• Sep 4, 2010
The Stig, as we're all now aware, is portrayed by talented wheelman Ben Collins. Stiggie, like the three Top Gear presenters, is beloved by fans around the globe. It's hard to attend a motorsports event without someone claiming to be a fat relative of the white-suited power lap maestro. What would persuade Mr. Collins to give up his clandestine position behind the visor? According to The Daily Mail, it all comes down to money.

Ben Collins' company, Collins AutoSport, has reportedly racked up over $1.5 million dollars in losses over the last five years. He has a wife, three young kids and three other business ventures to support. The other members of Top Gear command handsome sums (rightfully so) and perhaps Collins felt he deserved a larger slice of the BBC cash cake. Removing the helmet allows him to cash in on what's sure to be a substantial number of opportunities. He recently received an advance of close to $400,000 to begin work on his autobiography and there's already talk of a Ben Collins TV Show.

Is breaking the trust of his Top Gear brethren worth the potential financial windfall? In the eyes of many fans, it might not be, yet we imagine Collins' autobiography will be a page-turner. To Collins and his family, however, this bold move might be the fast lap to fiscal freedom. Thanks for the tip, stecki!

[Source: The Daily Mail]


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  • 48 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Stupid move. He will sell no more copies of his autobiography just because he was the stig. No one cares he was the stig, everyone will just move on once a new stig is "created"
        • 4 Years Ago
        You're right. I avoided all the "Is this the Stig? [SPOILER ALERT]" stories, but now that it's out, I don't really care who it is (and I never heard of Ben Collins). The show will go on, and I'm sure Top Gear will make a hilarious portrayal of White Stig's demise. Here's to New Stig!
      • 4 Years Ago
      So he outs himself due to the fact his business is in the hole for 1.5 million and 3 other business's to um support. Erm maybe I'm not the first to think this but if he's in the hole this much this badly to out himself out of a steady gig he may have more problems than just money. Like I dunno poor management of his finance's. He should of held out till his next contract renewal then ask for a higher percentage cut of all The Stig merch since the other host's get paid more.

      Overall the book deal to me shows another poor choice of business for Collins. I wish him well but I doubt he'll be back as The Stig.
      • 4 Years Ago
      You know, they could have spent an entire season milking the slow "reveal" of the stig and then finally revealed him and then let him be part of the show without a helmet. That would have been the right thing to do and a great ratings boost.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Meh, it would only be a ratings boost for one show. The Stig isn't a person, but rather a character created by the show's writers. Maybe I'm in the minority of audience members, but I'm betting not, that is more interested in what clever introduction has been crafted for the stig rather than who is in the suit. At the end of the day, pretty much all the mystique that is The Stig is created by the writers. There is nothing interesting about The Stig that isn't part of a script.
      • 4 Years Ago
      He's getting out at a good time, people are interested in who he is, and what he has to say. It's really not like Top Gear loses anything, because they'll just get a new Stig. I have a feeling that Clarkson and Co. are probably more "in" on this than you'd think...
      • 4 Years Ago
      What he should have done instead was write a book about all the rumors about like "some say that I'm made of cheese. thats not correct, I'm actually made up of a monkey, a fish, and a grasshopper. you know stuff like that and he could have had a good run with that.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The difference is that a book like that would have to use the character of the Stig, which is owned by BBC, not Ben Collins. But he can write an autobiography of himself.

        Seems to me that his contract with BBC would have stipulated that he can't write a book containing any information about BBC or Top Gear until it runs out.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I Im a little surprised that it was one person
      • 4 Years Ago
      For those of you who don't "speak Morse code", .. -. . . -.. -- --- .-. . $ equals to INEEDMORE $
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's hard to blame the guy for trying to put food on the family table.

      On the other hand, his contribution to the show was as a driver. And I assume he was well enough paid for that.
      He did not create the stig character or do anything to devlop that character. He simply appeared in a white suit and did not speak.
      That is not quite the same input as the hosts have.

      Whether you agree or not, the actual hosts could make the argument that he popularity of the show is due to them.

      The stig could have been a different guy every episode and I would not have known the difference.
      You could argue that you want the same level of driving skill so the lap times amount to a hill of beans.
      But, let's face it. This show is not about strict testing. Not even close.

      The real question in my mind is how his company lost 1.5Mil.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Nobody will care about him. Despite following Top Gear pretty religiously, I have no desire to read an autobiography. He will be replaced, and the show will continue as it has.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I disagree. I'm actually very interested in his views, if not his life. The three main guys are just car guys, not experts. I'd like a critical view from the mouth of the driver who can actually put them around a track. I'm also not entirely sure that this is a mistake. He might be able to use this celebrity to gain jobs for other shows or even start his own series.
        • 4 Years Ago
        He's not the only Stig to leave. Maybe the next one will be even quicker.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree. The Stig wasn't about being a person, but a character. If The Stig was 4 or 5 racers, I wouldn't care.
        • 4 Years Ago
        gefinley 7:51PM (9/04/2010)

        > Nobody will care about him.

        Could you please spread your OWN opinions, not someone else's?

        Top Gear presenters permanently publish some books, columns or movies of little value when compared with Top Gear itself (like Hammond's crappy On The Edge book or May's yawner column) and people still buy these products.

        Why?

        Because of the indirect affiliation with Top Gear. That's how you monetize the nameplate.

        Same will be with the Stig's book. BBC payed him monthly salary of GBP 5.000 and 10.000 for the show, about 100x times less that what Clarkson, Hammond or May get. Pretty unimpressive salary if we consider Top Gear has 300.000.000 viewers in the entire world and is the most unique, most popular and best known motoring show on this planet.

        Small wonder he resigned.
        • 4 Years Ago
        for all the people who think he's made a mistake, take a look at Black Stig, Perry McCarthy and see how much he charges now for after-dinner speaking, how swanky his new house is and his life-style...Perry didn't have much to his name when he did his autobiography. Ben will be just fine.

        Also, Ben is very good, well known driver in the industry, but his commitments for the Beeb probably limited his options on the track. This will change,now he is free from the Beeb contract. ....and can you imagien the PR if a Team signs him Maybe he'll get some sponsorship from it all.

        He will do just fine....maybe BBC should have paid him more fairly seeing as by the comments he was as much of a star as any of the others
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Stig is just a popular figure, who is behind the helmet is irrelevant. It's like Daniel Craig pulling out of the next Bond movie. It would just mean he lost a good job but some other actor would be hired to play Bond and the Bond movie would do just as well. People feel about the stig like they feel about Bond. They like the character being played but who is playing him isn't relevant.

        When you combine a lot of people think this is a "bitch move" with the fact that few people are interested this is a stupid move.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What is a "stig" anyway?
      • 4 Years Ago
      If the Stig wrote his autobiography as the Stig (not Ben Collins), he'd make a whole lot more.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Instead of stig news I would like to see car comparison and reviews..... please!
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