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Around this time of the year, working on the current VI and looking through old issues, I often wonder what happened to some of the bikes that had their story told here.
The Nordian (2010 Xmas VI)
This year I was prompted to do something about it by a stack of photos arriving (by email) from Kenya. Rick Agagliate wrote to let Neil (builder of the Nordian in the 2010 issue) know that he now had the 741 in a Matchless frame that was mentioned in the early part of Neil's story. It isn't all that often you hear about Indians in Africa - plus I have a soft spot for Indian engines in strange frames - so I figured I should post the photos here, together with what Rick wrote:
The first time I saw the Indian was at Barry Sargentson's house, it was parked under a tree. I used to work part-time fixing bikes for him. Was not sure what he asked for the bike, but I could not afford it. One day I went to work as usual and he had sold the Indian. I felt really sick that day and gave up hopes on it.
Two years later, someone in Upper Hill (Nairobi neighborhood) asked me to help him start an old bike; I couldn’t believe it was the Indian. So we tried to start it, pushed it up and down the hill and it finally started, it nearly killed me. With the suicide clutch and no brakes it went straight through someone's fence. I asked the guy to sell me the bike, but he was not interested at all. I pestered him for almost two months to make a deal with him- No luck, and he took it to his home in the village up country. Again it slipped out of my hands for the second time, I was devastated!
Five years later, the person I am working for, John Wroe, who collects and restores vintage cars, arrives with a van full of goodies, and in that lot was the Indian in thousands of pieces (basket case). I made a deal with John in return for building his BSA G14 v-twin 1000. It was a real wreck, but worth the Indian as payment. It took me two years to build the Indian; I entered it in the concours d’elegance in 1995 and it won the most elegant. Had another year to work on it, and in 1996 it won 1st overall, and in 1997 it won again.
Still in its Matchless frame, I tried to look for an original frame, but no luck. Two years later, I was restoring a BMW R11 from Tanzania. The owner told me that he had found a frame on top of a tree, and I thought he was pulling my leg. The only way to get it down was to cut the tree. True enough it was an Indian frame. Someone must have chained it to the tree and forgot about it, so then I stripped the bike and rebuild it in its original condition. The only thing I still do not have is the original generator and cut-out, so I ride it the same way Neil rode it with the battery fully charged. As for the Matchless frame, I have started putting it together with the spare engine and other goodies I got in the deal. PS. My new rebuild, a Moto Guzzi GTC 1937 won first overall in the concours this year.
Some time back, Neil also sent me a brief
on the Nordian, writing:
Neil Grieve's Nordian in 2011.
Nordian story in the 2010
More photos below, from basket case over Matchless frame to how it is now.
Sprint Chout (2007 Xmas VI)
Some of you may have seen it at its new home on the IPE - Indian Parts Europe - website, but those who haven't may have wondered what happened to Grizzy's fabulous DiXiE vintage sprint (sort of British drag racing) Chout since it's story started on the VI in 2007.
With my IPE hat on I have contributed a little to Grizzy's project, and it seemed that the IPE website might be a better place to post the continuing build story - if nothing else since updates could be posted there more frequently than on the once-a-year VI.
Here is the latest update of the DiXiE story on the IPE site. There should be a new one soon.
There is another Indian racer story (supercharged 741 land speed racer) on the IPE website too, if you are interested in racing Indians. If you look through the old issues you will find several other Indian racing stories on the VI.
DiXiE in 2007.
DiXiE in 2011.
741 (2010 Xmas VI)
Along the same lines as DiXiE, Chris Ireland's Bella 741 ended up on the IPE website after I got a bit involved in the project of remaking Bella into a land speed racer.
Here is the latest update of the Bella story on the IPE site.
Chris is going to Bonneville in 2012 on a very small budget. If you want to help make that happen, his contact details are on the IPE Bella page.
So, that was what had happened, so far, with a few of the VI feature bikes. Maybe we can make this a regular feature in every year's VI? If your Indian has been in the VI, feel free to send me an update for next year's issue if you like.
Bella in an earlier life.
Bella in 2011.