’49 Indian Scout
How does a dismal failure of a motorcycle become a classic? Well, maybe because it was such a dismal failure. Before WW2 Indian and Harley were the dominant makers in the US motorcycle market. Both were successful in racing and in general usage. During the war, both built thousands of bikes to be used overseas. After World War Two, Harley continued building the V-Twin motor but Indian decided that it was a ‘obsolete design’ and looked to compete with the lighter and faster British parallel twins. Enter the Scout model.
The Scout was the first of the ‘Torque’ models to come out of the Indian factory. It was modeled after the Overhead Valve vertical twins from Britain but, it fell somewhat short of the mark. The original Scout was only 440cc’s so it was underpowered compared to the motorcycles it was designed to compete with and because Indian rushed this design into production the first series came with a lot of problems. Based on the Scout, Indian’s reputation was heading down the toilet pretty quickly. Transmission issues, crankshaft bearings…you name it, there were problems. The great hope for this new model was dashed in just one year.
In 1950 Indian brought back the V-Twin Chief and upgraded the Scout to 500cc and renamed it the ‘Warrior’. In the one year period from introduction to remodel, most all the problems had been addressed and solved, but, it was a case of too little too late and then there was another problem…the price. It was still more expensive to buy than a Triumph, Norton, BSA, Matchless, AJS and wasn’t as fast. Things were not looking good for the Indian Warrior.
So after all this history on a short-lived model I still find these Indians quite interesting so when I found one on ebay I had to look into it.
This particular Scout has only 2200 miles on the clock, not too many but may be enough to have the well-known problems rear their ugly little heads. What’s really cool is that it does have the original tool kit, warranty and break in card and the original registration. Neat. The bike looks really good and if you’re into Indian motorcycles which I am finding myself more and more drawn to, this is definitely a bike worth looking at. For more info and more pictures click on the pic’s below.