1912 Indian 7 HP


  • Year of manufacture 
  • Motorcycle type 
  • Engine number 
  • Lot number 
  • Condition 
  • Colour  
  • Location


1912 Indian 7HP Big Twin
Engine no. 72D349

*Part of the Boulton Collection for many years
*An older professional restoration
*Used for parades and other events
*Eligible for the Sunbeam Motor Cycle Club's London-to-Brighton Run


In 1901, Oscar Hedstrom and Oliver Hendee, both active in the cycle racing world, got together to found the Hendee Manufacturing Company and build the first prototype Indian motorcycle. Start of a legend, that first machine was powered by a single-cylinder, 'F-head' (inlet over exhaust) engine that formed part of the 'diamond' frame, and in the Indian's case it sloped rearwards to act as the seat tube. An advanced feature in motorcycling's early, pioneering days, chain drive was used by Indian right from the start.

The Indian single proved immensely successful and provided the basis for the first of the powerful, large-capacity v-twins for which the marque is best remembered. Indian's first, 38.61ci (633cc) v-twin appeared in 1907 with an engine clearly derived from that of the single, though mechanical inlet valves - introduced for 1908 - were an early improvement. The twin's rear cylinder continued to form part of the frame until 1909 when a loop frame of the type favored by rivals Harley-Davidson was adopted. The Springfield company's first 'Big Twin' debuted that same year displacing 60.32ci (988cc). In 1911 Indian broke new ground yet again with their overhead-valve four-valves-per-cylinder racers, and then in 1913 the Big Twin was up-dated with Indian's innovative, leaf-sprung, swinging-arm frame. At the end of 1915 the Big Twin (by this time equipped with a three-speed countershaft gearbox and displacing 998cc) was superseded by a new 'flat head' v-twin - the Powerplus - thus bringing to an end a noble line.

This Indian 'Big Twin' was professionally restored by renowned motorcycle and steam engine enthusiast, and amusement park owner Herb Ottaway of Wichita, Kansas. It was purchased by Ted Oney of Oklahoma City in the mid-1980s and subsequently sold to Don Boulton. The machine has been used periodically in parades and at other events. A very similar Indian was sold to Oklahoma City collector Tommy Lewis at or around the same time, and for many years was shown side by side with Don's in the latter's car barn.

Built to the highest standards, these Indian twins were among the most advanced motorcycles of their era and consequently are highly prized by today's collectors, particularly those wishing to compete in prestigious Veteran events such as the Sunbeam Motor Cycle Club's London-to-Brighton Run.