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  1. #121
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    I admire your machine and your approach to restoration. You are operating in a tough league in restoring an Indian. Earlier in this thread, I mentioned a man that I met at Laughlin, Nevada who came to the bike gathering around the year 2000 or so with a beautifully restored Indian Four. Sorry, I don't recall the year.

    He had shown it shortly before that and had lost out to another Indian Four. That one got 100 points. He lost one point. The reason? He had the wrong washers on the rear stand!

    On a slightly different point. I've been to many bike shows in California and Nevada at various times. There were years when I practically lived on my motorcycle - sometimes a Harley Ultra-Glide with a sidecar and other times on a Honda Gold Wing. In that regard I've seen many a restored vintage Indian and Harley. They all shared one feature in common, they were over-restored, They had lots of chrome bits and nickel-plated items that were nothing like the way that they left the factory. Most bikes in the early days were actually rather plain, with little to no bling.

    Lately, I've noticed that some owners are stepping away from a complete restoration in favor of a "rustoration", that is, leaving things pretty much as found and just getting the bike running.

    From time to time on Dish Network, (before they went to nearly 100% ads, LOL) they would have a segment from the "Wheels Through Time" bike museum in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. The owners there pretty much subscribe to the rustoration approach. Most of their machines are pretty much as found. The seem to prefer that for the feeling that one gets when viewing the bikes.

    Good luck on your bike!

    Museum - Wheels Through Time

    My Uncle Clarence on an Excelsior (I think) Outside of Chicago, Ill ca.1924. Notice, no bling.


    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails vingate-bikes-family-009.jpg  

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  3. #122
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    Mine will have less chrome when it is done than it does now, as you said some of it wasn't chrome when new and I like some but not as much as some. The old guy I got it from found it in a building where it had been since the 70's, he was old as the bike and put road rash on everything that sticks out trying to ride it with a stuck clutch. It looks red in the pics but out in the sun it is an ugly metalic pink.
    I am of the poinion that it needs an oil filter and mofern rod bearings but I will be making these decisions after I get into the engine.
    To a certain degree the longer I take the more room and tools I will have to work on it, as the machine shop gets bigger and more stuff gets unpacked, but I am hoping to ride it by fall if I can though that may be very optomistic. 1941 was the first year for a chrome headlight, it came with a first ever saeled beam bulb, high tech!

    I ordered 2 Herman Oak grade A sides of 12oz veg taned leather, die and replacment tools for the ones I gave away before the move, yesterday so I should be starting next weekish.

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  5. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newman109 View Post
    Lately, I've noticed that some owners are stepping away from a complete restoration in favor of a "rustoration", that is, leaving things pretty much as found and just getting the bike running.
    ...
    Funny you should mention this. I had the opportunity to wander through the multi-building warehouse owned by the man who started this museum:

    Motorcyclepedia Museum

    Which is nearby in NY. There were multiple bays in the warehouse which held barn-fresh finds. Containers with the collected pile of what seemed to be scrap metal, wheels, engines, bits and pieces. These appparently were some of the most valuable items in storage. Restore them, and they were practically worthless afterwards. The museum however has fully operational vehicles as exhibits. Only place I have ever seen *two* Indian four-valve board track racers. Consecutively serialized!

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  7. #124
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    I have found clues that mine was likely a police bike, the police marking on the spedo, the shifter bell-crank cut off and welded onto the lever itself to change it from left hand throttle, right hand shift to right hand throttle, left hand shift. I will be putting these back as they came, I have found the original pcs to do it and they will be here soon. It is funny how many NOS parts exist such as this carb, one year only and 80 years later there is a brand new one available.
    img_1417.jpg
    img_1418.jpg
    Brand new old clutch release forks, I suspect that mine could be damaged
    img_1414.jpg
    NOS cam bearings
    img_1415.jpg
    img_1416.jpg
    img_1416.jpg
    If you want a real challenge try to find a 1941 Idaho motorcycle license plate.

  8. #125
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    Took me years to find, and about an entire winter of work to straighten this thing out. It had been nailed onto a barn and then folded in half.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails jims_favorite.jpg  

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  10. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by kustomizer View Post
    I have found clues that mine was likely a police bike, the police marking on the spedo, the shifter bell-crank cut off and welded onto the lever itself to change it from left hand throttle, right hand shift to right hand throttle, left hand shift. I will be putting these back as they came, I have found the original pcs to do it and they will be here soon. It is funny how many NOS parts exist such as this carb, one year only and 80 years later there is a brand new one available.


