Originally posted by Buck Lovell on Monday, 16 April 2012 in Buck Lovell's - American Biker Blog
THE KICK ASS INDIAN MOTOCYCLE
THAT PROBABLY SCARED
HARLEY-DAVIDSON JD RIDERS TO DEATH…….WANNA RACE?
About twenty year ago or thereabouts, an airline pilot while making the approach to Oakland International Airport or some airport in the vicinity of Oakland, California saw a pile of old wood and timbers on the ground. He decided he would locate the lumber and offer to buy it, thinking he could use for an ongoing construction project requiring aged wood. He managed to locate the house and property, and began negotiating with the elderly female owner. As he was looking over the lumber, he asked if he could look inside the ancient barn that stood on the property. She gave him permission to do so. As he was poking around the in the lumber he found the treasure motorcycle riders and collector can only dream about. In a corner of the barn or out-building, he discovered a 1918 era Indian Powerplus motorcycle. Circa 1918 Indian Powerplus, motorcycles were twin cylinder machines displacing 61 cubic inches, and capable of attaining speeds in excess of 75 MPH if the rider was brave enough to risk having the "clincher" style tires fly off the rims. The motorcycle was in terrible disrepair, and was lacking the front wheel, but the pilot saw the potential for restoration. This was no ordinary Indian Powerplus, this was a twin motored machine that had not been assembled in the condition as found by the Indian Motocycle Company. The somewhat excited pilot negotiated with the woman and ended up with both the one-of-a-kind Indian motorcycle and the aged lumber. Upon further questioning the woman related to him, that a family member assembled the machine with twin motors sometime around 1923-24. This unnamed motorcyclist had installed two Powerplus Indian V-Twin motors into an Indian chassis that was designed for only one, and somehow coupled the two motors together to make a V-Four. In the mid 1920's this rider was cruising the streets of Oakland, California with a 122 cubic monster that could easily exceed the acceleration of any of the Harley-Davidson or other motorcycles of the day. Clincher wheels and tires were standard, which meant, "bicycle tires and wheels (no drop center mounting). No front brake was standard in 1918 and the rear wheel brake was a "Coaster" brake, again we can say bicycle equipment. It was scary to ride I can bet and scary to race against.
The pilot asked around to see if anyone would be interested in photographing the motorcycle. My name came up, and the pilot now Indian Powerplus motorcycle owner invited me to come and take photos this relic as soon as a front wheel could be mounted. Actually a little more than that was done before I was able to get over to where the bike was. The pilot had actually cleaned her up, then fired her up, and then called me to come over. Two photos can be seen here. The first was in the condition as found, with a little work performed to get her running, and the finished restoration. As a devote Indian Motorcycle lover I got goose bumps on my body when the pilot kick started the thing. The original builder had fabricated a four-into-one exhaust (no silencer) and the noise was pure music, albeit a little loud. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Do you have a story like this to tell? Can you top this one? No matter….I love to hear stories like this, and so do most antique American motorcycle enthusiasts.