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Indian Motorcycle Celebrates Its 115th Anniversary

Even though Harley-Davidson coined the term "American Motorcycle" it is Indian who holds the title of America's oldest motorcycle manufacturer. The House of Springfield celebrates its 115th anniversary and it looks like the future is a bright one.
Indian 115th Anniversary 8 photos
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George Hendee started manufacturing bicycles in 1897 under the name American Indian, that was shortened to Indian , and was joined three years later by Oscar Hedstrom, also a former bicycle racer like Hendee.

Together they came up with the idea to build motorizes bicycles that would be used as pace vehicles during races, and in 1901, a prototype was built, followed by two production units that were sold to customers the next year. Following Hedstrom's 54 mph (86.9 km/h) land speed record in 1903, the traditional Indian Red color scheme was introduced in 1904, and 1905 saw the production of the first v-twin racer.

By 1923, the The Hendee Manufacturing Company changed its name to The Indian Motocycle Company and the business continued to grow even during the World War II, supplying bikes that have made history on the battlefield.

Even though Indian went into decline in the second half of the 20th century, it was Polaris who rescued the company and restored the production. Even more, Polaris engineered an all-new engine, the Thunder Stroke 111 that would power the new platform, alongside the company's first liquid-cooled engine, the one in the Scout model.

Indian's current line-up comprises no less than nine models: Scout and Scout Sixty, the Chief Classic and the Chief Dark Horse, the Chief Vintage, Springfield, Chieftain, and the Chieftain Dark Horse baggers, and the Roadmaster touring flagship.

Thanks to Polaris' efforts, Indian is once more a worthy opponent for the MoCo, albeit it's still a long way from the point where Milwaukee should start fearing threats coming from Springfield. So, Happy Birthday, Indian, whatever day it was when you were born! Below you have some official Indian digital goodies.


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