    If you want a real challenge try to find a 1941 Idaho motorcycle license plate.
    As you say based on the left-hand throttle, right hand shift, it's possible that your machine was a police machine.

    I recall that when I was a kid working at a Harley dealer in Chicago, we serviced all of the police machines, UL, EL and FL and the two and three wheeled Model G's. The three wheelers all had left-hand throttle and right-hand shift. The reason that they were ordered and built that way was that they were used primarily for parking violations. In that regard, the police riders would carry a chalk stick and ride slowly along a line of parked cars marking the left rear wheel of each one with a chalk mark. Some of the streets were marked for one or two hour parking limit. The cop would come back later on and, if a car had been there too long, they would get a ticket. The left- hand throttle would leave the officer's right hand free to hold the stick.

    We were playful kids at the time as well. Whenever we had a chance to mess with the cops we would take the opportunity. One trick was to remove the distributor cap and put a piece of paper in the points of a parked three-wheeler whenever we found a cop taking a break. Harleys won't start when the points are jammed. It was fun watching the cop pump up and down on the kick start lever all the while puffing and with red cheeks. I can freely admit this because the statute of limitations has run. LOL

    I recall that all of the City of Chicago bikes were Harley-Davidson and the Park District, which had separate management and budget until 1956, were Indians. They had both solo and sidecar machines.

    I do recall that some of the solo Indians that I saw had the left-hand throttle so I'm not certain that would necessarily mark a machine as a police bike. Someone with more knowledge than I could comment on that.

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  12. #127
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    All Indians were left hand throttle ,right hand spark and gear change.....Harleys were opposite ......and even gets better ,because Indian foot clutch worked the opposite way to a Harley---which could get tricky when the Indian clutch wouldnt release......Incidentally ,Indians were the first with the twist grip controlls ,and pre 1917 had a complicated system of universals and slip joints to get the twist controll from the bars to the frame.......And further incidentally,Newman 109s uncle is on a Henderson Deluxe,made by Excelsior.(hence the big X behind the Henderson name on the tank.)

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  14. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim rozen View Post
    Took me years to find, and about an entire winter of work to straighten this thing out. It had been nailed onto a barn and then folded in half.
    They have a magazine for license plate collectors, You did good to find one, I have only 2 1941 for Idaho sell on ebay for several hundred bucks each in need of restoration

  15. #129
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    The "Wheels Thru Time" museum has a Youtube channel, petty cool stuff!
    Wheels Through Time - YouTube

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    Quote Originally Posted by john.k View Post
    All Indians were left hand throttle ,right hand spark and gear change.....Harleys were opposite ......and even gets better ,because Indian foot clutch worked the opposite way to a Harley---which could get tricky when the Indian clutch wouldnt release......Incidentally ,Indians were the first with the twist grip controlls ,and pre 1917 had a complicated system of universals and slip joints to get the twist controll from the bars to the frame.......And further incidentally,Newman 109s uncle is on a Henderson Deluxe,made by Excelsior.(hence the big X behind the Henderson name on the tank.)
    The Indians came left or right hand shift and most civilian bikes had a left hand shift and right hand throttle
    here are a couple of pics from the parts book. Though most of the military ones I have seen were the other way, somehow a lot of them are in Australia, I was told it was so you could shoot while riding
    img_1434.jpg
    img_1433.jpg

    I pulled the timing cover off today and everything I can see is as clean and nice as new.
    img_1423.jpg
    img_1424.jpg
    img_1431.jpg
    The best thing is that nothing looks monkeyed with, no wrench marks, pliers etc and the cotter pins and tie wires are neat.

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  19. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by kustomizer View Post
    The Indians came left or right hand shift and most civilian bikes had a left hand shift and right hand throttle
    here are a couple of pics from the parts book. Though most of the military ones I have seen were the other way, somehow a lot of them are in Australia, I was told it was so you could shoot while riding
    I have heard the same thing. Maybe so, but the ammeter reads backwards compared to most and is has been said that both founders of Indian were left handed. At this late time it probably is not possible to be sure.

