988 cc IOE V-twin “ Two-Sixty Standard Model” engine # 70F877
Oscar Hedstrom and Oliver Hendee, both active in the cycle racing world, got together to found the Hendee Manufacturing Company and build the first prototype Indian motorcycle in 1901.
That first machine was powered by a single-cylinder, ‘F-head’ (inlet over exhaust) engine that formed part of the ‘diamond’ frame, in the Indian’s case it sloped rearwards to act as the seat tube. An advanced feature in motorcycling’s early pioneering days, chain drive was used by Indian right from the start.
The Indian single proved immensely successful and provided the basis for the first of the powerful, large-capacity v-twins for which the marque is best remembered.
Indian’s first, 38.61ci (633cc) v-twin appeared in 1907 with an engine clearly derived from that of the single, though mechanical inlet valves – introduced for 1908 – were an early improvement.
The twin’s rear cylinder continued to form part of the frame until 1909 when a loop frame of the type favoured by rivals Harley-Davidson was adopted.
The Springfield Company’s first ‘Big Twin’ debuted that same year displacing 61 ci (988cc).
By 1913 Indian was the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world with a production of some 35,000 machines, according to a company claim. This 1914 61 cubic inch Indian V- twin was the popular “basic” model with single speed with hand as well as foot-operated clutch and all-chain drive.