How The Haynes Manuals Became ‘Must-Have’ Mini Accessories

On the 8th February 2019, the founder of the popular automotive manual series, John Haynes, passed away at the age of 80. For generations of drivers, the Haynes Manual on their particular car model was a constant presence in their glove box – from cover-to-cover, the book would tell them all there was to know about how their vehicle operated, giving them a better insight into how to treat any issues if they ever occurred.

As a leading supplier of Mini accessories, the Haynes manuals have been a part of our range here at Mini Sport for many years – and despite the emergence of the internet, YouTube videos and eBooks that relay the same information, the books remain popular with Mini owners (some of whom collect them!)

So to celebrate John’s life and contribution to the industry, we’re going to take a look back at how he created his publishing empire.

Haynes’ Road To Being Must-Have Mini Accessories

From an early age, John had a passion for cars – he would often enjoy riding around in his father’s Morris 8 saloon and this love continued throughout his school days. With a growing flair for art and his natural entrepreneurial spirit, he persuaded his schoolteachers to allow him to spend time converting an Austin 7 into a lightweight sporty Austin 7 ‘special’.

He would go on to sell the car, making a reasonable profit – in the process, he received over 150 replies to his advert, an interest that led him to produce a booklet outlining how he converted the car. Entitled ‘Building A ‘750 Special’, the 250 booklets he had printed during its first run sold out within 10 days.

After leaving school, John was enlisted for national service in the Royal Air Force. His role in logistics allowed him to hone his business management skills, whilst also enabling him to pursue his passion for cars and publishing in his spare time. In 1960, just when Mini accessories were starting to make in-roads (pun intended) on the British market, John founded ‘J.H Haynes & Co. Limited’ to act as a conduit for his written works.

In 1965, an RAF colleague had bought an Austin-Healey Sprite that was in a poor condition and asked John if he could help rebuild it. Quickly realising that the car’s official manual was not designed to be of use to the average car owner, he used a camera to capture the process of dismantling and rebuilding the engine. This ‘step-by-step sequence’ would become the hallmark of the Haynes Manuals, in their diagram form. The first ‘Haynes Owners Workshop Manual’, for the Sprite was published later in 1966 – 3000 copies selling out in less than 3 months. Considering the motoring market wasn’t as vast as it is today, that was some achievement!

A World-Leading Car Manual Publisher

The company would go on to publish a steady stream of manuals throughout the next decade; each project saw them buy the car model they wrote about, before selling them on after they had finished. By the early 1970s, the books were a household name in the UK – and international success wasn’t too far away, as the company expanded into Europe and North America by the end of the decade. In 1979, Haynes Publishing Group PLC was floated on the London Stock Exchange as more sales led to more investment, which led to more manuals being published. The success of his company led to John being awarded an OBE in 1995.

The continuing success and growth of the company meant that John was able to further indulge in his passion for cars, and he became a prolific collector. His collection grew so much that he founded ‘The Haynes International Motor Museum’ in Sparkford, Somerset in 1985. An educational charitable trust, he bequeathed his collection of over 30 years to the charity so they could be held for the benefit for the nation. He continued to support the museum throughout his life, donating cars and funding its growth – it now holds more than 400 vehicles and is enjoyed by over 125,000 visitors every year.

John continued to serve as Chairman of Haynes Publishing Group up until 2010, continuing to play an active role as a Director until his death. His role allowed him to support the executive team as they continued to create world-leading content that serves both the average driver and professional mechanics alike. A legacy that remains as popular as it’s ever been.

The Mini Haynes Manual

First published in 1988, the ‘Haynes Mini Service & Repair Manual’ covers most iterations from 1959-69, including: Saloon Mk I and II, Countryman/Traveller Mk I and II, Van and Pickup Mk I and II, Cooper and Cooper S Mk I and II, Riley Elf Mk’s I, II, and III, and Wolseley Hornet Mk’s I, II and III.

The second Haynes Mini Service and Repair Manual is for saloons, estates, vans and pick-ups produced from 1969-2001, including; the Clubman, Cooper S MkIII, 1275GT, 1.3i, Cooper and special/limited editions.

Here at Mini Sport, our Mini accessories range stocks both of these Haynes manuals, plus:

  • Tuning The A-Series Engine. The perfect manual for all classic Mini drivers who are considering rebuilding their engine, this third edition by David Vizard provides the very latest technical data, a huge number of illustrations and easy-to-follow text.
  • Weber Carburettor Manual. Covering theory and operation, maintenance and tune-up, this easy-to-follow manual is the ideal step-by-step guide to ensuring a great-performing Weber carburettor.
  • Mini Restoration Manual. Covering all aspects of the classic Mini; its bodywork, interior, mechanics, electrics and technical specifications, this is a must-read for anyone who is interested in restoring their Mini. With illustrations and added information on the history of the Mini, it makes quite the collectable item for any Mini enthusiast too!

Shop High-Quality Mini Accessories With Mini Sport!

The Haynes manuals represent just a small selection of our range of accessories for the Mini. In our books range, we have many other manuals and catalogues that will help you better understand the operations of your Mini, as well as choose the right parts for them.

But that’s not all – our range of Mini merchandise also includes informative magazines, DVD’s, and great-looking t-shirts, caps, lifestyle products, car covers and much more. Please feel free to browse our Mini accessories range, and click on each product for further information.

If you have any questions on any aspect of our services or products, or simply need some advice on Mini servicing, our expert team would be pleased to speak with you. Give them a call on 01282 778731 or send an e-mail to

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