Gordon Burford

Gordon Burford
Gordon Burford

Gordon Burford
Born August 3, 1919(1919-08-03)
Adelaide, South Australia
Died March 12, 2010(2010-03-12) (aged 90)
Queensland, Australia
Nationality Australian

Gordon Burford (3 August 1919—12 March 2010) was an Australian model engine designer and manufacturer. He was Australia's premier model engine builder.[1] He produced thousands of engines of many different designs including the GeeBee, Sabre, GloChief and Taipan brands. Gordon was also a respected aeromodeler starting with Free Flight at a young age prior to World War II before pioneering in Control line after the war.

After the war ended, importation into Australia of model engines was difficult and expensive due to Australia's remoteness to the rest of the world. Gordon saw an opportunity of manufacturing his own engines for the Australian market. His first engine, produced in 1946, was the Gee Bee, a 5cc diesel motor based on the Sparey 5cc diesel design that had been recently published in England.

What was to follow was a long pedigree of diesel and glow engines from 1cc up to 10cc displacement until Gordon retired in 1974 and handed the business to his son Peter. Gordon then directed his energy into the interest of Australian aeromodelers by taking on the position of Federal Secretary and Treasurer of the Model Aircraft Association of Australia (MAAA).

Gordon Burford died on the 12th March, 2010, following a fall at his home in Currumbin Queensland.


Engines Manufacutured

Taipan 2.5cc (0.15 cubic inch) Glow engine (Mk 3 1968)

Gee Bee

Gee Bee[2] Gordon's first engines.

Year Name Size Type Notes
1946 GB1 5cc Diesel Based on the Sparey 5cc diesel
1947 GB2 5cc Diesel Based on the American Drone engine
1949 Gee Bee Stuntmota MkIII 5cc Diesel or Glowplug Based on the American Drone engine
1950 Gee Bee 50 5cc Diesel
1950 Gee Bee 50G 5cc Glow
1950 Gee Bee 75 7.5cc Glow


Sabre was the name Gordon chose for his engines, but was threatened with legal action in 1956 by North American Aviation who built the F-86 Sabre jet. Gordon decided not to use the name anymore, rather than go through a costly legal battle.

Year Name Size Type Notes
1950 Mk 1 Sabre 2.5cc 2.5cc Diesel Inspired by the 1949 Elfin 2.49 and OK Cub 049
1951 Mk 2 Sabre 250 2.5cc Diesel Improved crankcase design
1951 Sabre 150 1.5cc Diesel Small production run
1951 Sabre 49 8cc Glow Based on the Atwood Triumph
1952 Sabre 29 Mk 1 5cc Glow Inspired by the Veco 29
1952 Sabre 19 3.27cc Glow Inspired by K&B 19
1953 Mk 3 Sabre 2.5cc 2.5cc Diesel New crankcase design
1955 Mk 4 Sabre 2.5cc 2.5cc Diesel Improved design
1955 Sabre 35 6cc Glow Inspired by the K&B 25 "green head" Same bore and stroke as Fox 35

Glo Chief

Glo Chief was then name originally chosen as a replacement for Sabre for the larger Glow plug engines. Gordon later decided to use Taipan for all his engine designs.

Year Name Size Type Notes
1957 Mk 1 Glo Chief 29 & 35 5cc and 6cc Glow Copy of the Fox 29 and Fox 35
1958 Mk 2 Glo Chief 29 & 35 5cc and 6cc Glow Reverts to Sabre/Taipan styling.
1959 Glo Chief 49 8cc Glow
1960 Glo Chief 19 3.27cc Glow First engine with RC Throttle
1963 Mk 4 Glo Chief 29 & 35 BR 5cc and 6cc Glow Ball race crankshaft mounting.
1964 Mk 5 Glo Chief 29 5cc Glow Change in crankcase design


Taipan is the brand name that is synonymous with the name Gordon Burford. Hundreds of thousands of these engines were produced and sold world wide.

