Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Indian

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1914. Indian Big Twin 1,000cc. Reg No: DS 9235.
1915. Indian Power Plus 1,000cc.
1915. Indian Power Plus 1,000cc.
1915. Indian Powerplus NE.
December 1929.

Indian Motorcycle is an American brand of motorcycles originally produced from 1901 to 1953 in Springfield, Massachusetts, United States. Hendee Manufacturing Company initially produced the motorcycles, but the name was changed to the Indian Motocycle Manufacturing Company in 1923.

The Indian Motorcycle factory team took the first three places in the 1911 Isle of Man TT Races. During the 1910s, Indian Motorcycle became the largest manufacturer of motorcycles in the world.

In 1901, a prototype and two production units of the diamond framed Indian Single were successfully designed, built and tested. The first Indian motorcycles, having chain drives and streamlined styling, were sold to the public in 1902. In 1903, Indian's co-founder and chief engineer Oscar Hedstrom set the world motorcycle speed record of 56 mph.

In 1904 the company introduced the deep red colour that would become Indian's trademark. Annual production of Indian motorcycles then exceeded 500, rising to a peak of 32,000 in 1913. The engines of the Indian Single were built by the Aurora Firm in Illinois under license from the Hendee Mfg. Co. until 1906.

In 1905, Indian built its first V-twin factory racer and in following years made a strong showing in racing and record-breaking.

In 1907, the company introduced the first street version V-twin and a roadster styled after the factory racer.

Aurora produced engines under license for Indian from about 1901 to 1907. Aurora was also allowed to sell Indian design engines to third parties and pay Indian a fee. After 1907, Aurora could make its own complete motorcycles, which it did as Thor, and Indian began manufacturing its own engines.

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of motorcycles in the UK see the 1917 Red Book. Imported by Hendee Manufacturing Co.

1923 Renamed Indian Motorcycle Co

Note: The Indian Motocycle Club of Great Britain has its own web site. [1]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  • Wikipedia
  • The British Motorcycle Directory - Over 1,100 Marques from 1888 - by Roy Bacon and Ken Hallworth. Pub: The Crowood Press 2004 ISBN 1 86126 674 X