The original Indian motorycle company was founded in 1901 in Springfield
Massachusetts USA, by bicycle racer George Hendee and Oscar Hedstrom.
The first bike was a huge success and by 1913 32000 motorcycles
were being produced annually. Indian brought out their bikes in
a deep red color which later became one of their trademarks. In
1907, Indian built its first V-twin and within a few years made
a strong showing in racing and record-breaking. In 1914 an Indian
went across America, from San Diego to New York, in a record 11
days, 12 hours and ten minutes. Powerplus was produced, a side-valve
V-Twin, which was introduced in 1916. The Powerplus was highly
successful for both road and racing bikes. It remained in production
with few changes until 1924.
In 1922 the Chief had a 1000 cc engine based on that of the
Powerplus which was still being produced. 1923 the engine was
enlarged to 1200 cc. Several improvements were made over the years
including breaks. In 1940, all models were fitted with the large
skirted fenders that became an Indian trademark. The 1940s Chiefs
were lovely machines to ride capable of 85 mph in standard form
and over 100 mph when tuned.
The Scout was introduced in 1920 with a 596 cc engine and the
size was increased to 745 cc by 1927. The most famous version
was the 101 Scout of 1928 which featured improved handling. The
negative reaction in 1932 to heavier frames lead to the creation
of the Sport Scout of 1934 with a light frame.The Sport Scout
won the first Daytona 200 in 1937. Many Scouts were used in the
Second World War, but the model was dropped when the civilian
production restarted in 1946.
In 1945 a group headed by Ralph B. Rogers purchased a controlling
share of the company. In late 1945 they formally turned the operations
of Indian over to Rogers. Under Rogers' the Indian and Scout were
discontinued and began to manufacture lightweight motorcycles.
These bikes suffered from poor quality and a lack of development.
Manufacture of all products was halted in 1953. Brockhouse and
Royal Enfield bikes were imported from England and badged and
sold as Indians through the rest of the 1950s. After this the
Indian name passed to the company that imported Matchless motorcycles
into the US, however it did not attach the name to any motorcycles,
and it went into liquidation in 1962.
new company with factories in Gilroy California began manufacturing
motorcycles. Badged under the famous "Indian" name after they
purchaced the 'Indian' name in the yearly stages of 1999. These
motorcycles are often refered to as "Gilroy Indian" motorcycles.
The model was based around a newer version of the Chief. Scout
and Spirit models were also manufactured starting in 2001. The
bikes were made from standard parts but nearing the completion
of an all-new engine design, the 100 Powerplus, the company went
into bankruptcy again in late 2003.
In July 2006 the newly formed Indian Motorcycle Company owned
largely by Stellican Limited, a London-based private equity firm,
announced its new home in North Carolina. The plans to resurrect
the iconic Indian Motorcycle Brand. New Indian has visions of
producing a new Chief using a modern fuel-injected, V-Twin engine
which they are building in-house. The "new Chief" will
have the classic valanced fenders. New Indian are going to offer
several variations of the Chief including a more modern style
without the valanced fenders. They also plan on offering an accessory
line for both the New Indian and the Gilroy Indian motorcycles.