Indian Nation: Indian Motorcycles and America

March 28 – October 24, 2014

Even though these Indians have left us, we still have exciting new exhibits joining us all the time!

A display of approximately 25 Indian motorcycles will explore the Indian brand from inception to their current re-introduction, what they mean to us, and what they may be able to tell us about America.

Download the Vehicle Display List

Indian and American Timeline

7-1Indian from 1900-1905 clippings file0001







6-3Clymer's 1968 Indian Scout 45

1901 Indian formed; first prototypes built

1903 Large-scale production begins

1908 Over 400 American dealerships; also overseas

1916 Industry pressured: small American makers (Merkel, Pope, Thor) in trouble Indian’s Board of Directors opposes President Hendee; pursues quick profits with Government. Indian makes 60,000 motorcycles for the war effort, but at the expense of the future civilian market and the dealers

1917-1918 American involvement in World War I

1921 Indian’s Dick Richards attempts scientific market analysis: What do buyers want?

1922 Motorcycling’s image hurt by board track’s injuries: Dangerous—not for ‘regular folks’ Sales down; Indian has trouble meeting payroll

1923 Growing automobile sales in America pressure the motorcycle

1927 Better times; “The Golden Age” of American motorcycle clubs Board of Directors resists President Weschler’s plan to re-tool; Weschler resigns Charles Lindberg’s trans-Atlantic flight

1930 Stock market collapse

1931 Walter Davidson (Harley-Davidson) attempts to undercut other manufacturers; intense Indian-Harley rivalry begins

1932 Great Depression

1940s Motorcycling seen in progressively negative light by the American public

1941-1945 American involvement in World War II (7-5)

1940-1944 Wartime production of motorcycles; dealer network again suffers

1946 British and European motorcycle imports increase; President Rogers creates prototypes of 149  & 249 vertical singles/twins

1947 Hollister (California) motorcycle riots cause national sensation (7-6) Indian dealers demand return to pre-war Scouts; invade Board meeting

1949 Problems with 149 & 249 models British currency devaluation makes British bikes in America 20% cheaper; Indian no longer competitive in small or big-bike markets Indian divided by creditors into Indian Sales Corporation and Indian Division of Titeflex

1952 The Wild One, with Marlon Brando, based on Hollister riots, released—provides model for motorcycle fashion and “rebel” attitude (7-7)

1953 Indian production at Springfield ceases

1953-1960s Re-badged British Indians imported by British-owned Indian Sales Corporation

1963-1977 Clymer Indians (Minarelli, Italjet, Moto Morini engines) imported

1999-2003 “Gilroy” Indians

2006-2011 “Stellican” Indians

2013- Polaris-Victory Indians (6-3)

Special Note:

Famed Motorcycle artist David Uhl has provided some of his legendary artwork for display as part of this special exhibit!