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!
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