If you’ve ever bought some motoring books, or thought about it, chances are you’ll have seen adverts from Chaters, the long-established motoring book-sellers. These days many of us buy books on the internet, but Chaters’ charmingly olde worlde shop in Isleworth can still be visited by browsers and buyers, which is how colleague and mate Peter Nunn, Autocar’s Japan correspondent, came to be scanning its shelves.

Here you can thumb through books about everything from the history of the Hillman Imp factory (ok, I admit it – I bought that one) to volumes featuring the best car-nut garages in the world (I resisted, but will probably succumb in time). Nunn was back in Britain for Christmas and fancied a nostalgic visit – he used to be a regular before Tokyo beckoned – and was particularly pleased to have returned.

Why? Because the shop is closing soon, Chaters moving to new premises near Basingstoke in Hampshire this spring. Most of its business is now web-based, explained the owner, and though there will be a shop within the new premises most of it will be devoted to warehousing books. So this ramble through the shop’s shelves was our last. 

It wasn’t wasted though – I bought a couple of Jaguar XJ-S histories besides the Imp tome, and Nunn some old F1 books.