Sunday, October 24, 2021

For Sale: A 1919 Indian Power Plus Board Tracker

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Few of us can afford it but that doesn’t mean we can’t look at the pictures!

Friends, every once in a while, a chance comes along to own a piece of motorcycling history, and for those of you who love very old motorcycles and motorcycle racing of every kind, this might be your chance.

Up for sale through Heroes Motors of Los Angeles is a 1919 Indian Power Plus, and not just any (very) old motorcycle. It was a board track racer in its day and raced at the Los Angeles Motor Speedway; there is a chance this very bike is one of the motorcycles in the above video from 1921!

Heroes Motors has limited information on the machine, except that its owner moved from the United States to France with this bike after World War II, and the machine was then sold to, and stored in, a museum in France from the 1970s through the 1990s. The current owner bought the bike from that museum. It remains in unrestored condition (though some of the leather pieces like the seat have been replaced).

There is no price listed on this motorcycle. It definitely falls under the “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” clause, but as with every single other motorcycle on the Heroes Motors website, the pictures are amazing and worth a look even if you’re not currently in the market.

The Indian Power Plus, while a throwback now and certainly bearing little resemblance to modern motorcycles, was well ahead of its time. It was truly a marvel of engineering. Indian employed engineers as well as their factory racers to design the engines and frames of these bikes. These were the machines that set speed and distance records in their day.

The oval board track racers regularly saw speeds of 100mph and better, which is pretty impressive for a machine that put out just a hair over 15hp. The demons who rode them did not have the benefit of modern safety gear but instead donned leather helmets, and their clothing sometimes had wooden armor. This didn’t help a whole lot when a crash occurred on the speedway, where riders would sometimes (gird your loins here, friends) end up with twelve-inch splinters from the wooden track.

Fire up your imaginations; can you begin to believe what these races must have been like?

Source: Heroes Motors, Hemmings, YouTube

Hap Alzina – Indians Man of the West

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Hap Alzina (left) poses with race winner Earl Armstrong (center) and Cannonball Baker after a 300-mile race in Tacoma, Washington, in 1915.

It was 1949 and Indian Motorcycle was struggling. It was so bad that the company could not fulfill the orders it had from, all-important police and other commercial entities. West Coast distributor Hap Alzina got the news and selflessly shipped huge stocks of parts he had in his West Coast warehouse, just so Indian could build bikes to fulfill its orders. Then, not long after that, Alzina learned that Indian was to the point of being so cash strapped, it wasn’t going to be able to meet payroll. Again, Alzina went into action to try to save the manufacturer, by placing a massive advance order, well over his normal allotment, just so Indian would have an instant cash infusion and be able to pay its employees.

Alzina’s ardent devotion to Indian motorcycles went back to the early years of America’s first major motorcycle company. When he was just 15 years old, he bought he first Indian and he loved it. So much so that when he was 17, he took a job as a mechanic for an Indian dealership in San Francisco and quickly worked his way up to service manager.

Born on September 14, 1894, Loris Alzina’s interest in motorcycling began early in life. As a boy he bought his first motorcycle, a Reading-Standard, for $50. In 1909, Alzina’s family moved from Santa Cruz, California, to San Francisco. There, he bought his first Indian from C.C. Hopkins, who was the Indian distributor for Northern California at the time. It was for Hopkins’ agency that Alzina began working for Indian.

Alzina spent 56 years devoting himself to motorcycling. Involved in motorcycling from its infancy, he is best known for being the western states distributor for Indian and, later, BSA. He oversaw the sales of those brands during the height of their popularity. Alzina — who earned the nickname “Hap” from his good-natured attitude — also sponsored many of the top AMA professional racers.

