What is the Motorcycle in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button?
Brad Pitt rode two different motorcycles in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. His main ride is a very distinct red Indian 101 Scout. The second is a silver-blue 1956 Triumph T110, identifiable as such by its four-bar tank badge and alloy head. We’re going to focus on the Indian Scout, as it plays a much bigger role in the movie.
The Indian 101 Scout
The Indian Motorcycle Company built the Scout between 1920 and 1949. Where the Chief was Indian’s top bike, the Scout was second. The 101 Scout was built between 1928 and 1931 and has long been thought of as the best bike built by Indian.
The Scout Series 101, designed by Charles B. Franklin, was introduced mid-cycle 1928 to replace the original Scout. The 101 had a redesigned frame featuring more fork rake; a longer wheelbase now at 1450mm, and a lower seat position. The wheelbase, steering head angle, and rear subframe were adopted from the 401 that was being developed at the time.
Power was provided by a 740cc V-Twin engine in the base bike, but a smaller 610cc engine could be ordered. Since Indian did not advertise the smaller engine, it was rarely sold. The 740cc engine had a bore of 73mm and a stroke of 89mm, produced 18 hp, and was tied to a three-speed transmission. The front suspension was a trailing arm/leaf spring combo, but the rear was rigid with no suspension system at all. The front brakes were internal expanding shoes, while the rear stoppers were external contracting bands until 1931 when they changed to internal shoes like the front. The 101 Scout sat on 18 inch wheels. The bike featured clincher rims in 1928, but changed to drop centers afterward.
The Indian 101 Scout was very popular with racers and trick riders because of its superior handling (for the era). Unfortunately, it was expensive to build and had a small profit margin. During the economic turmoil of the Great Depression, Indian had to concentrate on bikes with the highest profit margins, spelling the doom of the 101 Scout.
Pitt/Button’s Indian 101 Scout in the Movie
The actual 101 Scout in the movie is a 1931 model, currently owned by “Hobo John” of Costa Mesa, California. Hobo John is a long-time member of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America, who got his nickname by riding his ’72 Harley Super Glide back and forth across the country several times. The bike was the April 2013 Bike of the Month at the monthly Vintage Bike OC meet, and it’s a cherry example of the breed.
Benjamin Button’s Leather Jackets
For the full Benjamin Button look, you need to be leathered up in one of the period jackets from the movie. The leather jackets were created for the film by Belstaff of London, and in 2009, they auctioned off three distinct models created from the original patterns, with a portion of the proceeds going towards Brat Pitt’s Make it Right Foundation. These included the following models:
- Button Blouson: $1295
- Belstaff Panther: $1205
- Shearling Jacket: $1995
Unfortunately, these were limited editions. Fortunately, if you do some online hunting, you can find that a few other companies have taken up the mantle, offering Benjamin Button jackets based on the movie, and their prices are a bit more reasonable.
[Photo Credits: Vintage Bike OC]