News Riding

Three ‘Barn Fresh’ Indians Up For Auction in Iowa Sept. 27

A trio of “barn fresh” Indian motorcycles with titles will be auctioned Sept. 27 as part of a sale of almost 60 classic vehicles collected by the late Glen Meacham, an Iowa farmer.

The auction, offering onsite and online bidding, begins at 10 a.m. at 19553 Carter St., Carlisle, Iowa. VanDerBrink Auctions is handling the sales. Besides many cars and tractors, the auction features a 1940 Indian Four, a 1947 Indian Chief and a 1948 Indian Chief.

The auctioneer says the 1940 Indian Four was overhauled 25 years ago, has a title, appears to have matching numbers and appears to have had a paint job and some gold accents added.

The Indian Series 441 Four was the last of the luxury-class four-cylinder motorcycles that grew up during American motorcycling’s heyday in the first decades of the 20th Century. The final full year of production was 1941.

With its gracefully skirted fenders, smooth ride and prestige image, the 441 was the height of development of the American four. But Indian’s four didn’t even start out as an Indian. Its origins date from the 1920s, when Will and Tom Henderson, who built the Henderson Four starting in 1911 and then sold that company, created their second four-cylinder machine, the Ace, which instantly took its place among America’s most respected machines.

But then Will Henderson died in a testing accident, and the company foundered. When the Ace name and assets went up for sale in 1927, Indian emerged the winning bidder. Indian debuted its first four less than three months later, even leaving the Ace name on the tank in the early years. In time, Indian made the machine its own, first temporarily inverting the valve-train, then redesigning the engine in 1938. The skirted fenders arrived in 1940.

By then, the Indian Four was a truly luxurious machine, with an easy-to-start 77-cubic-inch (1,265cc) engine; a three-speed, tank-shift transmission; a sealed-beam headlight and optional 5.00 x 16 tires.

Civilian models were produced through 1941. But with the U.S. becoming involved in World War II, only police production continued. Then, it disappeared, making the 441 the last of the breed.


The complete auction catalog and photos are on at Phone: (605) 201-7005.