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My dad was into all kinds of cool stuff, from blacksmithing to steam trains. His tastes ran all over the board in terms of cars and tools, but on thing always drew him in: cool machinery. And I can remember more than once standing around the local big-box with him drooling over a Kubota lawn mower. Why? He loved its little 3-cylinder diesel engine.

Though mower engines have come a long way in the last few years — think V-twin Briggs and overhead-cam Hondas — nothing makes torque like a diesel. Its powerful, low-RPM nature fits perfectly with a tractor’s needs. It sounds badass, too, ticking over way slower then most mowers. It makes a subdued little growl, almost like (as Dad would say) “it’s going to jump up and bite you in the ankle.”

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