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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Building a Marquis

The time is almost here for me to bite the bullet and buy my first old mower. My preference is for a Marquis with a BSA engine, and I do like a project - I'd rather buy one which needs work than one which is ready to run. I'm sure I'm amongst friends here with that train of thought...

I've been searching around the web for a while now and two eBay listings keep shouting at me. I think my train of thought is reasonably logical and straigthforward, but the fact that nobody else has bought these two and combined them makes me think that maybe I;m missing something.

The first listing is for a mower minus an engine:…

and the second is for an engine minus a mower:…

I'm pretty new to this game, and I've been repairing watches/pushbikes/motorbikes for many years, so I'm aware that pitfalls await the unwary, so I thought I'd pop my hare-brained idea up here to ask people's opinions on just how hare-brained this idea actually is. 

Am I, or more importantly, the mower missing anything important? Are there likely to be lots of hard-to-find bits missing? 

The golden rule when restoring old bikes and vintage watches is to buy the most complete example possible, as stripped examples are never complete and the bits missing are always the bits made of unobtainium. Are mowers the same, even with a "common" example like this?

wristpin Thu, 07/01/2021

Chassis . No grass box. Cutting cylinder looks ok but a couple of close ups  to see how much life is left in the blades to throw the grass to the back of the box, would be reassuring.  Trade seller obviously thought that it was worth more selling the engine separately. 

Engine . Other than the air cleaner cover, the main clutch backplate and shoes missing. 


DickBrowne Thu, 07/01/2021

Thank you for the reply Wristpin - the clutch parts, I think, are farily easy to attain? I can certainly see some on eBay, but I guess the question is one of cost. Combine the price of the chassis, the engine, a service on the blade and cylinder, the clutch bits and possibly new cables too. That could get expensive. 

The part which is worrying me most is the air filter, I've not seen one of them for sale at all.

wristpin Thu, 07/01/2021

The eBay price of Amal carburettors has more than doubled in the last two years and some of those on offer are not complete. Clutch shoes can be had for around £20 a pair. Likewise clutch flywheels / backplates but being  heavy attract high carriage charges. Cables - no problem. 

Another part that can be an issue is the throwplate / deflector that sits behind the cutting cylinder to direct the grass clippings into the box. If that’s rotted out, good used ones are making strong money, but with the right skills and tools it is viable to make one, but that’s not quite as easy as it may look.



Will Mon, 18/01/2021

Honestly, I'd just buy a complete mower, there's no shortage of marquis about (travel restrictions permitting), and you'll have plenty to tinker with even with a complete machine. 

Will Mon, 18/01/2021

Ps the first link has been for sale for ever, and the second link is ridiculously overpriced, you could get a nice entire machine for that money.....

villiers98 Sat, 23/01/2021

If you have a large enough lawn I see a recent  post for a  Dennis 24 inch mower for sale from Hoover. At least its about complete,  with box and were well engineered . I.e very heavy.

DickBrowne Sun, 24/01/2021

Thank you to everyone who has replied - either on this thread or via email. 

I think I'm pretty close to, well, I'm sure this will be a familiar story, but two mowers!!!!

One from a member here, next time I can get to see my in-laws (who live close to the mower's location) and one from the south coast, for a fraction of the price - complete but with more than it's share of challenges, either for a restoration project or as a parts donor.

All I need now is for lock-down to finish so I can travel...

And I'm hoping that a Marquis 18" will fit into the back of an estate car

DickBrowne Sun, 24/01/2021

Funnily enough, I love the Dennis, and a friend is desperate to sell me his Webb 24", complete with a tow-behind seat. The majority of the lawn will take the mower, but there are a couple of trees with narrow gaps between them, and I have no idea where I could store something that big!

villiers98 Tue, 26/01/2021

Thats how you end up with 2 , or more mowers . And a new shed or garage .


The Marquis will fit in most estates but a decent plank to run it up is a good idea. Heavier than it looks

RedLeader Wed, 10/02/2021

Good luck with whatever you end up getting. I went to buy one and ended up with two 18" Marquis mowers from the same seller!! After removing the handles I was able, with assistance listing, to get both into the back of our Ford Focus Hatchback. Lifting them out back at home brought it's challenges - they certainly are heavier than you think!