John Haynes, the entrepreneur and creator of the Haynes Manual, founder of the Haynes Publishing Group PLC and the Haynes International Motor Museum passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, on the evening of Friday 8th February, aged 80, after a short illness.
After leaving school John joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) to do his National Service, where he made many lifelong friends. During his time in the RAF his role in logistics taught him business management skills, while enabling him to pursue his passion for motor racing and publishing in his spare time. He successfully developed and competitively raced several race cars, including his Elva Courier, which is on display in the Haynes International Motor Museum.
In 1965, John was posted to Aden and it was there that he created the first Haynes Manual. An RAF colleague had bought a ‘Frogeye’ Sprite, which was in poor condition and he 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 captured the process of dismantling and rebuilding the engine. The use of step-by-step photo sequences linked to exploded diagrams became the trusted hallmark of Haynes Manuals. The first Haynes Manual, for the Austin Healey Sprite, was published in 1966, and the first print run of 3,000 sold out in less than 3 months. To date over 200 million Haynes Manuals have been sold around the world.
The success of his publishing business, including expansion into Europe and North America, culminated in the Haynes Publishing Group PLC floating on the London Stock Exchange in 1979. 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. His contribution to motoring was recognised by The Guild of Motoring Writers in 2014 when he was made a life member.
John’s publishing success meant that he was able to enjoy his passion for cars, and he became a prolific collector. In 1985 he founded the Haynes International Motor Museum in Sparkford, Somerset as an Educational Charitable Trust, bequeathing his collection of 30 cars to the charity to be held for the benefit of the nation. John continued to support the museum charity throughout his life by donating cars and funding its growth, and thanks to his support the museum has grown and now displays more than 400 vehicles, and is enjoyed by over 125,000 people a year. At the 2014 International Historic Motoring Awards the museum was recognised as The Museum of the Year.
Until 2010 John served as Chairman of the Haynes Publishing Group and then continued to play an active role as Founder Director. In this role he supported the executive team as they created a world leading content, data and solutions business serving both drivers and professional mechanics. He combined this role with that of Chairman of Trustees of the Haynes International Motor Museum.