Crash, bang, wallop! Five incredible stunt drivers

Head on collision between two cars, mid air
Don't try this yourselves
"Brian Carson's trademark is to send a car flying into the air where it rolls and twists through flame and fire only to come crashing down on its roof"
  • | by Chris Pollitt

You’d think the phrase ‘today I’m going to drive my car off a building’ might be one of those things that’s never been uttered, but, somewhat worryingly, you’d be wrong.

Yup, there are people out there who love nothing more than building a car with the sole intention of destroying it in a blaze of pyrotechnics and twisted metal.

We’ve taken it upon ourselves to tell you all about five of our favourite stunt drivers, each more crash-happy than the last.

So, don your helmet, fill out those life insurance forms and buckle up – you’re about to see some pretty spectacular carnage.

Oh, and don’t try this at home – car insurance companies don’t tend to look kindly on this sort of thing and any claim you attempt to make from a stunt-related misadventure is likely to be given the short shrift…

Brian Carson

Brian Carson

Brian never disappoints with his spectacular levels of vehicular destruction. He started out with the simple jump-into-a-stack-of-cars-and-explode stunts in the 70s, but since then he’s graduated to incredible flips and leaps which test his V8 powered vehicle’s roll cages to their very limits.

The leap from the roof of a Las Vegas parking structure in a Chevrolet is a personal favourite, but his ‘did that go wrong?’ stunts are the best. Yes, Brian’s trademark is to send a car flying into the air where it rolls and twists through flame and fire only to come crashing down upon a pile of unfortunately parked cars, on its roof. The thing is, though, the writing on the car is the right way up – he meant to land that way.

He’s also a fan of offering his unique brand of destruction to vehicles other than the stereotypical saloon, resulting in more motorhomes and buses than we care to count meeting their maker in a blaze of tangled tin.

Remy Julienne

Ford Mustang escapes from burning hut

You might not be particularly familiar with Rémy by name, but we can assure you that you will have seen his work.

He’s a legend in his field, mainly because he tends to ignore the laws of physics as well as any consideration for the well-being of any vehicle he gets his hands on.

Unlike Brian Carson, Rémy’s area of expertise is the wanton destruction of cars for the movies. He’s worked on hundreds of French films - the Taxi! franchise, to name one - but it’s his work on the Bond franchise that you’ll have probably seen. Sir Roger Moore driving a Renault around Paris with its roof and rear wheels cut off in View To A Kill? Yup, that was Rémy. Timothy Dalton sliding his Aston Martin around the ice in the Living Daylights? Indeedy, that was Rémy, too.

Oh, and he also worked on a little British film going by the name of the Italian Job, in which he drove some of the cars – including the Minis, rumour has it – which made up one of the most iconic cars chases of all time. Not a bad thing to have on your CV, Rémy.

Spanky Spangler

Head on collision between two cars, mid air

He’s called Spanky... Spanky! Any man with a name like that was never going to work in a bank, or in a charity shop.

We’re actually pretty sure that he ended up being a stunt driver because of the name, not any skills he might have behind the wheel. Thankfully, though, old Spanky is a bit of a dab hand when he’s behind the soon-to-be wrecked steering wheel of a car. He’s done plenty of film and TV projects, but, much like Mr Carson, it’s those big arenas that really get him fired up.

With a true ‘go big or go home’ approach to his work, Spanky never fails to give the crowd what they want – gratuitous destruction. He’s jumped cars through – yes, through – buses.

He once attempted to jump over a significant body of water in a jet-powered Lincoln Continental (a car, erm, famed for its brick-like aerodynamics) and, as you can see in the picture, he’s also crashed mid-air into fellow brilliantly named stuntman Randy Hill in the ‘Sky Crash’.

Like many or his peers, though, Spanky is also just as famous for getting it wrong. He’s nearly drowned, he’s nearly been barbecued and he’s broken more bones than even he himself can count. He’s successful most of the time, though, and he’s showing no signs of quitting yet!

Russ Swift

Mini at crazy angle

Russ Swift and his stunt team have been around for decades. He’s done everything from TV adverts to big-budget movies, and has enjoyed numerous appearances on Top Gear.

Unlike the others listed here, Russ isn’t a devout twister of motoring metal, preferring to leave the cars in a roadworthy state after he’s been behind the wheel. The tyres might need changing, though, as skids, handbrake turns and smoke-billowing wheel-spins are all par for the course in Russ’s world.

Russ can do the impossible with a car thanks to his background in autotesting, a sport that demands the ability to drive cars around tight and complex courses in the fastest time possible.

He’s a record breaker, too, thanks to his ability to parallel park a car at speed, with breathing room that can be measured in mere inches. He can also drive pretty much any car on two wheels, which has got to be handy when he’s doing the weekly ‘big shop’ on a Saturday.

Ben Collins

Ben Collins

Yes, he was the Stig, but we’re not bothered about that. Flinging a supercar around a track is child’s play compared to what Ben has been up to during his post-Top Gear days.

In fact, let’s start with a biggie – he’s only doubled James chuffin’ Bond! Yup, that incredible opening scene from Quantum Of Sollace – filled with roaring Aston Martin engine noises and gunfire – was Mr Stig behind the wheel. He was also behind the wheel of numerous cars in Skyfall, too.

Basically, Ben is nothing short of incredible no matter what vehicle he’s charged with driving, be it a Ferrari or a 4x4, hence why he gets the most impressive CV fodder offered to him on a regular basis.

He’s also worked on Batman and the new Fast And Furious (yes, they’re still making them) movies.

It’s safe to say that since his days as a racer and a mysterious man in a white race suit, Ben’s foray into the world of stunt and precision driving has seen him become one of the greats.