John Haynes 1938–2019

Guild life member John Haynes, creator of the world famous Haynes Manual, has died at the age of 80 after short illness.

His career in publishing began after he built and sold an Austin 7 Special while still at Sutton Valance school, receiving so much interest in the car that he decided to produce a booklet showing other enthusiasts how to make one like it. The first print run of 250 copies of Building A ‘750’ Special sold out in 10 days.

Haynes did National Service in the RAF, where he met his wife to be Annette. On the way to their wedding he stopped to buy Annette a second hand IBM Proportional Space Type Writer as her wedding present.

In 1965 Haynes was posted to Aden where he created the first Haynes Manual, after helping an RAF colleague rebuild an Austin-Healey Sprite. The manual was published in 1966, and the first print run of 3,000 sold out in less than 3 months.

Over the next quarter of a century Haynes manuals enjoyed extraordinary success and the Haynes Publishing Group PLC was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1979. In 1995 Haynes was awarded an OBE for services to publishing.

The success of the business enabled Haynes to build up an impressive collection of cars. In 1985 he founded the Haynes International Motor Museum in Sparkford, Somerset as an Educational Charitable Trust, bequeathing his cars to the charity to be held for the benefit of the nation. He continued to support the museum charity throughout his life by donating cars and funding its growth. The museum now displays more than 400 vehicles, is enjoyed by over 125,000 people a year and is recognised as one of the finest automotive museums in the world.

He continued to serve as chairman of the Haynes Publishing Group until 2010. In 2014 he was made a Guild Life Member in recognition of his services to automotive publishing and his long support of the Guild.

Guild chairman Richard Aucock said: “We were proud and delighted to make John a Life Member in 2014, and it was fitting that he was honoured alongside another legend, Murray Walker. Most motoring journalists are car nuts who will have been eternally grateful to John on many an occasion between the axle stands. Truly someone just like us, we will miss John, but his influence on our industry and our passion will live on for many years to come.”

John Haynes is survived by his wife Annette, brother David and sister Mary, two sons and five grandchildren.

John Harold Haynes OBE
25 March 1938 – 8 February 2019