• Year of manufacture 
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1915 Indian 4hp Model E
Engine no. 40G592

* Landmark Indian model
* Three-speed countershaft transmission
* An older restoration

As Indian approached its tenth birthday, the design of Oscar Hedstrom's original single-cylinder motorcycle had begun to mature. Like the vast majority of its contemporaries, the early Indian owed much to traditional bicycle design, which was hardly surprising as Hedstrom and his partner Oliver Hendee had started out in the cycle business. Other manufacturers, most notably arch rivals Harley-Davidson, had started with a clean sheet of paper, adopting what was generally known as the 'loop' frame that wrapped around the engine. Indian went down this road for 1909, abandoning the old 'diamond' frame.

The engine continued to have a rearward sloping cylinder, though this was no longer part of the frame. By this time the Indian 'F-head' single was available in three different capacities: 19.30ci (2¾hp), 26.96ci (3½hp) and 30.50ci (4hp), though only the smallest and largest of the trio were still on offer in 1910. Chain drive, an advanced feature in motorcycling's early pioneering days, had been used by Indian right from the start, but the company felt compelled to offer belt-driven models as well to satisfy dealer demand. They were soon dropped.

1910 was a landmark year for Indian, witnessing the introduction of the Springfield firm's new leaf-sprung front fork. The engine received a mechanical oil pump, but arguably the greatest advance was the availability of a clutch and two-speed transmission on certain models. 'Indian' script first appeared on the fuel tanks of some models this year. On the competition front, Indian enjoyed unprecedented dominance, holding all 121 American speed and distance records by the end of 1911, an extraordinary achievement that spoke volumes about the company's engineering excellence and exemplary build quality.

This 1915 Indian single has the leaf-sprung rear suspension and three-speed countershaft transmission, the latter newly introduced for that year, making it a very capable early 'Banbury' mount. An older restoration, the machine is offered with an Automotoclub Storico Italiano certificate.

Bonhams 1793
101 New Bond Street
United Kingdom
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Bonhams Collectors’ Car department