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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Allen CH 5

Hello and thank you for the opportunity to ask some questions about a recently acquired machine. It is labelled as an Allen CH5 with a Briggs and Stratton5hp commercial engine. The engine code dates it to 1987. I was wondering if anyone could please tell me what the mower actually was made for as it seems very heavy and cumbersome for general mowing work. I would also appreciate it if anybody happened to remember the original colour as I plan a restoration to near original condition. Thanks very much.

DJD Fri, 26/02/2021

Local councils etc. often used these lumbering beasts, there were four short blades mounted onto a single heavy metal disc underneath the steel deck, the glassfibre or plastic belt etc. cover and bearings, (if you can call them that!) help date this one to late sixties or maybe mid seventies, I think, I used one once when I worked for a local authority, I wasn't much impressed, but they kept going all day long and would go through most things found on the average grass verges etc. tin cans too.

A red engine and green frame and body were usual colours. Briggs engines came in red often and Allen used their own colours from year to year. Some Hayter machines were very similar.

Will Fri, 26/02/2021

What's described as a 'rough cut' mower I believe, a big bit of kit, I bet you've not lifted that into the back of the van :)

hortimech Fri, 26/02/2021

Long time since I saw one of those, the 'CH' is short for 'Challenger'. it has possibly been re-engined at sometime, I thought production stopped in the late 70s, as for colour, the fibreglass cover was a pale blue and the chassis was red.


Old Chopper Fri, 26/02/2021

Many thanks indeed for the help. Good to know the colour scheme. I would love to find images in its original condition,but none on the net. Much appreciated.

wristpin Fri, 26/02/2021

In the 1980s I used to work on a few. Challengers and they were old then and I can only remember them being in two shades of blue. Also used to work on their big brother , the Champion  - even more gruesome !

Should you need it, I have parts manuals for both.

hortimech Fri, 26/02/2021

You could be right about the colours, but I seem to remember the Champion 3 (to give it its full name) being two tone blue and the Challenger was mainly red. Also referring to the Champion as being the challengers 'big brother' is a bit of a misnomer, they were both approx the same cut size, the main difference being that the Champion had three speeds. If you want something bigger, there was the Wolseley Clearway (the red one) or even bigger, the Toro Trojan.


Clive1962 Fri, 26/02/2021

My uncle had one of these from new and the body colour was an orangey per the colour seen on the pulley.  His, I'm sure had a fibreglass cover which was cream or at least off white.  I have worked on another locally in the same colours.


wristpin Fri, 26/02/2021

I see that the Challenger model got as far as a Mk 6 and there was also Challenger Commercial ; could it be that the Commercial was red?  - all Mks were 22” as against the Champion’s 26”; surely, an extra 4” is not to be sniffed at?  As well as the three speeds it also had a reverse and optional brakes. 

DJD Fri, 26/02/2021

Blue was probably right, I think I got a bit confused with Hayter machines when thinking about the green body colour.

Old Chopper Sat, 27/02/2021

Thanks for all the information - very enlightening. Wristpin- do your parts manuals include any images at all of the complete machine. I'm really stuck looking for the overall colour scheme, and any decals. Mine has every colour of paint that was ever invented! Any images or decal info would be much appreciated. Thanks again.

DJD Sun, 28/02/2021

Briggs made batches of engines in different colours too, I've seen many different colours on their engines such as silver, gold, white, red, green, black etc. but those do include smaller versions too of course. White was popular with Aspera too. I did see a rebuild of a big old clunker like this on YouTube a few weeks ago, can't remember if it was Allen or Hayter, but engine Briggs was white.

Adrian Sun, 28/02/2021

Not sure that this is helpful as it would have been circa 1998-9, and it's a vague recollection with nothing to back it up, but I'm sure when I passed the Allen factory in Didcot on the train it had a mower depicted in white and orange. As for what bits where which.... blowed if I know, sorry!


Old Chopper Mon, 01/03/2021

Thanks for everyone's help and comments. I'm a wee bit further forward regarding it's history and uses, but still hoping,one day,to see one in glorious colour. I can't believe I haven't been able to find any images online.


wristpin Mon, 01/03/2021

Found one - in  Brian  Bell’s Seventy Years of Garden Machinery.

BUT. White engine, dirty white “bonnet”, brown streamline wheel and blade covering and orange/ red wheels.  Never, ever saw one like that !

Just says Challenger, no model or Mk.

Swifty Sat, 06/03/2021

Oops,  well spotted, my apologies ; they did look similar !