In the early 1910s, racing was becoming increasing popular and Alzina tried his hand in competition. He did some flat-track racing, but his primary interest was endurance runs. Alzina raced in many of the early desert city-to-city runs that were popular at the time. In 1919, Alzina edged well known racers Wells Bennett and Cannonball Baker to win the prestigious San Francisco Motorcycle Club Two-Day Endurance Run. That was a huge upset victory over two very popular racers. Of the 30 starters in the 680-mile endurance event, only seven riders managed to finish. Competitors had to battle against rain, hail, snow and even a landslide during the February contest. One rider slid off a muddy wooden bridge and was injured when he fell into the creek below. Alzina overcame those obstacles to earn a perfect score, riding an Indian sidecar outfit. Bennett, riding an Excelsior and Baker, on a factory-backed Indian, were on solo machines.

Alzina’s 1919 endurance victory was his biggest achievement as a competitor and it made him a popular name by way of win ads in motorcycle magazines across the country.

A few years before his big race win, Alzina opened his own dealership, selling Reading-Standard and Cleveland motorcycles. That enterprise was short-lived due to the onset on World War I. After closing his shop, Alzina again worked as sales manager for San Francisco’s Indian distributor. In 1922, Alzina saw a golden opportunity across the Bay in Oakland and bought out the dealership of E.S. Rose. Alzina turned the struggling franchise into a very successful business.

Alzina’s business expertise was recognized by Indian. In 1925, the company assigned him all of Northern California’s distribution. The next year, he was given the entire state, and by 1927 his territory expanded to include Nevada, Arizona and Washington. By 1948, Indian sales in Alzina’s territory represented over 20 percent of Indian’s total worldwide volume.

Hap Alzina serving as an AMA racing official.
Hap Alzina serving as an AMA racing official.

At the age of 54, moved on to another business venture and bought the western states distribution rights for BSA motorcycles from Alf “Rich” Child in 1949. The growth in motorcycling over the next 15 years was explosive. Under Alzina’s direction, BSA’s western distribution went from three dealerships to 265 dealers in 20 states. The move to BSA helped keep him in the motorcycle business even after his beloved Indian failed in the mid-1950s.

Alzina was an enthusiastic supporter of racing. Many racing stars such as Ed Kretz, Gene Thiessen, Al Gunter, Dick Mann, Kenny Eggers and Sammy Tanner credited Alzina for being a big part of their success. Several of those riders worked in Alzina’s shop and were allowed generous time away to travel to races.

At one point, Alzina also served as Vice President of the AMA.

Famous for his practical jokes, Alzina once walked a horse through a plush New York hotel lobby, pushing the horse into an elevator and taking him up to a room where a party was going on. He also enjoyed marking “Private & Confidential” on the address side of post cards so that everyone would be sure to read the card.

Hap Alzina (left) with Ed Kretz (sitting on the bike) and other Indian riders and mechanics after Kretz won the Southern California TT Championship in 1939.

Alzina retired in 1965. He and his wife, Lillian, enjoyed traveling together, visiting friends across the country during their retirement years. He was given an Award of Merit from the AMA on behalf of its 70,000 members upon his retirement.

He was by a journalist if he viewed motorcycling as more business or pleasure.

“Motorcycles are a business,” he said. “But now, as you’re asking questions and I look back over the years, I call it 40 years of fun.”

Alzina died on July 21, 1970 at the age of 75. He will always be remembered as a man of integrity, honesty, loyalty, foresight, common sense and hard work. He was also a one of Indian’s most passionate supporters. He was inducted into the first class of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998.

Larry Lawrence | Archives Editor – Cycle World In addition to writing our Archives section on a weekly basis, Lawrence is another who is capable of covering any event we throw his way.

Indian Motorcycles- History of America’s Oldest Motorcycle Brand

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High on the list of truths universally acknowledged must be the fact that the Indian Motorcycle, as a legend, a logo and a symbol ranks up there with the golden arches and the three-pointed star, with power and value beyond calculation. On the other hand, naming your daughter Baby Ruth doesn’t ensure she will hit 60 homers a season against big-league pitching. To collect on the promise of legend and esteem, you gotta have a product.

