Ex-E. Paul du Pont, last ridden in the 1970s
1906 Indian Camelback
Engine no. 2864
Oscar Hedstrom and Oliver Hendee, both active in the cycle racing world, got together to found the Hendee Manufacturing Company and built their first prototype Indian motorcycle in 1901. That first machine was powered by a single-cylinder, 15.85ci (260cc) '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 was produced substantially unchanged until around 1905, when a sprung front fork and twist-grip control of throttle and ignition were introduced. Engine production was sub-contracted to the Aurora Automatic Machinery Company between 1902 and 1907, when Indian took it back in house, while the frame and cycle parts were similarly out-sourced to Thor during the marque's early years. This somewhat unusual state of affairs resulted in the Indian single appearing in a number of different guises in the 1900s. America, Light Thor-Bred, Racycle, Reading-Standard Thoroughbred, Thor and Warwick offerings at this time were all essentially re-badged Indians; confirmation, if any were needed, of the virtues of the Hedstrom design. In competition too, the Indian single reigned supreme, winning America's first endurance run in 1902 and the first long-distance track race the following year. Prior to the appearance of a torpedo shaped gas tank in 1909, a hump-shaped tank mounted behind the seat had been an Indian trademark, leading to the adoption of the 'Camel Back' sobriquet for these early models.
The 1906 Indian offered here - serial number '2864' - is one of 1,698 machines produced that year (serial numbers ran from '2350' to '4048'). Unrestored and in wonderfully original condition, it was Paul du Pont's own motorcycle and very likely obtained directly from the factory. We are advised that the machine was last ridden and running in the 1970s. Offered on a bill of sale.