    The factory existed to make money, not for collectors 80 years later. I have said that if you can prove that a part existed in the Indian factory at the time your bike was made, you can use it and no one can claim it is wrong. One time at the Davenport meet someone showed me a "101 Scout" he had just purchased. What ever it was, it clearly was not a 101. I asked Ted Hogdon about it and he replied that Indian never made anything like that and it was a cobble job, pasted together by someone. Later I mentioned it to Ben Chesney, who rode Indians, raced them, worked on and sold them. He started describing it, accurate in every feature. Finally I interrupted with "All right, Ben, What is it?" Indian made it for about 6 months in 1927 to get rid of left over parts, so in a left handed way, Hogdon was right, but it was the factory who cobbled it together.

    The generator belt guard on 40s Chiefs is a section of the primary chain cover on my Junior Scout. They didn't make Juniors after War II, so they may have cut the die up and only used that section. The battery tray on 40s bikes has a corner clipped off, serving no function. I have always wondered why.

    I guess the brochures were made of prototype bikes because they do not always show them as they were finally marketed.

    BTW, what sewing machine did your mom use? I had a leather worker sew my first try and he got it done, but it was a poor job. I now have a Singer 29-4 that I belted a servo motor to with a foot speed control. The original treadle is almost impossible to operate from the proper position to hold the seat.

    Bill

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  21. #132
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    While it's true that many of the big Indian bikes were left hand throttle, by the postwar period, Indian was fighting for its life over in Springfield, Mass. The final production model Chief had right-hand throttle with left-hand shift to match their arch rival, Harley-Davidson.

    These were the 80" Chief, dubbed the Blackhawk, IIRC. They had a crossover linkage under the fuel tank to reach the shifter lever on top of the transmission. They were also the last chiefs (1953) and the first to have tube hydraulic front forks.

    I wonder whether, in this day and age if Indian were still in business, they might have to change the company name to Indigenous American Motorcycle Co., Native American Bikes or First American Bike Co, ?



    1-1953-indian-chief-jpg.jpg1953-indian-chief_1.jpg

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  23. #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newman109 View Post
    I wonder whether, in this day and age if Indian were still in business, they might have to change the company name to Indigenous American Motorcycle Co., Native American Bikes or First American Bike Co, ?
    The high school on an Indian reservation named their sports team "The Reservation White Boys" and were met with screams. There are a lot of adages saying turnabout is fair play, but it didn't seem that way this time.

    Every Indian I have ridden, military or civilian, had a left hand throttle. Of course, that is anecdotal and not that large a sample.

    Bill

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  25. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9100 View Post
    The high school on an Indian reservation named their sports team "The Reservation White Boys" and were met with screams. There are a lot of adages saying turnabout is fair play, but it didn't seem that way this time.

    Every Indian I have ridden, military or civilian, had a left hand throttle. Of course, that is anecdotal and not that large a sample.

    Bill

    As mentioned, many of the Early Indian bikes would have had left-hand throttles and right-hand shift.

    I've seen many Indian so-called "Big Base" 45 cu.in. flat track bikes. They would all have had right hand throttle for obvious reasons on dirt tracks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Newman109 View Post
    While it's true that many of the big Indian bikes were left hand throttle, by the postwar period, Indian was fighting for its life over in Springfield, Mass. The final production model Chief had right-hand throttle with left-hand shift to match their arch rival, Harley-Davidson.

    These were the 80" Chief, dubbed the Blackhawk, IIRC. They had a crossover linkage under the fuel tank to reach the shifter lever on top of the transmission. They were also the last chiefs (1953) and the first to have tube hydraulic front forks.

    I wonder whether, in this day and age if Indian were still in business, they might have to change the company name to Indigenous American Motorcycle Co., Native American Bikes or First American Bike Co, ?



    1-1953-indian-chief-jpg.jpg1953-indian-chief_1.jpg
    Nice pair of bikes, Yours?

    Polaris is calling theirs "Indian" Could be their legal team is better than most high schools, I sure don't get that PC shit.

    "what sewing machine did your mom use" she sewed them by hand, about a dozen per month.

    Here are a couple more factory to dealer letters


    img_0419.jpg

    img_0420.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by kustomizer View Post
    Polaris is calling theirs "Indian" Could be their legal team is better than most high schools, I sure don't get that PC shit.

    "what sewing machine did your mom use" she sewed them by hand, about a dozen per month.

    The Indian riders that I rode with would laugh at the Polaris Indian claim of heritage all the way back to the early 1900's.

    There was only one real "Indian Motocycle Co." (sic) and it went out of business in the 1953-1954 period. That's my story and I'm; stickin' to it.

