Top Gear's The Stig revealed to Bristol firm
The owners of a Bristol photographic gallery have discovered the true identity of Top Gear's mystery racing driver The Stig - but have been sworn to secrecy.
Roger and Simon Whitehead, father and son owners of Gallery 2C in Clifton, were shocked when a customer who wanted to produce a limited edition image of the motoring show's 'tame racing driver' revealed that he was the legendary Stig himself.
The stranger, who told the gallery owners his true identity after asking them sign a confidentiality agreement, at first claimed he worked in marketing for the BBC.
Roger, 60, a retired catering company executive, said it was last September when The Stig first approached them to produce the special image.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
"It was in the autumn when this gentleman walked into the gallery and said he worked as an executive for the BBC and needed a print produced.
"He wanted to produce 450 limited edition signed images of the Stig which he was going to market to car magazines and dealerships.
"We talked through the process of creating a piece of photographic art and then quoted him a price.
"He said that it sounded fine and confirmed he owned the copyright of the image and that if we wanted to go forward with the project we needed to sign a confidentiality agreement, which we did.
"Then he told us who he really was."
Roger and Simon were both stunned when the stranger revealed his true identity, but after some careful background research, Roger says he is "99 percent sure he is who he says he is."
Simon Whitehead, 27, a professional photographer who founded the business two years ago with his father, said he was shocked when the mystery customer made the revelation.
"I was absolutely amazed when he said he was The Stig, it was quite a big thing in a weird way
"I suppose he had to tell us because he was planning to work with us in the future and had to get it out of the way."
Both Simon and Roger have sworn not to reveal The Stig's true identity.
Only two copies of the image,which shows the Stig posing on a salt lake desert, have been produced by the gallery so far, but Simon says they have been in contact with The Stig and are hoping to produce more in the near future.
The producers of Top Gear have consistently refused to confirm the identity of the show's driving ace since his first appearance in 2002, but fans continue to speculate who might be behind the famous helmet, with both Nigel Mansell and Perry McCarthy named as possible contenders.
A BBC spokesperson today said that the BBC "never reveals who, or what, The Stig is".
Among the rumoured true identies of The Stig are Bristol stunt driver and racer Ben Collins.