1949 Indian 440cc Vertical-Twin Scout

1949 Indian 440cc Vertical-Twin Scout

Following World War II, a faltering Indian company was sure the world was poised for a motorcycling boom and the next big thing seemed to be cheaper, lightweight machines to get the post-War people moving again, like those from Triumph and BSA. So Indian abandoned its successful V-twin Scouts and staked its future on a new line of modular motors -a single, a vertical twin and an inline four, all sharing internal parts.

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 from the Jim Sutter collection about 20 years ago. Restored by Bob Stark to exacting standards and original specification, the bike has covered only 11 miles since.