Three Engines, Two Wheels


| June/July 1989



Garden tractor

RR #1, Box 169 Convoy, Ohio 45832

Ever since I was a young boy I have been fascinated by those two-wheel garden tractors. By the time I was in my latter teens the two wheel tractor was no longer popular and was being replaced with the riding lawn mower and lawn and garden tractor.

I like to go to auctions, and while I was at an auction I spotted a nice two wheel David Bradley with several attachments. I wanted to see how much it would bring. I thought it would sell for a higher price than I could afford, but was surprised and ended up bringing the tractor and attachments home.

A couple of years later I heard of an old two wheeler that was going to the junkyard. Luckily I was able to save its life. This tractor was a Bolens, it was in rough condition, and the engine had several parts missing. The original engine was a Clinton with gear reduction. I had a Briggs & Stratton Model 5S just sitting in the shed. I was able to adapt the B & S to the Bolens with a few adjustments, including using a jack-shaft to serve as a gear reduction. I didn't use the Bolens because I didn't have any attachments so I used my David Bradley to do the garden work. Since I didn't use the Bolens for any work I decided to build a riding sulky so I could ride and play around with the two wheeler. I was able to get another Model 5S B & S and since it was a plaything, I put the second engine on the front of the Bolens. Boy did I ever think that was something! I had a lot of fun with that old Bolens.

After another year had passed I was lucky enough to get hold of another 5S. I repaired the old engine just as I had to repair and rebuild the other two. The third one needed a lot of work. It sounded like music when it started to pop, then it smoothed out and ran like it was meant to run. Then I got this crazy idea to put the third engine on the Bolens. First I thought that was crazy, then I thought what the heck, why not?

I checked the scrap pile and the odds and ends box, came up with the things I needed to extend the frame again and rig the machine for the third engine. It took some cutting and fitting, some trial and error, but it was well worth it.