Imagine being given the chance to get behind the wheel of James Bond’s Aston Martin DB10
If that wasn’t good enough - now imagine being paid to do it!
Well that is exactly what happened to Tabler Paul Swift, who didn’t just drive it, but put it through its paces in spectacular style it’s all in a day’s work for one of the country’s leading precision drivers, who has worked with Top Gear – and its former stars James May, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson, and at the likes of Carfest and Britain’s Got Talent.
When his services aren’t being called on by TV or the corporate world, Swift is busy overseeing his own business – Paul Swift Precision Driving, which gives mere mortals the chance to experience the highs of stunt driving.
Swift, a member of Darlington Bondgate Round Table, reveals more about his high-octane career – having showed a knack for his skills as a kid after being set a challenge by his dad Russ - also a stunt driver and famous for being the Montego Man (look up the video on You Tube).
“My dad was doing similar kinds of events like I am now in the 1980s and like every kid, I wanted to be like my dad,” said the 37-year-old.
“When I was old enough he would take me with him. I was about seven years old, jumped on the garden mower and then drove it on two wheels the length of the garden!
“Given the bumps on the lawn doing it on tarmac was a doddle!”
Swift continued his motoring education in his teenage years at his local motor club. He began competitive driving winning local championships, regional events before going to capture the national British Trial and Rally Drivers Association title – which he did a total of FOUR times. In addition, he lifted the MSA Autotest title three times.
Swift’s talent saw him join his dad’s stunt driving team taking him all over the world, but it wasn’t destined to be career move as he took up an apprenticeship as a mechanical engineer.
But that all changed in 2002 as Mini got in touch and invited him to drive of as part of their Mini Adventure promotion - through the London traffic and then the London Motor show.
The spanner was ditched and the precision driving took off!
“We did a 10 minute show the first time – adding a bit of theatre to the exhibition. Two years later, I was running the whole stunt driving team, including the drivers, putting on a bigger and better show.
“It was at that show I met the guys from Top Gear and they asked if I would put together a team. I worked with them on a number of projects and what you see on TV, isn’t 90 per cent of what goes on.
“We got to play rugby at Twickenham in cars. There’s a lot of mutual respect for what we can do and their talents. It’s incredible to think we’ve been working with the Top Gear team for 10 years. There was one very memorable show where the three of them swapped each other’s lines and we were word perfect. It was brilliant.
“Over the years, it’s not just Top Gear the team work with, but a lot of presenters – such as Ant and Dec and Graham Norton, plus Britain’s Got Talent.”
When Swift isn’t skilfully manoeuvring cars at speed, not crashing them as that is what stunt drivers do, he can be found out with Round Table.
He was introduced to Table through a close friend Simon MacConachie, general manager of the local Vauxhall dealership.
“He was chairman a couple of years ago and because of connection with cars, he asked if I could come with an activity for the group.
“The guys came and had a go and loved it. Simon invited me along and then come Christmas asked if I wanted to drive on the sleigh – obviously a bit different to the day job.
“I couldn’t resist and love driving the sleigh given what it means to the community – even if it is at five miles an hour!”
I was given the James Bond DB 10 at Top Gear Live at the O2 in November. It was an experience driving one of the most famous cars in the world. More than 80,000 people saw that show.
You can’t thrash it around as it’s not your car, but I’m lucky to have done this for a living day in day out, which is why get drive a car like this!
Last year I bought a Ford Mustang and drove it at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It had a five litre V8 engine. This was just your average Mustang as I ordered it and it took six months before it came to England as it unique in being right hand drive.
The most spectacular show was involving a Porsche 911 and a Porsche 953.
I’ve driven a Bugatti Veyron – which is the fastest car in the world. I am also a fan of classic cars and have three Escorts – Mk I and Mk IIs, as well as six Mini Coopers.
*Interested in a Paul Swift Driving Experience? Paul can provide a two-hour Table night experience in the summer at one of three venues – Silverstone; Thruxton or Darlington. For more details go to www.paulswift.com