We are concerned here with the Indian, originally spelled Motocycle by the founders, as currently offered by Polaris Industries. To fully appreciate this, we’ll have to look back 60 years, to an un­disputed tragedy.

At the close of WWII, a prosperous and product-starved public was ready to buy just about anything. The car and motor­cycle makers had learned a lot during the war, but they were canny enough to offer the old versions while testing and refining the new. The 1947 Harley-Davidsons, Fords, Chevys, Dodges, etc., were identical to the 1941 models, while the improved models—the ohv Oldsmobile engine and the telescopic-fork Hydra-Glide—didn’t get here until 1949.

But at the Wigwam, as always, things were different. E. Paul DuPont, who owned Indian and kept the brand in business through the Great Depression, sold his shares in the company. The new owners had new ideas—vision, one could say. The firm’s chief engineer had designed a radical line of really new machines, modular in that there would be a Single, a Twin and a Four, all using the same basic design, all overhead valve, foot shift and hand clutch, suspension fore and aft, with the writing on the tank being the only clue as to what was what.

Indian Scout

Further, the new president embarked on a revolutionary ad campaign. As the Japanese say, he reckoned to enlarge the pie, rather than fight over slices. The completely different motorcycles were launched in 1945, with a completely different campaign endorsed by baseball, show business and movie stars.

But wait: Doesn’t this sound like Honda in 1959, meeting the nicest people and all that? Yes. But for one thing, Honda’s dealer network was based on new people who mostly ran hardware or sporting-goods stores, and for another, Honda’s engineering raised the bar worldwide.

Indian’s new bikes—the Single and Twin (the inline-Four never got past the prototype stage)—were disasters. When they didn’t blow up, they broke down. The motorcycling community was small, and everybody knew how bad the new models were. Add to that, the old dealer network, the guys who’d raised a stink when the evergreen Scout was abandoned and stormed the boardroom demanding a new one, wasn’t always that happy with the new people.

Suffice it here to say that everything that could go wrong did. The money ran out and Indian’s new owners begged for help. The English brands were doing well, so Indian asked to distribute several makes. A partnership was formed, and before you could say the camel’s nose was in the tent, the Indian visionaries were out, the English owned Indian and production of the new models was immediately stopped. The final production run of the final genuine Indians, the Blackhawk version of the side-valve 80-inch Chief, came in 1953.

There followed a run of Royal Enfields and later, Matchlesses labeled Indian, but fooling nobody. Next, a puzzle and struggle over ownership of the script, name and symbols. There were Matchless-Indians, then a run of Italian Indians backed by entrepreneur Floyd Clymer, first road bikes and then motocross.

Indian Enfield

Next, a series of failures on a different stage: promoters with big plans and no money, who never made any motorcycles. A serious effort appeared in 1999. There was a major market at the time for full-dress Harleys and look-alike rivals from the major brands. Indian of America had a factory in Gilroy, California, and produced a viable machine, a big Twin styled like the old Chief and powered by a version of a Harley clone. But the funding wasn’t enough, sales did not meet hopes and the firm went bankrupt in 2003. Three years later, another group of investors picked up the baton and began building the same sort of repro-Indian Chief, this time with modern engineering as in EFI and a bigger V-Twin than Indian Motocycle ever dreamed of—all of it just in time for the bottom to drop out of the market.

But the true revival, one can only hope, came in 2011, when Polaris bought the struggling brand. What’s the difference this time? The lesson since the debacle in 1945 is clear: It’s a heap more difficult to produce a viable motorcycle than all those dreamers and promoters realized. They all had the script and the logo and the legend, but not one had a product to match the hype, good intentions or no.

In contrast, Triumph, with a logo and badge nearly as good, was revived and still thrives simply because it had 1) the capital to invest; and 2) a properly engineered machine that created its own market. It didn’t revise the classic Bonneville Twin until the big Triples proved that the product matched the promotion. Knock wood, those Indian dealers who stormed the boardroom demanding a new Scout in 1947, may soon get their wish. Except there is a very good chance it will be a Chief.

