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Stella & Rose's Books

Specialists in Rare & Collectable Books

Haynes Workshop Manuals

I have been asked to write an article for the Stella & Rose’s Books monthly newsletter and, as it is my first one, I thought what better than to write about a particular type of book of which I have quite a few!  I imagine that many readers will also have at least one in their collection or have seen them.  I am referring to Haynes Workshop Manuals

Manuals on the Workshop Shelf
Manuals on the Workshop Shelf

John Haynes OBE, founder of the Haynes Publishing Group, published the first manual in 1965 for the Austin-Healey Sprite. This was after he had been asked to help rebuild a Frogeye Sprite and realised that the official factory manual was not designed to help the average car owner.  He captured the rebuild process by taking step by step photographs and he linked these to exploded diagrams which became the trademark of the Haynes manuals.

A gentleman called Terry Davey hand-drew every cutaway view of the car for the front cover of the manuals.  As each manual took about a year to complete this gave Terry time to look at each car in detail in its stripped-down state. He would get hands on with the cars to better understand how each piece fitted together and worked. 

All manuals have detailed sections – engine, cooling system, fuel system, ignition system, clutch, gearbox, drive shafts, brakes, electrical systems etc, and each chapter would be clearly laid out.  I always remember helping my father with his cars and if there was ever anything wrong with the car (which there invariably was, this being the 1970s!) we would go to the "fault finding" chart of the section as this was always the first point of reference.  It described the "cause" followed by the "trouble" and then the "remedy" and often you could then fix the problem...or not as the case may be!  Now the manuals have "spanner ratings" which grade jobs.  So, one spanner = fairly easy for the novice; 5 spanners = what garage shall I book her into!

I am now helping my partner renovate his 1972 Triumph 1500 Fwd (front wheel drive) and he has one manual permanently open in the garage and another in the house!  He appreciates the manuals as much as the car as they both bring back happy but oily memories. 

The Triumph & Workshop Manual
The Triumph

It seems a shame that the new owners Infopro Digital have decided not to print any new manuals.  They are now digital based which seems to be the way forward with everything these days. Cars are more reliable now and if there are any issues, invariably they must be "hooked up" to find out what code is causing what problem and the home mechanic tends not to have this type of fault diagnosis machine to hand.  Good news is that there is still the back catalogue, which is great, so copies can still be bought.

Selection of Haynes Manuals
Haynes Manuals

Over the years Haynes manuals have diversified and cover things such as domestic appliances, model railways, sport, personal computers, caravans and motorhomes, and much more besides.  Over 200 million copies have been sold worldwide.... we don't have quite that many here at Stella & Rose's bookshop in Tintern but we do have some that may be of interest.  So, if you have a spare weekend and fancy rebuilding your Messerschmitt Bf109 aircraft or tinkering with a humble motor lawnmower then we may well have the book for you!  Happy browsing!

Contributed by Lisa

(Published 30th Jan 2024)

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