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Patrick Stephens RIP (merged)

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#1 Simon Taylor

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 10:06

Sad to relate, pioneer motor-racing book publisher Patrick Stephens has died, after a long illness. He was 86.

Patrick was one of the first to retail books in circuit paddocks, which he did as early as the late 1940s from the back of a converted vintage Rolls-Royce. In 1952/3 he built and successfully raced an Austin 7 Special in 750 MC events, and wrote a book about his experiences. During the 1950s special builders' boom, Building and Racing My 750 was an essential read.

He went on to form his own book publishing company, Patrick Stephens Ltd. Over the years PSL published a large selection of important and enjoyable car books, and eventually became part of Haynes.


#2 Vitesse2

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 11:04

He did PR for Lotus in the 50s as well, IIRC?

I certainly have a bunch of PSL books - everything from FIA Yellow Books to "Power & Glory Vol 2" via "Vanwall" and "Jim Clark Remembered".

RIP Patrick.

#3 RTH

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 11:32

Oh dear, sad news, this was the book that really made me think at the age of 11 it might actually be possible one day to go motor racing as I am sure for many thousands of others, and a brilliant read.

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#4 FLB

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 12:31

I'm a native French speaker. Having Grand Prix Greats (published by PSL) at my local library introduced me to Nigel Roebuck's writings and thus made me request Autosport at my local news agent.

RIP Mr. Stephens and condoleances to his family and friends.

Edited by FLB, 23 March 2012 - 12:33.

#5 Doug Nye

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 13:00

Unfortunately yet more sad news. I understand that Pat Stephens - early postwar luminary of the 750 Motor Club, author of the seminal book upon building and racing "My 750", proprietor of Stonehams mobile bookshop which featured so prominently at many British events of the 1940s/early 50s, later advertising manager of 'Iota' and 'Motor Racing' magazines, then founder of the PSL publishing house which became part of the Haynes empire - passed away suddenly on Wednesday. Pat was hard nosed, tough, commercially-capable and successful. He was 86.


#6 Alan Cox

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 14:00

Sorry to hear the news, Doug. I shall be ever-grateful to him for his fabulous publishing house, many motor racing and photographic titles from which are amongst my long-time favourites.

Edited by Alan Cox, 23 March 2012 - 16:26.

#7 RogerFrench

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 14:50

Sorry to read that. RIP.

#8 cpbell

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 16:51

Sad to hear that, DCN - many of the titles which hooked me on the historic side of the sport as a boy were PSL publications - some of which were written by your good self, I think.

#9 RobertE

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 18:13

Unhappy news, Doug; Brian L. called me earlier to tell me. Everything you said about him is bang on (and the last time I saw him, he had looked better, I must say) and he must have represented one of the few links left standing with the amateur sport we all love.

I understand that his widow is not at all well (had a fall) so I hope all will be as well with her as possible.

Pat was q. a hard bloke to actually like, but he will always have a spot in my consciousness, as he published my book on Archie Scott Brown during the transition between PSL and PSL/Haynes.

I'll hoist a couple to him and enquire as to 'the arrangements' (an unhappily familiar process, of late) on Monday.


#10 Doug Nye

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 20:55

Brian Lister phoned me this afternoon - after I had posted here about Pat's death - to tell me the news, which I had already heard from former PSL partner - and my first editor, on 'Airfix Magazine' - Darryl Reach. Brian had seen quite a lot of Pat over the past ten years and emphasised how hugely supportive he had been in getting Archie and the Listers off the ground.

While I had a lot of time for Pat he made - in my view - at least one major error, in rejecting the idea of 'Lofty' England's autobiography, which 'Lofty' had asked me to produce with him. I think we would both have enjoyed the experience, and it would have been a worthwhile project, but it was not to be.


Edited by Doug Nye, 23 March 2012 - 20:57.

#11 richie

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 22:53

I have the 1970 FIA Year Book of Automobile Sport by Patrick Stephens. Comprehensive introduction to motor racing for a 16 yr old.

Distinctive pocket size guide with plastic yellow cover still in as new condition, priced 25s.net £1.25. Coloured pages, advertising Guards cigarettes 4s 10d, circuit diagrams, racing teams, regulations, suppliers. A good buy.

Edited by richie, 24 March 2012 - 22:56.