Circa 1965 DENNIS PREMIER Mk1 TYPE PA 24”
MANUFACTURER: DENNIS BROTHERS GUILDFORD.
Purchased in 2006 at a retirement sale. My knowledge of the mowers history goes back only to the late 1970’s Like the previous Dennis 600cc E5 engine we had previously tackled: The engine was completely stripped down and rebuilt. new piston rings were sourced from a local “old school” engineering Company, all other seals from a local bearing supplier. The usual problem of the keyway on the oil pump was shearing, so a new bit of key steel cut and fitted. I also made all the gaskets and new head gasket. When I purchased the mower, it came with the incorrect seat, but I have since sourced the correct “wishbone” type. The mower has been shown at The O.L.C.’s stand at the Malvern Autumn Garden show in September 2015 and delighted the crowds with its regular demonstrations. The cutting cylinder is a bit tired and needs replacement; the mower cartridge is the fully removable quick exchange type with drive dogs, so no need to take the sprocket off. Dennis Sales Legers for the period this machine was made do not survive (or somebody is hording them!) , so history and precise age unknown, however original press material show Dennis discontinued making the 24” Premier in 1965, in favour of the 24” Paragon.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DENNIS PREMIER MK1’s: 1963-77
The First Dennis Premier to be sold was actually the 5th one made and sold to J. Parker on the 23rd of August 1963, the previous four mowers had gone to Dennis’s Service Department between 1961-3 Dennis Brothers of Guildford continued with the “Z suffix” numbering system on Premier mowers until much later on when the PA – for 24”, PB – for 30” & PC for -36” suffix’s became the standard classification system, and used by the later “Badge Engineering” concerns. The suffix – R was added to the serial number for mowers with reverse gear. After the Hestair Group took full control of the majority of shares in Dennis Brothers in 1972, Stanhay of Ashford Kent, (A Hestair Company) who were already assembling the Dennis Mower (since the late 1960’s) division took on full control at Ashford. After a few years at Ashford, Dennis Mower production moved back up to Surrey in the guise of Dennis Godstone in the Mid, 1970’s. Now back under control of the Dennis family; Dennis Godstone was run by John Dennis (Chairman), the Grandson of one of the Dennis Brothers, founders of the famous Guildford company. In 1977 Dennis Godstone still offered the 30” Premier with the beautiful Dennis designed E5 600cc engine for £1508.50, but now offered a Kohler 475cc engine’s premier at £1280.50, or an electric start version for £1380.00, so the days of the Dennis Premier having an all British made engine were numbered. As we all know, Howards of Derby the current manufacturer of Dennis Lawnmowers are still Flourishing and still make the most perfect machines in the World! Who took on the mantle back in 1976 by making the Dennis “Guildford” Gang mowers.