Indian is an iconic American motorcycle brand that has a long and interesting history, during which it has known successes and failures. There was the time when motorcycle enthusiast thought that the brand would not delight them with new existing bike models, but it has spread the wings again, bringing to the market new modern versions of Indian vehicles.
The History of Indian
Initially, it was Hendee Company that produced bikes in the USA, but the ‘Indian’ name for this motorcycle company was chosen only in 1928. It was founded by O. Hedstrom and G. Hendee in 1901. The first Indian motorcycle saw the light in the next year. In 1906, the company built the first ‘made in America’ V-Twin motorcycle. Two important events happened in 1913 — the first time was producing a new type of rear suspension and resigning Hedstrom from Indian.
In a year, Indian presented the first bike with electric starter/lights. In 1916, the company was left by the other co-founder Hendee. Over the next several years, Indian introduced a range а interesting bike models with a few modern innovations. Such a rapid development and growth of the motorcycle company soon made it the world largest motorcycle manufacturer.
The model known under the Scout name was designed in 1920, and the first version of Indian Chief was first presented two years later. The production of the first model ended in 1946, and the latter was produced until 1953. After WWII, Indian experienced sale problems, which led to the closure of the production. In two years, the brand was bought by Brockhouse. During 1955-1960, the company imported bikes from the UK and added a range of changes to them in the USA. They were sold under the Indian brand. In 1960, UK AMC purchased Indian, but it was announced a bankrupt in 1962. The brand name was started being used illegally by F. Clymer in the 1960s. Over the next several decades, there were certain problems regarding determining the real ownership of the popular brand.
The Indian Motorcycle Company was created in the US in 1999, and ‘Gilroy Indian’ featuring the famous Chief’s design became its first motorcycle. Among other well-known revived models was Scout, which production started in 2001. However, the company was announced a bankrupt in 2003. Another chance was given to the brand in 2006 by Stellican Limited to produce exclusive versions of an Indian Chief motorcycle. In five year, Polaris Industries acquired the company to produce new motorcycle models. Since then, there have been several new Indian models designed that are today available for sale.
Famous Indian Models
The Scout has always been one of the most notable Indian motorcycle models. It was first made in 1920. The original version had gearbox joint with the engine. No chain or belt was used in it. The first version of this motorcycle had a 610cc engine, and the Scout 45 was equipped with 740cc engine. In 1928, the 101 Scout motorcycle was presented. The Standard Scout bike with the Indian Chief’s frame was introduced in four years. The 2nd line of Scouts saw the light in 1933, and in 1 year the Sport Scout, the bike with a stiff frame allowing enjoying greater speeds and the 45 CID engine, was presented. The production of Scout discontinued in 1946.
The Chief model was introduced two year later after Scout’s debut. It had a 1,000cc, which later was replaced with 1,200cc. The model has gone through a range of improvements over the next years, and the version of 1950 had new forks and 1,300cc V-twin engine. Only several bikes were created due to financial problems. Production of this model discontinued in 1953.