Auto Certes grass box

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wristpin
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Auto Certes grass box

A local croquet enthusiast recently bought an Sloper engined Auto Certes from an eBay merchant and asked me to give it a good “ going over”.  Actually quite a sound machine with no hidden nasties but what intrigues  me is the fibre glass grass box .  I’ve never seen any AC or Marquis of that era with a fibre glass box,  but then boxes seldom accompanied machines to the workshop.  

This box is no homemade lash up , well fitting and fairly substantial ; probably slightly heavier than a steel one.  Has anyone who was / is in the trade come across one of these and was it a Ransomes option or from an after market supplier ?

Chris G
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Having had a fair few moulds

Having had a fair few moulds made for replica parts - some very large, I can say that the quality of the remanufactured parts in fibre glass can be excellent copies depending on the quality of the original mould. My mower history and trade knowledge is next to zero, but fibre glass is quite a manual process so I would be surprised if it would be used for mass production? Depending on thickness it can also be quite heavy, and if the replica requires a complicated shape the mould can require being made into 2 or more parts.

Do you have a picture of it?

 

wristpin
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Do you have a picture of it?

Do you have a picture of it?

Unfortunately no.  I only had the machine to work on and didn’t get to see the box until I returned it to the new owner.  The image on the eBay listing suggested to me that it was an adaptation of a non original box and I was pleasantly surprised to find that  it replicated the steel one and was an exact fit. 

As per your comment it is at least 6mm thick where it matters  and is certainly not a bodge job. Ransomes steel boxes were always expensive so there may have been some incentive for some aftermarket  supplier to commission a run of fibre glass boxes . Raises the question of just how many would have to have  been sold to amortise the set up costs , give a bit of profit , yet still undercut the Ransomes price.

 

 

 

Chris G
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Raises the question of just

Raises the question of just how many would have to have  been sold to amortise the set up costs , give a bit of profit , yet still undercut the Ransomes price.

Less than you might think.

The overhead is time/labour and some skill obviously - not really materials. This rather complicated example took 2 guys I know a week to create the 2 part mould, they priced the mould at £2000 if I wanted to "own" it. But given demand they were happy to make it and recoup on projected orders. Unit price for a finished GRP copy being £140. Scale that to a grass box with some demand and I would think less than half that.

 

wristpin
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They were certainly very

,They were certainly very competent at their craft.  Even at £140 , far, far  less than a Ransomes box.

I see the hardener dispensing bottle on the shelf. I squeezed mine a bit hard a couple of days ago and it split wide open  !

Chris G
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I Had no idea the original

I Had no idea the original Ransomes boxes were so expensive, so the idea of a GRP run of replicas could hold water.

I could only spend half hour at a time at the workshop these guys worked in, they must have different respiratory systems...

Ever enterprising, they managed to get their hands on a full size Dalek and started knocking out copies, they were very good and commanded a high price - The BBC got wind which soon put a stop to it..

 

hortimech
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If you come across a

If you come across a fibreglass 20" Atco grassbox, I can probably tell you where it came from ;-)

 

wristpin
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Well, someone local to me

Well, someone local to me bought an Auto Certes from an EBay trader in Folkestone , and asked me to overhaul it . I hadn’t seen the box until I delivered the completed mower to the buyer for use on his croquet lawn and was surprised to find that it was fibre glass.

Subsequently found what looks to be a similar box on Garffitt’s web catalogue. What can you add?

hortimech
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Back in the late 70s, I

Back in the late 70s, I worked for a local firm, Theo Wilson & sons Ltd (also known as Theo's). They supplied machines and spare parts to Local authorities over most of the North West of England. The Alloy Atco grassboxes were very expensive and after grumbles about the price, Theo's got the moulds made and started supplying the boxes for a lot less than the originals. No idea just how many were sold though.