Bulldog Chopper Lawnmower

Gary McBride of Duluth, Georgia, created this “lawnmower chopper” by combining a Craftsman LT 4000 lawn mower with the front fork and wheel of a 1960s motorcycle. “This all started on a dare/bet from a friend of mine who said I couldn’t do it,” Gary says. “That was all I needed.” He bought the lawn mower on Ebay for $150. The front fork and wheel came from a dismantled 1960s chopper, and the gas tank from a Harley Sportster. The steering neck and bearings were also purchased on Ebay.

The frame is 1-1/4-inch DOM steel. The motorcycle parts were MIG welded to the mower frame. TIG welding was used on the handle bars and steering neck. He used ESAB filler rods and wire purchased from Linde Gas in Norcross, Georgia. “ESAB quality and availability are highly recognized,” he notes. Finally, the new machine was painted with Sherwin Williams Dimension II acrylic enamel.

The mower/chopper is fully functional and Gary has used it to cut the several acres behind his house. “It turns like a tanker,” he says, “but it is still kind of fun to ride, especially when the sound system is turned on and playing the Georgia Fight Song (I’ve Been Working on the Railroad).” The sound system comes from a Pep Boys electronic JukeBox and also features 30 other tunes, including the theme songs from Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Rocky.

Gary plans to donate the machine to the “Wheels Through Time” museum located in Maggie Valley, N.C. for its “Chopper Graveyard” display.

Although Gary had always been very interested in the art of welding and fabricating, much of his career was spent in the air. After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1967, he entered flight school and received his wings in August of 1968. He served aboard the USS America deployed to Viet Nam and later to the Mediterranean. After leaving the Navy, he started a career with Delta Airlines. He retired 30-plus years later in 2003 and entered DeKalb Tech College where he majored in Welding and Motorcycle Tech. He continues to work for himself, restoring old motorcycles and cars in his garage. “Currently I am putting the finishing touches on a 1979 Mercedes 450SL that I have been working on for more than four months,” he says.