I don’t hear anybody complaining.

Source: Indian Motorcycles- History of America’s Oldest Motorcycle Brand

Who was Floyd Clymer?

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Floyd Clymer played a big roll in the History of the Indian Motorcycle – Here is a brief history of the Man:


Here at the Library, it’s hard to scan the shelves without coming across the name of Floyd Clymer.  From 1944 through the 1970s, his publishing company stood at the forefront of automotive books.  At the Library, we have more than fifty of these books on-hand for reference, covering everything from history to racing!  While Clymer’s books have remained his biggest claim to fame, they are but only one piece of this legendary man’s life story.

Since he was a lifelong fan of automobiles, it seems fitting Floyd Clymer was born in Indianapolis, home of the famed 500, in 1895.  Shortly thereafter, his family moved to Berthoud, Colorado.  In 1902, Clymer’s father (a physician) introduced his son to the world of cars with the purchase of the family’s first vehicle, a one cylinder Curved Dash Oldsmobile.

Floyd Clymer didn’t have what you would call a typical childhood.  At just seven years old, he learned how to drive his dad’s Olds.  Later, Clymer and his younger brother participated in the 1904 Reliability Run from Denver to Spokane.  Behind the wheel of a Flanders 20, several breakdowns thwarted successful completion of the trip.

If racing was in Clymer’s blood, so too was the entrepreneurial spirit.  While most ten year olds boys found fun playing baseball, Clymer got his kicks from selling cars.  With faith in young Floyd’s dream, Clymer’s father allowed his son to set up shop in a room within his practice.  In what was formerly a dentist’s office, Berthound Auto Co. was founded, specializing in REO, Maxwell and Cadillac.  In two years, the wonder kid managed to sell at least twenty six vehicles.

For trade publications of the day, the story of a young auto dealer was too good to pass up.  Motor Field ran an article on Clymer (then 11), “the Kid Agent,” in their February 1907 issue.  Salesmanship in his blood, the article doubled as an ad for Clymer who claimed, “[I] can supply your wants in repairs and supplies, and can save you money.”  Later in life, Clymer reprinted and sold this same issue for just a dollar.

Clymer Motor Field Article
Eventually, Clymer grew interested in motorcycles.  His first bikes were a California-built Yale and Thomas Auto-Bi.  Ever the showman, Clymer discovered how to ride backwards by the time he was fourteen and, in 1912, he won his first amateur bike race in Boulder, Colorado.

Clymer's victories earned him a spot in Indian's advertising.In 1916, Clymer made motorcycle history by winning the very first Pike’s Peak Hill Climb.  Contrary to popular opinion of the time, his Excelsior proved motorcycles were capable of more arduous trips, having ascended 4,958 ft in only twelve miles.  Thanks to such victories, Clymer attracted the attention of Harley Davidson and became a member of their factory racing team in 1916.

Though an accomplished rider, Clymer never abandoned the world of salesmanship.  In 1914, he moved to Greeley, Colorado and opened up a motorcycle shop, selling Excelsior bikes and, eventually, the Harleys he was known for racing.  Clymer promoted his dealerships by setting long distance records between cities on his bikes.

Cover of a brochure for Floyd Clymer, Inc.

After his stint in Greeley, Clymer set up Floyd Clymer, Inc. in Denver, becoming a major distributor of Indian, Excelsior and Henderson bikes for the western part of the country.  In a 1929 brochure, Clymer touted he was the “largest motorcycle dealer in the west” and that he had “…sold motorcycles and shipped them into practically every state in the union.”  In addition to new and used bikes, Clymer sold parts and accessories.

