Friday, October 23, 2015

The New Indian Four Cylinder

The Indian Four cylinder actually started out with the Henderson brothers then became the Ace motorcycle and finally the Indian 401.  They were always expensive and they still are today.

A 1927 Ace brochure clearly indicates the Indian Motorcycle Company was “The New Home of the Ace.” It also lists 18 improvements to the four-cylinder machine, such as a new force-fed oil system to ensure better engine lubrication, new alloy pistons, a three-bearing camshaft and new foot control pedals. The tank, fenders, engine and fork of the Ace were finished in “Rolls-Royce” blue, complete with a gold stripe.

For 1928, the Indian Ace was finished in the well-known Indian red paint, but no more significant changes were made until 1929, when the Ace name was dropped and the machine became simply the Model 401 Indian Four. Indian now used their leaf spring fork, but kept the Ace-designed single front down tube frame for most of the year before introducing a new double down tube chassis in the Model 402.

The 402 featured a new five-bearing engine, an improvement over the Ace’s three-bearing unit. With the exception of a new rear brake in 1931, all late 1929 to 1931 Fours are similar in specification, according to author Hatfield.

In 1932, the Model 403 Indian debuted. The height of the frame at the neck had been changed. The chassis became taller, a longer front fork was added, and the gas tank was removed from between the upper frame rails and replaced with a saddle-tank design.

Where the pre-1932 Fours look lean, lithe and compact, these updated machines have a spindly, almost leggy appearance about them. Minor changes were made from 1932 to 1934, and Gary’s Model 403 falls right in the middle year. Indian made only 1,667 motorcycles in 1933, an all-time low production number for the company. Priced at $395 at the height of the Depression, the Four was a luxury very few could afford.

The motorcycle pictured below is listed on E Bay and has reached a little over $60k and still hasn't reached the reserve....kind of pricey