Owner: Jim Byland
Manufacturer: Indian Motorcycle Co.
Engine: Indian 30.07 cu.in
Transmission: 3 Speed Manual
Electrical System: 6 Volt
Max Speed: 65 mph
Weight: 450 lbs
Armament: (1) M1928A1 Thompson .45 ACP Submachine Gun
Jim bought this 1941 Indian from an online auction about six years ago. It was in the back of antique store in Tennessee, along with some other
motorcycle projects. He shipped it to a shop in Missouri where it was tore completely down and rebuilt from the ground up.
Some 44,000 military Indian Motorcycles and an unknown, but substantial, number of sidecars were built between 1939 and 1945. The effort won the factory an “E” pennant from the Army-Navy Production Board for the excellence of its work.
No Indian history is complete without mention of the advanced military 841 model. Sadly only 1000 were made and barely a handful saw combat action before the US Army decided to order huge numbers of Jeeps instead. The 841 (and similar Harley XLA which suffered the same fate) copied the successful German BMW army motorcycles including shaft drive and 4 speed hand clutch/foot shift.
In 1907, The New York City Police Department bought two Indian Twins to chase down runaway horses.
WWII Indian mini-bike which was so small a soldier could almost carry it around on his back if it ran out of fuel or he had to stop the engine as the noise would alert the enemy. It was built and designed in the UK by Brockhouse, it was called a “Wellbike” The idea was that Allied paratroopers would use it to be more mobile after landing. After landing and hiding their parachute, they would rush over to the nearest Wellbike, unfold the handlebars, pull up the seat post, turn on the ignition and start the bike and ride off into enemy territory. Presumably not good for sneaking up in a Commando raid as the engine noise would give one away and your hands would be on the handlebars instead of your weapon. The Wellbike came with 98 c.c. Villiers engine.
MOTORCYCLES AT WAR:
IN HONOR OF: