The 1.5 cc Elfin 149 PB (plain bearing) diesel was introduced by Aerol Engineering of Liverpool, England in 1950. This light and powerful engine was a huge success, ultimately becoming the most popular Elfin model of them all. It remained in production for some 7 years, achieving an enviable record of stellar competition successes along the way. Even after production was terminated in 1957 it remained among the most highly regarded British 1.5 cc plain bearing diesels of the 1950's, remaining in widespread use for some years thereafter.
Perhaps the engine’s most significant contest result came in 1952 when Barry Wheeler’s Elfin 149-powered model was proxy-flown into first place at the World Free Flight Power Championship meeting held that year in Switzerland. There was further International success in 1954 when J. A. Gorham’s 149 PB equipped model was again proxy-flown to a very creditable fourth place in that year’s World Free Flight Power Championship. Both of these notable 1.5 cc successes were achieved in the face of predominantly 2.5 cc opposition.
In common with its companions in the Elfin range, the main Achilles Heel of the Elfin 149 PB was a decided variability in quality, arising from the manufacturer's enforced ongoing use of well-worn WW2 surplus production equipment which he could not afford to replace. A good one was really good, but not all of them came up to that standard.
In the 1980's efforts got underway to produce replicas of this iconic model engine. This ultimately resulted in the widespread distribution of a series of Russian-made replicas of highly variable quality. A full review and test of this replica alongside an original example will appear in due course on this website.