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James May Wrenching On A Lawnmower Engine Should Not Be This Entertaining

Gif: Dean Martin/YouTube

James May is a weird dude, but he’s also a brilliant entertainer. Just watch this video of him assembling an old lawnmower. He somehow manages to make a boring situation—an old man quietly putting together a mundane gardening tool—entertaining.


James May has a new series out called “The Reassembler,” in which the former Top Gear host basically just puts various disassembled machines back together.

The first episode, which you can watch below, shows May rebuilding a 1959 Suffolk Colt 12-inch four-stroke lawnmower. It shouldn’t be entertaining, and there are quite a few quiet moments, but with James May, somehow even an awkward silence is humorous.


Not to mention, May injects a bit of history and quite a lot of mechanical knowledge, so May has made watching an old man fix a lawnmower in a garage both entertaining and rather interesting.

Plus, he says very British things like “gudgeon pin” and “circlip,” and includes some serious mechanical porn— just look at the beautiful simplicity of that old mower.

I’ve tried wrenching on video before (I did it live, even), and while I did my best to make it entertaining, I could learn quite a bit from Mr. May.

Sr. Technical Editor, Jalopnik. Always interested in hearing from auto engineers—email me. Cars: Willys CJ-2A ('48), Jeep J10 ('85), Jeep Cherokee ('79, '91, '92, '00), Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd ('94).

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Urambo Tauro

I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if Captain Slow did the knolling himself. It’s a wonderful technique, if you have the patience for it.