Customized by William "Wild Bill" Eggers
1930 Indian Model 402 'Renegade'
Engine no. EA10431
Marketed as the Indian Ace for 1928, the Springfield company's first four-cylinder motorcycle had resulted from its purchase of Ace rights and tooling from Detroit Motors the previous year. The Ace company, although bankrupted twice, had developed a fundamentally sound four-cylinder motorcycle based on William Henderson's original design, and this provided Indian with an opportunity to offer an inline 'four' with minimal development costs.
The Ace was William Henderson's second four-cylinder motorcycle. One of the most charismatic names in American motorcycling history, the Henderson company - founded by Tom and William Henderson in Detroit in 1912 - produced nothing but four-cylinder motorcycles in the course of its 19-year existence. The firm passed into the control of Chicago-based cycle maker Ignaz Schwinn, owner of Excelsior, in 1917 and the Hendersons soon moved on to found the Ace motorcycle company - later taken over by Indian - thereby having a hand in the design of all the major American-built fours.
The first Ace four had been offered late in 1919 for the 1920 season, and retained the F-head (inlet over exhaust) valve gear of the original Henderson. (Schwinn's Hendersons went 'flat head' for 1920). The 75ci (1,229cc) air-cooled inline engine employed splash lubrication and was built in unit with the three-speed, hand-change gearbox. A wheelbase of 59" and a seat height of 29" made for a stable and comfortable ride, while weight was kept down to a commendable 365lbs.
To promote its new product, Ace recruited Erwin G Baker, famous for his record-breaking long distance rides for Indian, and 'Cannonball' duly obliged, setting a new transcontinental record of 6 days, 22 hours, 52 minutes, smashing Henderson's existing record and humbling Henderson-mounted rival Wells Bennett in the process. Following Bill Henderson's death in an auto accident in December 1922 while testing an Ace, Arthur O Lemon was recruited as chief engineer from the rival Excelsior/Henderson firm, bringing with him rider Charles 'Red' Wolverton. Ace's competition successes continued under Lemon's direction, including a new American motorcycle speed record of 129.61mph set by Wolverton, but these were not matched by sales and the company went bust in 1924.
By 1926 the reconstituted company was owned by Detroit motors, from which it was bought by Indian January '27. The Indian Ace changed little for the next couple of years before the Springfield firm began to put its own characteristic stamp on the Four. This transformation began with a restyle for the 1929 season (Model 401) followed by a new Indian-style twin down-tube frame, leaf-sprung front fork and a five-main-bearing crankshaft on the Model 402. Introduced on June 1st 1929, the latter was the biggest single change made to the motor up to 1936.
Known as 'Renegade', this fabulous customized Indian Four was hand built by William 'Wild Bill' Eggers of Queens, New York State and on completion featured in the February 1998 edition of VQ magazine (copy article available). When Bill got his hands on the Indian it had been off the road since WWII and many of the parts had gone missing, so he set to work to make them himself, the bespoke exhaust headers included.
The current vendor purchased 'Renegade' when Bill Eggers offered the Indian for sale at a Chicago auction in September 2000, since when it has been on display in his private museum in the UK. Twelve years off the road, this unique Indian motorcycle will require re-commissioning and the customary safety checks before being ridden again.
- Please note that the title for this motorcycle is in transit.