This site covers Scouts from the mid 1920’s to 2001
Updated 13 Feb. 2014. See J Mosher’s Bonneville twin mill Scout at end of this page
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Welcome Scouts and ex-Army Dispatch Riders old and young. BTW, if you didn’t get here directly from the big brother site, www.IndianChiefMotorcycles.com, check it out later. (There is a link at end of this page.) The main site includes a history of Indian brand motorcycles 1901 to 2013, hundreds of photos of Chiefs, Fours and English made Indians, features on racers and customs, and rare prototypes, etc.
Below is a video courtesy of YouTube of guys trying to start one of the Burt Munro Indians – which was based on a 1929 Scout engine but very, very modified. The movie starring Anthony Hopkins The World’s Fastest Indian was about Burt and his bike. Note in this video Jay Leno is in the crowd and makes a few wisecracks.
Next is a YouTube video of a British fellow starting his 1925 Scout.
Here is a shot of a 1927 Scout wiith sidecar:
One thing I recently learned was that the now highly valued 101 series of Indian Scouts (only made from 1928 thru 1931, i.e. four years) are so valuable because not only were they the first Scouts to have front brakes but mainly because they were lower and longer and more raked than earlier Scouts and they still had pure Scout frames which were a bit different and lighter than the Chief frames. In 1932 the factory homolgomized and gave the Scouts the heavy Chief frame (with very few mods).
This slowed the Scout and changed its appearance and probably its handling. (It was no longer called 101, just Scout.) The adverse consumer reaction lead to the 1934 Sport Scout which had a lighter frame, different forks and aluminium alloy cylinder heads. It only lasted until about 1941, a production run of eight years. (During 1934 – 41, I assume there were probably a lot of regular Scouts as well as Sport Scouts built and sold.
Nowadays only an expert can tell if a bike is a genuine Sport Scout or just a 1932 -41 Scout disguised as a Sport model, e.g. with alloy heads. I have never seen a post 101 Scout without alloy heads and when I checked the photos below (new photos added on Valentine’s Day, 2013) I could not find any with iron heads, and all have the same style of forks, so I wonder if there were any non Sport Scouts sold, but I am positive that the WW II military models were wimpy non-Sport Scouts.
I think the genuine Sport Scouts had magnetos instead of battery and coil ignition (and probably higher performance cams and carb tuning). Speaking of aluminium alloy cylinder heads, interesting that the Harley Sportster was sold with iron heads from its inception in 1957 until 1986, almost a 30 year stretch, and even the Harley K and KH (so-called flathead Sportster) and Knucklehead had alloy heads back in 1952 and 1936 respectively.
So if alloy heads were used on the OHV Big Twins since 1936, and on Indians since 1934 and all British OHV bikes since around 1950 (except the BSA A-10’s and their Ariel clones until about 1960), why did the Sportster, a sport bike in its day, use heavy and heat-holding, detonation-prone iron? I read somewhere that when H-D tried to use aluminum alloy heads on racing Sportsters (XLR’s) sometime around 1980 the valve seats fell out! Before any irate Harley fans write in, I do own a ’66 Sportie as well as a ’64 Duo-Glide, and have owned other Hogs in the past, namely a 1950 or ’51 Hydra-Glide (cannot remember), a 1941 model U, a 1980 FLT and a 1979 ex- police FL.
Here is a photo of an un- restored 1939 Scout, and a restored one.
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