This Is The First Ever Workshop Manual From The Late, Great John Haynes
Haynes Manuals are an institution. So many of us started out on cars with a soon-to-be-grubby workshop manual from Haynes spread out in front of a fistful of wrenches and baffling car parts. Now the man who started it all, John Haynes, founder of the Haynes Publishing Group and the Haynes International Motor Museum has passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, aged 80. He was famously kind and generous, and he leaves behind a remarkable publishing legacy that started with his first ever book, “Building a 750 Special”.
He was born on 25 March 1938 in Ceylon, where his father was the manager of a tea plantation. John loved nothing more than riding around the plantation with his father in their Morris 8 saloon. He later moved to the UK to attend boarding school, where he persuaded his house master to allow him to miss rugby and instead work on converting an Austin 7 into a lightweight special. Once finished, he advertised the car for sale, received over 150 replies to the advert, and made a profit, prompting him to produce a booklet showing other enthusiasts how he’d built the car. The first print run of 250 copies sold out in ten days.
During his National Service in the Royal Air Force (RAF) he successfully developed and competitively raced several race cars, including an Elva Courier. Then, in 1965, John was posted to Aden, where an RAF colleague bought an Austin-Healey Sprite, and asked John to help him rebuild it. John agreed, and quickly realised that the official factory manual was not designed to help the average car owner. He bought a camera and photographed the process of dismantling and rebuilding the engine; the first Haynes Manual, for the Austin-Healey Sprite, was published in 1966. Its first print run of 3000 sold out in less than three months, and since then over 200 million Haynes Manuals have been sold around the world.
In 1995 John was awarded an OBE for services to publishing, and in 2005 The Open University presented him with the honorary degree of Master of the University. He became also became a prolific car collector, and in 1985 he founded the Haynes International Motor Museum in Sparkford, Somerset as an Educational Charitable Trust. It now displays more than 400 vehicles, and is enjoyed by over 125,000 people a year. Although he stepped down as Chairman of the Haynes Publishing Group in 2010 he continued to play an active role as Founder Director, and he could be found almost every day of the week taking lunch in the museum’s Café 750, chatting with visitors. The car world has lost a remarkable figure.