“You can’t wear out an Indian Scout.”
In 1901, accomplished bicycle racer George Hendee hired Oscar Hedstrom to design gasoline-powered bikes to pace bicycle races, and one of the most influential duos in early American motorcycling was born — what would become the Indian “Motocycle” Company, as it was known in the early years.
They would utilize Hendee’s F-head design until 1916, when they introduced their “Powerplus” side-valve flathead engines, most of which were sold to the US military with the advent of World War I. Soon thereafter, engineer and motorcycle racer Charles Franklin, who’d been part of the Indian team that won first, second, and third place in the 1911 Isle of Man TT, designed the original Indian Scout.
“To reach a broader audience, Indian introduced a smaller model for 1920, when it was the largest motorcycle factory in the world, having sold its 250,000th ‘motocycle’ that year. The new model was the 600cc Scout, which was an immediate sales success.” —Mecum
The Scout’s side-valve V-twin engine had the transmission bolted directly to the engine casing, which allowed a nearly maintenance-free geared primary drive — the only American V-twin to offer this system at the time.
“The Scout’s geared primary drive was nearly indestructible and led to the slogan ‘You can’t wear out an Indian Scout.’ By 1925, the Scout had gained detachable cylinder heads, and in 1927, a full 45 CI (750cc) version appeared, which is evident on the model offered here.” —Mecum
In 1928, the Scout Series 101 replaced the original Scout, making this 1927 45 cubic-inch Indian Scout a one-year-only model — exceedingly rare. What’s more, this bike is incredibly original — a true survivor approaching the century mark in age.
“This 94-year-old gem of Indian’s V-twin production has only had its spokes replaced (with NOS items no less) and some paint touched up, plus the usual replacements of tires and chains, etc., but it is otherwise as it left the factory.” —Mecum
The owner’s father acquired the bike in 1977, trading a 1920 buckboard for it, and the owner took possession of the bike in 1985, resisting the urge to update, restore, or modify the period-correct survivor.
This 1927 Scout crossed the Mecum auction block at their Monterey 2021 event, where it was estimated to bring $30,000 – $35,000 and sold for $27,500. You can learn more and see the results at Mecum.com.