In 1930, this country was in a depression and everyone was struggling because money was tight. The Indian Motorcycle Company had been struggling also during the past years because of bad management and merged with DuPont Motors. When E. Paul DuPont took over, he ceased automobile production and focused on Indian and is credited with Indian’s survival through the depression era.
The Indian 4 first began production in 1927 after Indian purchased the Ace Motor Company and was originally marketed as the “Indian Ace” for about the first year. Even though it was considered a luxury motorcycle with the cost around $450 which was around $100 - $250 higher than V-Twin models and there was a low demand during the depression, production continued. It featured IOE (inlet over exhaust) cylinder heads with overhead inlet valves and side exhaust valves and a five-bearing crankshaft.
This beautiful bike is owned and was restored by Ross Van Etten from Colorado Springs. He had first come across it while attending various swap meets and eventually decided that it was one that he would like to have. Contacting the previous owner in Minnesota, arrangements were made to meet in Sioux Falls, SD and Ross because the new owner.
Although it had been advertised as “partially restored”, Ross went through it in its entirety because what work that was done before wasn’t done right. His attention to detail in the process was evident in the parts that had to be hand made like the tool box and battery box. “I ran across examples at swap meets and spent close to 3 hours one time taking measurements for the replicas,” said Ross. It features the proper headlight which is molded ribbed lens and although there were 2 versions of Indian red, Ross preferred the lighter shade to go with.
Although some of Ross’ restorations have not seen many road miles, Ross has ridden somewhere close to 11,000 miles in the saddle of this bike including a Death Valley ride. “It’s a very nice riding machine with very little vibration considering there are a lot of moving parts between your legs,” said Ross.
Retired from the road now though, this is one of six Harley-Davidsons and Indians that Ross has restored that is featured at the Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum. Ross is a dedicated motorcycle enthusiast who through his craftsmanship and expertise reminds us what it was like to ride a motorcycle ~ back in the day!