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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Does anyone remember the late Villiers vertical shafted rotary mower engines?

I think I bought a complete (almost) mower from our local recycle, always a good place for such curiosities, I was in a hurry one day and missed a bluish rusty and paint peeling Rotoscythe, but hadn't time to haggle, nor decent vehicle to stow it in, at the time.

I have no recollection of the mower that housed the engine perhaps it was an Allen or similar? I'm guessing now though.

I had several half hearted attempts at getting the engine to fire up, but was unsuccessful, the blade and carrier form part of the flywheel necessary on any engine some folk don't understand, but whether I'd kept and used them I cannot now recollect.

I kept that engine which had an odd governor/carb. linkage mechanism, if I remember correctly, for a couple of decades, I searched for it before lockdown but found only the side start mechanism. I imagine I took that off to help with the non starting and linkage issues, but never replaced it, maybe the spring is broken also, I'll have to ferret it out one day. It's plastic of course, the thin edge of the wedge for both Villiers and all admirers of their more substantial metal only designs of the past.

Clive1962 Wed, 13/01/2021

I remember a couple of them on M4, one maybe a M4PD, pushed under the workshop racking where they sat with a huge coat of workshop grime but otherwise in very new looking my YTS days. Seem to recall poor fitting tank/cowl and generally sad....

I remember too another one that we used to see from time to time for light attn...into the late 1980s, that seemed a good-un..



hortimech Wed, 13/01/2021

Why did anyone bring this up, they were terrible, you couldn't use 'reliable' when discussing them. The first time I saw one was on an Allen machine, 'Champion' (I think ) and it didn't seem to want to leave the workshop. Then to cap it all, Mountfield started using them and then when Norton-Villiers got into trouble, Mountfield bought the design etc, they couldn't make them work either.


DJD Wed, 13/01/2021

Were they two or four stroke? Two I think, the one I bought, maybe it was a crank seals problem.

I feel that anything that our own country produced for sale is worthy of a mention, at least, a Villiers is still a Villiers, whether it has Norton (another British great name) included makes no odds to me.

I think I prefer any Villiers to those awful plastic entirely carbs set ups and jangling little blades on the Invicta, snorkel filters etc.  type machines, any day, but that's just my own personal preference.

hortimech Thu, 14/01/2021

They were 2 stroke with an auxiliary drive and yes the crank seals were a problem (along with just about everything else)

You are quite correct, Victa's went downhill when they introduced the plastic carb, further compounded when they introduced the monoblock engine, they never ran as well as the older engines.

djg745 Thu, 14/01/2021

Feel I must put in a good word on the Victa with the 'plastic carb, jangly blades and snorkel air filter'.

I run a garden maintenance business and was given an old 1990 or 1995 Victa 2 stroke when the uncle of my wife died. I thought it would be useful for some of the very small lawns I have to cut and I would use it and then discard it. Well 5 years on and using it for 3 or 4 hours a week for 30 - 35 weeks a year it has never let me down. Starts second pull, light to move around, nothing much to maintain and my choice for my own lawns if the grass has got a bit long before I use one of my cylinder mowers.

Will miss it when it does finally go, or maybe I retire first! 

DJD Mon, 25/01/2021

I was looking for something else a while ago and this turned up, I think it's a Vertex side start assy.