The new Ford Mustang is about to land in New Zealand and already it’s being called the ‘ultimate stunt car’ – by none other than Ben Collins, for many years ‘The Stig’ on BBC television show Top Gear. Collins, 40, whose movie stunt-driving credits include doubling for Daniel Craig in the James Bond films Quantum of Solace, Skyfall and the latest Spectre, as well as The Dark Knight Rises and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, uses the 2015 Mustang in his new film Ben Collins: Stunt Driver.In it, the Mustang fastback (above) and its 5.0-litre V8 engine beats an array of high-performance road and competition cars during 48 hours of explosive, high-speed challenges featuring aerobatic planes, helicopter gunships and military machines. “The point of this adventure was to find the perfect car for an epic, high-octane, Hollywood-style car chase, and it’s the iconic Ford Mustang that gets top billing,” Collins said. “Mustang has starred in many a classic car chase during the past 50 years, and is still the stunt driver’s weapon of choice to leave the bad guys standing in a cloud of tyre smoke.” Not surprisingly, the film company latched on to Collins’ praise. “Ben’s incredible stunt-driving skill and close relationship with the car industry has meant we were able to leave no stone unturned in making this a truly spectacular action experience,” said Nicola Pearcey, the executive producer. Added Ford of Europe marketing executive Roelant de Waard: “Being named the ultimate stunt car by Ben Collins further cements Mustang’s place as an automotive and screen icon. “Mustang has made more than 3700 movie appearances and has kept cinema-goers on the edge of their seats in car chases from the legendary Bullitt sequence in 1968, to Need for Speed in 2014, the first movie to feature the all-new Mustang.” Collins was replaced on Top Gear in 2010 after the BBC failed to gain a British High Court injunction stopping his autobiography being published. In it he unmasked himself as The Stig. The BBC claimed Collins had broken a confidentiality agreement. Frontman Jeremy Clarkson called him a “greedy tw*t”
and said: “He’s history as far as we are concerned. He’s sacked.” Co-host James May talked of a Top Gear stunt where they would “nail Collins’ head to a table.”But Collins was said to be unhappy that Clarkson, May and Richard Hammond were able to earn lucrative royalties from promotional appearances and book deals while he, because of his forced anonymity, was not able to cash in on a cent of Top Gear’s vast global popularity. Collins’ cover was actually blown before his book appeared, after a builder working on Collins’ home spotted the white racing suit and helmet hanging in a cabinet and alerted a British national newspaper. Since his departure from Top Gear the former British single-seater Formula Three champion has made a career out of books, DVDs, and film work. Top Gear was shut down by the BBC after Clarkson was sacked for punching a producer. A new show with Clarkson, May and Hammond is in the works with global company Amazon.
- The first shipment of Mustangs for New Zealand will land towards the end of this month. One boatload has already left the United States and a second is due to depart any day. “The first boatload has been sold to customers already,” said Ford NZ communications manager Tom Clancy. “There will be some dealer vehicles in both shipments but nearly all are going to their new owners.”