1918 Indian 7 HP
Year of manufacture1918
1918 Indian 7hp Powerplus 'Board Track' Racing Motorcycle
Engine no. 75K449
* Landmark Indian model
* One of the most successful American racing motorcycles of its day
* Superb older restoration
So potent were the Powerplus based racers that for a while they were the fastest in the Indian stable, beating anybody's eight-valve overheads.' - Jerry Hatfield, 'Antique American Motorcycle Buyer's Guide'.
Competition between the major American motorcycle manufacturers was fierce in the 20th Century's opening decades, a factor that greatly accelerated technological development. In Indian's case, the need to stay ahead of rivals Excelsior and Harley-Davidson prompted the introduction of an eight-valve v-twin racer in 1911, and then in 1916 a new 1,000cc 'flat head' (sidevalve) v-twin - the Powerplus - was introduced to replace the production 'F-head' (inlet over exhaust) type.
Development of the Powerplus had been initiated after Harley-Davidson trounced Indian in the 300-mile Venice road race in the spring of 1915, chief designer Charles Gustafson suggesting that a well-designed sidevalve ought to prove good enough to beat the Harleys. The 42-degree v-twin configuration of the existing Oscar Hedstrom-designed F-head engine was retained, but with side valves and increased use of roller bearings. Gustafson's intuition did indeed prove correct, the new 61ci (998cc) twin proving more powerful than its predecessor right from the start, hence the 'Powerplus' name.
As part of the testing programme prior to Powerplus introduction, works rider Erwin 'Cannonball' Baker rode a pre-production model from Vancouver, Canada to Tijuana, Mexico - an event known as the 'Three Flags' - in August 1915, travelling 1,655 miles in 3 days, 9 hours and 15 minutes, breaking the existing record and emphatically demonstrating the new design's speed and durability.
In September 1919 the Powerplus racer appeared with a new Harley-style frame, open at the bottom, that used the engine as a stressed member. A revised 'Daytona' version of this frame was introduced the following year featuring top tubes and steering head lowered by an inch or two to achieve a lower saddle position. Readily recognised by its 'S' shaped seat tube, the Daytona frame quickly became the Indian factory racers' favourite.
There are no documents with this Indian Powerplus racer, which appears to be an older restoration.