A Proud History Still in the Making.
There’s a reason the word “legendary” always comes to mind when Indian Motorcycle is brought up in conversation. No other word more perfectly encapsulates the brand’s storied heritage. From its unrivaled dominance on racetracks around the world, to its engineering prowess and visionary thinking that led to countless innovations that changed motorcycling forever, Indian Motorcycle has a history like no other.
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.
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.
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 1928 101 Scout becomes the machine of choice for "wall of death" stunt riders.
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.
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.
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.
TRADEMARK RIGHTS FOIL NUMEROUS ATTEMPTS TO REVIVE INDIAN
A complex web of trademark rights foil numerous attempts to revive the Indian name until 1998, when several formerly competing companies merge to become the Indian Motorcycle Company. Manufacturing begins in 1999, but the venture proves unsuccessful, and 2003 is the company's final model year.
THE KINGS MOUNTAIN ERA
In 2004, Stephen Julius and Steve Heese, after resurrecting the struggling Chris-Craft Boat Company, turn their attention to Indian. They acquire trademark rights and intellectual properties. In 2008 production begins and 2009 Chiefs start rolling off the assembly line in Kings Mountain, NC.
POLARIS INDUSTRIES ACQUIRES INDIAN MOTORCYCLE
Polaris adds one of motorcycling’s legendary brands to its strong stable of Victory cruiser and touring bikes. Indian will operate as an autonomous business unit, building upon the potent combination of Polaris’ engineering acumen and innovative technology with Indian’s premium brand, iconic design and rich American heritage.