If you’ve been into cars since before the internet, you’ll have cut your teeth tinkering with a Haynes manual by your side. In a world without Facebook and Forums, these hard backed bibles kept DIY mechanics the world over spannering their way to success. But, have you ever wondered who writes these manuals, and how do you end up being the author to such sacred text?
Bus fixing & Bookmaking
We caught up with one such welder and wordsmith; Fletcher Gillett from Vintage Auto Repair, who penned their popular Type 2 Restoration manual. Fletcher didn’t just write the words, or take the photos for them though; he completed all the restoration works himself too.
Located twenty minutes down the road from our Shoreham shop, Fletcher has been a customer of ours for many years, and utilises our warehouse full of VW Panels when it comes to customers restorations.
The majority, as you might expect given Fletchers specialist subject are VW Bus shaped; Splits, Bays and Type 25s. We took a trip to his workshop to find out quite how you end up creating one of these legendary publications.
Poking around Fletcher’s personal ‘66 double door Split project we hear that the book story started with a post on a forum. “I saw a topic asking if anyone was restoring a bus, and requesting some photos too”. Fletcher being the friendly chap that he is, responded, and put a link to a build thread he was working on for added helpfulness.
The reveal before the deal…
“Then a reply came back” Fletcher tells us “ it turns out they were from Haynes, and they wanted to come and have a look, and take some pictures”. Once the quality of his workmanship became apparent first hand, the big question was dropped “we’re making a new Haynes Type 2 Restoration manual, would you like to write it for us?”
With a subject vehicle already in his workshop, and the start of the project documented online, Fletcher thought why not, and took on the multi-skilled challenge.
Having already set up business as Vintage Auto Repair, when Fletcher wasn’t working on a customer’s classic any spare time would be consumed restoring a 1979 Devon Moonraker; his evenings then spent typing away explaining each process step by step.
A few years since initial publication, and the book has become a firm favourite for DIY Type 2 restorers; in fact Dave our Web Designer has a copy in the workshop to help with his crossover bay project.
Such was the popularity of the English version when launched, that Haynes have now translated Fletcher’s masterpiece into German too; not bad for a ‘have-a-go’ author!
If you are working on a Type 2 Project and could do with some words of wisdom, you can pick up a copy of Fletcher’s Type 2 Restoration Manual here.