1917 Indian 7hp Powerplus with sidecar
Engine no. 72J867
An advanced feature in motorcycling's early, pioneering days, chain drive was used by Indian right from the start, when Oscar Hedstrom and Oliver Hendee, both active in the cycle racing world, got together to build their first prototype in 1901. That first machine was powered by a single-cylinder 'F-head' (inlet-over-exhaust) engine that formed part of the frame - in the Indian's case it sloped rearwards to act as the seat tube. The Indian single proved immensely successful and was produced substantially unchanged until 1905, when a leaf-sprung front fork and twist-grip control of throttle and ignition were introduced.
Nowadays Indian is remembered mainly for its powerful, large-capacity v-twins, the first of which appeared in 1907. The twin's rear cylinder continued to form part of the frame until 1909 when Indian adopted a loop frame of the type favoured by rivals Harley-Davidson. In 1911 Indian broke new ground yet again with its ohv four-valves-per-cylinder racers. The firm achieved its famous 1, 2, 3 finish at the Isle of Man TT that same year, a remarkable achievement made possible by the advantages conferred by the use of all-chain drive.
In 1916 a new 61ci (990cc) 'flat head' (sidevalve) v-twin - the Powerplus - was introduced to replace the F-head type. The Powerplus transmission consisted of a three-speed, hand-change gearbox and foot-operated clutch with, of course, all-chain drive. An immensely influential design, the Powerplus confirmed Indian's commitment to sidevalve engines, encouraging rivals Harley-Davidson to follow suit. The model was listed until 1924, but by then was playing second fiddle to the newer Chief.
Dating from the second year of Powerplus production, the example we offer was purchased in France in 2005. The machine is fitted with an AuteRoche acetylene headlamp and Macondeaux generator, and is offered with French registration papers dating from 2000 when it was owned by Mr Camille Guyot.