The Royal Automobile Club Motoring Book of the Year awards took place on Wednesday 30th October at the Club’s historic Pall Mall clubhouse.
The prestigious awards drew together authors, publishers, media and the book trade from around the world to celebrate their accomplishments over the past 12 months. The 2019 contenders included works on marque histories and general motoring to film legends, motorsport fiction and vehicle design.
Jeremy Vaughan, Head of Motoring said “We had an over whelming response this year with entries representing 18 different publishers from international and independents to self-published authors. The range and quality of the books were outstanding and shows how well the industry is faring in these digital times. The judges had a tough time whittling down the entries with healthy debates on who would make the finalists and then the overall winners. The Club introduced a Lifetime Achievement Award this year to recognise outstanding contributions to the industry and adds to the Club’s family of established motoring and motorsport accolades.”
Lifetime Achievement Award
John Haynes OBE creator of the iconic Haynes Manual and founder of the Haynes Publishing Group was posthumously awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition to his significant contribution to the UK’s motoring book industry.
His wife Annette Haynes collected the award on his behalf (above) and said: “John would have been immensely honoured and amazed to receive this award. He always said that the success of Haynes Publishing was not him alone. I know he would be quick to dedicate it to all the people that supported and helped the business throughout the years”.
John Haynes moved to the UK when he was 12 to enrol in boarding school. It was there he persuaded his House Master to allow him to miss rugby, to spend his time converting his £15 Austin 7 into a lightweight sporty Austin 750 Special. Not only did he sell the finished car and made a profit, he produced a booklet ‘Building A ‘750’ Special’ featuring his hand drawn step-by-step illustrations. He ran off 250 copies on a stencil duplicator and the booklet sold out within 10 days at five shillings a copy!
Several years later when he was in the Royal Air Force, he agreed to help a colleague to rebuild a ‘Frogeye’ Sprite. Finding the factory manual was lacking in detail, he bought a camera and pictured the step-by-step process of dismantling and reassembling the engine. Thus, in 1966 the very first Haynes Manual for the Sprite was published and its first print run of 3000 sold out in under three months. The rest you could say is history.
Haynes is now the world's leading publisher of automotive repair manuals and renowned for teaching millions of car owners how to carry out routine maintenance and repairs. The use of step-by-step photo sequences linked to diagrams is the trusted hallmark of Haynes Manuals. To date, in excess of 200 million manuals have been sold covering over 1,000 different models. John has helped keep millions of motorists on the road and leaves behind a huge legacy.
Motoring Book of the Year Award
The accolade of ‘Motoring Book of the Year’ went to Matthew Field for ‘The Self-Preservation Society 50 Years of the Italian Job’, published by Porter Press International. A unanimous decision by the judges.
Christian Whitehead from Foyles said “It’s a treasure trove of archive material with stills, behind the scene shots, promotional cinema posters and engaging facts of the stresses that the film crew had to endure. You can’t help but smile at the story of the making of one of Michael Caine’s best loved films”.
Mick Walsh from Classic & Sports Car said “A remarkable celebration of this cult movie classic that author Matthew Field has researched passionately since his teenage years. Bloody brilliant!”.
The 335-page book includes more than 50 in-depth interviews with the cast and crew, and is beautifully illustrated with hundreds of never-before-seen photographs and production documents from the filmmakers’ private collections providing a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the British classic made its way to the big screen and includes a foreword by Sir Michael Caine and an introduction by Academy Award-winning Producer Michael Deeley.
Specialist Book of the Year Award
The Specialist Book of the Year Award which, in the opinion of the judges, is a feat of impeccable research and flawless writing regardless of its retail cost was awarded to Simon Taylor for ‘John, George and the HWMs: The First Racing Team to Fly the Flag for Britain’ by Evro Publishing.
Judge Mick Walsh of Classic & Sports Car said “A definitive history that is both hugely enjoyable to read and superbly presented, Simon Taylor’s book is a terrific tribute to the HWM team”.
Judge Gordon Cruickshank from Motor Sport commented “Enjoyable and of course well-written. Overdue in subject, excellent presentation, some great tales”.
Simon Taylor has a lifelong passion for HWM. In 1999 he realised his childhood dream when he became the custodian of the Ex-Stirling Moss HWM Stovebolt Special and there is nobody better qualified to write the definitive history. The two volume 528-page masterpiece covers the biographies of the fascinating and poignant people associated with Hersham & Walton Motors, its racing story, the 19 individual cars and the men who raced them along with their specifications and ownership chains.
The book is packed with a superb wealth of period pictures sourced from libraries and private collections worldwide and paints an evocative picture of a period of motor racing that marked the beginnings of Britain’s prowess in the sport.
The award committee consists of six expert judges who are independent of the Royal Automobile Club, representing the UK’s most informed motoring literary critics including Gordon Cruickshank of Motor Sport, Mark Dixon of Octane, Mick Walsh of Classic & Sports Car, avid book collector, commentator and editor of the BRDC Bulletin Ian Titchmarsh. Representing the book retail sector are Ben Horton of specialist bookseller, Horton’s Books, and Christian Whitehead of the London bookstore, Foyles.