By the 1930s, he made the move to Los Angeles, taking over Al Crocker’s West Coast Indian distributorship and managing a profitable venture in the mail order parts business.  Taking full advantage of his close proximity to Hollywood, Clymer gave Indian bikes to celebrities as gifts or loaned them in return for advertisement-worthy publicity shots.  Consequently, Indians were well-represented on the silver screen back then!

During World War II, Clymer began collecting automotive sales literature and photographs, many of which wound up in his first book.  Published in 1944, Floyd Clymer’s Historical Motor Scrapbook was a collection of reprinted advertisements and period articles, featuring two hundred fifty brass era vehicles.  Reception of the book exceeded Clymer’s expectations, becoming an overnight success and receiving a glowing review from TIME.
Clymer's first book (1944)

A small sampling of the Library's Floyd Clymer books 2 small

From then on, Clymer established himself as the pre-eminent publisher of automotive books, having printed more than four hundred different titles by 1965.  Among them were several more “scrapbooks,” including special editions devoted to steam powered cars and motorcycles.  Clymer also localized foreign titles, published a long-running series of Indianapolis 500 yearbooks (the first in 1946), and reprinted entire works, including the National Automobile Chamber of Commerce’s Handbook of Automobiles series.

While a successful publisher, Clymer never turned his back on motorcycles.  In the 1960s, he became a distributor of the high-end German-built Munch Mammoth IV, a $4,000 bike he labeled the “Ferrari of motorcycles.”  Starting in 1963, he attempted to revive Indian (defunct since 1953), slapping the name on imported bikes decked out with engines from Royal Enfield and Velocette.

Although the closest one can get to a tangible tall-tale, Clymer was not immune to the world of medical misfortune, and he succumbed to a heart attack in 1970.  In his short time on Earth, Clymer had accomplished what few could hope to achieve in five lifetimes, let alone one.  Far from forgotten, his is but one of many stories awaiting your discovery here at the Library.

Source: Who was Floyd Clymer? | AACA Library and Research Center

Dottie Mattern, Seventy-Year-Old Cancer Survivor, Rides 1936 Indian Scout Coast to Coast

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Inspirational Dottie Mattern rides a 1936 Indian Scout motorcycle 4,000 miles coast to coast in her seventies after surviving cancer.

Most people in their seventies are starting to slow down. Not Dottie Mattern. She’s still picking up steam. This fall the world traveler and seasoned rider trucked her beloved 1936 Indian Scout to Daytona Beach, Fla. She did it to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.
On Sept. 5, she and 102 other entrants from all over the world departed the famous beach town to begin a two-and-a-half-week sojourn to Tacoma, Wash., on antique motorcycles. She was one of only three females entered in the run that attracted regular Joes and rock stars alike, including Pat Simmons of Doobie Brothers fame.
What prompted her to do it and what was the event that offered the challenge? The second half of that question answers the first: the challenge — which is something Dottie Mattern never shrinks from. The answer to the rest of the question is the Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run, which is the brainchild of Lonnie Isam Jr.

Dottie Mattern riding her 1936 Indian Scout

(Photo : Dottie Mattern Official Facebook Page)
Dottie Mattern, Rider #43, rides her 1936 Indian Scout Motorcycle on the 2014 Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run at the age of 70

