started in early August 2004, whilst talking at the VSCC
Prescott Vintage Hillclimb in the Cotswolds (UK). My friend Paul Stileman,
an excellent, talented, vintage car restorer by trade and profession, jokingly
asked me when I was going to find him an Indian "wall of death bike". He
knew that I'd had Indians (Scouts and a Powerplus) in South Africa in the
seventies and at that time (in 2004), I had a fairly complete kit of parts
for a 1915 Hedstrom big twin, so obviously he thought I was well placed
to discover the proverbial "barn find".......what a hope!
But... stranger things
have happened... like a week later, Rick
Abbott posted a message on VI,
saying that he was about to advertise the basic Indian, 1920/22 based Hillclimber
kit of parts he had for sale, on eBay, unless a lister wanted it. Paul,
was looking for a Wall of Death
Indian, but here was something more special and historic.
Early 1920s hillclimber kit!
Note Junior Scout front end and short tank.
a quick phone discussion with Paul, who isn't into PCs or the internet,
I mailed Rick, told him that there was much interest and would he mail
me pix of the kit. The mails then quickly started to flow "to and fro",
?prices for the missing bits, ?pix of these, ?engine and transmission building,
?shipping costs, ?frame mods to take a later engine etc. etc. Rick was
very patient with us, proved to be very professional and flexible, even
though he was having much grief in his domestic life at this time.
A decision was made to purchase the kit, NOS engine parts, transmission and clutch bits, from Rick, a draft for payment was raised and the whole lot was airfreighted to the UK. Straight forward, excellent communications. Well, we thought, that wasn't too bad, having dealt in uncharted waters, the rest should easy... but... the trouble was yet to come, from a very close quarter in the UK.
As the cases with the kit were early, and there was a problem obtaining the cylinders that Rick advised, I did a little research and found an alledgedly rebuilt, complete 1922 Scout engine from Greg Cooney in NZ. A deal was done, cash was despatched and the motor was airfreighted to the UK... so far so good.
On receipt of the frame it was now evident that this had been much modified to use different engines,ending up with a later 101 engine... so a decision was taken to follow the 101 route. This meant selling/swapping the engine and other cases, to acquire the necessary 101 engine bits... this is where the project stalled. As all the future dealing would be done in the UK by Paul, by visit and phone, I was effectively surplus to requirements and received periodic updates on progress or the complete lack of it.
Engine in fabulous looking (and sounding!) restored hillclimber is now a 101 Scout.
Paul joined the UK Indian Club, and contact was made with a UK guy to take certain early Scout bits from Paul and supply all the 101 parts that were required. Some were delivered without a problem... but... the rest were not. The delivered bits were given to John Chatterton, in the NW of England, for assembly, which commenced without much trouble. John (a very thorough and patient guy... he had to be) was then held up on the engine build project, and was actually wrestling the other parts, bit by bit, out of the supplier ((whom he knew (-or should that be non supplier?)), plus Paul was pushing and threatening at the contact end to conclude the transaction. Finally the missing parts appeared and John was able to complete his rebuild of the engine, a real craftsman who really worked a miracle, as you will see from the pictures.
During this time, Paul straightened the frame, which had suffered from a very hard life, ground off surplus welded on bits, sourced outstanding components, made racing style handlebars, made a host of other special bits, that were read via a magnifying glass from period pictures, built wheels, painted all parts, assembled the parts and the battle was almost finished. This sounds like very little work but it was all carried out in a very thorough way, occupying nearly two and a half years.
A Linkert bronze bodied racing carb, with the Indian script cast in, was given to Paul by the UK Indian Club. (*****************************) - it's better that I remove that statement of Paul's regarding the supply of parts! Paul also obtained parts from other sources, and did all the other work himself, making many parts. The finished result is, as shown in the pix, excellent, it also sounds excellent!
(Castor) bean oil only!
Neat Powerplus(?) hand pump.