At 16 years old, while still at school, John Haynes realised that “Cars are what I lived for”. He bought an Austin Seven Saloon, dismantled it, and built a lightweight, open two-seater sports car.
Then he had an idea – as he explains in this BBC News interview by Mark Miodownik from last year,
“I thought to myself if I produce a booklet about how I built this Austin Seven Special, because there was nothing published in those days, I might sell a hundred copies in a couple of months.”
But it only took 10 days to sell all the copies, which made him realise that there was a gap in the market for car instruction manuals that gave detailed instructions on how to repair and maintain different models of car. The first Haynes manual was born.
Haynes Publishing was founded in 1960 and has now gone on to sell more than 150 million Haynes Manuals throughout the world, more than half a million in the UK last year alone. There are around 300 UK car manuals in print plus motorcycle manuals, and international editions.
And now they have extended the format into books on babies, the male body, and even sex!
I love the fact that John created a business empire from his greatest love and had the creativity to then use that brand to make popular books on very different subjects.
Read the interview with John and listen to an audio clip on the BBC News site.