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Lot 402: Indian 7hp Powerplus

Grand Palais Sale, Bonhams (7 February 2013)

Competition between the major American motorcycle manufacturers was fierce in the 20th Century's opening decades, a factor that greatly accelerated technological development. In Indian's case, the need to stay ahead of rivals Excelsior and Harley-Davidson prompted the introduction of an eight-valve v-twin racer in 1911, and then in 1916 a new 1,000cc 'flat head' (sidevalve) v-twin - the Powerplus - was introduced to replace the production 'F-head' (inlet over exhaust) type. Development of the Powerplus had been initiated after Harley-Davidson trounced Indian in the 300-mile Venice road race in the spring of 1915, chief designer Charles Gustafson suggesting that a well-designed sidevalve ought to prove good enough to beat the Harleys. The 42-degree v-twin configuration of the existing Oscar Hedstrom-designed F-head engine was retained, though with side valves and increased use of roller bearings. Gustafson's intuition did indeed prove correct, the new 61ci (1,000cc) twin proving more powerful than its predecessor right from the start, hence the 'Powerplus' name. As part of the testing programme prior to Powerplus introduction, works rider Erwin 'Cannonball' Baker rode a pre-production model from Vancouver, Canada to Tijuana, Mexico - an event known as the 'Three Flags' - in August 1915, travelling 1,655 miles in 3 days, 9 hours and 15 minutes, breaking the existing record and emphatically demonstrating the new design's speed and durability. Beautifully restored, this Powerplus features a combined acetylene headlamp/generator, Stewart km/h speedometer and a 'Handphone' (klaxon horn) by The Automobile Supply MFG Company. The machine is offered with documents relating to its purchase, French Carte Grise de collection and various photographs taken prior to the restoration. It should be noted that the engine number is incorrectly recorded on the Carte Grise.

Lot Details
Auction Grand Palais Sale
Bonhams, Paris, France
TypeMotorcycle
Lot Number402
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price€25000
Hammer Price (inc premium)€28750
Year1917
Condition rating2
Registration number5479 RY 61
Mileage-
Chassis number
Engine number87J948
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors