With the advent of Harley-Davidson’s overhead valve Knucklehead in 1936, the Indian Motorcycle company’s market share began to dwindle, as Indian continued to build the side valve or ‘flathead’ motorcycle.
By the time Harley-Davidson introduced the Panhead in 1948, Indian Motorcycle made the decision to abandon the heavy weight market all together in favor of manufacturing middle weight bikes designed to compete with the Triumphs, BSAs and Nortons which were popular with World War II Veterans formerly stationed in Europe.
This 1949 Indian ‘Vertical Twin’ very much resembles a British machine, but is 100% American pedigreed and built at the Indian plant in Springfield Mass.
Frank Camp, a motorcycle police officer and Indian enthusiast, purchased this bike new for his wife Nita, a long time motormaid, in 1950. This is an original and un-restored machine. Nita rode this 440cc machine to many AMA events including the races in Dodge City & to the top of Pikes Peak all from their home in West Creek, CO.
Indian’s failed attempt at building the smaller machines ended in 1951 when they returned to manufacturing the 80 cubic inch ‘Chief’.
Because of Harley-Davidson’s aggressive marketing tactics and the disappointing folly by Indian in abandoning the big bikes, the company closed its doors in 1953.