Gwen Banquer recreation,1929 Indian-Crocker 45CI Overhead-Valve Conversion

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Lot 221
Gwen Banquer recreation
1929 Indian-Crocker 45ci Overhead-Valve Conversion

US$ 65,000 - 75,000
£ 52,000 - 60,000
Gwen Banquer recreation
1929 Indian-Crocker 45CI Overhead-Valve Conversion
Gwen Banquer recreation of a rare period hot-rod special
c.1929 Indian-Crocker 45 Overhead Valve Conversion
Indian's Chiefs and Fours were always at the head of the company's catalog, but many would argue it was the Scout that gave Indian its soul. Unveiled in 1920, the middleweight Scout was originally powered by 37ci (600cc) V twin running a three-speed gearbox; it was capable of 60 mph. A hit from the start, the bike quickly gained a reputation for reliability: "You can't wear out an Indian Scout," went a catchphrase of the day. Over the next decade, the motor would grow to 45ci (750cc) and lead to the 101 Scout of 1929-31, still regarded by many as the finest Indian ever, "...a machine that shoots away like the wind on an open stretch, yet rides as comfortably as a Pullman," read the brochure copy.

The motorcycle seen here takes the basic goodness of the 101 Scout and adds a healthy dose of technology, a dollop of horsepower – and more than a little bright-yellow paint! – to create a hot-rod special with historical roots.

Today we know Al Crocker for the 100 or so high-performance V twin roadsters he built between 1936 and 1942, better examples of which now trade hands for sums in excess of $300,000. Prior to that, though, in the late 1920s, Crocker was a Los Angeles-area Indian dealer which a fascination for speedway racing. A trained engineer and born tinkerer, Crocker created a speedway bike with a Scout V twin for power, but the sidevalve design wasn't competitive on the track. With input from shop foreman Paul Bigsby, Crocker created an overhead-valve conversion kit to increase power, before eventually coming up with a cleansheet design for a single-cylinder speedway motor. It's estimated that perhaps 24 of the OHV kits were produced through 1932, the majority going to 101 Scout owners looking for the ultimate street racer. There was certainly no hiding a modified bike's intention as the kit had its pushrods, rocker arms and valve springs on prime display, uncovered, whirring away in the breeze.

Surviving original OHV kits are exceptionally rare, so master bike-builder Gwen Banquer was especially fortunate in the mid-1990s to acquire on loan an original un-machined Crocker conversion, from which casting patterns were made. Most of the rest of this machine – frame, forks, crankcases, transmission, magneto, hubs, brakes and fenders – is genuine Indian 101 Scout circa 1929. The frame has been altered to accommodate the taller overhead-valve engine, and the fenders cut down, while the gas tank is a reproduction Junior Scout item. Important upgrades include a stronger bottom-end and a recirculating oil system achieved by using the later Scout/Chief-type oil pump.

In all, Banquer created just seven of his Indian-Crocker OHVs, which have gone on to take top placings at concours events, been featured in magazines worldwide and also in John Carroll's excellent book, Classic American Motorcycles. These bikes rarely become available at public sale, giving Las Vegas bidders the chance to own one of the most celebrated motorcycle recreations of recent times.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the engine number for this bike is GB0HV02 and its title is in transit.
Gwen Banquer recreation,1929 Indian-Crocker 45CI Overhead-Valve Conversion
Gwen Banquer recreation,1929 Indian-Crocker 45CI Overhead-Valve Conversion
Gwen Banquer recreation,1929 Indian-Crocker 45CI Overhead-Valve Conversion
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