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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Restoration quandry

I parted company with my JP Super yesterday. Having reached saturation point in the garage, despite having constructed a two tier storage thingie from old school exam tables and reclaimed kitchen work tops, I have been forced to adopt a one in one out policy. Anyway, with the JP gone and my head hung low after missing out (by a very long way) on the Godiva hand mower that was recently on eBay, I took a punt on something a bit odd. And won the auction.

I am now going to be the proud owner of a Ransomes New Automaton which someone has nailed an engine to. Part of me wants to get it back to hand mower glory where it will sit nicely with my 10" PGA, 12" PCA & 10" Automaton Minor. The other part of me thinks the curiosity value of this bit of home engineering could be worth preserving.

Until I see the mower I have no idea how difficult it will be to remove the engine, risking damaging the mower beneath, or, indeed, how easy it might be to actually get the engine running again. So, a bit of a straw poll: What would you do?





hillsider Fri, 17/08/2012

I guess your decision could become easier when you have been able to view the mower at close quarters, as it will then be easier to see if there will be evidence of the modifications after removing the engine (holes etc).

Look forward to seeing a photo or two of the mower as it is now.


redfernmowers Fri, 17/08/2012

if it was me, I'd remove the engine and place the engine on a base of it's own as a separate  machine. the most likely way the engine's bee fitted is either a wooden frame bolted to the main chassis which if I'm right is not an original part, so it's been customised. hopefully using the same bolt fixtures and avoiding hole drilling. it may be on an angle iron frame on top, either way should be removed easily. A ransomes would be worth a lot of care and attention. if ever you're struggling and would like a high spec job done, let me know, I'd love a challenge like this.

you've found a nice machine by the sounds of it and it's amazing coming across certain machines like this.


brummy_joe Sun, 19/08/2012

I have now collected the mower and the decision is a no-brainer. The mower does not have its original gearing and sadly both gear covers have been lost. HOWEVER........ the Atco Villiers 2 stroke engine turns and has compression, the rear roller, cutting reel and drive train are all relatively free and do turn. So, then, if I can get the engine going before school lets back in, I may well have this oddity restored and running for the Rally next year.

While I had been hopelessly optimistic with dreams of simply removing the engine to find a perfect mower underneath, I am quite pleased with what I have, and I think the chances of getting it cutting again are pretty good. Just don't tell the HSE.....



hillsider Sun, 19/08/2012


Well unless some kind soul comes along and announces that it was a common conversion kit you can take pleasure from the fact that the one you have is probably the only one around.


brummy_joe Sun, 19/08/2012

Indeed, Ray, indeed. I recall the debate over John Barnard's Patent Chain Automaton motor mower as seen in Grassbox 73. It's a great looking machine and it was a shame that it couldn't be run.... unless John's been able to get it going in the mean time.

Mine, by the way, has a 14" cut.