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50 States Special Feature Day 2

50 States Special Feature, Day 2


The good news/bad news (depending on your preference) is more motorcycles!


This 1938 Indian bears a unique color scheme, available only that year. It also wore a new instrument panel that stayed on until 1947. 1938 was another banner year, as Sturgis held its first motorcycle race, the beginning of the rallies that continue through today.


This 1947 Indian Chief (can you imagine trying to sell that name to a modern

marketing committee?) came standard with the sidecar, whose lines complemented the fenders and lines of the bike.


This 1927 Indian Scout marked another pivotal time in motorcycle manufacturing, as it featured ease of handling, rugged reliability and the ability to maneuver on the mostly dirt roads of that era. They also enlarged the engine to 750ccs, a large engine for its time.


In 1923, Indian produced the Chief, but this model, the Big Chief, wore a beast of an engine, 1,200ccs, satisfying America's thirst for 'bigger is better.'


Look at this monster. For you shade tree mechanics, Carl Vandri took a four

cylinder Henderson and converted it to a V-8, a 2,000 hour project. The engine contains two cams that rotate in opposite directions, and many of the parts he machined himself. This is in 1925, so the magnetos (2) were connected to a spark advance on the handlebar.


As promised, the 1949 Indian Papoose! This scooter was built for British

paratroopers during World War II. The 98cc little machine featured chain drive with a fold down seat and handlebars so it could be stuffed in a steel canister and thrown out of a plane. It was manufactured as the Corgi in Britain after the war, and as Indian in America, but was not well received.


Anybody remember Hodakas? They sold well in the late 60s and 70s. The marketing people must have enjoyed naming the bikes, as they named them 'Super Rat,' and 'Wombat.' This is a Wombat, but with a fuel tank from a Combat Wombat. Chrome.


This is Malcolm Smith's Husqvarna 250cc Enduro motorcycle that he rode to win the International Six Days' Enduro, putting America on the map for international competition. Husqvarna built this bike to his specifications, including a cradle frame to protect the engine. Mr. Smith changed America's perception and interest in motorcycling by starring in the documentary, "On Any Sunday." He still rides actively and owns (PP!) MSR, which sells racing parts and apparel.


That's it for today. Stay tuned tomorrow for other brands, including the

motorcycle, along with a jingle, that took biking to a different and much larger level. We'll also give a shout out to a couple of women who wouldn't take no for an answer and proved they could be a viable asset to the war effort in WWI.


Thanks for following.




Mel Nason said...

Thanks again, Kevin, for all the great pics and bike memorabilia. I've often wondered where MSR Corporation got its name. Now I'm guessing that it's from the abbreviation of 'Malcom Smith Racing'.

................................ Kevin Parsons said...

That's him, that's his... An amazing man.