1990 Was a Bad Year…
I didn’t mind throwing up so much but I really hated the dry heaves… And dry heaves on a dry Kalifornia summer day are particularly annoying but whatever… I had a weed problem too… No not that kind of weed.
You see, I’d just bought this house and I had no idea how big the backyard was and hangover or not I’d bought a weed-whacker and I was going to find out, I knew the woman that had been keeping me from choking to death on my own vomit for the past few years was unhappy… She did not like the house I’d just bought, she did not like the neighborhood it was in and I’d begun to suspect she didn’t like me all that much either… But whatever… I didn’t like her all that much either, so…
I was spending a lot of time avoiding her and got busy fixing the wreck of a house that I’d just bought in what passes for a ghetto in Southern Kalifornia and so it went… Rommel and the Afrika Korps drove deep into Egypt… And today… The Madman was going to find the end of this phuckin’ back yard.
I fired up the Weed-Whacker and waded in… I have no idea how much time I spent whacking down the 7′ high weeds and I’m pretty sure I did not find the end of the back yard that day but I did find this… Ooh… Buried Treasure:
There was all manor of $h!t hidden under the weeds, a poorly built brick barbecue, a refrigerator with no doors a couple thousand pounds of drill pipe but this… This I could use! an old Briggs & Stratton powered Lawn Chief Mower… I mean… Eventually I’d get this all cleared out and plant a lawn front and back so I’d definitely need a lawn mower… I loaded it in my pickup to take to the shop.
No User Serviceable Parts
I’d never spent any time with a lawnmower before, rather simple machines, single cylinder air cooled engine with a itty-bitty carburetor and a magneto ignition mounted on a shroud spinning a direct shaft driven blade… And this one was phucked up… The years had not been good to it, corrosion had taken one hell of a toll… The carb was beyond salvage the engine had been overheated and seized (repeatedly), the crank was badly scored the valve was frozen in the valve-guide… When I sandblasted the deck many of the rust spots became holes. A new comparable lawn mower would cost about $150, but somehow it didn’t seem right just to replace it. This Lawnmower came with the house… This lawnmower belonged to the house so just like the falling down house I’d bought this lawnmower MUST be resurrected. Drunk (insanely drunk) and all I was still quite handy… Actually I was a highly skilled BMW mechanic, hell I’d built race cars.
Having a full machine shop at my disposal and an endless supply of raw materials and parts that could be re worked and adapted I set out to rebuild this little machine… Problem: the carb is shot. Solution? Carburetors are ridiculously archaic technology anyway so I fabricated an injection throttle plate within a V stack… An electric pump was out of the question (then I’d need a battery, charging systen blah blah blah so I fabricated a multipurpose adapter plate that housed a flywheel with a cog drive to operate the high pressure mechanical Kuglefischer (TII) injection pump. I fabricated some drag pipes (even had them chromed) and tig welded two new lawnmower blades together, precision balanced my new blade that would now spin on a 50mm cased double ball bearing… I intended to spin this blade at about 1000 to 1500 RPM so when I “repaired” the rusty deck I incorporated a new fish plated layer of steel to act as a scatter shield in the event of a blade failure.
No… I’ve been asked this many times about my Lawn Chief but I did not get carried away (although perhaps I should have been)
The Lawnmower from Hell
Okay… It was damn hard to start and more often than not it just tore the grass out of the ground, but the neighbors pretty much left me alone and I liked that…
I don’t know what became of the Lawn Chief some how it went missing (along with the woman I was married to) by the time I sobered up in early 1991.
* Note… Yes I fudged that last image because I unfortunately never photographed my Unlimited Class Super Mower… Or maybe I did… I was blacked out a lot when I mowed the lawn but so far no original images have surfaced.