There have been three Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Runs since 2010. It’s held every other year in large part because it’s so difficult to coordinate, and most riders need the extra time to get their bikes together between events. The ride is as tough on the 80- to 100-year-old motorycles as it is on the riders.
After hearing about the last two runs, Dottie Mattern was determined to enter herself. She began preparing the Scout in the winter of 2013. It was rebuilt from the ground up by Dennis Craig. Craig serves on The Antique Motorcycle Foundation with her.
Although she’s been riding since she was 19, and owned the Scout for 30 years, she didn’t really start to spread her wings until she retired in her 50s. She took up tennis at 50. She went to a week-long baseball fantasy camp where she was both the oldest and most valuable player at 54. 
In 1999, at age 55, Dottie decided she wanted to become a ball “kid” for the U.S. Tennis Association. After a five-week tryout, she was accepted — along with roughly 100 children aged 12 and under. She did it for six years.
It was in September of 2001 that she’d be diagnosed with colon cancer. Like everything else in her life, she approached it with steely determination.
After beating it, Dottie became active in raising funds and awareness regarding testing. She hoped to raise $70,000 for the cause before, during and after her ride.
Her experience didn’t slow her down. Eight years ago she became a U.S. Tennis Official. In 2007, at age 63, Dottie Mattern set the East Coast Racing Association land speed record in Maxton, N.C., on a stripped down ’37 Indian Scout doing 74.1 mph.
Oh, and somewhere in between all this she found time to become a vice commander with the Coast Guard Auxillary. The moral to the story? Life can begin at any age, if you let it. Ride, Dottie, ride!
Source: Dottie Mattern, Seventy-Year-Old Cancer Survivor, Rides 1936 Indian Scout Coast to Coast On Challenging 2014 Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run [EXCLUSIVE] : From A to B : Design & Trend

‘Million Dollar Row’ Showcase at Australia’s Moto Expo

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Australia’s debut motorcycle show organized by Troy Bayliss – Moto Expo – will feature something truly unique this year – the “Million Dollar Row.”

This Million Dollar Row showcase will feature over $5 million worth of unique and custom motorcycles at this weekend’s inaugural Moto Expo presented by InsureMyRide.

Located in Hall 2 at Melbourne Showgrounds, the Million Dollar Row will contain 10 motorcycles, including a 1941 Crocker worth over $450,000 courtesy of Harley City. Other special bikes will be the Y2K jet-powered motorcycle and the Virus courtesy of Antique Motorcycles’ John Straw.

The event is organized by Troy Bayliss – a known name in the world of Ducati and World Superbike.

Speaking of the show, Bayliss says “The variety of bikes within MOTO EXPO will capture the eye of motorcycle enthusiasts coming from all over Australia.

“I am really excited about the collection of bikes featured within Hall 2. Million Dollar Row, the Great Race display of Harley-Davidsons and Indians, Simon Davidson’s photo exhibition and cafe racers will create an incredible display.

“The custom Yamaha motorcycles on the Gasolina stand along with the custom Harley Davidson motorcycles on the Kustom Kummune stand along with best bikes from the recent Oil Stained Brain display will also be a major feature within this space.

“One day in the future we may see some of the new bikes being released at MOTO EXPO have the same prestige as the bikes on display within this hall.”

Additional information courtesy of Moto Expo:

Burt Munro’s record-breaking replica of the world’s fastest Indian

Hall 2 will also host Peter Arundel’s 1924 8 Valve Indian Motorcycle, displayed alongside an exhibition of images taken over on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah and on Lake Gairdner in South Australia by renowned Australian photographer Simon Davidson.

Arundel set a World Speed Record in 2002 riding the motorcycle on Lake Gairdner, South Australia with a speed of 158.73mph.

The Great Race will display 40 vintage Harley Davidson and Indian Motorcycles including a special selection from the coveted Arundel collection.

The Arundel collection boasts the most comprehensive list of Australian racing Indians motorcycles.

Over 20,000 motorcycle enthusiasts are expected to attend MOTO EXPO Melbourne over the three-days of the event.Burt Munro’s record-breaking replica of the world’s fastest Indian is expected to be a show-stopper. The motorcycle will be housed as part of the Indian display.

Entry into the show also includes access to the Baylisstic Scramble presented by InsureMyRide and Motul and the Australian Motorcycle Finance Head-2-Head EnduroCross presented by Yamaha.

Visitors can expect to see some of Australia’s most successful motorcycle athletes along with entertainment including live street bike stunts, ATV, side by sides (UTV), mini moto, Freestyle Moto X, Trials and more

Source: ‘Million Dollar Row’ Showcase at Australia’s Moto Expo

Ted Williams Custom Cycle

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Ted Williams was out in his red barn of a work shop the other day talking motorcycles ‑ real motorcycles, Indian Motocycle motorcycles..

