1916 Indian 221cc Model K Featherweight
Engine no. 23H180
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, the first of which appeared in 1907. Although its four-stroke twins in various capacities - would go on to form the mainstay of Indian's range, the Springfield firm was not averse to trying other motorcycle configurations. One of the lesser known - and with good reason, for it was made for the 1916 season only - is the 13.5ci (221cc) Model K Featherweight. A low-cost ($150) utility motorcycle, the Featherweight was powered by a single-cylinder two-stroke engine driving via a three-speed transmission and chain final drive. Unfortunately for Indian, the Featherweight turned out to be a sales flop and was replaced for 1917 by a new lightweight - the Model O - powered by a four-stroke, horizontally opposed twin-cylinder engine inspired by the British Douglas.
One of only a relative handful surviving worldwide, this ultra-rare Indian Featherweight was discovered in 'barn find' condition by Joaquin Yoldi in 1975. A 'must have' acquisition for the Collection, the machine was purchased in Pamplona in 2003. It is offered with sundry paperwork, Spanish registration papers and copy of a newspaper article about its discovery and subsequent restoration.
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