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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Atco lightweight 14

Hello all, I have been lucky to have been gifted a very good condition Atco Lightweight 14" from the son of the original owner. Model stamp1453 so I believe it us a 1953 version. It has I think the Villiers mk1 midget engine and there seems to be little information on these engines on this site or elsewhere.  Some information would be welcome;

Can the fly wheel cover be removed without dismantling the kick start mechanism and if so how ? Is the fastening that holds the kick start sprocket the same as that which removes the fly wheel? I want to check the ignition and I see that it is missing the cover for the points. I think these are available from Villiers Spares as Condenser Covers is this the correct part? The engine has a Champion 7 plug fitted but I do not know if this works yet, what would be the equivalent contemporary plug? 

Many thanks 



villiers98 Thu, 27/05/2021

 You are right it is 1953 and is the deluxe version ( larger tank, alloy split rear roller, cone clutch and better cylinder to bottom blade adjustment) .

The Mark 1 Midget was 98 cc with straight fins and no cooling fan ( with fan this was the Mark 2 I think.) This is the Atco Villiers 79cc version built only for Atco. Plain mains and no oil seals so use 20:1 or 25:1 mix with mineral 2 stroke oil. Best to always run til carb empty or drain it after use.  Is the engine free ?- put some oil down plughole and in inlet manifold. Presume no spark from HT lead?  &n…; -  is the points cover .

Use NGK A6 or Champion D16 plug. You can remove the flywheel disc and thread it past the kick start ratchet and pinion but not easy. The bolt that retains the pinion unscrews without removing the flywheel- this is separate captive nut. Undo nut till it tightens then hit spanner to extract flywheel.

If you go to  technical help -> operating manuals there is one pdf for Atco 1455 which covers the basics.…

Any questions please ask - I use one every week and have several. Not rare or valuable but when set up properly they run and cut well.

gtc Fri, 28/05/2021

@villiers98: have you come across Atco two strokes with a dog clutch on the roller to disengage it for close-in cutting? My father had one and they must have been rare because I've not seen one since.

villiers98 Fri, 28/05/2021

Despite having owned 8 of these over 40+ years I have never seen the one with the dog clutch ( as fitted to 1960s 4 stroke models ).

Seen one in an old brochure. Think they were only available in the very last years of the 2 strokes as the picture showed the different later carb in place of the Junior one and sure the brochure showed 4 stroke mowers of the same width as the 'new thing'. Considering the Suffolk was introduced in 1954 (?) and you didn't need a box of 8COM plugs to start when hot, it's surprising the 2 strokes lasted that long.


Osborne Sat, 29/05/2021

Many thanks Villiers98 for your help in answering the questions.

The engine is free with good compression and I have indeed put some SAE 30 two stroke through the spark plug hole to lubricate internal parts. I do not have a spark yet and need to remove that flywheel cover to give the points a good clean and reset the gap. I suspect it will need a new coil and condenser. Where is best for parts? Villiers Spares or Meetens?

The old spark plug does look very tired, I will replace that too. I know that Wristpin does not favour the NGK plugs in older engines so I will try for a D16. Hope to get it running soon.

Thanks again

wristpin Sat, 29/05/2021

Where is best for parts? Villiers Spares or Meetens?

Both are good suppliers of quality parts - get a quote from both.

My gripe with NGK is only that the A6 seems incompatible with my old Dennis. Other than that I used  them in everything else for years.

Osborne Mon, 04/10/2021

Having at last sourced the parts required to repair the magneto, all from Villiers Spares, (new coil, points and condenser and the cover) the engine fired pretty much first kick. It runs very smoothly and quietly. As it has been in store for such a long time, over thirty years, I will now remove, clean and lubricate all parts that move!

As you say, they are really nice machines. It will compliment my excellent JP Minor Mk2.

Thanks again for your comments, regards