“Some of these things they’re coming out with today don’t even like a motorcycle at all. One looks just like a chemical toilet to me” he said. “A chrome plated Porta‑Potti.”

That is unlike the Indian, a proud American nameplate that hasn’t been manufactured for a generation but is still beloved and remains Williams’ standard by which any motorcycle is judged —— and to which none measures up.

Williams, 44, big, brawny and intense, his sandy brown hair carefully styled, his fingers as clean and manicured as a banker’s, holds forth in a surgically tidy shop behind his house on the edge of town here, earning his living looking after the health of Indian Motocycles.

“If you’ve got all day and you won’t get bored, sit down and I’ll tell you what it is about the Indian,” Williams said with a smile as he took a breather from modernizing the rear brake on a customer’s 40‑year‑old Indian Chief, the most popular and successful of the Indian models.

In essence, he said, it is the machine’s brute strength, the manly vibration of the giant V‑twin engine, the down‑home simplicity of the engineering, that make the Indian superior, in his opinion, to other makes of motorcycles.

“All the nuts and bolts are just stock items. You can go into any good auto‑parts store and buy spark plugs and other ignition parts. The only thing that’s getting a little hard to find now is tires, but you can still get them if you know where,” he said.

He then told a brief history of the nameplate. The Indian Motocycle (no R) burst onto the scene in 1901, manufactured by George Hendee and Oscar Hedstrom in Springfield, Mass.

It earned a place beside Harley Davidson as a leading American brand, going strong through World War II. But. after the war, management lost interest in the big, brute force v-twins and began bringing out new models that were beset by bugs.

English interests acquired control during the crisis, and the last 80‑cubic‑inch, deep‑throated, man‑sized Indian Chiefs were built in 1953. (That is, except that 50 were assembled from parts collected from the dusty shelves of the Springfield factory in 1955 to fulfill a contract with the New York Police Department, and five civilian Chiefs that were turned out in the same batch.)

The English owners tried for a few years to palm off various English machines by plastering them with Indian decals, but American Indian buyers weren’t fooled for an instant by such blatant forgery. The company passed into history, but the good, will among the American motorcycle community lived on and is growing.

Williams estimated that 40,000 Indians remain on the road today out of, the hundreds of thousands that wire manufactured. “But that’s more than there were 10 years ago, and there were more then than there were 20 years ago.”

People keep finding old machines and bringing them back to life, which is where Williams comes in.

He said he grew up working on Indians in his father’s Orange County garage, and after a hitch in the Navy and spells of trying such work as air conditioning repair, he ended up working in a motorcycle shop that catered to the faithful numbers of Indian owners.

Then, four years ago, he and his wife, Maureen., decided to move to rural Sutter County out of Orange County’s smog and crowding. The word got out among owners of Indians, and his trade followed him.

Owners are willing to seek him out for his skill in ministering to the fine old machines, including modifications that cure several fatal flaws in the original design and other changes that increase the engine size up to 95 cubic inches and more to make the old Chiefs dazzling performers.

Williams himself owns three Indians in roadworthy shape, a soupedup Scout of indeterminate age and a pair of 1953 Chiefs, one with a 95‑cubic‑inch engine.

“I had a Harley‑Davidson once,” he said with a note of distaste for the name of the rival make. “I bought it as a basket of parts for $5, put it together, and sold it for $50. 1 didn’t want it. I’m an Indian man.”

Editors Note: Ted Williams is still working on Indians and can be reached at: unkown

The Wall of Death

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Great short documentary on the Wall of Death – Riding Vintage Indian Motorcycle 101 Scouts!

If you ever get a chance to see the performance, it’s amazing, with the sites, sounds, and smells of this thrilling display!