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Showcase cover image for The "Clown Car"

General Information

Year
1969
Make
Craftsman
Model
131.96270 26" Front-engine riding mower
History
Bought for a pittiance (non running, frozen steering) on CL. Sunk a lot of hours into both research on this model and fixes and tune-ups, now runs great, and I used it to mow a quarter-acre of very irregular terrain for several years quite well.

(And the old 6HP Tecumseh engine and the deck/blade have gotten into an accidental fight with a landscaping brick and won, so take that inflated HP numbers :D)

I didn't come up with the name, my wife did, since when I'm driving it I apparently look like I'm riding with the clowns in a parade, since it's styled like a miniature tractor.

Better picture to come, this was all I had offhand.

Happy to share my research on this seemingly rare family of front-engine, vertical-shaft riders (many 131.962XX models similar - some have more than 1 forward gear, some have different size engines, but all seem pretty similar.)
1969 Craftsman 131.96270 26" Front-engine riding mower

Modifications

Suspension
Added a remote speed-control on the left (scavenged from a scrap push mower) since the detents/lever on the carb-mounted Tec speed control were worn out and loose, so the remote speed control is both handy and provides additional friction to maintain a speed control setting.

Replaced the beat up old muffler and piping with some new black iron pipe (yeah, it smoked at first) and a big honkin' muffler coming out the front.

Tried building a bagger, but the mower was designed for an optional big bag-dangling-on-a-pole off to the side, so a rear-mounted modified trash can with ducting didn't end up working.

Of course, added a fuel shutoff and a new in-line fuel filter (removed the old in-tank one)

Gallery

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