1934 Indian OtherScout
Year of manufacture1934
The Ex-Steve McQueen
1934 Indian 750cc Sport Scout
Registration no. 920 XUR
Frame no. 541454
Engine no. HD0279
Formerly the property of Steve McQueen
Current ownership since 2006
Last run in May 2015
A marque at the very forefront of motorcycle design and technology in the opening decades of the 20th Century, Indian nowadays is remembered mainly for its powerful, large-capacity v-twins, the first of which appeared in 1907. Chain drive had been one of Indian's advanced features right from the start, when Oscar Hedstrom and Oliver Hendee, both active in the cycle racing world, got together to build the first prototype in 1901.
The Springfield firm's first twin of 1907 was based on its highly successful 'F-head' (inlet-over-exhaust) single-cylinder model, and this type of engine would continue to power the road-going 'Iron Redskins' for the next nine years. In 1911 Indian broke new ground yet again with their OHV four-valves-per-cylinder racers, and then in 1916 a new 61ci (1,000cc) 'flat head' (sidevalve) v-twin - the Powerplus - was introduced to replace the original 'F-head' type. A smaller v-twin model, the 37ci (600cc) Scout, joined the Powerplus in 1920, and then two years later the range was extended to encompass a new, Scout-based 1,000cc model - the Chief - the first of a line that would endure until 1953.
The Scout soon gaining a deserved reputation for durability; so much so that 'You can't wear out an Indian Scout' became its advertising slogan. Contributing to this longevity was the use of gears for the primary drive rather than the customary chain, and this unusual feature would endure until 1933. A 45ci (750cc) variant was first offered in 1927 and then in April 1928 the 101 Scout appeared featuring a revised 750cc 'flat head' engine in a new, longer-wheelbase frame. This sporting machine would prove an immense success for the Springfield firm, so much so that its replacement in 1931 by a heavier Chief-framed model was greeted with dismay. Introduced in 1934, the Sport Scout went some way towards retrieving the Scout's reputation, featuring a lighter 'keystone' (open) frame and European-style girder forks. Lighter and faster than its immediate predecessor, the Sport Scout was just what enthusiasts and racers had been crying out for.
Indian was actor Steve McQueen's most favoured marque and, as a serious collector of motorcycles, he could not be without an example of one of Indian's most successful models of the 1930s: the Sport Scout. This example previously formed part of Steve's collection and was purchased by the current vendor at Bonhams' McQueen Sale in San Francisco in November 2006 (Lot 176). Since acquisition, the Scout has been registered in the UK and ridden occasionally but most of the time has been kept on display at the owner's office. Last run in May 2015, it was in good condition when purchased and remains the same today, finished a striking colour scheme of ivory and black. The machine is offered with a UK V5C registration document and a copy State of Idaho Certificate of Title signed by Steve McQueen.