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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Restoring a Qualcast Electric Super Panther

I have just acquired a Qualcast Electric Super Panther mower. It works rather well but it has a few problems. When you switch off the power, the motor continues to run - there is no retard brake as a result it travels a little after switching off. Also, to engage the self-drive you need to lbend down and manually "pull and twist" an engage knob by the roller - this is a little inconvenient as you need to stop mowing, lean down to engage, then continue - but once in self-drive the beast is a little difficult to control as the whole machine continues moving forward a foot or two after you switch the power off!

It's covered in humidity rust and the decals on the grassbox are only legible when wet. I'd like to restore it  but maintain its aged look. I don't want to repaint it as it will lose  a lot of its character - does anyone have any suggestions of how to remove the rust but retain as much paint as possible, and rejuvenate the Decals? Are replacement decals still available? 

Also I'd would like to know how old it is. The serial number on the Electric Motor is 076057. Any ideas?



DJD Mon, 14/06/2021

Something seems wrong with this and may actually be dangerous to use. It could be something as simple as a jammed belt into pulley sheaves.

The lever you squeeze to make cylinder rotate and roller to move actually closes a switch inside the motor body, it may be shorted out or even missing altogether, young folk can hear these switches work.

If machine runs away as you plug it in, it is dangerous and needs a good looking at, I kept a secondhand switch for one of these for decades and finally threw it out after a clearing out session.

Machine, any machine ought to stop dead when switched off, in my opinion.

wristpin Mon, 14/06/2021

UThe most important thing to note with this machine is that it pre dates double insulation for portable appliances, so it’s imperative that its insulation and earthing is checked out by a qualified Portable  Appliance  Tester. Forty years ago we were condemning similar machines that would not meet the insulation and earthing standards. The amount of cable draped over the handle bars may itself cause issues in meeting the test parameters and may also cause overload issues due to voltage drop.

Definitely one for a qualified electrician.

EDIT. It’s just occurred to me that the delay in switching off could be that the mechanical cable between the handlebar control and the switch is binding and needs to be lubricated .

hortimech Tue, 15/06/2021

These machines were produced before it was thought to be a good idea if the motor had a brake to stop it when it was turned off. So they had a tendency to run on, but not markedly so, I suggest everything is checked by some competent person. This doesn't have to be an electrician, it just has to be someone who has been trained to use a class1 and class2 portable appliance tester and who understands 240v earthed electric motors.

The main reason most of these mowers failed the test was that they were filled with grass, a really good clean usually fixed the problem. 

The machine should only be used with 3 core cable, the machine must be earthed and it is not recommended to use it in the rain. 

stretchcj Wed, 16/06/2021

Thank you all for your prompt interesting replies, and for your sage advice. I can see there are some experts out there - thanks again. I need to clear up a few issues as I may not have explained things too clearly.  The device is insulated, it has 3 core cable and I've tested the earth. The main issue is that the electrical spring loaded toggle switch to the motor does not release immediately the cable-lever on the handlebar has been released - there is a slight ("ker-click") delay, also as it has no automatic brake to stop the motor once the power is off it takes a few motor revolutions to come to a halt - and it's this total delay - (the ker-click delay plus the motor latency time) which causes the device to carry on after the cable switch on the handlebar is released. If the clutch is engaged the device continues to move forward 2 feet after the cable-lever is released. I see these more as design flaws and ancient inadequacies I have no intention of ever using it in anger! Am still interested in finding a date for it.  I would like is to preserve it rather than re-new it, so I was hoping for some tips on de-rusting it. 


Clive1997 Wed, 16/06/2021


Now the tech is out the way, as to dating, it can be associated with England's last World Cup Win !!, I have a 1966 brochure/poster with it pictured at a cost of £23.15s.0d with all info etc, there was also a 14in, £6 more but with a selector on the back of motor for fast, medium & slow.

I am pleased you intend to preserve rather than restore, to be honest I feel replacing transfers will look a bit odd!

A treatment we use at the museum is Owatrol Oil, ( a litre will be around the cost of the mower when new!!!! but goes a long way)  its a rust inhibitor & preservative, you simply gently brush off any loose or flaking rust, leaving the rust colour, don't rub back to bare metal. The treatment cures the rust, seals the whole surface & darkens the rust colour to dark brown/black.

Happy to supply copies of ads's brochure images etc, email direct 

Hope that helps.