Year Name Size Type Notes
1956 Taipan 29 Mk 1 5cc Glow Basically a Sabre 29 Mk 2 with name removed.
1956 Taipan 35 6cc Glow Basically a Sabre 35 with name removed.
1956 Mk 1 Taipan 2.5cc diesel 2.5cc Diesel Carry over from Sabre 2.5 Mk 4.
1957 Mk 2 Taipan 2.5cc Diesel 2.5cc Diesel New design based on the Frog 2.49.
1958 Mk 3 Taipan 2.5cc Diesel 2.5cc Diesel Reverts to earlier format threaded assemblies.
1958 Mk 1 Taipan 1.5cc Diesel 1.5cc Diesel Smaller version of the Mk 3 Taipan 2.5cc diesel.
1959 Mk 4 Taipan 2.5cc Diesel 2.5cc Diesel Ball Bearing engine design for team racing.
1959 Taipan 3.5cc R/C Diesel 3.5cc Diesel Radio Control] use
1960 Mk 5 Taipan 2.5cc Diesel 2.5cc Diesel Improved porting.
1961 Mk 2 Taipan 1.5cc Diesel 1.5cc Diesel New design inspired by Davies Charlton engines.
1961 Mk 6 Taipan 2.5cc Diesel 2.5cc Diesel Ball race engine.
1962 Mk 1 Taipan 2.5cc Glow 2.5cc Glow 1st 2.5cc Glow engine
1963 Mk 1 Taipan 1.5cc Glow 1.5cc Glow Influenced by the OK glowplug line of engines
1963 Mk 3 Taipan 1.5cc Diesel 1.5cc Diesel Integral fuel tank similar looking to OK Cub
1963 Mk 7 Taipan "Sport" 2.5cc Diesel 2.5cc Diesel Plain bearing engine.
1964 Mk 2 Taipan 2.5cc Glow 2.5cc Glow Resembles Fox 15X engine
1965 Mk 8 Taipan "Series 65" 2.5cc Diesel 2.5cc Diesel New cylinder style.
1965 Taipan 1cc Diesel 1cc Diesel Smallest diesel
1966 Mk 4 Taipan 1.5cc "66 Series" Diesel 1.5cc Diesel Based on the 1965 2.5cc Diesel
1967 Mk 2 Taipan 1.5cc "Series 67" Glow 1.5cc Glow Resembles Cox Medallion .09
1967 Mk 5 Taipan 1.5cc "Series 67" Diesel 1.5cc Diesel
1967 Mk 9 Taipan "Series 67" Taipan 2.5cc Diesel 2.5cc Diesel Competition engine
1967 Taipan 19 "Series 67" Glow 3.27cc Glow PB and BR versions available
1968 Mk 3 Taipan 2.5cc "Series 68" Glow 2.5cc Glow Lightning Bolt model
1968 Mk 10 Taipan "Series 68" 2.5cc Diesel 2.5cc Diesel Ball race engine.
1968 Taipan 61 R/C Mk 1 10cc Glow Resembles the 1967 Taipan 19 BB engine
1970 Series 70 Taipan 1.5cc Diesel 1.5cc Diesel Ball race engine.
1970 Mk 11 Taipan "Series 70" 2.5cc Diesel 2.5cc Diesel Ball race engine.
1970 Taipan 61 Mk 2 10cc Glow More power
1971 Taipan Tyro Diesel 1.9cc Diesel The beginners engine
1972 Mk 4 Taipan 2.5cc Glow 2.5cc Glow Pylon Special
1972 Taipan 3.5cc Glow 3.5cc Glow Ball race version came in 1973
1973 Mk 5 Taipan 2.5cc Glow "Goldhead" 2.5cc Glow AKA 15 TBR Schnuerle Goldhead
1976 Taipan 40 6.55cc Glow


  1. ^ Gordon Burford's Biography by David Owen
  2. ^ Gordon Burford's Model Engines by Maris Dislers

See also

External links

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