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Australian Model Engines from Gordon Burford

Gordon Burford was the equivalent to Dick McCoy, Irwin Ohlsson or Bill Atwood as far as model engines were concerned in the Southern Hemisphere.  While he didn't get the early start these other modeling legends did, he did produce a very long and diverse line of engines.

Most were in the smaller displacement sizes .09 to .15 (1.5 to 2.5cc) with a few diverging from this. Pictured here are just a few of the many designs produced by this prolific manufacturer.

Following is a very small cross section of the Burford production.  These are all .15's (2.5cc) from the Jim Dunkin collection.  Text is from Jim's marvelous Reference Book of International 2.5's.

Sabre 250 Mk 1 Diesel

First built in 1950 this is a second pro-duction based on his original Sabre 250 Mk 1.  Built in 1990 by popular demand for vintage use.

This design has more than a passing resemblence to the OK Cub engines.

The early production engines featured a crankshaft with prop screw rather than the prop nut pictured.

1952 Sabre 250 Mk 3 Diesel

This engine is natural aluminum with no color.  The case is similar in appearance to the Atwood .049.  There is a vertical raised plate on the sides of the crankcase with top and bottom rounded.  Markings are "SABRE" cast on left plate and "2.5" on right.  The backplate is threaded.  It uses a black "L" shaped compression screw. 

1955 Sabre 250 D Mk 4 Diesel

This has a natural aluminum crankcase with a red anodized muff (some have green muffs). Markings are "SABRE on the raised bar on the left side and 2.5 on the right.  The raised bars are squared at the top and bottom.  The front of the crankcase barrel is squared-off rather than rounded like the 1952 model.  The web behind the venturi is flus with the top of the venturi rather than concave.  The front prop washer should be mach-ined steel like the Mk 3.

1959 Taipan 2.5 D Series 3 Mk 1

This has a natural crankcase finish and a round profile red anodized cylinder muff. The crankshaft is in a separate bolt-on housing. The drum housing appears to be a crankcase that has been reversed.  The initials "IFS" are stamped under the right lug. A serial number is stamped under the left lug.  The initials "IFS" are for Ivor F. Stowe.  This engine may have passed through his hands and he serialized it.  Except for some of the Sabre series, the Burford engines were not serialized.  The Mk 2 version has extra material around the crankcase mounting flange for the shaft housing.

1962 Taipan 2.5 D BR, Series 5

This engine has a natural case with a red anodized cylindrical muff.  This design was influenced by the English Frog 249.  It has four cylinder hold-down screws which extend into bosses about 1/4 inch down from the top of the case.  Prop driver is tapered from the bearing housing down to the knurled face.  This may be the first model of the twin ball bearing Taipans.  It was once thought this engine didn't go into production, but this example is proof that it did.

1972 Taipan Glo Series 4 Mk 1 R/C

This is the first rear-exhaust engine by Taipan.  It has a prop nut spinner as on some earlier engines.  The head is gold anodized but there is no other color on the engine.  This example has the bolt-on muffler accessory which is slanted upward from the exhaust. Markings are "T" on the left side and "2.5" on the right.

You can contact Jim Dunkin for more information about his Reference Book at


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