1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer Engine no. 70D899

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Lot 161
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer

Engine no. 70D899

US$ 60,000 - 70,000
£ 43,000 - 50,000
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer

Engine no. 70D899

There being no purpose-built motorcycle racetracks in the sport's pioneering years, the first competitive events were held on existing velodromes built for bicycle racing. Indian's co-founders George M. Hendee and Carl Oscar Hedstrom had both been successful racing cyclists in their day and were well aware of the valuable publicity to be gained from racetrack successes. Indeed, Hedstrom's interest in motorcycles had been kindled when he built a motorized pacer for use on cycle racing tracks, and Hendee's favorable impressions of this machine had brought the two men together. Indian was soon profiting from its products' competition successes to such an extent that the firm was overwhelmed with orders and had to turn for assistance to the Aurora Automatic Machinery Company of Aurora, Illinois, which from October 1902 was contracted to build the Hedstrom-designed engines under license.

At first, Indian motorcycles used in competition were modified road models, and not until 1908 did the Springfield, Massachusetts company offer a purpose-built racing motorcycle for sale. The following year Hedstrom and Hendee opened their own hometown, pine board motordrome, thus providing Indian with its own test track and works rider Jake DeRosier – one of motorcycle sport's first superstars – with a stage to showcase his immense talent.

Fast, exhilarating and dangerous, the short-lived sport of board track racing captivated America and today is considered by many to be America's – and motorcycling's – most illustrious era.

With original board track racers exceedingly rare and in high demand today, the motorcycle offered here deserves attention.

Beginning life in New York, the bike made its way to Oregon in the 1970s where its then owner disassembled it with the intention of complete restoration. Fortunately, that never occurred.

The current owner purchased the disassembled machine, which he reports was 85% complete, and reassembled it, careful to maintain all unrestored components in original condition. Replacing the gas tank (antiqued to match the rest of the bike and the original factory paint which is still visible), handlebars, two pistons, front forks and rear stand – all handbuilt to original specs, the rest is believed to be entirely original. From the frame to the motor, even the seat and front rim with actual tire, the condition of this 102-year old racer is quite impressive.

Reported to be in running condition, this distinctive board track Indian won the best unrestored award at the 2014 Le May Museum Vintage Motorcycle Festival.

Footnotes

  • Offered on a bill of sale.
Contacts
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer Engine no. 70D899
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer Engine no. 70D899
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer Engine no. 70D899
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer Engine no. 70D899
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer Engine no. 70D899
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer Engine no. 70D899
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer Engine no. 70D899
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer Engine no. 70D899
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer Engine no. 70D899
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer Engine no. 70D899
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer Engine no. 70D899
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer Engine no. 70D899
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer Engine no. 70D899
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer Engine no. 70D899
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer Engine no. 70D899
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer Engine no. 70D899
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer Engine no. 70D899
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer Engine no. 70D899
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer Engine no. 70D899
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer Engine no. 70D899
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer Engine no. 70D899
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer Engine no. 70D899
1912 Indian Twin Boardtrack Racer Engine no. 70D899
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