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Honestly, the HP levels of older machines from the 60s and 70s give a good guideline of what a 'bare minimum' would be. Whatever they had, it's barely below that. I would say 10hp is the minimum for something running a small deck and going slowly, but if you had something goofy like those ancient 1950s ride-on mowers that looked like a pushmower with a seat and a steering wheel on it instead of a push handle, it's possible 7hp would allow you to cut at 'full speed'.

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I have one of those mowers!
 
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