Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ken Smith's Original Paint 1916 Indian Powerplus.......and other stuff.

Ken Smith's secret location somewhere in ...........a secret location.

Ken Smith has some really nice motorcycles and sidecars,but his Original Paint 1916 Indian Powerplus Sidecar outfit is a classic and a little tricky to find these days.

The heart of the 61ci(1000cc) Indian Powerplus,a 42 deg V-twin engine.It had a top speed of 60 mph.

Indian Motorcycles were manufactured from 1910 to 1953 in Springfield,Massachusetts,USA.
Initially known as the Hendee Manufacturing Company,founded by George Hendee in 1897, it was renamed the Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing Company in 1928.

That box atop the gas tank is not an OEM Indian part,it's where Ken wants his ashes put when he dies.

During the 1910's Indian became the largest manufacturer of motorcycles in the world,including the Scout,made from 1920 to 1946 and the Chief,made from 1922 to 1953.

As the US entered World War 1,Indian unnecessarily sold most of it's Powerplus line in 1917 and 1918 to the United States government,starving it's network of dealers.This blow to domestic availability of the motorcycles led to a loss of dealers Indian never recovered from.
While Indian shared in the business boom of the 1920's,it had lost it's No.1 position in the US market to harley-Davidson.

The Indian Motorcycle Company went bankrupt in 1953,the year the last Indian Motorcycle was made.

A number of successor organizations have perpetuated the name,most believe that the last Indian was made in 1953.

Erwin "cannonball" Baker was best know for his many record setting cross country rides and drives.His first was in 1914,riding coast to coast on an Indian motorcycle in 11 days.A journalist at the time compared him to the "Cannonball Express" train,and the nickname stuck.
He made 143 cross-country motorcycle speed runs before turning his attention to feats performed in cars.

When you really think about it,riding coast to coast today on modern motorcycles that are capable of up to 10,000 miles between services,it's a breeze compared to the days of external valve springs that needed to be lubricated every 20 or 30 miles with little bottles of oil the rider carried with him as part of his kit.
No GPS,no good maps,no roads like we have today with all modern conveniences spaced 10-20 miles apart,no protective gear that was worth a damn in a crash.I think leather helmets were the latest in motorcycle headgear in the 20's,leather!!!.
And all the technology in suspension and fuel control make riding down the highway at 100 mph seem effortless today,unlike top speeds of the 20's being around the 50-60 mph mark,and that was wide open,nothing left.

Thanks to Ken Smith for the hospitality.


1 comment:

Lorraine said...

Gorgeous pictures of a gorgeous bike. Love that Ken has the red barn, the red classic bikes, red classic car... can't get enough of these pics!