Sensation Owners Story

I own a Sensation 21" Commercial Mower, serial number 200221, that I purchased May 20, 1971, in New Jersey. It has the green aluminum deck with Sensation embossed on the deck and the flip handle. At the time this mower was very popular with the landscape contractors because they could begin mowing early in the morning when the grass was still wet with dew and the grass clippings wouldn't clog in the discharge chute. In 1985 the original engine finally wore out and I purchased a new Briggs & Stratton 4 HP commercial engine with a cast iron bore and installed it on the Sensation mower deck. That engine is still running. All the tread is worn off the wheels and last year, 2016, the rubber on the wheels started to come off. As each wheel loses its rubber I am purchasing 8 inch replacement wheels at Atwoods Farm and Ranch Supply and installing them on the deck. So far I have had to replace two wheels. I like this mower and as long as it keeps running I will continue to use it. I had to put the mower in the local repair shop and the technicians were amazed. They had never seen anything like it. After this long-winded story I now come to my question. I need a source to purchase a new blade adapter because as other members stated the pins shear off. I have not been able to locate a source locally or on line. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for sharing your story. Email me your address and I'll send you a free adapter. Sensation_mowers@ yahoo.com

By Rocco

Here is my “Sensation” story. My wife and I purchased our first home in the early 90’s. As most first home buyers, we were house poor. I purchased a very cheap Murray lawn mower at a garage sale. It was beat up but it was cheap. From day one the mower gave me fits. Nearly every time I used it, it took me 10 or 15 minutes of screwing with it in order to get it going. During one of these episodes, my next door neighbor, Gordon, called me over to his house.

Gordon was a great guy and in his 80’s. He was the perfect neighbor. He had purchased his home new in the 40’s. He knew all of the block history and had seen a ton of neighbors come and go. What a wealth of knowledge he was! Gordon was a retired telephone company field worker and had married a woman much younger than him.

Well, Gordon had been watching me work on my mower. Actually, he had seen me wrestling with the mower on quite a few occasions. He offered to loan me his mower to cut my grass. He opened his garage and there she set. A very interesting bright orange rear bagger mower with a white engine. Two or three pulls brought the engine to life. He warned me this was a real mower with no safety controls so “don't do anything stupid with it”!

I loved its simplicity as well as its looks. After cutting my lawn, I cut his before parking it back in his garage. Afterward Gordon told me that I could borrow it whenever I could not get my mower going, as long as I cut his grass, cleaned the mower afterward, and filed it with premium gas occasionally.

While I didn’t take Gordon up on his offer all the time, more times than not, I’d have to borrow Gordon's Sensation. A police officer friend in town saw me cutting my grass one day and stopped to chat with me. He was a huge fan of Sensation mowers, he owned several. He informed me about Sensations history and about the commercial variant I was using. A year or two later Gordon passed away. I was devastated. Gordon had helped me with several home repairs and loaned me numerous tools over the course of our friendship. Gordon’s wife told me she intended to sell the home. She knew he and I had become good friends and that he really liked me. She asked me if there was anything of Gordon’s that I wanted. Initially I told her no but after a few hours I knocked on her door and said after thinking about her offer, Gordon’s Sensation held a special place in my heart. She told me she was sorry but she had already given the mower to her son who had a landscaping business. I shrugged my shoulders and said no problem, his Sensation was the only special thing he had loaned me.

Several months later, Gordon’s home was sold. While the movers were moving out the last of Gordon’s furniture I was saying my good byes to Gordon’s wife. In passing she asked if I was still interested in Gordon’s mower. It seems her son had broken the engine and was going to scrap it. Without hesitation, I told her “I’ll take it!”. Several days later she delivered it to me with the cloth covered Sensation marked grass catcher. I seem to remember the engine was seized so I drove to the local lawn mower shop and purchased a new 3.75 hp Briggs & Stratton engine. I installed it and I was back in business, the proud new owner of the finest lawn mower I had ever used!

I’ve used this same mower to cut my lawn for the past 22+ years. The mower has never failed me. After every cut, I clean her. I only use premium fuel and I winterize her every fall. She never sets outside, always in my shed. Oh, and I never loan her out!, Ever! My neighbor is very brutal with his mower. He is constantly running over rocks and hitting tree roots with his mower. I cringe whenever I hear him hit something. One day he knocked on my door and asked to borrow my mower since his was broken. There was no was in hell I was trusting my prized possession in his hands.

This past spring, I noticed I was burning a bit of oil. I made a mental note to keep monitoring oil levels and mention it when I brought her in for fall service. In June The primer bulb began to leak so I attempted to get her into the shop while I was on vacation but the shop was backed up and could not fit me in. After my 2 week vacation, my grass was very high. I pulled out my mower and went to work on taming it. 3/4 the way through my mower made three loud bangs and stalled. I instantly knew I had done serious damage. Yup, I ran the engine out of oil and seized her. Damn!!!!! Oh well, I'll pick up a new 3.75 engine and be back in business. Not so fast. My shop informed me the new all plastic Briggs would not only look very out of place on my mower but he would not recommend the engine. No other shop in my area was interested in rebuilding my engine. I then scoured eBay and Craig's List for a vintage 4hp but was unable to find anything so I decided to pull her apart and restore her, while waiting to find a suitable power plant for her.

Early this past spring, the same cop friend, text me to tell me he had left a surprise for me in my driveway. It seems while on patrol the night before, he found a commercial Sensation mower in the trash. He scooped it out and dropped it off. I took a quick look, found it not to be seized and put a plastic bag over it and parked in next to my garage.

Now that I was in need of a mower, I took a look at my “gift”. It is a later model with all the safeties. After about 30 minutes, I fired her up and had her purring like a kitten!!

Approximately 2 years prior, the same cop friend sold me a never used, never, fueled, never oiled Sensation Commercial mower. The wheel bearing zerk fittings still had the blue plastic caps on them. Why did I purchase it, I’ll never know. I guess I’m a huge Sensation fan. So much so that my son has also caught “Sensation fever”. Every mower he uses is compared, unfavorably, to my Sensation.

While cutting my lawn with my “gift mower” is nice, it's not the same. I miss my fixed, angled down handle mower. She does not wear the “commercial” decal on her leading edge like all the other orange Sesation mowers. Her decal signifies her as “The Professional”. I'm pretty sure the original engine stated she was “commercial”. I also remember the engine was vertical start and quite tall. To date, the only other “professional” marked mower was in a 1979 Sensation catalog.

So that’s my story. I seriously can't imagine cutting my lawn with any other mower, nor would I want to.

By Kopfjaeger
Nate's picture

Thanks so much for sharing this very well written and interesting story!

By Nate

Really enjoyed reading that. I like how people stop and ask about my mower sometimes when mowing, I know the feeling.

By Rocco