Bonhams : 1927 Indian 37ci (600cc) Scout Frame no. BG5193 Engine no. BG5193
1927 Indian 37ci (600cc) Scout Frame no. BG5193 Engine no. BG5193

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Lot 529
1927 Indian 37ci (600cc) Scout
Registration no. not registered Frame no. BG5193 Engine no. BG5193

Sold for £ 28,750 (US$ 37,067) inc. premium
1927 Indian 37ci (600cc) Scout
Registration no. not registered
Frame no. BG5193
Engine no. BG5193
• Rare German-assembled Scout
• Appears highly original
• Present ownership since circa 2012

A marque at the very forefront of motorcycle design and technology in the opening decades of the 20th Century, Indian nowadays is remembered mainly for its powerful, large-capacity v-twins, the first of which appeared in 1907. The Springfield firm's first twin was based on its highly successful 'F-head' (inlet-over-exhaust) single-cylinder model, and this type of engine would continue to power the road-going 'Iron Redskins' until a new 61ci (1,000cc) 'flat head' (sidevalve) v-twin - the Powerplus - was introduced for 1916.

A smaller Indian v-twin model, the 37ci (600cc) Scout, joined the Powerplus in 1920, soon gaining a deserved reputation for durability; so much so that 'You can't wear out an Indian Scout' became its advertising slogan. Contributing to this longevity was the use of gears for the primary drive rather than the customary chain, and this unusual feature would endure until 1933. A 45ci (750cc) variant was first offered in 1927 and then in April 1928 the 101 Scout appeared featuring a revised 750cc 'flat head' engine in a new, longer-wheelbase frame. This sporting machine would prove an immense success for the Springfield firm, so much so that its replacement in 1931 by a heavier Chief-framed model was greeted with dismay. Introduced in 1934, the Sport Scout went some way towards retrieving the Scout's reputation, featuring a lighter 'keystone' (open) frame and European-style girder forks. Lighter and faster than its immediate predecessor, the Sport Scout was just what enthusiasts and racers had been crying out for, and today remains a favourite among discerning Indian owners and riders.

Copies of the Indian Scout were built in Germany by Max Bernhardt & Co of Berlin and marketed under the 'Mabeco' name using engines manufactured by Siemens & Halske. Sidevalve models displacing 596cc and 749cc were offered initially together with an overhead-valve '750' from 1925. Changing the colour scheme from green to red turned out to be a bad idea as Indian responded with a lawsuit that ended with Max Bernhardt & Co's liquidation. The German firm quickly resumed production as 'Mabeco-Werke GmbH', though on this occasion with models that were less obviously cribbed from Indian.

It would appear that Indian subsequently licensed German production to Berthold Bielagk of Berlin, whose name appears on this 1927 machine's VIN plate (Indians were assembled in Germany at this time as a way of avoiding high import duties). These German-built Indians incorporated various locally sourced components including, in this case, Bosch headlights and a steering damper supplied by Carmen Werke AG of Stuttgart. This machine also carries the nameplate of the supplying dealership: Friedrich & Leverentz of Charlottenburg.

This Scout comes with an original German registration document (Kraftfahrzeugbrief) dating from 1937, stamped in July that year and again in December 1950, on both occasions to the same owner: 'Bertrand Rinfart' (or similar), whose profession is listed as 'engineer'. We are advised that the regional television station NDR Ferensehen ran a report on this Indian in 2007, describing it at that time as a 'one-owner' motorcycle. The current owner purchased the machine circa 2012 from Klassische Automobile GmbH & Co KG, Wuppertal. Equipped with luggage rack and leather panniers, this rare German-assembled Scout appears to be highly original and would grace any collection of Indian Motorcycles.


  • As with all Lots in the Sale, this Lot is sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.

Saleroom notices

  • The frame number is 5193.
1927 Indian 37ci (600cc) Scout Frame no. BG5193 Engine no. BG5193
1927 Indian 37ci (600cc) Scout Frame no. BG5193 Engine no. BG5193
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