Indian motorcycles were manufactured from 1901 to 1953 by a company in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA, initially known as the Hendee Manufacturing Company but which was renamed the Indian Motocycle Manufacturing Company in 1928. The Indian factory team took the first three places in the 1911 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy. During the 1910s Indian became the largest manufacturer of motorcycles in the world. Indian's most popular models were the Scout, made from 1920 to 1946, and the Chief, made from 1922 to 1953. The Indian Motocycle Manufacturing Company went bankrupt in 1953.
1901-1909 INDIAN WINS THE GOLD MEDAL FOR MECHANICAL EXCELLENCE
In 1904, Indian wins the Gold Medal for Mechanical Excellence at the St. Louis Exposition. In 1906, George Holden and Luis Muellr ride an Indian from San Francisco to New York City in 31 trouble-free days, breaking the existing record by over 18 days. A 1907 Indian Twin wins the first English 1000-mile Reliability Trial. The New York City Police Department buys two Indian Twins to chase down runaway horses.
1910-1919 INDIAN RIDERS HOLD EVERY AMERICAN SPEED AND DISTANCE RECORD
By 1911, Indian riders hold every American speed and distance record. In 1914, over 3,000 employees work on a 7-mile-long assembly line in Indian's 1-million-square foot Springfield, Massachusetts plant. Racing activities are suspended in 1916 as the company supplies the war effort with 41,000 machines.
1920-1929 THE COMPANY IS RENAMED INDIAN MOTOCYCLE COMPANY
In 1923 the company is renamed Indian Motocycle Company, dropping the "r" in "motorcycle". It's a decade of growth for the Indian model line, starting with the revolutionary 1920 Scout and followed by the 95-mph Chief, the even more powerful Big Chief, the lightweight Prince, and the awesome 4-cylinder Four. The 1920 Scout becomes the machine of choice for "wall of death" stunt riders.
1930-1939 THE ART DECO ERA HITS THE INDIANS
The Art Deco era hits the Indians adorned in a full range of Duco colors, two-tone designs, pinstriping, and decals. Two new lightweight models debut in 1932, the Motoplane and the Pony Scout. "Iron Man" Ed Kretz, aboard a Sport Scout, laps the entire field in his win at the 1937 inaugural Daytona 200. With the onset of World War II in 1939, the focus again shifts to providing the War Department with motorcycles. The government of France orders 5,000 Chiefs with sidecars.
1940-1949 THE INDIAN LINE APPEARS WITH THE NOW-FAMOUS DEEPLY VALANCED FENDERS
The entire 1940 Indian line appears with the now-famous deeply valanced fenders. Production during the war years is mainly military and police vehicles. In 1945 the company is sold and consolidated into the Torque Engineering Company. Later, the company is divided, with manufacturing going to the Atlas Corporation and distribution to The Indian Sales Corporation. In 1948, Floyd Emde rides a 648 Scout to Indian's final Daytona 200 win.
1950-1953 INDIAN STRUGGLES WITH RE-ENTRY INTO THE PUBLIC MARKET
Following the war, Indian struggles with re-entry into the public market. The Chief, dropped for a year, is re-introduced in 1951 as a mighty 80-cubic-inch model, but sales continue to decline and Indian is forced to halt production in 1953.