Briggs and Stratton – a lesson in the value of a second-hand mower

“Can I sit on it?” he asked. A question from a 15-year-old interested in buying our old ride-on lawn mower, affectionately known here as the “trattorino”. Red, cuts grass. “It’s the 11hp Briggs and Stratton, right?”.

We confirm and the next question is almost inevitable – “what’s its top speed?”. We’re not really sure, and there is some disappointment as they realise we only ever used it to cut grass. We did have plans at one stage of building a Briggs and Stratton snow plough but we never got around to it. Other than that it’s been a relatively faithful part of our set of garden tools and we’ve never really explored its full potential in terms of speeding around the garden.

I’m sorry to see it go, the trattorino. We have quite a large block to mow and it made gardening fun. Apart from more recently when the hole in the cover has gotten ever bigger and it was like taking a grass shower. People pay a lot of money for fancy hay bath treatments in spas, but at our place you could just take the trattorino out for a whizz around the yard and the effect was similar (I guess).

There was a time when we spent a lot of money trying to get it fixed, but no-one seemed to have the right touch. So not too long ago we bought a new carburettor, new filter and a few other bits and pieces. We watched a few videos on YouTube about how to carburate it properly (thank God for the americans who posted these videos!) and fixed it as best we could. It came back to life, but we knew its days were numbered.

So we put an ad on the internet to sell it. I had my doubts – who would be interested in an old pile of rust? It still did the job but in this day and age of consumerism where everything is new and must work at the switch of a button, or even talking to an app (Alexa mow the lawn…), I thought our chances were slim.

In three days we had 59 views on the ad, which put to shame our other ad to sell a high performance motorcycle. We were getting calls and messages like there was no tomorrow. Our humble trattorino it seemed was in high demand. One prospective purchaser asked if he could come with a van, and if he liked it, could he load it and take it away on sight.

And so it was we found ourselves in the heat of an Indian summer, standing in our yard with a 15-year-old, his father and his grandfather, taking a look at our Briggs and Stratton trattorino. I had thought of what I assumed would be all potential purchasers – from old farmers, to gardeners, to field workers….

Except for this trio, thrilled with their purchase who didn’t care about the hole in the grass cover, or the seat repaired with black duct tape by the previous owner years ago. Why the question about the top speed? It seems our young purchased races Briggs and Stratton – or turns them into go-karts and posts videos on YouTube.

We have since explored the world of lawn mower karts, and Briggs and Stratton racing mowers. We’re thrilled about the renaissance our trattorino will soon experience and hopefully our young purchaser is too. So it just goes to show that a pile of rust can still win over a high performance motorcycle.

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