1918 Reading Standard Sidecar
Lot 328
1941 Indian Four Frame no. 441251 Engine no. DDA251
Sold for US$ 44,850 inc. premium
Lot Details
1941 Indian Four
Frame no. 441251
Engine no. DDA251
As an unknown rubber worker at the Goodyear plant in Akron, Ohio, young, good-looking Clark Gable owned motorcycles. His appetite for bikes only increased when a few years later he was king of the box office. In fact, during the gas-rationed war years it seemed that all of Hollywood was on two wheels. Gable's studio mates, Van Johnson, Keenan Wynn, Mickey Rooney, Robert Taylor, Dick Powell and Vaughn Monroe, all rode to work. Publicity shots show Gable on a series of Indians, Harleys and at least one Britbike, an Ariel Square 4. He also owned fast, expensive cars, including Duesenbergs, so it's only fitting that the Gable garage included an Indian Four, often called the "Duesenberg of motorcycles."

At a time when most motorcycles were powered by either singles or twins, the sight of four cylinders all in a row was impressive. Indian's first Four rolled out in 1928, derived from the Ace four-cylinder design, which itself had roots back to Henderson inline-four. Engineering improvements were soon undertaken as Indian put its own stamp on the motor. By 1938 the powerplant was essentially in its final from but the stylists would take one more swing in 1940, adding plunger rear suspension, 16-inch balloon tires and those sweeping sheetmetal fenders to arrive at a motorcycle shape for the ages.

This particular 1941 Indian Four from the last year of production, one of the star's of the collection, was claimed, with no shred of evidence by Hobday to be an ex-Clark Gable machine, presented by producer Samuel Goldwyn in appreciation of the actor's good work as Rhett Butler in the blockbuster Gone With The Wind. A hand-drawn placard to that effect, perhaps lettered by Henry Africa himself, hung in the bar for many years.

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