Wall of Death Bike: 1931 Indian 101 Scout

In 1975, John Parham opened his first motorcycle shop in Anamosa, Iowa. Later he started J. Parham Enterprises with his wife, Jill. That company would become known as J & P Cycles, one of the world’s largest mail-order motorcycle accessory companies.

John and Jill Parham with John’s ’55 Panhead

The Parhams were instrumental in bringing the National Motorcycle Museum to Anamosa, Iowa, and John was inducted into the American Motorcyclist Association Hall of Fame in 2015. He passed away in 2017 after a prolonged battle with pulmonary fibrosis, which prompted AMA President and CEO Rob Dignman to offer his condolences:

“Beyond his success as a businessman, John dedicated his energy and resources to preserving the history of motorcycling. It was an honor to know him. He will be greatly missed by the motorcycling community.”

Unfortunately, after 35 years, the National Motorcycle Museum is closing down for good on September 5, 2023.

“Once one of the preeminent motorcycle museums in the country, its board of directors finally decided to shut its doors after years of financial struggles. Founded by J&P Cycles’ dynamic husband-wife duo John and Jill Parham in 1989, the museum first opened in Sturgis, South Dakota, with a modest 40 motorcycles on display. In 2001, it moved to Anamosa, Iowa, and at one point housed more than 500 rare and collectible motorcycles and memorabilia.” –Motorcyclist

The National Motorcycle Museum
Jill Parham has served as the president of the museum’s board of directors, and she says it was a truly difficult decision to shut down the museum.
“It was a very hard decision and it was an emotional decision because my husband and I started this together. We have struggled for years to cover wages and utilities, partly due to low visitation.”
With the museum closing down, Mecum has been to selected to host an auction of the John Parham Estate Collection from September 6-9, which will include more than 300 “collector-grade, museum-worthy motorcycles.”

While it’s incredibly sad to see the National Motorcycle Museum closing down, we were curious as to what bikes from John’s collection would be hitting the auction block.

One of the machines that stood out to us was this 1931 Indian 101 Scout Wall of Death bike. According to the Mecum listing:

“The Scout was a regular choice of the time for this style of riding given its combination of handling and carburetion that worked well even at 90 degree angles.”

Highlights include a shortened and gusseted double downtube frame, leaf spring fork front suspension, band brakes with internally expanding shoes, V-twin with 3-speed gearbox, and a red tank with gold “Wall of Death” lettering.

This Indian Wall of Death machine will be selling with No Reserve, though the estimated price is $20-24,000. You can read the entire auction listing here, or browse the other lots from the John Parham Estate Collection.

If you’re interested in learning more about Indian Wall of Death bikes, we highly recommend You Can’t Wear Out an Indian Scout: Indians and the Wall of Death by Allan Ford and Nick Corble. The book is jammed with details and little-known history about the modifications done to these bikes to make them fit for wall riding.


  1. Great collection, stopped in last month. Been wanting to see it for years, finally decided it was now or never. Glad I made the trip. Sorry to see it close.

  2. robert lund

    Sorry , to hear that the muesum will be closing .. enjoyed the many times going around and checking things out.

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