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Brooklands Books

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About Us

John Dowdeswell, Founder of Brooklands Books,

A friend in need is a friend indeed, the saying goes. In which case the Cobham-based publishing company Brooklands Books is one of the best friends Land Rover and Range Rover owners could wish for.

Although the name Brooklands Books wasn't coined until some years later, the story began back in 1954 when John Dowdeswell, founder of the company, was unable to find any kind of manual or handbook for his newly-acquired Morgan three-wheeler. He did, however, locate an out-of-print work, "The Book Of The Morgan Three Wheeler" and obtain the publisher's permission to reprint it. Other owners, hearing of the book's re-appearance, were quick to order it from him. Clearly there was a lesson here and Dowdeswell subsequently produced a BSA three-wheeler handbook and two books on tuning Fords. Thus was set in motion a publishing program which has extended over the years to more than 1,000 titles covering cars from all parts of the world and virtually all areas.

 

Soon after these early publishing ventures, having purchased a huge stack of pre-war issues of "Autocar" and "Motor" magazines, Dowdeswell realised just how much material of interest to motoring enthusiasts was disappearing almost overnight. This was when he hit on the idea of collating road tests and stories of individual makes and printing them in book form. It's an idea which seems obvious with hindsight, but then the same can be said of nearly all the best ideas. The important thing is to have them before anyone else does!

 

Dowdeswell's first efforts in this direction were "The Vintage Bentley Book" and "Another Vintage Bentley Book", followed by road test collections on Rolls-Royce, Alvis and pre-war MGs. These were reproduced on a Gestetner machine and saddle-stitched -- unlike Brooklands' recent and current publications which offer afar better standard of reproduction, are professionally bound and in many cases include colour photos.

 

The great majority of Brooklands titles fall into two categories: road test collections, which are published in a variety of series, and reprints of factory literature, primarily workshop manuals, parts catalogues and handbooks. Land Rover/Range Rover enthusiasts are catered for incredibly well in both areas. In their capacity (since 1981) as official publisher for the British Motor Heritage Limited, Brooklands can offer a range of factory literature running from the manual, parts catalogue and handbook for the Series 1 Land Rover and on through a plethora of models to the telephone-directory-size Defender and Discovery manuals of recent times. Included in the range are Ministry of Defence manuals for many of the military Land Rovers.

 

All these publications, it has to be stressed, are the real thing - not to be confused with the much-advertised "condensed" manuals which are fine for servicing and small repair jobs but often fall woefully short when more detailed help is needed.