions have wondered – who is The Man in the White Suit? They're about to find out.

Ben Collins caught the car the bug young, kicking his dad's boss in the balls for not giving him a company Jag. This was the attitude that eventually led him to spend seven years sharing a cabin with Jeremy Clarkson's underwear, James May's PhD thesis and Richard Hammond's hairspray. Because he is The Stig.

Now he tells all about life inside the iconic white helmet. What it's like to guide a blind ex-RAF officer around the Top Gear track; pit a drug dealer's Mitsubishi Evo against a Trojan tank; set a Vauxhall Monara against Chloe the dancing Ninja; and race double-decker Routemasters against bendy buses. Not to mention all the inside stuff on how the show's amazing driving sequences are made.

He also reveals how he got to be there – setting
a Dunsfold lap time faster than Michael Schumacher's. Breaking records with the best of the best at Daytona and Le Mans.

It's an awesome story, told by an amazing man.



Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition edition (16 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000732796X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007327966
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16.3 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 195,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ben Collins was born in Bristol before moving to California, where he competed as a junior Olympic standard swimmer. When a career as a fighter pilot was cut short by a visit to the optician, Ben switched to cars. He won races in every category from Formula Three to Le Mans Sportscars and GT, and captured the European ASCAR title. When a lack of funding curtailed his racing career, Ben joined the Army Reserves. He also worked as a Hollywood stuntman. In 2003 he became the anonymous fourth presenter, known as The Stig, of Top Gear, coaching celebrities, organising car chases and testing hundreds of priceless cars. Eight years and 13 series on, his alter ego is recognised by millions around the world. Ben lives in the West country with his wife Georgie and 3 children.

Product Description

Review

"This is a fun, must read adventure for anyone who calls themselves a car nut." --MC2-The Mini Magazine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

The Stig is the mysterious star attraction of BBC2's cult TV show Top Gear. Fervent media frenzy constantly surrounds the identity of the tame racing driver.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inside the Stig 21 Oct 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
At first I was apprehensive whether this Kindle version would have the photo's that are found in the hardback book, but fortunately they are there, and as I have Kindle for iPad they are in colour!
Onto the book, at first I was given the impression that Mr Collins had quite a high opinion of himself, taking great pleasure in saying that he was quicker round the Top Gear track than the old Stig. Maybe his alter ego had gone to his head! But as you read further into the book you start to wonder if the bravado is all tongue in cheek, particularly when he recounts a story of teaching a blind driver to drive the Top Gear track and beat some of the able bodied celebs. The emotion he portayed over his joy for the guys achievement speaks volumes. Also when he talks of his family you again get a glimpse into the softer side of a not so tame racing driver.
The other interesting aspect of this autobiography are the not so well known parts of Ben Collins life, such as his time in the army and stunt driving on the odd film. Also interesting is hearing about various Top Gear episodes from behind the scenes and how Ben was having to be more and more careful as speculation of Stigs identity increased. Towards the end of the book he speaks of his struggles over wishing to be a bona fide racing driver and yet having to hide behind this persona, he even likens it to how a superheroes alter ego must feel!
Its this secrecy that ultimately leads to him taking off the suit, plus the ever increasing speculation since he was named in a report on Hammonds jet car accident. And while the book finishes at the last Top Gear series he had done, there was no mention of Rubens Barrichello beating his laptime. I wonder why!
Overall a good read, particularly if you are a fan of Top Gear or motor racing in general, as long as you dont mind the author re-using phrases throughout the book, particularly one about lactic acid in muscles! And the odd swear word here and there.
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing............ 1 Oct 2010
Format:Hardcover
Unlike other reviewers I am disappointed on several counts:

Firstly, accepting that Ben isn't a writer by profession, I find his style to be less than captivating and full of such detail about past events I feel that much of it must be embellished or even imagined. That isn't to doubt the actual events themselves, but I feel that he must either have recorded the events he recalls so vividly starting from childhood, on film, video, tape or in a detailed diary, or more likely that he simply imagined the details for the sake of a good read.

