Obituary - Terry Davey

Terry Davey, the man behind the iconic Haynes Owners Workshop Manual cover illustrations, has died.


Terry Davey Haynes IllustratorFounded in 1960, Haynes Publishing released its first workshop manual, for the Austin-Healey Sprite, in 1965. But it was not until 1972 that the talented and largely self-taught Terry Davey joined the company as an illustrator. In his 19 year career with Haynes, he produced the cover artwork for over 400 cars. But his true talent lay in his attention to detail. It took up to 3 months to deconstruct and document a car’s repair operations in the workshop, and it fell to Davey to illustrate every component. Whether an exploded diagram, cutaway line drawing or shaded sketch, Davey’s incredible ability to visualise the interaction of every component in a scale and angle that was easy to comprehend became the cornerstone to the huge success of the Haynes manuals.


Today, the instantly recognisable spidery lines of his magnificent full car cutaway drawings set against their ubiquitous pastel-coloured backgrounds have become an iconic image and can be seen on T-shirts, mugs, coasters, bags and all manner of other paraphernalia, catapulting the Haynes manual from something that was merely useful into a cult British design classic.



Terry Davey on P6

Davey made two full cutaway drawings of P6 - a 3500S and a 2200 TC - but neither is a true reflection of the cars they portray. In fact, both drawings are based on a single template that was itself (rather confusingly!) drawn from two separate cars.


Davey joined the company in 1972 long after the first paperback editions of the Rover 2000 manuals had been published. The cover illustration for that manual was a cutaway drawing borrowed from The Motor magazine, for whom it had been drawn in 1963 for their full feature on the P6 launch. It was only after Davey had joined the company that the Rover 3500 manual was completed, at which point there was a requirement for two new cover illustrations - a Rover 3500 and a four-cylinder Rover P6 for the upcoming revised Rover 2000 manual which would also contain the supplements for the then-new 2200 models.


As such, Davey chose to base the illustrations for both cars around a single template showing a P6 that was around 80% complete. That image was then duplicated and each version further worked to portray either a 2200 or 3500S. The common template can be easily deduced from comparing the two images. But there are many anomalies that belie the ultimate origins of the drawing, and many hours of fun to be had for the P6 anorak!


Haynes famously deconstructed whole cars to document their repair procedures. For the P6 manuals they had two cars, BGO 407B, a very early Sharkstooth Rover 2000 from 1964, and a 1973 Rover 3500S (registration unknown) for the 3500/3500S manual published in 1974.


When sketching out the template for the cover illustration, Davey clearly chose to base the structure of the car on the 3500S. The V8 rear suspension and exhaust system show that in the core of the drawing. But it’s obvious that the remnants of the Rover 2000 that had been deconstructed a few years earlier were still lurking at the Haynes workshop. The template drawing is a complete mismatch of the two cars!


The bonnet is clearly series 1, so too are the external door handles, it has a very early steel brake fluid reservoir, and the radiator is vertical-flow. All these are giveaways of the Sharkstooth car behind the draughtsman’s board. But the box pleat seats, upswept armrest and later interior of the 3500S show that Davey clearly drew from two cars.


All of these details made their way onto both covers. From there, the drawings were altered to portray the cars they reflected. For the four-cylinder models, Davey wisely chose to portray a 2200 TC engine, meaning the V8 style rear suspension (also fitted to 2200 models) needn’t be altered. He also chose to retain the 3500S’s box pleat seats - also fitted to 2200 models - but added texture to suggest the brushed nylon upholstery which was standard on the four-cylinders by that time. For the engine bay, however, only the cam cover, carburettors and air cleaner box are a genuine reflection of a 2200. All of the other ancillaries, including the placement of the battery (needlessly relocated from the boot where it ought to have stayed as in the 3500S drawing) were clearly drawn from the early Sharkstooth car. The only other difference was the slight rotating of the 2200 image to give the impression the car was drawn from a slightly different viewpoint.


The two images offer hours of fun for P6 anoraks who can pull the drawings apart to identify which parts came from which cars. But it is a remarkable insight into the mind and working practices of a man whose talent and creations came to symbolise an entire generation of home mechanics and classic car enthusiasts. His is a great loss.


Words: Michael Allen

Drawings: Terry Davey

With thanks to Haynes Publishing

Haynes Rover 2000 2200
Haynes Rover 3500

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© The Rover P6 Club 2016