UK-based specialist publisher Porter Press International marked its 15th anniversary last year, having published more books in 2020 than it has ever done before and thus enjoying its most successful year to date.
Founder Philip Porter is not one for resting on his laurels though, saying:
“There is no time to sit back. We have a load of very exciting books in the pipeline. It’s like a drug, and I’m hooked!”
Philip Porter always had ambitions to start his own publishing company and his dream really started thanks to the late Sir Stirling Moss. Having already written around 25 motoring books himself, including a number of renowned reference works on Jaguars, Porter became great friends with his childhood hero, and soon discovered that Moss had kept some wonderful scrapbooks during his illustrious career, and that was the catalyst that got Porter’s publishing business off the ground.
2005 was the year that the first Stirling Moss Scrapbook was published, shortly followed by three more Scrapbooks with Moss. The legendary Murray Walker then came onto the scene, working with Porter Press International to produce the next in the publisher’s ‘Scrapbook Series’.
Both Moss and Walker proved to be immensely supportive for a number of years, helped in part by hugely popular book signing sessions at major motoring events such as Goodwood, which helped to lay the foundations for Porter’s future success.
The much-celebrated ‘Great Cars Series’ of books started back in 2014 and features cars such the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe which I thoroughly enjoyed reading.
That was soon followed by the ‘Exceptional Cars Series’ with titles such as Ferrari 250 GT SWB – The Remarkable Story of 2689GT by Richard Heseltine and Alfa Romeo T33/TT/” – The Remarkable Story of 115.72.002 by Ian Wagstaff, both of which I reviewed last year.
And then more recently Porter Press introduced their beautiful twin-volume ‘Ultimate Cars Series’, which includes titles such as Works Porsche 956 – The Definitive History by Serge Vanbockryck, One Formula – 50 Years Of Car Design by Gordon Murray and the more recent Ultimate McLaren F1 GTR – The Definitive History by Mark Cole, all three of which I have reviewed and learnt so much about in the process.
Porter Press is also adding a number of bespoke books along with an increasing range of hand-bound special editions.
The books have attracted many awards with just about all ‘Book of the Year’ awards having had at least one, sometimes two, Porter Press titles shortlisted. In 2019 The Self Preservation Society – 50 Years of the Italian Job won the prestigious Royal Automobile Club Book of the Year award, which is again another book I have reviewed and gained such an insight into this iconic and much loved film and what went into making it.
To date, Porter Press has published somewhere in the region of 100 motoring books, along with special editions of many of its titles. All the books are printed in Wales with more of them now being supplied direct from Porter Press to customers around the world, such is their popularity.
Philip Porter sums it up nicely by saying:
“I often say it’s a tough old game with reference to publishing motoring books, proven by so many companies sadly going out of business or wisely giving up for an easier life! But we are driven by long-term passion – passion for interesting cars and motorsport, and for creating fabulous books. We benefit from tremendous support from our very loyal customers worldwide.
“It is tough but an exciting, rewarding business to be in. We continually strive to be the best, and of one thing I am certain: we have the finest team in motoring book publishing in the world. That makes me very proud. And it is all teamwork – our team of authors, editors and designers deserves enormous credit for all that we have achieved. They are such a pleasure to work with.”
Some other quotes from well-known people in the world of motoring and motorsports who have worked with Porter Press include Gordon Murray, who said:
“Choosing someone to produce One Formula – my first book about my automotive career – was never going to be an easy decision as the book is the definitive document on all of my car designs. Philip and his company delivered a great product and I am extremely happy with the result. The recently published book on the Light Car Company Rocket is another great example of the work that they do. I look forward to working with Philip and Porter Press on many more interesting projects.”
Whilst Martin Brundle said:
“I thoroughly enjoyed creating the Scrapbook with Philip, a high-quality publication which has sold well and from which I took great pleasure gifting copies to my family and friends. The term “scrapbook” suggests it was thrown together, but in fact it was a lot of work pulling the words and images together from the various decades, and I still enjoy turning the pages from time to time.”
Finally, author John Fitzpatrick said:
“I would like to thank Porter Press and Philip Porter for the extremely professional and high-quality production of my “Group C” book. It was a pleasure working with them and I look forward to our next co-operation.”
For more information on Porter Press and the wonderful books they publish, please visit: https://porterpress.co.uk
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man Behind The Wheel, a member of The Guild of Motoring Writers, professional photographer and former saloon car racing driver.
Philip Porter and Gordon Murray photograph by Gary Harman and book images courtesy of Porter Press International