Secondly, his reputation is that of a "nice chap", easy to get along with, patient and kind. I accept that because I've never met him to enable me to think otherwise. However, what he writes is distinctly at odds with that at times. Certainly there's many examples of his impatience, some of his extreme competitiveness at a cost to others, and a few of rudeness and inconsideration to others. I don't know what to make of these anomolies. He is a driven man, and it's clear he WILL do what he needs to, to get what he wants.

He seems to be either dismissive or "unimpressed" by the BBC people he worked with for so long, and even unappreciative of what they have done for him. He may feel agrieved at more recent treatment over this book, but as he makes clear himself very early on in the book, he was very well aware of the need for his anonymity and adhered to it until it was to his benefit to turn his back on that obligation. The fact that the BBC resorted to expensive law instead of finding an amicable solution is not to their credit but it doesn't make them the original villains in the case.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Revenge is not always so sweet 21 Sep 2010
Format:Hardcover
When Ben Collins was 5 he kicked his Dad's boss in the balls because his Daddy hadn't been given a Jaguar XJS like the one his boss had just ordered for himself. This provided enormous entertainment for the guests at the party. This book seems to be the adult Ben's attempt to do much the same thing to his own Top Gear bosses now but the result is sadly less funny.

Most of the book is quite harmless but very dull for those who are not petrolheads. There is way too much description of his early racing career and army days. There are some interesting snippets about Top Gear behind the scenes but no secrets (one wonders why the BBC bothered going to court over this). His major grievance seems to be that he wasn't allowed to drive in the Le Mans 24 race as the Stig. There also seems to be a curious blurring of identity as he seems to feel that he really is a superhero like the Stig.

It is obviously very annoying as a racing driver to work for 7 years on the world's biggest car show on TV and not to be able to cash in on this or even put it on your CV. A little more sharing of the goodies at Top Gear would have been happier for all concerned. This is not a good book but it is probably at least as good as all the other trashy official BBC Stig merchandise already filling the shelves before Christmas.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars insightful read 24 Aug 2013
By Baggers
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very good book that goes into great detail about Bens life, not just as the stig. Some say being the stig is the best job in the world ... this books tells a story there's more to life than being the stig
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars good book
Good read, great night into making of top gear and what really happens on and off camera, we'll worth reading
Published 10 days ago by Jon
3.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting anecdotes but a pretty convincing case of self...
Some interesting anecdotes but a pretty convincing case of self justification by a nearly man. He was very good at being the Stig though.
Published 12 days ago by gred
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
Really enjoyed reading this book. Nice the way it bounced from the day job to the army stuff at weekends.
Published 2 months ago by Phil M.
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting insights to filming Top Gear
I did enjoy this book, in particular the background behind filming
Top Gear. It did seem to jump around a bit and I also got a bit irritated with the Stig's high opinion of... Read more
Published 2 months ago by B38bass
4.0 out of 5 stars The Man in the White Suit: The Stig, Le Mans, The Fast Lane and Me
I've read and re read this book as it is a fascinating insight to the Stig and inside information about Top Gear. Better than I had expected an excellent read.
Published 4 months ago by David Jelfs
5.0 out of 5 stars good read
Good read - it's about Stig and his life

Few good extracts of Top Gear and how it works

Had to read on ipad and have YouTube open to watch the scenes as he... Read more
Published 4 months ago by UKSoftwarebrokers
3.0 out of 5 stars not a bad read
Suspect that I was expecting a bit more of a behind the scenes look at top gear set. Enjoyed the read all the same.
Published 6 months ago by Mr G S Malings
3.0 out of 5 stars ok
Well it's ok, good insight into top gear but also a load of generic racing stuff that I skipped by
Published 6 months ago by Neil Procter
5.0 out of 5 stars Behind the scenes at Top Gear
Really well written and fascinating (if you like cars) stories of THE STIG's life in the army and Formula One before joining the Top Gear team to drive every type of high... Read more
Published 6 months ago by C. M. Hicks
5.0 out of 5 stars Ecellent
Brilliant, found it hard to put down I enjoyed it so much. I would highly recommend to any one to read this book.
Published 7 months ago by Tony
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