Combination Car & Mower Has Volkswagen Ancestry

By Staff
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The first picture I took of my homemade lawn mower, 1981.

P.O. Box 324 Lecanto, Florida 32661

I’ve been around the country pretty well, having been in all
the counties of Florida in the last 44 years. I spent my first 21
years on the farm in Pipestone County, Minnesota, so I know about
Case Eagles and Waterloo Boys.

Having seen GEM, I’m wondering if anyone would like to see a
picture of my lawn mower.

While I don’t have much of an education, I do have a lot of
more or less crude mechanical experience. My creation has a lot of
hydraulic stuff under the VW body, and many other tricks you’ll
want to know about.

The machine has been on national television two or three times,
back when I first built it.

The body is hinged at the frame on the lower front. The winch
pulls the whole thing over in front until the upper part of the
windshield frame goes clear down to the ground. This exposes most
of the works, and there are plenty! The gas tank and hydraulic oil
tank each hold seven gallons, one under each rear fender. The
radiator stays on the frame in front of the engine which is a four
cylinder Continental that used to run the air conditioner on a
Greyhound bus. The engine looks like an old 1923 Star motor that we
used to have on an old Deering corn picker in about 1929 or 1930.
We pulled the machine with horses on the farm in Minnesota.

The rear end is from a 1973 Vega; they are a good rear end but I
would not use one again because the brakes do not have much of a
self-energizing feature. The regular Bendix type would be a lot
better because the thing steers by putting on one brake or the

The front wheels are just casters that I fashioned from 3′
Chamdland golf cart tires and wheels. I made these casters first,
then the frame. There are a lot of rubber Chevrolet motor mounts at
joints in the frame, and for motor mounts, as I expected, the frame
twists a lot passing over the rough ground.

The pinion flange has a 10′ roller chain sprocket on it,
then to a 4′ sprocket on a hydraulic motor. The hydraulic pump
is belt driven off the crankshaft pulley, which also runs the water

The oil pump does not stand much side draft, so I built a
counter shaft of large tubing and some ? shaft and selfaligning
bearings. These things have lasted the whole eight or nine years
but the chain and sprockets will get replaced this year.

This hydraulic system is so I can have an infinite number of
speeds and it goes forward or reverse instantly. The drive to the
three 21′ blades is from the rear of the crankshaft to the
pinion of a post hole digger gear box. This gear box has a 10′,
two groove pulley and is belted to the front center pulley on the
mower deck. This back pull on the front bearing is hard on it but I
have only had to replace it twice. I think a little water gets in
the hub as I mow in the rain a lot.

Of course there is more to this thing, but this is enough for

After painting 2,000 cars I figured a half of a VW would be

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