1941 Indian 841 750cc Solo Motorcycle
Based in Springfield, Massachusetts, the Indian Motorcycle Company was the only motorcycle manufacturer able to compete on equal terms with the might of Harley-Davidson for the first half of the 20th Century. With its origins as a producer of bicycles, the partnership of George Hendee and Oscar Hedstrom followed the familiar practice of building a powered version in 1901, using a proprietory Thor single horsepower engine, and from the emergence of the first V-twin in 1907, Indian quickly established itself as a maker of quality motorcycles. The growth in sales, combined with success on the racetrack, prompted an expanded model range, with a smaller 221cc two-stroke, then a flat twin, helping Indian secure the number one position ahead of arch rival Harley Davidson. The First World War saw production focus on supplying the US military but the return to peace saw the company consolidate the model range to the 500cc Scout and larger capacity Chief, with a common a 42-degree V-twin engine layout. Indian built a number of motorcycles for military use, including the 841 designed for desert operations in World War II. Inspired by BMW’s R71 flat twin, the 841 was powered by a transverse V-twin based on the Sport Scout unit, using a 90-degree longitudinal crankshaft, along with a tubular frame, girder fork, plunger rear suspension and foot-operated four-speed transmission. The shaft-drive made it ideal for riding in desert sand, as well as the muddy fields of Europe. Despite extensive testing, the US Army decided against using the Indian for wider military purposes and just 1,056 were built in total, making it one of the rarer Indian models ever made.