1940 Indian 78ci Type 440 Four Frame no. none visible Engine no. 0005708

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Lot 600
1940 Indian 78ci Type 440 Four
Frame no. none visible Engine no. 0005708

Sold for £ 44,850 (US$ 58,916) inc. premium
1940 Indian 78ci Type 440 Four
Frame no. none visible
Engine no. 0005708
• Formerly part of the Pamplona Collection
• Believed an earlier restoration
• Purchased in 2010

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 inline 'four' with minimal development costs.
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. Ace enjoyed considerable competition success, including a new transcontinental record and a new American motorcycle speed record of 129.61mph, but these achievements were not matched by sales and the company went bust in 1924.

By 1926 the reconstituted firm was owned by Detroit motors, from which it was bought by Indian January '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. This transformation began with a restyle for the 1929 season (Model 401) followed by a new Indian-style twin down-tube frame, leaf-sprung front fork and a five-main-bearing crankshaft on the Model 402. Introduced on 1st June 1929, the latter was the biggest single change made to the motor up to mid-1935 when the so-called 'upside down' Four was introduced. Reversing the conventional 'F-head' arrangement, the latter featured overhead exhaust valves with inlets at the side, the theory being that this would provide better cooling and thus increased power. In practice the layout proved somewhat impractical – the exhaust tended to fry the rider's leg despite the heat shield – and few liked the new Four's looks. Updated with twin carburettors for the 1937 model year, it was missing from the '38 catalogue: replaced by a new Four that restored the valves to their old positions. Changes after 1938 were few.

One of the world's most beautiful and collectible motorcycles, this restored Indian 'upside down' Four was purchased at Bonhams' sale of the Pamplona Collection at the RAF Museum, Hendon in February 2010 (Lot 52). Part of the Pamplona Collection since 2006, the machine appears to be an earlier restoration, while the 118 kilometres displayed on the odometer is believed to be the distance covered since it was restored. Offered with purchase invoice.

Saleroom notices

  • The engine number is DCF363M.
Contacts
1940 Indian 78ci Type 440 Four Frame no. none visible Engine no. 0005708
1940 Indian 78ci Type 440 Four Frame no. none visible Engine no. 0005708
1940 Indian 78ci Type 440 Four Frame no. none visible Engine no. 0005708
1940 Indian 78ci Type 440 Four Frame no. none visible Engine no. 0005708
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25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £2,500 up to and including £300,000;
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