The creator of Haynes manuals, John Harold Haynes, has died at age 80.

Haynes manuals were some of the first publications aimed at helping home mechanics repair their own vehicles. The Haynes publishing empire began in the ’60s, when Haynes realized the factory teardown manual for the Austin Healy Sprite sports car was unsuitable for the average DIY wrencher. He published his own book on mechanical maintenance for the car, complete with photos he took himself.

From there, things grew quickly, with manuals for other cars, for trucks, and motorcycles. Almost every model of motorcycle ended up with a corresponding Haynes manual. This was especially true in the days when bikes had fewer onboard electronic systems and were easier to work on, and information on DIY processes was not available online. Haynes manuals were for sale in bookstores mail-order catalogs and automotive supply stores, and if you had a mainstream bike built between 1970 and 2000, chances are you could completely tear it down and reassemble it with the Haynes manual’s help. Unlike factory guides, the Haynes was written with the enthusiast in mind, and would often contain helpful tips on how to make tools that could circumvent the need for OEM-specific one-off tools that would be expensive and rarely used.

The Haynes Publishing Group was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1979, and has sold more than 200 million Haynes manuals since the first one was printed in 1966. Haynes also founded the Haynes International Motor Museum. The museum houses a collection of more than 400 cars and motorcycles in the UK, and sees more than 100,000 visitors a year.

John Haynes died on February 8 after a short illness. For his full obituary, visit

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