1937 Indian Four Model 437 Frame no. DCG443M
Lot 285
1937 Indian Four Model 437 Engine no. DCG443M
Sold for US$ 48,000 inc. premium
Lot Details
1937 Indian Four Model 437
Engine no. DCG443M
The 1937 Indian Four can be directly credited to the genius of William Henderson whose pioneering efforts embraced the four cylinder motorcycle design in America, first with his namesake Henderson motorcycle and later, the sporty Ace from Philadelphia. The Indian Motocycle Company purchased the credit strapped Ace Motor Corporation in December 1927, and immediately began to market the famous Ace in their familiar Indian Red finish. It didn't take long for the new owners to standardize their acquisition into the family of Indian motorcycles, using inventory from the Scout line to make the first true Indian Four. In a daring engineering and marketing move for 1936, the Indian Four reversed its intake and exhaust valve position, placing the hotter running exhaust valves on top of the motor to place them in the cooler air stream. Unfortunately, this also placed the engine heat closer to the rider's inner thigh. Thus was born the ill-fated "Sport Four".

Much has been written about the Indian Sport Fours over the years, mostly maligning them as inferior and not as pretty as the other Indian Fours that graced the roads of America. However they were exactly as their engineers envisioned them...sporting. The 1937 Indian Four was the last of the old Ace style engines. These machines were lightweight compared to the final design that followed, and were truly a performance machine with lighter engine components and a hot cam. The chassis was a stout double cradle frame with Indian's proven leaf spring front suspension. The lines of the Indian 437 were graceful and finishes in DuPont's array of colors provided striking combinations. While unknowledgeable collectors make light of the Sport Fours, the aficionado appreciates their true performance and value. Present day owners extol the pep of these rare examples of the four cylinder motorcycle.

The flagship of the Indian company, the 77 cubic inch inline four cylinder engine featured new cylinders to better radiate heat and high lobe cams to increase the performance of the engine. New connecting rods were designed primarily to escape the throw of the rotating cam shaft. A pair of Zenith carburetors replaced the single Marvel carb from the Model 436. The exposed overhead valve rockers became shielded by a sheet metal guard, with the owner having to apply oil to lubricate the mechanisms. The premise of the Sport Four was to allow higher sustainable speed and improve the reliability of the engine. All these claims were achieved yet the unpopular motorcycle failed to sell well. And with only a few hundred units produced each year in 1936 and 1937, it is probably one of the more desirable Fours to own. The "Upside Down Four" was a rather unsuccessful venture for Indian despite being a rather good motorcycle.

This motorcycle was the subject of a thorough restoration of exceptional quality a little more than a year ago. If has been carefully stored and extremely sparingly used since its restoration.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the frame number for this bike is 487150. Please note that this bike is titled under its engine number.
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