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  29. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newman109 View Post
    The Indian riders that I rode with would laugh at the Polaris Indian claim of heritage all the way back to the early 1900's.

    There was only one real "Indian Motocycle Co." (sic) and it went out of business in the 1953-1954 period. That's my story and I'm; stickin' to it.
    The Indian name has been pasted on everything except baby buggies. Clymer had it for a while and put it on imports and someone made minibikes with the name. There has been a running battle over who owns it now and new bikes are being sold with it. I know someone who has one, a modern machine with an old name.

    I have heard that a few Chiefs were assembled from remaining parts in 1954, but that was the end.

    I hand sewed one seat. It came out all right, but hardly a production process. Did Indian have a cadre of people making seats like that?

    Bill

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    Unhappy

    Quote Originally Posted by 9100 View Post
    The Indian name has been pasted on everything except baby buggies. Clymer had it for a while and put it on imports and someone made minibikes with the name. There has been a running battle over who owns it now and new bikes are being sold with it. I know someone who has one, a modern machine with an old name.

    I have heard that a few Chiefs were assembled from remaining parts in 1954, but that was the end.

    I hand sewed one seat. It came out all right, but hardly a production process. Did Indian have a cadre of people making seats like that?

    Bill
    I once owned an Indian Woodsman bike, It was actually a 500cc Royal Enfield Bullet that had been re-badged. The larger Royal Enfield 750cc Meteor was re-badged as the Chief. There were also some Velocettes that were sold with the Indian badge. There was even a British startup company that built four cylinder models a couple of decades back. The laws in UK permitted the company to use the Indian name. I don't think that it took off, though.

    When Indian went out of business there was a Chicago Indian dealer named Ed Nichols who bought the name and some of the tooling at auction. He wanted to restart the company, but he didn't have the funds and others took over. There was a string of putative Indian builders after that all the way from Clymer to Indian Gilroy, CA. They were putting the Indian name on catalogue Harley clones.

    There was a lot of litigation before Polaris came along. LOL.

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    "Did Indian have a cadre of people making seats like that?"

    I am pretty sure they were machine sewn.

    "There was a lot of litigation before Polaris came along. LOL"

    Pops was sitting at his picnic table beside his house, a mile off a paved road, 5 miles from a ghost town when some city slicker lawyer drove up, introduced himself and offered pops a check in the amount of $5,000 saying this is just a bit of good faith money, I want to buy you out. Because pops deposited the check he was forever obligated to fight in court over the ownership of his company and the rights to the Indian name on motorcycles. My folks had bought out Sam Pierce in 74, he had gathered parts from the time the factory closed and had made and sold motorcycles continously, though not in big numbers, pops continued to make and sell them from time to time. That gave my folks the rights to the Indian name which was the last thing they ever thought they would be selling, let alone fighting for their livelyhood over. Indian of Canada came along, threw in with my folks won in court and had only a few months to produce and sell motorcycles or loose the Indian name my folks and they had just spent years and huge piles of money fighting over. Indian of canada bought California motorcycles in Gilroy, rebadged their S&S Harley clones and started selling motorcycles. That was never the plan but out of nesessity it happened. This took away the money they had set aside for the "real Indian's" they planned to produce though they had a real nice powerplant prototype just about ready to go, had just spent piles of money on machinery to produce it and as I understand a big investor ( Coca Cola or the like ) backed out of their deal and the doors were locked on Gilroy the next day, likely months from producing a very nice machine, there was an auction, a few other folks tried to get it going without much sucess then Polaris came along and started putting the Indian name on Victory based motorcycles, dropped the Victory brand, changed it up over the next few years and here we are, 2021.

    That would be the Cliff notes version of the Indian wars as I lived it. The stress of the mess killed ma and pops never could move on, try as we might, I went to fix him breakfast one morning like normal but when I got there he was in his easy chair with a ruger 357 in his hand and a hole in his forehead. The only gun I ever hurt, I chopped it up in my iron worker and spread it out on the hill with the ashes of the family, packed up my shit and moved to Idaho.

    The new Polaris Indians are pretty darn nice bikes, I rode a couple in Vegas a couple of years back, they are miles ahead of the Gilroy bikes though I don't seem to have found the need to buy one, I may some day.

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    Here is the beginning of the end of the Original Indian factory in their own writing to their dealers.

    img_1449.jpg
    img_1450.jpg


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