Keil K6

Name Keil K.6 Designer in despute
Bore .7812" Stroke .8125"
Type Spark Ignition Capacity 6.38cc (.380 cuin)
Production run unknown Country of Origin England
Photo by Ken Croft, Les ? Year of manufacture 1946


Unfortunately, we don't know a whole lot about this short-lived engine. It was introduced to the British market shortly after World War II by KeilKraft Ltd under the leadership of Eddie Keil which explains at least part of the name. The first advertisement for it I could locate was in Aeromodeller, March 1946 (p 236). As KeilKraft were a wholesale only operation, their advertising tended to differ from month to month and the K.6 did not feature often. The last instance I could find in Aeromodeller was on the rear cover of the November 1947 issue. By this time, Britain had gone "diesel" and it probably made no sense to market a big, heavy sparker, especially when no kit in their range was large enough for it.

It has been stated more than once that Harold Kemp was the designer and manufacturer of the K6. For a lot of reasons, this is highly unlikely and as time passes, the chances of finding out who really designed and made it for KeilKraft is even more unlikely!

The engine at the head of the page belongs to Ken Croft. Here's what Ken has to say about his engine:

The Keil K.6 is in a different league. I cannot imagine Harry Kemp turning out anything quite so complex and nice and nobbly as the fragile K.6. I think it is a lovely thing, but rarely flown these days due to the three very weak cylinder hold-down lugs, and the equally thin beam mounting lugs. In good condition with the exhaust stack and all the bits, they are quite difficult to find these days. They usually have a cracked casting somewhere, missing or broken fins, a melted tank, sometimes a complete repro tank/carb top, and almost always no exhaust stack. I am lucky as I found a good complete one about some years ago. Pictures attached so we all know what a [my] K.6 looks like. Still no idea who made them. There was no British engine I can recall that was so nicely made at the time.

As Ken says, information about the old K.6 is hard to find these days, but a reader who was lucky enough to obtain a copy of the 1946 Kiel Kraft Handbook took the time to scan and mail us some pages which provide a little more information, and add to the mystery at the same time through the mention of a "K.3" and a "K.10". Ron Warring's Miniature Aero Motors, Clanford's A-Z, and Peter Fisher's Collector's Guide to Model Aero Engines list the K.6, but none make any mention of the K.3, nor the K.10 so it's doubtful that either of these two ever reached consumerland, but we'd be just as happy to be proven wrong!




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