Museum Photo Report: The Haynes International Motor Museum, Sparkford, Somerset

The name Haynes, of John Haynes CBE, Haynes manuals and Haynes publishing probably needs little introduction to a CC audience. The manuals have sold over 200 million copies; the publicly traded business was recently bought out for over £114 million.

Haynes published his first manual in 1956, a home made manual for an Austin 7 Special; the first Haynes manual as we now know them was published in 1966 for an Austin “Frogeye” (or Bugeye) Sprite. The list that followed is almost endless, and includes the Chilton manuals published in the US. Growing up, I was always intrigued why they were the only books wrapped in plastic wrap in the bookshop, but now I understand.

In 1979, Haynes Publishing was floated on the London stock exchange, and eventually included not only the Chilton but the Clymer manuals in its portfolio, as well as a significant activities in digital spheres including extensive software and data solutions around vehicle maintenance.

Haynes himself died in 2019 but his name lives on, even if the demand for manuals is reducing with more reliable, durable and complex cars and modern digital methods of presentation. The range has been widened – after all, some things will always need repairing, properly.

Haynes was also an inveterate car collector, amassing a collection that forms the core of the Haynes International Motor Museum, in essentially rural Sparkford in south west England. Sounded like a good day out for a COVID imposed staycation.

Where to start? With the British cars? How about an Austin Allegro in a typical early 1970s BL colour?

And the Allegro’s predecessor – the BMC ADO16 , seen here as a Vanden Plas Princess. All the wood and leather you could ask for in a small package.

Earlier Austins were there too – a 1957 A35 and 1954 A40, being photo bombed by a 1960 Austin Metropolitan.

And here’s the Metropolitan, showing a sort of style and colour 1950s Britain craved for, alongside an Austin Atlantic, which it seemed we didn’t.

Or perhaps you’d prefer a Morris Minor – here in 1955 Tourer form, with the same A series engine as the A35.

The Minor’s big brother was the Oxford and the six cylinder Isis, which formed the basis the Wolseley 6/80.

The museum has a special display dedicated to Morris, mocking up an interwar Morris Garages workshop, which among others featured this splendid 1938 Morris Eight.

But perhaps the Morris highlight was this 1917 Morris Cowley “Bullnose”  – Morris’s first volume car, built when his was just one of many dozens of ambitious but struggling manufacturers.

Also nominally Morris based was this 1992 Hindustan Ambassador, dating from a time when some entrepreneurial soul thought they’d do business in the UK, under a retro theme.

Other British manufacturers were represented too – a 1964 Audax range Singer Gazelle from Rootes, the smart man’s Hillman Minx.

The last large Humber, the 1967 Hawk, looking very dated against the Ford Zodiac on the value front and the Rover and Triumph 2000 on a style basis. Next along is a Arrow range Humber Sceptre, the smart man’s Hillman Hunter or Sunbeam Arrow.

And completing the Arrow range the Sunbeam Rapier (or Alpine GT), looking very striking in Rootes’ Tartan red.

A Vauxhall Cresta (PA series) and matching Victor F series show perhaps peak American influence in Luton.

Quick reminders that fashionable does not mean the same as elegant or timeless.

British Fords are there of course; a Consul Mk2, 1961, with its younger brother a 1965 Cortina MK1 with an early Capri in the background.

With the Anglia, this was close to the full British Ford range in the early 1960s

A 1959 Popular, a derivative of the pre-war Ford Y Type that endured to 1962, a 1955 Anglia and 1966 Anglia 105E show a progression of the small Ford over 20 or more years.

A 1960 Standard Vanguard Phase 3 and a 1958 Standard 10, my father’s first car.

A Triumph Dolomite Sprint, with a very novel 16V single OHC head and serious Alfa/BMW/Ford RS2000 baiting potential, a Triumph Stag and a Triumph 2000 Mk2, looking like a brochure line up for the mid 1970s

Here’s the 2000 saloon alongside an early Rover 75 (P4 series) saloon, with the distinctive Cyclops central headlamp, and an early Rover 2000 (P6) in the background.

Here’s the P6 again – a 1966 2000. It’s displayed closely next the Vanden Plas Princess.

Very close indeed! Not sure how they’re done that!

Like many museums, the display is divided into sections. These F1 cars are in the display dedicated to Sir Frank Williams and his F1 team, often cited as the British enthusiasts’ favourite.

Nigel Mansell’s “Red 5”, painted so Murray Walker could spot it more easily. World Champion in 1992.

And Damon Hill in 1996

And the more recent Martini livery, perhaps the one of the most famous and recognisable liveries in motorsport.

Back to mere mortal cars….

A DAF 44, from 1971  with the Variomatic CVT transmission.

A 1967 Hillman Imp Californian, a 1971 Honda N600,  a 1965 Fiat 600D and a 1959 Renault 4CV.

A Citroen 2CV,  ID and Traction Avant  – all worth museum space on their own but as a threesome…

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