Haynes Manuals – A childhood obsession

From the Potato’s Sack

For as long as I can remember, there’s always been something that stirs a pathetic excitement and almost giddiness within me when I see a stack of Haynes manuals.

Those multi-coloured bindings all in a neat row instantly draw me towards them, whether at an auto-jumble, car-boot sale, a charity shop or even at a motor factors, I cannot help myself but to thumb through them to see which models are there.

The fantastic Terry Davey cutaway drawings on the covers get things started in a masterful way, they truly are art and I have spent a good amount of time collecting and studying these over the years.

Upon opening the covers you’re then greeted with gorgeous black and white pictures of the models covered (usually official publicity photographs), before all the technical stuff is dealt with.

Now, I know these manuals aren’t the be-all and end-all, and, in some cases lead you up a blind alley, but, as a youngster they really engaged me into learning how things differed on particular cars and how things actually worked.

The generic bits in the middle showing you how to use filler on body panels (in full colour!) and the diagrams on different spark-plug faults were just as interesting, despite being the same in every manual, but really did, I’m sure, engage my young mind and get me interested in more than just driving cars.

I found it a bit disconcerting when the Haynes range had it’s update and the cutaways were partially coloured-in, but I’ll let that slide. Just.

I find it a bit sad that there are so many satirical manuals now out there, a haynes manual for marriage, one for the Starship-bastard-Enterprise and one for the London Underground, but I do get that people want that light-hearted reminder of a time-passed.

In reality, the modern car’s manual would say nothing more than.. ‘Go and have it plugged in‘.

Such a shame.

So, for June, a pictoral reminder of a large chunk of the firm’s Haynes manual covers will be presented here, live and exclusive on MacDroitwich, to give a gentle stir of emotion, if  nothing else. I hope you all enjoy seeing them.

2 thoughts on “Haynes Manuals – A childhood obsession”

  1. My favourite Haynes manual has to be the Rover P6 one, it simply helps to show just how well and over engineered the car really was and how the engineers really did try to think out of the box for it.
    For a non-car repair type Haynes book, my pick of the bunch is the Apollo 11 one as its filled with great information from start to finish. Did you know the Saturn V managed a whopping 14 inches to the gallon?!

  2. I too love Haynes manuals. The older ones that is. The recent ones are useless beyond a basic service or bulb change.

    Consult a main dealer seems to be the answer for anything technical, whereas I can recall older manuals giving step by step instructions for overhauling an autobox.

    Go and plug it in is obviously the answer to most maladies in modern cars, but with obd scanners available for less than a cheap torque wrench, why can’t the experts at Haynes talk you through the electronic interrogation of an ecu and explain the codes?

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