1911 Indian Twin — The Story As Told by the Seller…
Offered for your consideration is my amazing time-capsule 1911 Indian Twin. I purchased it from the family of the original owner, where it had been stored in the attic of the family home since the teens.
First, let me give you the backstory on this amazing bike. Back in 2007 I received a call from an old friend of mine, Mike Tomas, owner of Kiwi Indian. He had received a call from a gentleman back east who said he had an Indian for sale. Mike isn’t into the early Indians but he knew I was. He gave me the contact information and after a number of calls and emails, I purchased the bike.
Here’s where the story gets good. I had many conversations with the gentleman I purchased the bike from and over time was able to get the full history of the bike. Turns out the bike was purchased new in 1911 by Charles Brody from Cumberland, Maryland. Mr. Brody was the grandfather of the gentleman’s wife. He rode the bike until approximately 1915, at which time he took the bike apart for reasons unknown. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Brody was drafted into the army where he served overseas in WW1. After he returned from the war he purchased an Indian Powerplus and 1911 was never reassembled, eventually winding up in his attic. Mr. Brody continued to ride Indians until the 1940’s. After his passing away the house passed to his daughter, who had married and raised her family in Mr. Brody’s home, all the while with the Indian sitting in the attic, undisturbed.
Fast forward to the late 1990’s and Mr. Brody’s daughter was elderly, living alone and in declining health, so her children began the process of moving her to an assisted living facility. They put the home up for sale, and in the process of emptying it of its belongings found the Indian. They questioned her and got the history on the bike. The grandson-in-law and his adult son decided to restore the bike as a tribute to Mr. Brody. The bike was blue, but when they did some amateur research on the internet they came to the conclusion that all Indians were supposed to be red (they weren’t) and began to sand the old, faded blue paint off the bike. After what can best be described as a Krylon rattle can red paint job, they realized they were over their heads and lost interest. That’s what prompted the call to Kiwi Mike and subsequently to me.
When I got her in November 2007, I took inventory and to my happiness virtually 100% of the parts were there, along with a few Powerplus and later parts they threw in they had found elsewhere in the home. The most amazing thing was the condition of everything, especially the engine. It was intact and complete with original mag, carb, spark plugs and wires and everything was in fantastic condition other than the original nickel plating was almost completely gone. The original seat and leather toolbox were there and intact. The plug wires and rubber were shot but metal and leather parts were in amazingly good condition. One small area of the back frame had minor cosmetic pitting and a couple of the small parts had very minor cosmetic pitting but other than that everything was in amazing condition. Since the original paint had been painted over (I found the original blue under the Krylon red) I decided to restore her to new.
I took the motor to John Bivens of Indian Engineering for a complete going through. For my money he is the top mechanic and restorer in the US. When he pulled the motor apart the insides looked like they had just come off the shelf at the Indian factory. There was not so much as a speck of corrosion or damage anywhere, everything looked virtually new. The rods were very slightly sloppy, so he pulled them and had the big end re-hard chromed, reassembled the bottom end and rebalanced the flywheels. The insides were so nice he even reused the original pistons and rings which were well within specs. There were no broken fins or anything else to repair so all the parts were properly re-nickeled and the motor was reassembled. The mag was rebuilt by Jack Hurt. Although John had to make up new spark plug wires, they have the original tips from the original plug wires on each end of them. The completed motor even has its original spark plugs in her. Ditto with the carburetor, original and looks brand new inside and out.
The gas and oil tanks were in perfect condition with absolutely zero rust or rot. I re-nickeled the original handlebars, neck and other parts and had her repainted the proper Indian Dark Blue. I replaced the original rear band brake with new material, and replaced the rotted off rubber grips and pedals with correct white rubber. The frame was straight as an arrow and needed no straightening. The rims, hubs, clutch and everything else are original to the bike, although I did replace the clutch plates. The entire exhaust system is also original and in pristine condition, something you’ll never find. I did have the wheels re-spoked at Buchannans although as noted above the rims and hubs are originals. Other than the few items already mentioned the bike is virtually 100% original parts.
A few years ago I finally finished the bike. We put her on the centerstand at John Biven’s shop and started pedalling. She fired almost immediately and broke into a throatly, loping idle. I rode her down the street and back, and was surprised how fast she is. As a side note, I don’t think I was able to wipe the grin off my face for the rest of the day. I’ve ridden bikes for over 50 years and I swear I don’t remember ever smiling and laughing as much as I did after one ride on this bike. And the same stupid grin returns with a vengeance every time I’ve ridden her. And yes, she runs and rides exactly like she did when she was new in 1911. This bike is a gem.
I’ve only ridden her around my neighborhood maybe a dozen times since I finished her. She was featured on Pawn Stars (no, I wouldn’t sell her to them but I did sell them my 1917 Indian). I took her to the AMCA National Meet in Dixon California to have her judged, where she scored a 97.5 Junior First. Unfortunately, when I cranked the bike before judging as is required by AMCA rules, I plopped my fat ass on the seat and tore it. Yes, I was sick to my stomach………. I subsequently had a replacement seat leather made and distressed to look like the original. All the rest of the seat is original and the original leather will go with the bike if the new owner wants it.
Two years ago at the same AMCA National meet, the theme was 100+ year old bikes. There over 100 bikes more than a century old at the show, including 2 Flying Merkels, several Yales, a Pierce Arrow 4, Henderson 4’s, and a simply stunning display of old iron. When they announced Best of Show, my 1911 Indian beat them all and won top prize. I was humbled and honored. She’s been featured in Iron Horse Magazine, has been in the AMCA magazine a number of times, and has won Oldest Bike at numerous meets.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a more original bike complete with it’s full pedigree than this old girl. This is truly a rare opportunity to become the new owner of what I will argue is the finest nearly 100% original 1911 Indian left on the planet. And yes, I have a clear title in my name.
Over 30 Large, Straight-Out-of-the-Camera Sized Photos Available for Review Upon Request.