In 1901, the Hendee Manufacturing Company is first established in Springfield, Massachusetts, and is the first American motorcycle brand, two years earlier than Harley Davidson. In 1923, the company’s name changes to Indian Motocycle (without the “r”). It is the work, or rather masterwork of two enterprising and imaginative pioneers, George M. Hendee and Carl Oscar Hedström.
In 1906, the two brilliant inventors produce the fist American V-twin motorcycle engine with a cubic capacity of 633cc, and enter it into races. George Holden and Luis J. Mueller ride from San Francisco to New York in 31 days without incident, beating the previous record by more than 18 days.
In 1911, Indian wins the 3 first places in the well-known Tourist Trophy, at a time when the brand is taking over as the largest manufacturer in the world.
Indian popularized the loop frame (positioning the gas tank on the horizontal frame member), throttle grip, headlight, electric starter, leaf-spring rear suspension, and “leakproof” aluminium primary covers, while developing high-performance four-valve-per-cylinder technology.
Mechanical engineering makes progress through racing, which in turn creates the Indian legend, with countless records, such as the San-Francisco-New York in 20 days in 1911, exceeding 118 mph (190 kph) in 1918.
Indian increases its production to 40,000 motorcycles in 1920
In 1937, Ed Kretz wins the first Daytona 200 (despite two falls). Indian makes itself a name for being the metal from which heroes are made!
After the war, Indian Motorcycle® struggles to regain a foothold in the public marketplace. The Chief®, withdrawn for a year, is reintroduced in 1951 with a powerful 80 in3 (1,300 cm3) model, but sales continue to drop and Indian is obliged to discontinue production in 1953.
In 1967, Burt Munro, aged 68, reaches a speed of 295 kph (183 mph) on the salt lake of Bonneville on his Indian Scout. Since then this record has barely been beaten (296 kph/184 mph in 2014).
2011. Polaris Industries acquired the brand in 2011. The American group then achieved an incredible tour de force, rebuilding a range of top-class models (Chief Classic, Chief Vintage, Chieftain and then Roadmaster, Darkhorse and most recently Springfield) remaining completely loyal to the legend by focusing on the unique Thunderstroke 111 (1820cc) engine, built from start to finish. The famous Scout was rebuilt in 2014, completely revamped with a boldly modern liquid-cooled V-twin.
So now this Indian legend will continue to live on through you !