Briggs & Stratton powered…

September 14, 2023 in Articles

Imagine going back thirty years to 1993 (yes thirty whole years) and, quite randomly, you are allowed to put a small Briggs & Stratton engine on absolutely any machine of your choice. What would it be? Perhaps a lawnmower or tiller that requires an engine transplant, or maybe a machine in the style of something from ‘Scrapheap Challenge’ – there was a B&S engine on one of their machines the other day.

1983 – Apache Kart with 3 hp Briggs & stratton engine

But how about something more heart-stopping than a mower, how about something to terrify yourself and panic the neighbours enough so that they ring the authorities? In 1993, a tool and machinery retailer was advertising four ‘Fun Karts for off-road thrills’ (larger photos at the bottom of this page) – they look brilliant and include the Apache 300 with a 3 hp B&S engine and scrub brakes (£579.99), the Chieftain 2-500 with a 5 hp B&S engine, band brakes, and optional rear spoiler and front fairing (£719.99), and the largest machine being the Wildcat 900 with a 9 hp B&S electric start engine, disc brakes and a roll frame (£1999.99).

1983 – Indy race car with 3 hp Briggs & Stratton engine

The most brilliant machine must be the Indy race car. ‘A superb looking Formula One style Indianapolis car’. It had a fibreglass body shell and a 3 hp B&S engine and cost £949.99. I’ve looked all over the internet to find further information on this car but have found nothing: I wonder what the mechanicals looked like, how fast could it go…and how well it stopped?!

Earlier, in the mid-to-late 1960s, BlowKarts, Oldfield Works, Chesterfield were advertising (image, below) a Kart with an 80cc J.A.P. engine, heavy-duty pneumatic tyres, rear wheel braking, and manually operated belt-tensioner type clutch. It was available in either kit form or completely assembled, priced from £65 in 1966. Examples were sold, but what happened to them all?

Villiers engines can be found in Buckler Karts made available by Buckler Cars, Crowthorne, Berkshire in the 1960s. There seem to be quite a few makes of vintage Karts from different manufacturers and with various small engines.

The point of this article is that it’s easy to forget that many small engines did not just get used on lawnmowers or garden machines. Small engines, whether B&S, Kohler, Jap, Villiers or one of many others were used (and still used) on a wide variety of applications. Two to have a look at are the 1920s Briggs & Stratton Flyer and the 1930s Atco Junior Training Car…

B&S Flyer (Smith Flyer):
Atco Junior Training Car:

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