From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Indian motorcycles were manufactured from 1901 to 1953 by a company in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA, initially known as the Hendee Manufacturing Company but which was renamed the Indian Motocycle Manufacturing Company in 1928.
The Indian factory team took the first three places in the 1911 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy. During the 1910s Indian became the largest manufacturer of motorcycles in the world. Indian’s most popular models were the Scout, made from 1920 to 1946, and the Chief, made from 1922 to 1953.
The Indian Motocycle Manufacturing Company went bankrupt in 1953. A number of successor organizations have perpetuated the name in subsequent years, with limited success. In 2011 Polaris Industries purchased Indian Motorcycles and relocated operations from North Carolina, merging them into existing facilities in Minnesota and Iowa. Since August of 2013, three motorcycle models that capitalize on Indian’s traditional styling have been built under the Indian name.
World War II
Chiefs, Scouts, and Junior Scouts were all used in small numbers for various purposes by the United States Army in World War II, and extensively by overseas Commonwealth military forces under the Lend/Lease Program. However, none of these could unseat the Harley-Davidson WLA as the motorcycle mainly used by the US Army. The early version was based on the 750 cc (46 cu in) Scout 640 and compared directly with Harley’s offer, the WLA, but was either too expensive or heavy, or a combination of both. Indian’s eventual offer, the 500 cc (31 cu in) 741B, was underpowered and was not selected to gain a US Military contract. Indian also offered a version based on the 1,200 cc (73 cu in) Chief, the 344. Approximately 1,000 experimental versions mounting the 750 cc motor sideways and utilising shaft drive, as on a modern Moto Guzzi, the 841, was also tried.