From the private collection of Ewan McGregor
2012 Indian Larry Panhead Chopper
Frame no. PA1RW1C28BN127033
Panhead-style Pandemonium 80ci motor
Christened 'The Machine'
Every movement has its prime movers, and so it was with 'Indian Larry' Desmedt, one of the leading lights of the neo-chopper movement in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Charismatic and quote-worthy, Indian Larry was a fan favorite on the highly rated Biker Build-Off television shows, where his rideable throwback choppers stood out in stark contrast to the frilly, over-the-top creations of some of his competitors. Demand for his old-school customs was so strong that in 2000 Desmedt and his partners formed the Gasoline Alley bike shop in Brooklyn, New York. Chopper building to Indian Larry was more than just mechanics and metalwork, it combined artisan skills like sculpture, painting, engraving and leatherwork. "As far as I'm concerned, it is one of the highest art forms, because it combines all media...it's just a lot more than any one single medium," he told viewers. Sadly, Desmedt was killed in 2004 while performing stunts at a bike show.
This chopper, running a Harley Panhead-style Pandemonium 88ci motor, was built in 2010 at the reformed Indian Larry Motorcycles. Christened 'The Machine' because of its sparse bare-metal beauty, the bike caught the eye of a visitor to the shop, Scottish actor Ewan McGregor. Movie fans know McGregor from his roles in 50-plus films, including a young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars series and Christian in the musical Moulin Rouge. Motorcyclists are more apt to be impressed by McGregor's riding résumé, which includes the travel documentaries Long Way Round and Long Way Down, in which he and longtime riding mate Charley Boorman go globetrotting on a couple of BMW adventure-tourers. A fan of Moto Guzzis old and new, for the past four years he's been spokesman for the Italian company. His ever-changing collection of motorcycles is wide-ranging, with everything from track bikes to 1960s classics to customs, so the Indian Larry chopper was a natural fit for McGregor.