1975 Dennis Premier Mk1 30” (with reverse gear)
MANUFACTURER: DENNIS LAWNMOWERS, GODSTONE (PE) Co. Ltd
Purchased in Spring 2004 from a collective auction. This Mower was bought new in 1975 by Sir Alan Cox, later on when moving to a smaller home the mower was found impractical and put in the collective sale.
The engine was completely stripped down and rebuilt; following a trip to the world leading Lawnmower Manufacturer’s; - Dennis at Kirk Langley in Derbyshire, where new piston rings were sourced, all other seals from a local bearing supplier. The usual problem of the keyway on the oil pump was shearing, so a new bit of key steel cut and fitted. The exhaust valve seat had to be rec-cut as pitted. I also made all the gaskets and new head gasket. The front cutting cylinder, being of the removable cartridge type was refurbished. On this machine the pre-engage dog on the drive has been done away with and you have to remove the drive sprocket to withdraw the cartridge from the frame. The reverse gear appears in Dennis parts books in 1969, this is when the pressed steel chain cover was designed to accommodate the new drivetrain. The mower has never been shown, and once almost injured the owner by engaging it into reverse and rapidly demolishing a load of glass cloches; The author was also lucky to avoid injury.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DENNIS PREMIER MK1’s: 1963-77
The First Dennis Premier to be sold was actually the 5th one made and sold to J. Parker on the 23rd of August 1963, the previous four mowers had gone to Dennis’s Service department between 1961-3 Dennis Brothers of Guildford continued with the “Z suffix” numbering system on Premier mowers until much later on when the PA – for 24”, PB – for 30” & PC for -36” suffix’s became the standard classification system, and used by the later “Badge Engineering” concerns. The suffix – R was added to the serial number for mowers with reverse gear. After the Hestair Group took full control of the majority of shares in Dennis Brothers in 1972, Stanhay of Ashford Kent, (A Hestair Company) who were already assembling the Dennis Mower (since the late 1960’s) division took on full control at Ashford. After a few years at Ashford, Dennis Mower production moved back up to Surrey in the guise of Dennis Godstone in the Mid, 1970’s. Now back under control of the Dennis family; Dennis Godstone was run by John Dennis (Chairman), the Grandson of one of the Dennis Brothers, founders of the famous Guildford company. In 1977 Dennis Godstone still offered the 30” Premier with the beautiful Dennis designed E5 600cc engine for £1508.50, but now offered a Kohler 475cc engine’s premier at £1280.50, or an electric start version for £1380.00, so the days of the Dennis Premier having an all British made engine were numbered. As we all know, Howards of Derby the current manufacturer of Dennis Lawnmowers are still Flourishing and still make the most perfect machines in the World! Who took on the mantle back in 1976 by making the Dennis “Guildford” Gang mowers. I have put this in the sporting section as Dennis Premier's are Synonymous with sports grounds!