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MRP History
Books published by Motor Racing Publications Ltd under the MRP imprint first appeared shortly after World War 2. The company’s founder, Nevil Lloyd – well-known in motor racing circles as a commentator, writer and occasional racer – had identified the potential for books on motorsport, interest in which was expanding rapidly in the postwar years.
From the late 1940s until the early 1960s he published a steady flow of new titles, usually keeping at least 20 of them in print at any one time. But his deteriorating health eventually obliged him to step aside, and following his untimely death and a subsequent change of ownership, the company was restructured in 1968, and the new owners (trade magazine publishers) invited John Blunsden (who had written a book for MRP some years previously) to manage it for them in tandem with his on-going journalistic and editorial activities. In 1969 there was a further change of ownership when John Blunsden acquired first a majority, and subsequently a total shareholding in MRP.
Under his direction, top priority was given to the creation of new titles, beginning with Around the World in a Cloud of Dust, the story of the London-to-Sydney Marathon, by Nick Brittan. During the 1970s, with the establishment and rapid expansion of the classic car movement, the publishing programme was directed increasingly towards books on high-performance and collectable road cars, leading in 1979 to the creation of the Collector’s Guide series, within which some 60 titles have since been published, over half of them being still in print. Written by carefully selected authors, these landscape-format books quickly became established as the most authoritative and reliable guides to car ownership available to collectors and enthusiasts. Originally published in hardback format, in recent years reprints and new titles and editions have been produced in paperback form.
During the 1980s, a subsidiary imprint, The Fitzjames Press, was created for the publication of books on subjects for which the Motor Racing Publications imprint was inappropriate. Since then, MRP has continued to place the emphasis on books related to classic and high-performance road cars whilst continuing to publish a steady flow of carefully selected titles on motorsport subjects, including one of the most successful of the many books published about Ayrton Senna following his death in 1994, and more recently the first two volumes of Doug Nye’s acclaimed history of BRM.
The company’s policy throughout has been to give preference to books which offer the prospect of a long sales life amongst discriminating enthusiasts. Consequently, MRP books tend to have a high reference content and to be written by authors whose expertise on the subject matter in question is firmly established. Indicative of the success of this policy, nearly a quarter of the new books published by the company during the past 35 years remain in print, some having been produced in several editions. UK prices have ranged from £5.00 to £70.00, although the bulk of the current inventory sells within the £10.00 to £40.00 bracket.
MRP books are sold to the trade and direct to the public through a distributor, Vine House Distribution Ltd having been appointed to this role in July 2000 following the collapse of MRP’s previous distributor. Since January 1, 2001 Vine House has also been responsible for representation of the MRP list into the UK book trade. However, the bulk of MRP’s trade turnover is directed at specialist outlets, which are served in the main through two companies – Menoshire Ltd, a UK-based wholesaler supplying car and motorsport books to specialist retailers worldwide, and MBI Publishing Inc, of Osceola, Wisconsin, for many years MRP’s appointed stockholding distributor for North America.



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