1949 Indian 440cc Vertical-Twin Scout

1949 Indian 440cc Vertical-Twin Scout

Post-WWII, Indian was struggling, but saw that cheap, lightweight motorcycles and scooters were getting the likes of England, Italy and France moving again. The firm staked its future on a new line of modular motors -a single, a vertical twin and an inline four, all sharing internal parts. The engine architecture and ergonomics rivalled anything from Triumph or BSA.

The company-saving hopeful 440cc Scout was launched in 1949 to great publicity, with movie and sports stars astride the compact new machine, but the American market was cautious, and sales were slow. Sales figure woes was compounded by the bike’s rush to production and the teething troubles that can bring, reports of which may have been exaggerated. The Chief with its big v-twin and skirted fenders fared better, with only 15 new Scouts sold that inaugural year.

Visionary Briggs Weaver penned these single-cylinder Arrow and Scout twin models, the ‘Dyna-Torque’ models, at the leading edge of design, using telescopic forks, rear suspension, and an all-alloy engine, features not included on British rivals for another 8 years. At just 280lbs this new Scout was good for 85mph and with overall British styling, this very modern motorcycle for the day exuded high quality.

The motorbike offered

This very rare example of the very charming 1949 Indian Scout was purchased by an Indian collector and knowledgeable enthusiast as a basket case, somewhat complete but delivered in boxes. Missing NOS parts were sourced from Southwest Vintage Cycle , Lemitar, New Mexico to complete the build, while the engine and transmission were rebuilt by Jim Crocker. The parts that have a light coat of red primer are all original. Crocker bench-tested the engine and transmission.  Now, complete and in good running order having covered a handful of shakedown miles, the decision to restore it to former glory or preserve its unrestored patina is left to the new owner.