John Harold Haynes OBE: 1938-2019

by Gordon Cruickshank on 16th February 2019

The man who changed the way Britain looked at its cars, John Haynes, passed away on February 8

Known to millions through his DIY car manuals, John Haynes has died aged 80 following a short illness.

Born in Ceylon but educated in the UK, he was passionate about cars from a child, building an Austin 7 special while still at school and publishing a pamphlet on how he did it.

While doing National Service in Aden (Yemen) he helped an RAF colleague to rebuild an Austin Healey Sprite and, realising there was no helpful guide available, documented the process in photographs. That became the first Haynes manual and quickly sold out, leading to a major business publishing the guides that almost every car enthusiast has used to assist in the workshop.

Over 200 million Haynes manuals have now been sold, not just on cars but covering aviation, maritime, rail and military, later expanding to the human body, family, health, pets, sport and space, all relying on the trademark mixture of explanatory diagrams and photographs.

Haynes Publishing also produced books on many other aspects of cars and racing, John Haynes himself having a been a keen racer who competed in his own Elva sports car.

In parallel, Haynes built up an extensive car collection and in 1985 created a charity as the basis for the Haynes Museum in Sparkford, near Yeovil, with his 30 cars as its kernel. With John as Chairman, the Trust steadily expanded the museum which now boasts 400 exhibits and in 2014 won a Museum of the Year award.

Haynes Publishing was floated on the Stock Exchange in 1979, continuing to expand internationally, and in 1985 John received an OBE for services to publishing.

A friendly and approachable man, John Haynes remained a visible figurehead even after ceasing in 2010 to serve as Chairman of the publishing firm, often to be found in the museum café talking to visitors. He leaves a wife Annette, who was a significant part of the firm from the start, and two sons. His third son Marc was the first wheelchair user to obtain a UK racing licence, but died in 2016.

Motor Sport extends its condolences to the friends and family of JH Haynes OBE

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