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Christmas 2008 - 741 Trike
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The Carabine 741 Trike/DT Replica Project
 By Tony Carabine
The project started in November 2007 with the request from number 2 son Andy: "Do you think we could build a Dispatch Tow replica or trike?" The seed was sown, and a good check amongst the stock of Indian parts we had around in the workshop directed us in the favour of the model 741 to be the base of the build. 

After dragging out and checking the in-house stock together with world wide internet, eBay and various Indian Rally swap meets, we ended up with the following components:

Parts List

Main frame: 741 standard
Rear sub frame: 741 modified 
Front forks: 741 standard 
Engine and gearbox: 741 rebuilt to 650cc
Front wheel and brake: 741 standard
Bars controls and levers: 741 standard
Petrol and oil tanks: 741 standard
Saddle: 741 standard
Foot boards and foot pedals: 741 standard
Rear axle: Reliant car converted from shaft drive to chain drive
Rear wheels: Converted Honda Comstar front wheels 
Rear foot brake: Hydraulic wheel cylinders operated by the 741 foot linkage
Back box/tubtub: Home made, ½”marine ply clad with alloy sheet
Mudguards: 3 x new Indian with side plates on the front one only
Electrics: 12 volt coil & distributor, 12 volt dynamo modified mini car model
Headlight: 741 standard 
Stop and tail lights: Vincent style.

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Rear sub frame for box, and neat wheel discs to hide the Honda wheels!

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Fenders lend authentic Indian flavor.

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Reliant drive shafts needed shortening, like
axle housings (photo on the left)
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Axle in jigged-up rear frame.
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Hole for top run of chain.
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Axle in jigged-up rear frame.
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Finished rear end.

Build Spec

The motor and transmission were rebuilt in our workshop into a unit complete with the standard engine mounting plates and standard 741 carb. The front frame section and motor were assembled together. The front forks bushes reconditioned, and taper roller bearings installed with the headstock and bars. We now had the front end and mainframe ready to mount onto the alinement jig. This was all set up and clamped into position. The rear sub frame was mounted and bolted onto the mainframe. Up to now a standard Indian 741 rebuild.

We now were ready to design the rear axle assembly and the rear frame mods. The car rear axle was converted from shaft drive to chain drive, still maintaining the differential cluster. The main housing was alloy so it was quite easy to cut the two windows for the drive chain entry and exit. The diff unit was then lined up with the final drive sprocket.

After measuring the wheel base and rear wheel width to enable the trike to fit onto our two wheel trailer we now had to shorten one side drive shaft and housing by 6” and the other side by 4”. After major cutting, sleeving and welding and this was done.

The next stage was to jack out the rear frame to a suitable width and design the rear axle mounting clamp assembly. With the assistance of the hydraulic jack and the welding blow-torch both sides came out  to the required first position, the temporary anchor frame was welded onto the allingment jig and the other side of the rear frame was jacked further out into position. Now we could fit in the frame cross brace tubes and design the axle split clamp assembly. The modified rear axle was the next to be installed onto the split clamps. The rear drive chain was fitted together with the idler tensioner sprocket. This was finally enclosed to keep shit out and lubrication in. 

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Frame and rear end in jig with plumb line from steering head.

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Rear end ready!

Rear brakes were next, hydraulic foot operated with a combination of Indian pedal and linkage to the cross-over shaft linked to a Toyota clutch master cylinder then piped up to the overhauled rear brake drum assemblies. The brake light switch is on the hydraulic lines. The hand brake is cable operated to both rear wheels using a Vauxhall car hand lever onto the compensating shaft to balance the tension to each rear wheel.

The Honda pressed steel rear wheels were next to modify. Two special adaptor hubs allowed the wheels to fit onto the drive shafts and fit over the brake drums. Next two special discs were laser cut to fit into the wheel outer rim and onto the hub centres. This was done only for effect together with the fitting of the two Citerion  hub caps.

The mudguards were next on the list. A set of three new-style Indian front guards complete with separate side skirts located in USA arrived. The side skirts were only used on the front end
and then cut down to the old 1940s style so they look the part. Two Indian head side-lights complement the top front of the rear guards. The rear guards were temporary fitted for the MOT test.

The exhaust is standard 741 two-into-one front end then a custom built silencer box and tail piece.
The rear tub was next. After careful studying of many photos and checking out bikes at rallies the shape was agreed on; the size was governed by the seat height and the wheel base.

A full size lightweight model was built from cardboard and plywood. This together with a small cardboard model, complete with hindged top, was sent to the cabinet maker to manufacture one from ½” marine plywood. This was built onto a timber frame, plywood body, and finally clad in alloy sheet with alloy edge moulding down the four corners. We now had the top of the tub covered with old leather and foam padding. The tub was fitted, side rear mudguards fitted with lights and the two stop and tail rear lamps fitted. The back number plate and marker light were next to fit. Two tub side top grab rails were next to fabricate and fit, then the rear bumper tube was fabricated and installed.

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Plywood and cardboard mockup for box.

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Finished box is to be clad with aluminum sheet (this is just the cardboard mockup so far).

On The Road

We were now ready for the road test, only round the block to start with, followed by more ambitious routes.

We passed the UK MOT test OK. We successfully logged it with the DVLC as the "Indian 3 wheel  Trike". After the usual tuning and riding position adjustments we are happy with the result.

The trike is now ready for strip down for the paintwork and plating to be done over the winter. We are carefully planning the sign-writing for the rear tub to ensure it is period and correct for the year.

If all goes to plan the trike will be on display and ridded around the Rally site in Scotland 2009, ridden by Andy complete with his daughter Anna as passenger.

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Final plywood box back from the cabinet maker.
Since Last year's Carabine VI story, Tony (and gang) has opened Indian Trading, building and marketing custom Indians - and who could blame him? With the speed he finishes projects they would soon pile up around the Carabine residence if he didn't do something to pass them on! 

Click to go to the Indian Trading website

There was a story on Tony's Chout in VI 2006, here - and part two in VI 2007, here

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Padded box top with hand rails.

Final photos next year - or maybe on Tony's Indian Trading website?

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