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The Man in the White Suit Paperback – April 28, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (April 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000733169X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007331697
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Car culture's Deep Throat has come forward."  —New York Times blog


"An interesting look into the life of a man that landed in an amazing job on TopGear UK, and a telling look at the life of TG behind the scenes."  —The Protagonist blog

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 loves in the West country with his wife Georgie and 3 children.

Customer Reviews

Very entertaining book.
Ernest S
Ben Collins' book is not just an autobiography, but also a behind the scenes look at Top Gear.
Gearhead Mania
It's funny, happy, sad, angry, and everything in between.
T. Head

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Karel Florian on December 19, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was kind of reluctant when reading the reviews here but my love for Top Gear took over. The book is good. Simple. There's a ton of material about driving and half of the book describes Ben's 8 years long career with Top Gear. You won't find however anything surprising and I can hardly think of any reason why BBC put so much effort into blocking this book out.

-- SPOILER ALERT --
You will read about Ben's beginnings, his ambition to race at any conditions and any price. After joining TG team the story becomes familiar and you get a sense how massive was the amount of work put into each episode. I was expecting to find out some backstage opinions on the presenter trio (Clarkson being an arrogant type for example) but nope - seems they're the same as on the telly. You will get very detailed information about how the celebrities were taught and what was their approach to driving on the TG track. You will also find out how the driving and pass-by sequences were made and how hectic the job of Stig could be. Most of the chapters copy the epizode flow so you'll read about Veyron race from Italy to London, the charity race in Mallorca, 24 hrs endurance race in diesel BMW and so on, including all the details possible.

The Stig job must have been (and probably still is) very demanding as Andy Willman (exec producer) seems like crazily tough guy, who's been pushing the show forward together with Clarkson. There's an urgent sense of split personality when Ben Collins acted as a Stig and as well as himself during several episodes. Not to mention the fact how crazy was the TG team to keep Stig's identity secret.

The book covers the era from beginnings of white Stig until the episode with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Man in the White Suit

I have been an avid fan of Top Gear since I first saw an episode a few years ago. Fifth Gear, albeit a similar program, was never quite as entertaining as Top Gear mainly because of the chemistry between the presenters and because Top Gear is more focused on entertainment. Ben Collins' book is not just an autobiography, but also a behind the scenes look at Top Gear. As I suspected, Top Gear is more about entertaining the audience than a factual car review show. Ben Collins revealed that a lot of the driving sequences, such as the Corvette and Fiesta duel in the mall, was mainly action sequences taken in piece meal with the presenter driving sequences cut/pasted into the whole affair to make them look good. I understand that there are a lot of people there heavily criticizing Ben for leaving Top Gear and the "best job in the world", but I read this book and reviewed it objectively as possible even though I am a Top Gear fan and gearhead/petrol head. As an example of how Top Gear's final production sequences are aimed at entertainment, Ben Collins said in a South African interview after the release of his book that out of the 3 presenters, the best driver was James May. The reason is that May has an engineering background and is more sorted out. In the book, Collins described May as always pretending to be a poor driver to provide some hint of comic relief. In stark contrast, Fifth Gear is too heavy on professional drivers. I've seen episodes where Jason Plato, Tiff Needell, Ben Collins, and Victoria Butler-Henderson bored me to sleep because there wasn't any "cocking about" or entertainment - it was too factual and precise.

So let's start from the beginning.

Ben is a well-articulated speaker and writer.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bianca Lannning on April 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Being a rabid fan of Top Gear UK and being somewhat disappointed by the reaction of the presenters to Ben wanting to move on; it was refreshing to hear his side of the story and how he never spoke ill of the show or his co-workers. Clarkson Hammond and May could learn from that. I always knew who the stig was and it never dulled my enjoyment of the show. Why make such a big deal out of it?
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Timothy S. Wilson on January 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Having watched the TV series like most people for a number of years, I initially thought I would not buy the book due to how Ben Collins handled his departure from Top Gear. Curiosity got the better of me and I decided to buy the book.

Ben goes into detail into his earlier year and gives some interesting insight into the career of a racing driver from a young age. However he does go into minute details of certain laps within races that you wonder how he can remember such things after years of racing. The book also gives the impression that he prevails over what ever odds, but then again he is the Stig! (or was)

Its a very light read and I found that it was interesting to hear about his life outside of Top Gear.

I would have liked to have read more about the other Top Gear presenters and background to the departure from the show.

The book isnt an expose but provides some colour to the man behind the Stig.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joe Marietta on March 5, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read Black Stig's book (Flat Out Flat Broke) which is highly reviewed so I expected it to be awesome. I felt it was decent but just a few pages on him being the Stig. If Black Stig's book was reviewed as awesome and White Stig's book reviews were mixed okay, then I wasn't expecting much from this.... boy was I surprised. A lot of detail about White Stig's time at TG, very entertaining stuff. But he also goes into great detail about his time trying to get a break in racing and then his time in the army. All in all, I was very happy to have purchased this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a must read for any Top Gear fan in my opinion.
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