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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

New Member Atco Standard info please

Dear All

I have recently bought via ebay an Atco Standard in remarkably  good condition which I would like to restore to near new condition.

But I am puzzled by the paint scheme the entire machine has been repainted at some time in green there is no sign of any red paint on the countershaft or fan etc. 

So a few questions for the experts !

The petrol tank is brass were the tanks left bare or always painted ?

Was the fan and sprockets always red or were some just green ?

The only part on the machine that has red paint is the cylinder.

The engine is a Villiers VI C with Senspray carburetor.

Before I stripped the machine I thought I would start her up (not run for many years) I discovered no spark and fuel system completely gummed up !

I checked and cleaned the points of the magneto still no spark so I removed the flywheel and did a few tests and discovered the points were open circuit despite cleaning with glass paper so brought out a fine file (not approved by Atco in there instruction book) after a couple of passes of the file the contacts read zero ohms. I replaced the flywheel and set the timing.  Lovely fat spark !

I cleaned the fuel system and carb,  popped in a drop of modern 2stroke mix and two turns of the handle and she fired up and ran!

These really are amazing machines and it is hard to believe that they are nearly 100 years old.

Any information regarding colour schemes over the years greatfully received.

Part of the decompressor is missing although the little lever is present if anyone has a decompressor complete would love to buy it !

Best Wishes John





wristpin Thu, 05/10/2017

Welcome to the forum. You were fortunate indeed to buy a machine with a good ignition coil, most of that age are useless having   corroded internally ; perhaps it was renewed at some point. As far as lubrication and fuelling goes, I’m an advocate of “ old oil for old engines”. In your case the oil would have been a straight, non detergent SAE 30 or  40 motor oil which is still available from specialist oil blenders such as Millers or Morris Lubricants. Modern semi or fully synthetic two stroke mixing oils are formulated for modern high speed engines  with “ proper” bearings and oil seals rather than the plain bushes used in your Villiers.

I have three unrestored Standards, all have red fans and countershafts etc with green painted fuel tanks with gold Atco transfers.  At one time Atco used to offer a winter rebuild service which involved a bare metal respray with new transfers but this would have followed the original paint and transfer scheme , so I’m guessing that yours had an owner or dealer repaint


olcadmin Tue, 17/10/2017

Paint Colours

Over the years we have seen a few Atco Standards with an all-green colour scheme that appears to be authentic. In fact, the one I restored at Milton Keynes Museum in the late 1980s (and is now part of their mower display) is one such mower. However, the red and green combination is by far the more common.

One way to test whether your machine had red parts that are now painted green would be to scratch off the top layers in an unobtrusive area and see what's underneath - I doubt that someone would have gone to the trouble of removing every trace of red so this could be a useful first step. See our notes on colours in the restoration section.

Assuming it originally had the typical paint scheme then the cutter, driveshaft, and fan would have been red. Roller drive sprockets could be either - I have certainly seen both.

Petrol Tanks

Finding a restored machine with a highly polished brass tank is not uncommon but they were all originally painted green.


The very earliest Atco Standards had the decals that we sell through the club but these were replaced within a few years by the normal ATCO designs (which we also sell). This transition occurred while the Standard was still in production so the design on your machine is quite likely the same as it had originally.


Should be reasonably easy to find another one from a donor machine. Why not place a classified ad on our site or in the next Grassbox?

Finally, I'll put a note on your separate posting on the same subject to request replies are placed in this stream to avoid duplication.