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Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 6,938
Likes: 278
Forum Historian
Hello ODK history lovers
The Rover Model 84 & 85 Thoroughbreds were originally 14” and 16”
reel mowers that were introduced in late 1975 for the 1976 season.

There was intense competition between the top three Australian
garden products makers of the period. It’s pretty clear that mower
makers wanted to reinvent themselves as catch-all manufacturers …
sellers of all sorts of garden products. Victa did this; Rover did this;
Scott Bonnar did this.

It was obligatory for the key players to offer a power reel mower.

Scott Bonnar was the natural leader of the pack – it was in their DNA!
Victa bought a Kiwi design based on an English design and then
modified it. Rover created a hybrid – an in-house design that took
elements from Morrison, Ransomes, and Scott Bonnar; particularly
‘copying’ SB's chain transmission and brilliant landroll clutch.

[Linked Image]

This is not to say that the Rover Thoroughbred did not
contribute to the argument.

I have uncovered two relevant Rover patents that suggest
Rover was, for a few seasons, a serious power reel mower maker.


Portal Box 6
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 6,938
Likes: 278
Forum Historian
PART TWO – Specification
The Rover Thoroughbred was of a solid, quality design.
It had a steel plate chassis with the deck plate bolted to
the side frames – just like the original SB Model 45.

Originally in Rover Hammertone Blue, it was a handsome machine: -

[Linked Image]

The reel was an un-inspired 5 blade (delivering 75 cuts per yard)
design, designed for mass production, using semi-skilled workers.

Reel bearing housings pay homage to post war Ransomes ones
(but Rover used alloy), and Rover separated these housings from
linking to the bottom block – a simple, older design – that meant the
bottom block and reel could not be removed as one assembly.

The rear rollers were cast iron with full differential action.

The chaincase transmission and landroll clutch were pretty close
copies of the brilliant SB 45 design, but the primary clutch referenced
Ransomes heritage in having a centrifugal clutch.

Unfortunately, Rover went for a small diameter one that acted
effectively as an ‘on-off’ switch, with high RPM required for
engagement. In my view, the weakest design element of the
Rover Thoroughbreds.

The Thoroughbred was the first Australian reel mower to offer
a polyurethane catcher, and it was of a stylish large-capacity design.

There were three variants of the first Thoroughbreds introduced in 1975:

Model 8408 - 14” powered by a Briggs & Stratton 2.5hp 80102;
Model 8503 – 16” powered by a Briggs & Stratton 3.0hp 80202;
Model 8516 – 16” powered by a Kirby H4

There are two interesting but minor features that should be mentioned:
The ‘Easy Swing’ handle bar and the single-point front roller
height adjuster with height indicator. They were the subject of
two Rover patents [see next section].


Attached Images
Joined: Nov 2013
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Forum Historian
PART THREE – Patents
For completeness, I found two relevant patents on the Rover Thoroughbreds.

67968 of April 1974 for height adjustment improvements
67969 of April 1974 for handle improvements

The applicant was Rover Mowers but the actual inventor for
both patents was Douglas Flinders Green.

The height adjuster improvement was a simple idea most suitable
for domestic reel mowers. It enabled operators to repeat selected
cutting heights by aligning a gauge bar with a decal on the chaincase.

The handle bar improvement enabled the top handle to be
folded (for transport) but also permitted the top handle to be
rotated; to move it away from walls on the edging side
(opposite the chaincase). I guess the idea had some merit …

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

Attached Images
67968_1974_rover.pdf (180.13 KB, 9 downloads)
67969_1974_rover.pdf (223.14 KB, 7 downloads)
1 member likes this: Andy E
Joined: Nov 2013
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Forum Historian
PART FOUR – Operator Manual
Rover Operator Manuals were always small and succinct.
This Thoroughbred Manual is no exception.

A big thank you to member eyecue for supplying this rare copy.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

Attached Images
rover_thoroughbred_operator.pdf (2.24 MB, 31 downloads)
Joined: Nov 2013
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Forum Historian
An early Thoroughbred Parts List makes it clear that the 14”
machine was fitted with a Briggs 80102. The 16” machine was
offered with either a Kirby-Tecumseh H4, or a Briggs 80202.

Note the handle-mounted air-cleaner. That was removed within
a season or so; because it would have been considered not
necessary in most areas. The less expensive on-board foam
filter appears to have been fitted as standard on later machines.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

Attached Images
rover_thoroughbred_parts.pdf (1.37 MB, 28 downloads)
3 members like this: Phil28, Peter Holm, Masoooooooo
Joined: Nov 2013
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Likes: 278
Forum Historian
PART SIX – Final Season
My best guess is that the 14” thoroughbred was discontinued
at the same time the 16” was given a colour change – to a
hammertone green. This appears to have occurred in late
1979 for the 1980 season.

[Linked Image]

That would be the final season for the Rover Thoroughbred.

The reason is simple: the new Rover-Scott Bonnar Company
could not offer a range divided. The Thoroughbred had to
give-way to the mighty Scott Bonnar Model 45.

The rest is history.

Attached Images
rover_thoroughbred_c1980s.jpg (223.19 KB, 63 downloads)
1 member likes this: NOB1973

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