1929 Indian Model 402 Four
Engine no. EA340
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 in-line '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.
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.
By 1926 the reconstituted company was owned by Detroit motors, from which it was bought by Indian in the spring of '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, beginning with a restyle for 1929 (Model 401) and following up with a new five-main-bearing crankshaft. Introduced on June 1st 1929 on the Model 402, the latter was the biggest single change made to the motor, which retained the Henderson Ace's basic architecture right up to 1936.
One of the world's most beautiful and collectible motorcycles, this Indian Four comes equipped with oil pressure gauge, ammeter, Corbin speedometer and tire pump, and carries a 1929 Massachusetts licence plate. The paintwork and plating appear to have been redone at some time, though the engine and gearbox appear original and un-restored.
The current vendor purchased the Indian at Bonhams' sale of the Richard C Paine Jr Collection at Owls Head, Maine in September 2008 (Lot 813). Since acquisition the machine has formed part of the Fabergé Museum collection in Germany and will require re-commissioning and safety checks prior to returning to the road following a period of static display.
- Please note that this motorcycle is titled under its engine number and its title is in transit.
Please note, that this motorcycle is subject to California Highway Patrol VIN inspection--a simple procedural matter on which the condition or history of the motorcycle has no bearing. Following the auction, this lot will be transported to San Francisco, at no cost to the buyer, and will be available for collection from San Francisco on January 23rd.